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© 2015 Curling Canada & World Curling Federation
Notice of Liability
The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis,
without warranty. While every precaution has been taken in the
preparation of the book, neither the Curling Canada or the World
Curling Federation shall have any liability to any person or entity
with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be
caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained in this
Interactive 1.1 Important Curling Terminology
Hog Line
Centre Line
Side Line
Tee Line
Free Guard Zone
Back Line
To maximize your enjoyment of this great sport,
it is important to become familiar with some
fundamental aspects of the game such as the
We also recommend becoming familiar with all
of the basic rules and terminology of the game.
Equipment and its proper care
Ice and Stones
Game Procedures and Objectives
Curling Etiquette
Types of Equipment
Curling, like every sport, requires the correct
equipment to ensure safety, success and
comfort. There are various levels of quality
reflected by ranges in price.
To b e a b l e t o
deliver a stone
with a flat footed
slide, a curler
requires a proper
sliding shoe, one
having a slick, low friction material that covers
the entire sole and heel.
Various types of slider materials are available.
One example of a synthetic material that is very
popular is Teflon plastic. Teflon sliders come in a
variety of thicknesses. Generally, the thicker the
Teflon, the faster the slider. Stainless steel
sliders are the “fastest” sliders available and
are used by a small percentage of players.
Entry level curlers may begin with a low-friction
plastic tape applied to the sole of an athletic
shoe. Duct tape, or any type of plastic tape may
be used. Plastic tape has reasonably good
sliding properties but is not overly fast, allowing
the beginner to adjust to develop balance easily.
It is important that both the sole and the heel of
the sliding shoe are covered with the sliding
material because both are in contact with the ice
during the delivery. Quickness of the sliding
surface becomes important as the curler’s ability
to slide develops and improves. While it is quite
acceptable to learn how to slide and to develop
confidence with a material that is not overly fast,
once the basics have been learned reasonably
well, the curler should progress to a less
resistant material that will allow for a much longer
slide delivery.
The sliding shoe should only be worn on the
curling ice. Protectors should be placed over the
slider to prevent damage to it while walking off
the ice. A very effective type of slider protector
is made of soft rubber. It can also double as a
gripper or anti-slider for the sliding shoe when
the curler is brushing.
While a slider is essential, it is equally important
to have the non-sliding shoe equipped with a
surface that will grip the ice well. Common types
of grippers/anti-sliders are soles made of a
pebbled type of rubber or those made of soft
crepe-like rubber.
Synthetic brushes are the most popular and
are usually made with a nylon fabric. Brushes
are also made with either hog hair or horse hair.
Various adaptations to the “standard” brush
including handle shape, handle width and brush
head angle have been made by manufacturers
in their attempts to make brushing easier and
more effective.
Brush heads come in assorted sizes and
shapes. Variable handle/head angle brushes are
the most common. Brush handles come in
different sizes but common dimensions are fortyeight inches (120 cm) in length and one inch (2.5
cm) in diameter. Handles may be made of wood
or fibreglass.
Gloves and mitts provide
warmth and protection
for the hands during
brushing. The palm of
the glove should be made of
a material that will grip the brush
handle and not slip.
Most of the top competitive teams
wear matching slacks and jackets.
Slacks need to allow for easy
movement during the delivery.
Jackets that allow for layers of
clothing underneath are very
popular. It is important
that the clothes are warm and
allow for ease of movement.
When choosing clothing it
is important to choose
clothing that does not shed
lint on the ice. For that
reason, wool sweaters and
actually be detrimental by slowing down the
stone because more of the running edge is in
contact with the ice and the cup must cut
through the rough, protruding edges of such
There are three inevitable results as the crests of
pebble become worn down with the passage of
stones up and down the sheet and by
The ice becomes keener (less stone speed
It is important to have some idea of how and why
a sheet of curling ice is prepared prior to play.
Factors that determine the “weight” or “speed”
and “curl” of the ice include ice temperature,
humidity, and type of pebble applied to the ice
Pebble is the many tiny frozen bumps found on
the surface of the ice. They vary in size, texture
and amount. Pebble is applied by a special type
of handheld sprinkler. Generally, pebble is put on
the ice surface before the start of each game.
Pebble has a tremendous influence on “draw
weight” because the delivered stone, as it
travels along the ice, rides on top of the pebble.
Without pebble most curlers would be unable to
throw the stone hard enough for it to reach the
house at the distant end of the sheet. Pebble
raises the cup at the bottom of the stone off the
surface and allows only a portion of the stone to
be in contact with the ice. Too much pebble can
The stone curls more as the pebble wears down
and more of the running surface contacts the
ice. With a large portion of the running edge in
contact with the ice surface, friction will be
When the pebble is worn down even more until it
is almost flat, the ice may become heavier since
much of the running surface is now contacting
the ice.
Curling Stones
A curling stone is circular in shape, made of
hard, dense granite and weighs approximately
40 to 42 pounds (20kg). A curling stone must be
able to resist abrasion, be uniform in colour and
non-absorbent. This latter quality is very
important because moisture penetrating a stone
and then freezing will cause chipping of the
The dull grey band around the greatest
circumference of the stone is the striking band
and is designed to absorb the shock when one
stone strikes another. On a new stone the
striking band is a slightly convex shape.
