Horseshoes – Pitching 1 and 1 Quarter Turn

Jack Prot

If you are just a beginner to the game of horseshoes then the first thing you need to do is learn how to throw them. If you are a professional horseshoe pitcher, then it never hurts to revisit the basics and get your game back on track. For the purpose of this article we will assume that you are right handed. If you are left handed, just apply everything in the opposite way.

A key thing to remember when reading this is that horseshoes is just like any other skill in life. It takes practice to become accurate. So if you are serious about developing this skill, be prepared to invest many hours practicing your pitching. However, unlike many other sports, this game can be fun for everyone even if you can barely hit the pin!

So it is time to pick up the horseshoe. But before you go and throw it at the pin, take a good look as to how you are holding it. What you want to do is hold the horseshoe on its side like a backwards “C”. Grab the bottom side of the horseshoe so that the last knuckle by your fingertips is on the inside edge. This will let your fingertips curl up from the inside edge of the horseshoe. Your thumb will be on the flat side of the horseshoe so that the tip of your thumb meets up with the tips of your index and middle finger.

The placement of your grip should be roughly in the middle of the leg, or shank, of the horseshoe. This type of grip is called the 1 1/4 turn. This is one of the best grips to use for a beginner. This grip requires much less wrist motion than other types of grips. This lets the pitcher focus more on the throw than the wrist action which usually gives you more control. When throwing a horseshoe with the 1 1/4 turn you want to let it have a little more speed during the throw. The best way to get a ringer with this throw is to have the horseshoe come in and hook the stake from the right side. It will be able to hook that stake well and help you get those ringers landing throw after throw.

The most common mistake when throwing a horseshoe is forcing it to turn in the air. When thrown correctly, the horseshoe will do the work for you in the air. If you force it to turn you are not only losing accuracy on the throw, but you are also causing an unusual turn in the air which can cause the horseshoe to land on its side and roll. The object here is to get the horseshoe to land flat or “dead” around the stake.

Now that you have a grip on the horseshoe it is time to look at the swinging motion of your pitching arm. Hold the horseshoe out straight in front of you at eye level and aiming at the stake. Your feet position is really optional. You can either stand with your feet together or with your left foot about 6 to 8 inches behind your right foot. In either case, you want the majority of your weight to be on your right foot. As you begin your backswing, you want to take the horseshoe and turn it into a vertical position (like shaking hands). The horseshoe should stay in a vertical position for the entire backswing. On your upswing, as the horseshoe passes your right leg, bring the horseshoe back to the level or horizontal position. Release the horseshoe when it gets back to a line between your eyes and the opposite stake. Keep your wrist locked and straight and release the horseshoe in a level position to have it land flat or “dead”.

Now before you swing away here, we need to talk about your feet positioning during the throw. Regardless of how you started (feet together or left foot back), you want to have a gentle transition of weight from your right to your left foot. When your backswing is at its peak, begin shifting your weight and stepping forward with your left foot. As your upswing starts to pass your knees you should have most the weight on your left leg. This way your arc isn’t solely dependent on your arm muscles, but also the spring motion from your body and legs.

The most important part of your swing is then the follow through. After you have released the horseshoe, continue your throw. You will end up with your right arm almost straight up in the air and all the weight on your left foot. Just like any other sport or skill, the follow through can make or break your shots.

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