Proper height of the pitched shoe is important. Height ensures enough time is allowed for the horseshoe to complete its turn or flip and land open at the stake. Additionally, a higher shoe will usually produce a landing that has less potential for movement after it has landed, remaining where the participant intended it to land. Finally, a shoe pitched with adequate height is one that typically has a proper follow-through in the swing. One major cause of a low pitched shoe is the lack of a follow-though or a step that is too long or too short.
For the Height drill you will need some 1-inch PVC pipes and “T” or 90 degree elbow fittings. The pipes will be cut to various heights to accommodate the different distance pitchers as they complete this drill. The younger 20 foot pitchers will need a 4ft high pipe obstacle to pitch over, the 27 foot distance pitchers will need a 7ft high obstacle to pitch over. To secure them to the ground you can use short lengths of re-bar driven into the ground with several inches left above the ground for the pipes to be placed over. To help the youth envision the arc of the pitch that is of an adequate height, have them imagine their horseshoe riding along the surface of a rainbow. In the future when a kid is struggling due to insufficient height, remind them to “pitch a rainbow.” This drill should be carried out on the courts, initially with water balloons.
20 foot distance pitchers pitch over a 4 foot high pipe obstacle that is placed approximately 7 feet from the target stake.
27 foot distance pitchers pitch over a 7 foot high pipe obstacle that is placed approximately 13 feet from the target stake.