Each side of a curling stone has a concave area
commonly referred to as the cup. The edge of
the cup is appropriately called the running edge
and it is this thin edge that actually contacts the
ice surface.
The running edge is not polished like the rest of
the stone, but is comparatively rough. For
curling to be played correctly the running edge
must never be allowed to wear smooth or be
damaged. When the running surface has
become smooth from wear, the stone must be
reconditioned to restore a like-new running edge.
When the edge loses its texture, the stone will
curl very little because there is nothing on the
edge to cause friction with the ice. As a result,
the stones will glide a lot further when they are
slowing down, making it difficult to judge weight
when delivering or brushing.
Over years of pounding, the striking band may
wear away to a flatter contact surface. Flat spots
on the striking bands are caused when the
granite beneath the surface has been crushed
as a result of an extreme impact. Eventually the
outside granite will break loose and a large
chunk will be missing from the outside of the
stone. When chunks come out of the striking
band, the stones are non-repairable.
Proper care of curling stones is essential.
Curlers should not take the stones off the ice
surface. The running edges can be easily
damaged from contact with abrasive surfaces.
The ice technician is the only person who should
decide where the stones are to be placed when
they are off the ice surface. Curlers need to be
encouraged to keep the playing surface as clean
as possible by ensuring their footwear is clean.
A curling team consists of four players, each
delivering two stones during an interval called
an end. When completed, a total of sixteen
stones have been delivered.
The lead is the first player to deliver two
stones, alternating with the opposing lead.
When the lead has delivered his second stone,
he then takes over brushing duties with the
number three player while the second player
delivers two stones alternately with the opposing
second. In turn, the third delivers two stones
that are brushed by the lead and second. The
fourth player, known as the skip, is the last to
deliver two stones while a player designated by
the skip – called the vice-skip or mate takes
over the skipping duties. The skip stands within
the circles (called the “house”) at the end of the
ice opposite to the delivery end and directs the
play except when it is his/her turn to deliver.
The opposing team must yield the ice to the
team whose stone is being delivered and must
not interfere in any way. The opposing skip
remains behind the house to watch the
opposition stone being played in order to study
the action of the stone in motion.
Curling success depends upon the cooperative
efforts of all four players on a team. It is
important that each player is content with his or
her role. Because of the strategy required in
d i r e c t i n g t h e p l a y, t h e s k i p m u s t b e
knowledgeable on strategy and have a good
memory for ice reading.
LEAD: The lead must be able to draw effectively
at all times and to execute take-outs. Both the
lead and the second should be strong brushers
because they have the responsibility of brushing
stones delivered by both the third and skip.
Effective brushers therefore, require strength and
SECOND: The second must be able to execute
take-outs well. Good seconds are noted for
their ability to execute peels, run throughs,
double take-outs, hit and rolls, etc., and yet
provide perfect draw weight when called upon.
THIRD: The third is usually the vice-skip and is
a very key member on any successful team. The
third must possess the knowledge and shotmaking ability of the skip and also be an
effective brusher. Thirds must be able to execute
delicate shots with precision and hopefully make
the end easier for the skip who otherwise may
have to function under great pressure. The third
must be able to anticipate the path of the skip’s
stones very well as they play a major role in
calling the line (direction) for their team’s last
two stones.
SKIP: The skip is the team leader who calls
strategy and determines where the brush, which
is the thrower’s target, should be placed. Skips
must be able to execute shots with poise, finesse
and confidence. The skip’s responsibility is to
manage the overall performance of the team by
maximizing their various skills.
Game Objectives and Scoring
The basic object of curling is to complete each
end with your stones closer to the centre of the
house (circles) than those of your opponent.
Generally, competitive games are ten ends and
most club games are eight ends. At the
conclusion of each end, the team with the stone
closest to the centre of the house scores one
point, and then scores an additional point for
every other stone closer to the centre than the
closest stone belonging to the opposing team.
Stones must be in or touching the house to be
potential counters.
The vice-skips determine the score at the
conclusion of the end, and must agree or
request a decision by an official or another
person not playing in the game. All other players
must stay out of the house at the conclusion of
an end until the vice-skips have determined the
Baseball type score boards are used as well.
The numbers on the board represent the end,
numbers hung indicate points scored.
At the conclusion of an end, if the two vice-skips
cannot agree as to which stone is closer to the
centre, the stones must be measured. The viceskips do the measuring in most games. In some
competitions however, an official will measure
the stones.
Score Boards
There are two types of score boards that are
currently in use. The traditional score board has
the score in the middle and a place to hang the
marker indicating in which end the scoring
Prior to a measurement taking place:
• Remove all other stones from the playing
• Only the vice-skips are in the house, all
other players move out of the house.
• Carefully place the feet of the measuring
stick on the ice and then the end of the
measuring stick in the centre hole location
(tee) and slide the instrumented end
slowly towards the first stone, get a
reading, then move slowly forward to the
second stone to be measured.
