The Demanding World of High-End Competitive Horseshoe Throwing
At the highest level of every sport, you will find completely dedicated athletes. Brian Simmons is the one of them. He’s the greatest horseshoe thrower in the world:
This is what Simmons is thinking about as he stares down a 14-inch tall stake. He is thinking about the slippery clay, and how he might adjust his release point, and as these thoughts slip into his brain, he has lost without even pitching the shoe.
“This whole game is mental,” Simmons says. “It’s all upstairs. It’s a mind game.” [...]
For Simmons, he wants to think about one thing and one thing only. Making sure his eyes are locked onto his right hand as he releases the shoe. He does not look at the stake, at least not at the most important part of his throw. He starts by looking at the stake, but then his eyes let go of that target and start looking for his right hand, which should end up right in his line of sight at the exact moment the shoe leaves his hand.
And now he’s moving his hand around to compensate for the fact the shoe is slipping out of his gloved hand. Pitching horseshoes is a mind game, and for what seems like the first time in his life, it’s getting to him.