by Roy W. Smith published in 1946
Page 30

   In the beginning, the shoe will feel cumbersome and hard to handle, but this will soon pass with practice. Practice on a good level court and always try to do your best. Pitch the full regulation distance of 40 feet; 30 feet for women and boys under 16 years old. Don't overdo, especially at first, when you are not accustomed to this form of exercise. Too much practice can cause staleness, a dead arm and loss of control. A half hour twice a day or pitching 200 or 300 shoes under count is usually sufficient to keep one in good playing form. Merely tossing the shoes back and forth, without a definite objective in mind, will soon become a habit and will not improve one to much extent. Learn to concentrate on your game. Here is what Dean Brown, who is one of the best pitchers in the country, has to say about keeping your mind on the game: "Many good pitchers fail to win out because they stop to talk or permit something to distract their attention. I go in there to give the game all I've got and I don't want to bother with anything else until the game is over."

   If possible, practice with a good pitcher because there is nothing better than good competition to enable one to improve his game. Pitching under fire will develop confidence and one can learn much from the more experienced players. However, don't change your style for that of every pitcher that comes along or you will always be experimenting. Make and keep your delivery as easy and natural as possible.

   Pitching four shoes is excellent for securing a well-coordinated delivery and a uniform elevation. If difficulty is experienced in keeping the shoes at a proper height, erect two poles in the center of the court, on each side of the pitching lane. Stretch a rope or wire from pole to pole so it is from 7 to 10 feet in height. Pitching over this will greatly aid you to secure a uniform elevation, to make each pitch alike, and to control the turn.

   When a real opponent is not available, another pair of shoes can be used to good advantage. Place a shoe around each stake and endeavor to defeat this dummy opponent. Score 3 points each inning for the dummy. Additional shoes can be used to provide good practice in capping ringers.

   Correct practice prepares the player for match and prolonged tournament competition. Watch the diet during tournament play because an upset stomach will affect the nerves. The body must be kept in perfect condition in order to meet the terrific pace set by the young athletic pitchers of today. Most of the present champions are all-around athletes.