• Opposition vice-skip should be on the
same side of the measuring stick as the
person doing the measuring, so that they
can observe the reading.
• Set the dial first on the odd coloured
stone when performing a three stone
At times, it is not possible to visually determine if
a stone is in the house or in the free guard
zone. This possible counter may be measured
during the end, if it is prior to the delivery of the
fifth stone and the skips need to determine if the
stone is in the free guard zone. A six-foot
measuring stick is used to determine if a stone
is in the house and therefore a potential
• Curlers must have clean, appropriate footwear
that does not damage or affect the quality of
the playing surface.
• Most curling clubs discourage players from
bringing food and refreshments onto the ice
• Curling games begin and end with all
opposing players individually shaking hands.
• At the beginning of the game, opposing viceskips (thirds, mates) will toss a coin to decide
last stone advantage.
• Players not involved in delivering or sweeping
should stand along the sides of the sheet
between the hog lines, well out of play. When
you finish sweeping, walk along the sides of
the sheet as you return to the delivery end.
• Only skips and vice-skips are allowed to
congregate behind the tee line. They should
stay still and ensure their brooms are not on
the ice when the opposition is preparing to
• Always be ready when it is your turn to deliver.
• At the conclusion of an end, all players should
remain outside of the house until the viceskips have agreed upon the score.
• When the opposition is preparing for delivery,
stand well to the side of the sheet between the
hog lines (courtesy lines if installed) and be
careful not to distract them in any way.
• Be very careful when pushing stones into the
corners in preparation for the next end. Ensure
that all players are made aware of any stone
being pushed in their direction.
There are many variations of the delivery currently being employed by players across the world. We
suggest that the entry level curler use the flat footed, no lift delivery.
Learning Progression
The curling delivery is a complex activity that requires the coordination of a number of different body
movements. To correctly develop the delivery, every curler should divide the skill into specific
phases of development:
Delivery A
Stance, forward slide from the hack (without a stone).
Delivery B
Entire pullback and forward motion combined with the forward slide (initially without a
stone and then with a stone).
Delivery C
Entire delivery motion (with a
stone) including grip, turns, release and line of
Flat Foot Slide
The flat-footed slide is the recommended method
of delivery because it provides for optimum
balance by allowing the weight of the body to be
distributed over the entire under-surface of the
sliding foot. The flat foot slide places less stress
on the knee than do a number of other deliveries.
No Lift Delivery
New curlers and experienced curlers alike, will
find that balance and timing problems are
reduced when they do not have to concentrate
on swinging a 40 pound granite stone off the
Line of delivery problems are frequently
reduced with a no lift delivery. The stone is
placed on the line of delivery during the stance
and it should stay on this line during the pullback
motion, forward slide and the release. This
approach makes consistently hitting the target
brush at the far end much easier to attain.
Delivery Lesson A introduces the stance, hip
elevation and the forward slide.
(metatarsus) firmly and squarely against the
back of the hack.
Sliding Foot
The initial positioning of the body in the hack
prior to the delivery is commonly referred to as
stance, and is of primary importance if the
delivery is to be successful.
Proper stance involves:
• placement of hack and sliding foot
• positioning of knees, hips and thighs
• position of delivery arm and brush arm
Hack Foot
The sliding foot is positioned flat on the ice,
parallel to but slightly ahead of the hack foot.
The heel of the sliding foot is approximately
adjacent to the toe of the hack foot. Body type
may impact the positioning slightly for each
curler. It is necessary to have some body weight
on both feet, so that both legs can assist in
elevating the hips.
The sliding foot needs to be parallel to the hack
foot and placed so that during the pullback and
back-step motions the foot can move straight
One of the keys to the line of delivery in the
slide is the placement of the gripper foot in the
hack. Always step into the hack from behind.
While stepping into the hack, ensure that the foot
is pointing to the target. Place the ball of the foot
Shoulders and Hips
Delivery Arm
When the curler enters the hack ready to assume
the stance position, the shoulders and hips
should be parallel with the line of delivery.
The delivery arm must be comfortably extended
at all times, without rigidity or tension. The arm is
in front of the body, elbow down and hand in a
handshake position. The stone is placed just far
enough forward to allow for the comfortable
extension of the arm. During the Delivery Lesson
A, you will deliver without a stone. When the
stone is introduced later, the stone will be
placed directly on the line of delivery. The line
of delivery extends from the target at the far end
to the middle of the hack foot.
When lowering the body into the stance position,
it is important to keep the thighs parallel to the
line of delivery to help keep the hips square to
the target.
Upper Body
Balance Arm
The knee of the hack foot is kept off the ice,
enabling the trunk, head and shoulders to
maintain a fairly upright position. The shoulders
must be level and square. The head should be
erect with the eyes concentrated on the target.
