The Basics of Curling
Each team consists of 4 players - a lead (delivers the first set of rocks), a second (delivers the second set of rocks), a third (I’ll let you guess at which set of rocks this person delivers), and a skip (delivers the fourth set of rocks in addition to serving as the strategist for the team). All four players deliver two rocks per end (similar to an inning in baseball). The skip provides guidance on how to deliver the rocks,including where the rocks should come to rest, based on the strategy chosen. The third serves as the skip while the skip is delivering rocks.
Upon completion of an end, after all rocks are delivered by both teams, only one team can score points. Points are earned for each rock that is closer to the center of the “house” or “tee” (crosshairs in the center of colored, concentric circles) than any of the opponent’s rocks. The team that scores in the end delivers the first rock in the following end. It’s that simple!
The person delivering the stone is in a crouched position with one leg against a rubber foothold (the “hack”). One hand is on the rock handle and the other is on the broom for balance. As the player pushes off the hack, the body extends into an outstretched sliding position. The leg that was on the hack stays behind the player while the other leg is tucked under the chest for support and balance. The hand on the stone is in front of the body forming a straight line with the outstretched back leg.
To release the stone, the hand begins in either a 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock position on the handle, depending on the direction the stone needs to curve or curl to reach its destination (as instructed by the skip). As the stone is released, the hand rotates to a handshake position (thumb pointing up).
This is a very high-level overview of the delivery sequence. Accurate delivery involves a combination of balance, alignment, timing, and controlled release. While it is certainly not as easy as it looks, many first-timers at Learn To Curl events find themselves getting comfortable with the sequence after just a few attempts.
Stay tuned – our next update will include more on the mechanics of sweeping, and strategy to winning!
–adapted from US Curling Association brochures