I had a slight revelation about my horseshoe play last Saturday at the Stan Butkus Memorial Tournament, held in East Hartford, CT at the Central Connecticut Horseshoe Club.
My class was scheduled to play at 3:00 p.m., and I showed up about an hour early. Fortunately the previous group finished up just after 2:00, and 3 courts opened up so that I could warm up before competition began. Even though it’s been a mild winter here in Massachusetts, I hadn’t been able to get any pitching in since the last time I made it to the CCTHC, which was back in November.
After hitting the chain link fence on my back swing, I remembered that I needed to adjust my position in the box forward a bit. I threw probably 40-50 shoes, trying to finish my warm-ups with a few ringers in order to end on a high note. In my first match-up I started slow, and ended up with a loss that I definitely deserved. I shot 16.67% in my first game. I won my next three games, averaging 26.87%. By the time my bye came, in round 6, I was 3-2. I lost my last match, to a very tough opponent, by a score of 36-22. So I finished 3-3 for the day, with an average of 26.87%.
I’m actually pretty happy with the way I shot, especially considering that I hadn’t thrown for so long. The competition was very tough, as I’m learning is the norm for this venue. Oh, and there was the revelation, which was thanks to two fellow horseshoe players at the tournament, one of whom was my opponent, and the other a scorekeeper.
As with lots of leisure activities, sports, music, etc… horseshoe players sometimes enter the fabled “zone”. Everything comes together. The ringers are effortless. I was in the zone more than once last Saturday, and I eventually found my way out. During two games, I started off throwing very well, and built up a comfortable lead. I then promptly cooled off, letting my opponents back into the game.
What I found out, through the kind advice of my fellow players, is that I started hurrying my pitches. My arm speed increased. I wasn’t aware in the least that I was doing this. Inevitably I start wondering what exactly I’m doing differently when I start to fall apart and lose momentum. Increasing my arm speed is one of those things, and now I know I need to make an effort to prevent this from happening. I’m not sure that it will drastically improve my pitching, but being aware of this tendency is definitely a step forward.
Here are the results, for the statistically minded.