The major sources for balance in the stance
position are the positioning of the hack foot and
the sliding foot. However, positioning of the
balance arm during the stance and forward slide
is also important. There are at least three
positions for the balance arm that will assist with
1. Stretch the brush arm out comfortably
from the body with the brush handle
extending under the arm toward the
back. The head of the brush should be
resting lightly on the ice, slightly ahead
of the sliding foot. The brush head is
inverted so that the brush head is facing
up and the wooden/plastic part of the
brush is resting on the ice. The wooden/
plastic side of the brush head sliding on
the ice produces less friction than if the
brush head was in contact with the ice.
2. Curlers who have difficulty keeping the
brush handle against their back during
the forward slide should bend the arm
slightly so that the upper arm may be
used to hold the brush handle tightly
against the back to assist in achieving
3. Some curlers prefer to have the brush
flat on the ice. This method will assist
with stability but in many cases it forces
the upper part of the curler’s body to be
very low. An adaptation to the brush flat
on the ice is to use a delivery device
such as “The Crutch” or “The Stabilizer”.
The top bar of these delivery aids is the
same height as the stone handle. They
therefore assist the curler to keep the
upper body erect and their shoulders
Stance Review
• Step into the hack from the rear.
• Line up hack foot with the target.
• Place ball of the gripper foot firmly against
the back of the hack.
• Place sliding foot slightly ahead and
parallel to the hack foot.
• Ensure both thighs are parallel to the line
of delivery.
• Position shoulders level and square to the
line of delivery.
• Position the upper body in an erect
position with eyes looking at the target.
• Place the stone directly on the line of
• Ensure your balance arm is correctly
Forward Slide
Balance Arm Position
The key to a successful curling delivery is to
develop a smooth, balanced forward slide. From
a balanced position it will be easier to
accomplish the consistent line of delivery and
release motion needed to make shots.
Sliding Foot Position
The main element for balance in the delivery is
the position of the sliding foot. The sliding foot
should be positioned under the body’s vertical
axis between the chest and the abdomen during
the entire sliding motion. The sliding foot is flat
on the ice with the weight of the body distributed
over the sole and heel. The sliding foot should
be turned out slightly to increase the surface
base and therefore enhance the stability of the
As the body comes forward from the hack, the
brush should be positioned with the handle
extending toward the small of the back and the
brush head resting along the top of the ice. The
brush head must be positioned ahead of the
sliding foot during the entire sliding motion. A
brush head, even with or behind the sliding foot,
may have a tendency to turn the curler’s
shoulders off line. Curlers using a sliding device
also need to keep the hand position slightly
ahead of the sliding foot.
Delivery Arm
The delivery arm and hand should remain
comfortably extended in front of the curler, with
the hand off the ice surface once balance has
been achieved.
Trailing Leg
Upper Body Position
The trailing leg and foot should be extended
behind the body as far as possible during the
f o r w a rd s l i d e . T h e p o s i t i o n i s i n i t i a l l y
accomplished by flipping the hack foot back into
the hack as leg drive reaches completion, thus
providing a complete extension of the trailing
leg. In most cases, this motion turns the trailing
foot over into one of 3 desirable positions:
A fairly upright position is preferred as it allows a
correct grip and a high wrist position over the
handle of the stone to produce a consistent
release of the stone. The shoulders should
remain level and square to the skip’s brush.
1. Turned over and slightly in.
2. Straight up and down.
3. Turned slightly out. The heel should not
be in contact with the ice surface.
Note: Curlers may find that the resistance on the
trailing foot may be reduced with the application
of sliding tape or toe dip.
Forward Slide Review
• Sliding foot flat on the ice under the
centre axis of the body.
• Sliding foot slightly toed out to provide a
wider base for balance.
• Trailing leg extended out behind —
preferably toed in or straight.
• Upper body erect, hips low.
• Shoulders and hips square to the line of
• Brush head resting lightly on the ice,
slightly ahead of the sliding foot.
Development Drills
Development Drill #1
• Find a position along the sideboards.
• Place your brush on the sideboards.
• Slowly stretch out into a final slide position
while holding on to the boards with both
• Check for a balanced position by trying to
lift the delivery hand off the boards,
directly in front of the body. Lift the
balance arm, off the boards to the side.
Development Drill #3
Now that you have developed a certain comfort
level with sliding with your brush on the ice in
front of you, it is time to place your brush under
your balance arm.
• Assume the correct stance position.
• You may now repeat Drill #2 from the
sideboards with the brush in the correct
Each time you slide from the sideboards, focus
on one aspect of your slide. Since the key to
balance is the sliding foot position, this is the
primary focus of the drill.
• Check the slide foot and trail leg
Development Drill #4
• Hold the slide position for 10 to 15
seconds and then stand up.
Once you have gained a comfort level sliding
you can move to the hacks.
Development Drill #2
• Pick up your brush and turn around so
that you face away from the sideboards.
• You will now progress to performing the
stance, hip elevation and slide from the
Another drill may include:
• Assume the stance position but with your
brush flat on the ice, sideways in front of
your body.
• Elevate your hips into a semi-crouch
position and stretch out into the slide
position using two hands on the brush
handle for easier balance.
• Stretching out into the slide position and
grasping the brush handle of a second
curler (wearing 2 grippers).
