Learning the art of how to throw a horseshoe properly is rather like doing delicate surgery — touch-and-go. This means that you will have to work very hard at achieving this skill and have a great deal of patience. But it’s something that you have to know inside out if you love the game and are to succeed at it.
You’ll learn the truth of this if you have ever taken the time to watch experienced horseshoe pitchers play the game. It’s easy to see that they don’t merely pick up a horseshoe and toss it hoping for the best. It’s all about control, and professional horseshoe pitchers know this, that’s why they adopt a particular stance and grip before releasing the horseshoe and sending it on its way.
There is no shortcut with the game of horseshoes. You must learn how to throw a horseshoe correctly, and that means learning about stances, pitching grips, swings, and spend major time repeatedly practicing these moves.
The point of this article is to provide assistance for you in understanding some of the fundamentals of the game and to teach you how to throw a horseshoe accurately.
The Goal of Playing Horseshoes
If you are playing on a genuine regulation size court, there will be a stake protruding from the ground 37′ distant from you and your aim is to throw, or “pitch,” the horseshoe so that it lands with the iron around the stake. That move is called a “ringer.” Even if you miss landing on the stake, you still want your horseshoe to land nearer to the stake than anyone else’s. This sounds simple enough, but it’s tricky, as there are varying strategies for pitching the horseshoe and a vocal community of players out there who will advise on which type of pitch is the best.
Pitching Grips and Turns
It’s likely that in the game of horseshoes the grip is the most important part of your throwing skills. At the core of the matter, there’s no one right or wrong way to approach the grip, because the size and shape of your are hands are different from everyone else’s. Still in all, there are several ways you should try to grip the horseshoe. They are:
1 1/4 Grip
This is a grip adored by professional horseshoe players. You clasp the horseshoe tightly by the shank — one of the sides of the shoe — and allow it to rotate 1 1/4 times in the air before it descends onto the pin. In order to attain this particular grip, you must make certain that the horseshoe stays flat with the shanks pointed left. When you first begin using this grip, you can simply hold the center of the shank, but as time passes and you can find your own comfortable place.
Your thumb must rest on top while the index, middle, and ring fingers curve under and over the inner edge of the horseshoe. Only one thing changes if you are left-handed, and that is that the horseshoe must be directed to the right.
1 2/4 or 3/4 Turn Grip
Akin to the previous grip, but the shank of the horseshoe needs to be aimed right before the throw. Your hand is in the same place, with your little finger keeping the bottom of the horseshoe stable and the remaining three fingers clasping the inner edge of the horseshoe. With this grip you learn how to throw the horseshoe in reverse of the first grip, which is anti-clockwise.
This is a grip favored by women — yes, women really do play horseshoes — so don’t be sexist now, however, women do use a shorter field. To establish this grip, you grasp your horseshoe not on the sides, but in the arched center, with your fingers in the identical placement as the first two grips. When you use this grip, the horseshoe will revolve freely on a horizontal plane.
Once you’ve gotten the grips down pat, don’t think that you can ease up. You still have to conquer the stance if you hope to win at the game of horseshoes. Now don’t get all nervous again. This is really quite easy. For a right-hander, the best thing to do is to stand on the left side of the stake, and the opposite if you use your left hand. Furthermore, when getting ready to throw your horseshoe, you can begin several steps behind the line and then move forward to make your throw.
With the horseshoe firmly grasped in your hand, you bring your arm back, but be sure to let your shoulders remain squared.
Now, take a step forward, remembering to hold your arms straight and swing the horseshoe toward the pin. One other thing to keep in mind is to restrict your wrist movements because this can make the horseshoe sail off the wrong way, causing you to miss the pin.
There’s still a bit more. You have to ascertain the correct angle in which to throw the horseshoe and the ideal time to release it so that it will land firmly on the pin. It’s usually best to let the horseshoe soar upward so that it lands at a 30 to 45 degree angle on the pin.
The release isn’t done in slow motion. In fact, it happens so fast that there’s barely time to think before you let fly. That’s why your grasp has to be just right. This means strong and tight, but pliant. Not grasped in a death grip, nor held too loosely. This is a delicate skill to learn, because if the horseshoe is held too tightly, it will create strain on your hand and wrist. Yet, if the horseshoe is held too loosely, you risk having your throw slip from your grasp or not getting enough of a turn.
If you truly enjoy the game of horseshoes, then you won’t mind spending the time and energy to learn the discipline of being a good player. Don’t forget to have fun though, because once a sport stops being fun and becomes nothing more than just another chore, it’s time to stop playing.
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