• The curler with the brush will then pull the
curler in the slide position down the ice.
• Add a small amount of leg drive after 3 or
4 stretches from the sideboards.
This lesson adds the pullback motion and the
forward slide motion skills to the delivery.
back movement position assists with keeping the
hips square to the line of delivery.
This component teaches the sequencing (timing)
and weight transfers necessary to perform the
whole skill. Good technique and timing are
essential to ensure that both stone and body
movements are coordinated into a smooth,
consistent execution.
The sliding foot moves straight back so that the
toe of the sliding foot is parallel or slightly behind
the heel of the hack foot. The body weight moves
back with slightly more weight being transferred
to the sliding foot. At this point there is a very
definite pause or stop in the motion.
Pull Back Motion
As both legs begin to elevate the hips into a
semi-crouch position, the stone is pulled back
on the line of delivery. The line of delivery is a
line traveling from the target brush at the far end
to the middle of the hack foot. During the hip
elevation into the semi-crouch position both legs
are supporting the body weight.
Once this hip elevation has occurred, a motion
backwards with the delivery arm is followed by
the sliding foot beginning to move straight back.
The sliding foot should remain flat on the ice and
continue to point toward the target. This straight
Pull Back Motion Review
Forward Motion
• Elevate hips into a semi-crouch position
(hack knee bent approximately 90
• Pull stone back directly on line of
• Move sliding foot straight back.
• Definite pause or stop in the motion.
Commence the forward motion of the stone by
shifting some body weight forward on to the hack
foot while maintaining a semi-crouch position
with the hack knee remaining bent at
approximately 90 degrees. As the transfer of the
body weight proceeds, the upper body will
continue to lean forward and gradually begin to
drop down behind the stone. The forward
movement of the sliding foot should be delayed
slightly to allow the stone to get out in front of the
body and to create space for its eventual
position which will be behind the stone and
under the chest. The sliding foot will now move
gradually forward under the chest to provide
balance and slowly in behind the stone in the
direction of the target brush. As this is occurring
the hack leg will provide the necessary leg drive
to produce body and stone momentum as the
majority of body weight is transferred on to the
sliding foot.
Forward Motion Review
• Transfer upper body weight forward.
The sliding foot, after staying in the back position
for so long, must move quickly forward to take its
position under the body.
Once the sliding foot has moved forward, under
the body, the body weight is transferred to the
sliding foot. At this time, the hack leg provides
the forward thrust from the hack. The leg drive
should occur as the hack leg approaches the
extended position.
• Move stone along line of delivery.
• Delay movement of sliding foot.
• Move sliding foot forward.
• Provide thrust with hack leg.
Grip, Turns, Release and Line Turns
of Delivery
This lesson completes the delivery instruction
for the no lift delivery by adding the grip, turns,
release and line of delivery.
The Grip
You should grip the handle of the curling stone
firmly. The index finger and the thumb provide
the major guiding force. Place the index finger
close to the gooseneck (the front part of the
handle) followed closely by the other fingers.
The thumb presses firmly against the other side
of the handle and combines with the index finger
to provide grip control. The “V” found between
the thumb and the index finger should point to
the opposite shoulder. The handle should rest on
the second joint of the fingers. The wrist must be
kept in a “high” position above the handle. The
palm of the hand should not be in contact with
the handle.
or In-turn for Right Handed
In order to determine which direction a stone will
bend or curl, you must apply a turn to the stone.
For many new curlers, the terminology of in-turn
and out-turn can be confusing. It may be easier
to classify turns as either a clockwise rotation or
a counterclockwise rotation. Using this
terminology makes the turn the same for left
handed curlers and right handed curlers.
For a clockwise rotation (commonly referred to
as the in-turn), place the handle while in the
stance position so that the handle is slightly
counter-rotated (approximately 60 degrees)
against the turn. The handle position must
remain in the same position during the pull back
and the forward slide. Approximately one meter
before release, the handle is turned with a
distinct clockwise rotation of the wrist and
This handshake position is used as a point of
reference to allow the stone to be released in
exactly the same manner every time. Some
curlers may have difficulty in relating to the use
of degrees to describe relative position. Another
way to describe the turn is to relate to 12:00
being at the front of the stone. In the stance
position adjust the handle so that the gooseneck
is positioned pointing at approximately 10:00.
The handle remains at 10:00 during the pull
back and forward slide. One metre prior to
release, the handle is rotated in a positive
manner to the 12:00 position [diagram]. The
thumb and forefinger release the stone at the
same time. This rotation will cause the stone to
rotate in a clockwise direction. The stone should
rotate 2 to 3 times as it travels the length of the
sheet of ice on a draw shot. A consistent release
is necessary in order for the stone to react in a
predictable manner. If there are too many
rotations (a spinner) the stone will not curl. If the
stone does not have a positive rotation it may
lose its turn or act in an unpredictable manner.
Position of the Delivery Arm
At the beginning of the forward slide, the delivery
arm is comfortably extended. As the body moves
forward from the hack, the delivery arm should
develop a small bend at the elbow (hardly
noticeable). During the forward slide, the arm
must remain in this position until just prior to
release when the arm is extended slightly
towards the skip’s brush. This slight extension
of the delivery arm assists in developing the
correct release motion. Keep in mind that the
controlled extension of the delivery arm during
release is not a push.
Counterclockwise or Out-turn for Right
Handed Curler
It is desirable to use the same reference point at
release for both turns, that is the handshake
position. The counter-clockwise turn (commonly
referred to as the out-turn) begins by adjusting
the handle approximately 60 degrees against
the turn. This adjustment must be maintained
during the pull back motion and the forward slide
. One metre prior to release, the
counterclockwise turn (out-turn) is applied by a
distinct rotation of the wrist and forearm to the
handshake position.
To use the analogy of the clock again, the
handle is positioned in the stance at 2:00 and
one metre prior to release the handle is rotated
to the 12:00 position.
Position of Body
As the body slides forward from the hack, the
hips are fairly low. The upper body remains in a
fairly upright position allowing for a correct grip
and a high wrist position over the handle of the
stone. The upper body may lower gradually
during the final release motion.
Release Point
The release point is that location on the ice when
the stone leaves your hand. In actual fact, the
release occurs over a distance of approximately
one metre.
The release point will vary depending on the
amount of forward momentum applied to the
delivery. It is important that the point of release
be relatively consistent. A curler releasing draw
shots near the hog line and take-out shots near
the tee line is not releasing in the preferred
manner. The type of shot requested by the skip
governs the speed at which the curler leaves the
hack, whereas the release zone should remain
relatively constant.
Curlers on competitive teams should strive to
develop a similar release zone. When all four
players release in the same manner and in the
same zone their stones should react in a similar
manner. It is much easier for the skip to
determine the amount of ice required for specific
shots when all four curlers’ stones react in a
similar manner. If one curler uses the same
release motion but in a much earlier zone, their
stones will have more time to curl. As a result of
an early release they may require more ice.
To develop similar slides from the hack, the
players should determine the ideal zone for their
team. Factors that will influence how far you slide
include: the force you push from the hack, the
quickness of the slider and the amount of friction
produced by the trailing foot.
The stone must be released before it reaches
the hog line. You should develop a release point
that is well back of the line. Occasionally a curler
may drive too hard out of the hack and need this
extra space in order to release without violating
the hog line rule.
Follow Through
A proper follow through requires that the eyes
concentrate on the skip’s brush, the delivery
arm reaches forward and the sliding motion
continues behind the stone. The delivery arm,
hand and fingers are still pointing along the line
of delivery to the brush until the stone is at
least a metre away from the release point.
Many shots may be unsuccessful as a result of
an improper follow through. Actions such as
quickly dropping the delivery hand or attempting
to stand up immediately after release can affect
a shot if they commence just prior to release. The
delivery hand dropping to the ice after release
often indicates a balance problem. A quick
motion at follow through may make the release of
the stone inconsistent.
Line of Delivery
Curlers are urged to allow the slide to come to a
stop and to then stand up. Curlers who put their
hands or knees on the ice at the end of their
delivery may slightly melt the ice producing a
flat spot. When a stone moves over a flat spot on
the ice the direction and line may be affected.
The stone will act as if there is a piece of debris
under the stone.
The line of delivery is a line extending from the
hack foot to the skip’s brush or target at the
playing end. During the course of a curling
game, the target is moved across the sheet. You
should visualize an imaginary line running from
the target to the middle of your hack foot. To
correctly deliver a stone at the target, you must
also position the stone on this line.
Development Drills
You and your partner can line up on both sides
of the sheet, between the tee line and the hog
line. The purpose of this drill is to practice grip,
turn and release while pushing stones back and
forth between partners.
Grips, Turns & Release Drill
Development Drill #1
Turn: Handle counter-rotated 30 degrees in the
Handle released at 12:00.
Drill #1 may be repeated from the hack. Curlers
will execute deliveries with a target on centre
line at the top of the near house. You are
encouraged to maintain the handle adjustment
throughout the pull back and forward slide prior
to applying the turn.
• Curlers should position themselves in two
rows, facing each other.
Line of Delivery Drills
• A stone is provided to curlers on one
The purpose of this drill is to learn how to direct
the body and stone at the target.
• Assume the stance and grip the stone.
Development Drill #2
• Signal for desired turn given by partner.
[need a definition of the signal]
• Adjust the handle for a turn. Perform the
pull back and slide the stone forward
rotating the handle to the handshake
position sliding the stone to the partner.
• Repeat the drill with both turns and each
partner taking a turn as the thrower and
the skip.
While you are performing the drill, you should
focus on:
Grip: Thumb on side of handle.
Forefinger close to the gooseneck.
Fingers close together.
Wrist high, palm off the handle.
• Position an object, like a plastic cup on
the ice at the front of the house and
directly between the hack foot and a
brush held between the near hog line
and the top of the house.
• Slide at the target and attempt to hit the
target with the sliding foot.
• Reposition the “target” at various points
on the ice within the maximum line of
delivery adjustments.
Development Drill #3
• Position target (plastic cup) at near hog
line or closer for curlers with a shorter
• Slide at target without stone.
• Visualize line of delivery.
• Take stance, close eyes and repeat slide.
• Visualize line of delivery.
Development Drill #4
• Position a plastic cup at near hog line on
centre line.
• Deliver stones at the cup. When the line
of delivery is accurate the stone will
travel directly in a straight line and hit the
• Execute deliveries with both turns.
• Reposition the target at various points on
the ice within the maximum line of
delivery adjustments.
• Deliver stones at target (paper cup)
positioned 6 feet (2 metres) past near hog
It is important for curlers to understand how to
control the weight (speed) of the curling stone
relative to the shot requested. Weight control
skills should be developed after you have spent
time practicing line of delivery skills and the
release of both turns.
Take-Out Weights
In order to increase weight (speed from the
hack) for take-out shots, you must apply more
thrust or leg drive. This can be accomplished by:
• Positioning the gripper foot higher in the
• Transferring the body weight further back
in the pullback motion.
• Transferring more body weight on to the
sliding foot in the pull back motion.
• Delay sliding foot during forward
• Increase leg drive from the hack.
The position of the hack foot will vary with the
amount of momentum required to make the
desired shot. For draw shots on quick ice, the
hack foot may need to be placed lower in the
hack. With the foot lower in the hack, your ability
to drive out of the hack will be reduced. For
shots requiring increased momentum, leg drive
can be increased by placing the ball of the
gripper foot higher in the hack. This higher
position will ensure that the ball of the foot has a
solid foundation to push against.
During the pullback motion for take-out weights,
the hips must remain low and move further
backward. As a result of the hips moving further
back the sliding foot must move further back. (To
support the weight of the hips, so that the body
doesn’t tip over backward.) The sliding foot
should move straight back. At all times, the
sliding foot must remain pointing at the target.
The hack foot may actually rock out of the hack
as the body weight is transferred to the sliding
At the beginning of the forward motion, both
knees bend slightly. This knee bend causes the
upper body to lean forward and starts the stone
moving forward. The shoulders and upper body
move forward. The sliding foot stays back as
long as possible before beginning the forward
motion. The longer the sliding foot stays in the
back position the stronger the effect of weight
transfer. Therefore, the heavier the desired
weight, the longer the sliding foot remains back.
The sliding foot, after staying behind the hack,
quickly moves forward to take its position behind
the stone. In order to move quickly enough on
heavy weight hits, the foot may actually be lifted
off the ice in order to increase the speed of
movement and to facilitate its positioning.
Draw Shots
The majority of stone momentum in the no-lift
delivery is produced by leg drive and body
weight transfer. The muscles that produce this
forward momentum are part of large muscle
groups. These large muscle groups are capable
of producing stone and body momentum close
to the desired weight. For finesse shots, close
may not be good enough. To apply a finer control
of draw weight, some curlers use smaller
muscle groups to fine tune the control provided
by large muscles. You may add small amounts of
stone momentum by using either an arm
extension, a shoulder drop or a gradual lowering
of the upper body.
Development Drills
Development Drill #1
Take-out Weight or Draw Weight
• Position gripper foot appropriately in the
• Slide from the hack without a stone.
Development Drill #3
Take-out Shots or Draw Shots
• Deliver take-out shot.
• Partner will use a stopwatch to time stone
from first hog line to far hog line.
• Repeat delivery, attempting to deliver
stones with the same traveling time.
• Allow the slide to come to a complete
• Place a plastic cup at the spot where the
sliding foot came to rest.
• Experiment with gripper foot position.
• Repeat slide, transfer body weight further
• Observe where sliding foot came to rest.
• Repeat drill attempting to slide to
predetermined spots.
Development Drill #2
Take-out Shots or Draw Shots
• Deliver a stone with predetermined
• Allow slide to come to a stop.
• Mark spot where slide finished.
• Repeat delivery attempting to duplicate
amount of momentum.
Finesse shots require a slightly different
mechanism for adjusting the weight (speed) of
the stone. The large muscles of the delivery
shoulder and arm and the leg drive from the
h a c k a re u s e d t o m a k e m a j o r w e i g h t
adjustments. The smaller muscles of the arm are
used to make minor weight adjustments in draw
weight. What do we mean by minor
adjustments? A minor adjustment is perhaps the
difference of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 metres). It is
difficult to make minor adjustments with large
muscle groups. To make small weight
adjustments, curlers use a fine tuning
mechanism. The two major methods to achieve
fine tuning are using an arm extension or a
lowering of the upper body.
is traveling. You have not applied any extra
weight to the stone. If the you determine that the
stone is not traveling quickly enough, you will
extend your arm faster than the stone is
traveling. This extension will add some weight to
the stone. If you determine that the stone is
traveling too quickly, you need to slide farther
than normal and this extra distance will decrease
the momentum of the stone. You would be well
advised to develop a release zone that is well
back from the hog line. Incorporating this extra
room into the delivery allows you to occasionally
slide farther if needed without fear of violating
the hog line.
In order to use an arm extension as a fine tuning
mechanism, you must keep the upper body high
during the forward slide. A high upper body
position also allows the wrist to be maintained in
a high position so that the turn can be applied in
a positive manner.
Using the arm extension method, you will
develop a bend in the delivery elbow once
balance has been achieved.
As you approach the release area and apply the
rotation on the handle, extend your arm. If the
weight of the delivered stone is correct, you will
extend your arm at the same speed as the stone
Another method used to add a small amount of
weight is by gradually lowering your upper body.
Slide forward with your upper body in a high
position during the final release motion and
gradually lower your upper body. If you
determine that an additional amount of stone
speed is required, lower your upper body faster
than normal.
Curling with a delivery stick is an alternative
way for curlers to enjoy or continue the sport. It is
appropriate for people with physical disabilities
such as knee, back, heart, shoulder, elbow, wrist,
hip, ankle, or foot problems, or just simply
advanced age. The stones are delivered with a
delivery stick from a standing or sitting position
(i.e., wheelchairs) enabling everyone to continue
to participate.
Curlers can use delivery sticks within their
regular club games as an alternative to the
traditional delivery and continue to brush or
skip. Alternately, leagues, bonspiels and
championships are being created across the
world composed only of curlers using the
delivery stick. These competitions do not
always involve brushing and many have their
own rules. Currently, stick curling is only allowed
in wheelchair championships at the world level.
Footwear with two gripping surfaces is
recommended even for the most seasoned
curler. It allows the curler to safely maneuver on
the ice. Curlers can use clean athletic shoes with
two removable grippers covering the soles or
actual curling shoes with a permanent gripper
surface and a removable gripper covering the
sliding surface.
Clean, non-shedding, flexible clothing is
recommended for any curlers. Curlers should
dress warmly in layers. Gloves or mittens with
leather palms should be used for proper grip on
the delivery stick. (Many stick curlers, like their
traditional delivery fellow athletes, remove the
glove on the delivery hand when delivering the
Delivery Device/Stick
Like other curling equipment there are many
different delivery sticks on the market for
purchase. Each has their own merits and some
are easier to use than others. Be sure to do some
research before purchasing a stick.
A stick that resembles a brush handle with an
attachment on the end that secures over the
stone handle to deliver the stone.
Cleaning the Stone
Bend over in the hack, rotate the stone over and
clean with a mitten or with a brush. (Standing
behind the hack, placing he stone between the
hacks and using the hacks to help tilt the
stone’s running surface for cleaning is a
suggestion for some who find this task difficult.)
Delivery of the Stone
Technique for delivering a stone with a curling
stick is an adaptation of the normal curling slide
delivery. The fundamentals are the same:
Line - direct the stone to the target (the skip’s
Weight - release the stone at the appropriate
Rotate - release the stone with the rotation that
will cause it to curl in the intended direction, as it
moves down the ice.
The rules of curling state that the curling
delivery must be initiated from the hack. This
applies to curlers who use delivery sticks as
well. Right handed curlers must start with their
right foot in the left hack and left handed curlers
must start with their left foot in the right hack.
Rotate your wrist/forearm so that the handle of
the stone is positioned at either the 10 or 2
o’clock position depending on the rotation
indicated by the skip. The handle of the stone
should remain in this position until the stone is
just about to be released.
Slowly move the stone forward on the intended
line until you have placed the appropriate foot in
the hack. Attention should be given to pointing
the toe in the hack towards the skip’s brush.
Your other foot should be parallel to the hack
foot with the hips and shoulders square to the
line of delivery.
The delivery device should be positioned on the
line of delivery and the arm should be bent (soft
elbow) so that the hand of the delivery arm is
touching the body at the hip joint.
At this point, the forward motion must be applied
using either — the long delivery or the short
While standing behind the hacks, place the
stone so that the stone is centred on the
imaginary line between the centre of the
appropriate delivery hack and the skip’s brush
head (target). Begin with the handle of the stone
placed so that the gooseneck of the handle is at
the 12 o’clock position.
Grip the delivery stick so that the “V” formed by
your thumb and index finger is on the top of the
handle — this grip should remain the same
during the entire delivery. Place the delivery
stick on the handle of the stone.
Forward Motion
Long Delivery
the line of delivery. Like the conventional
curling delivery 2 to 3 rotations down the ice is
desired for a draw shot. Remember the stick
must be removed from the stone’s handle prior
to the leading edge of the stone touching the
near side of the hog line.
Short Delivery (WCF Rules)
The long delivery consists of pushing off the
hack and walking/running forward to gain
momentum before releasing the stone. It is the
common form of delivery in Canada, Scotland
and the United States.
From the stance position the delivery arm must
remain bent but firm so that the stone begins to
move before the body, the stone must precede
the curler so that both the stone and curler can
remain on the line of delivery.
The curler must walk on the line of delivery. The
speed at which they walk or run will determine
the speed of the stone. i.e. for a guard the curler
will walk slower, whereas if a double take-out is
required, the curler may walk quickly or run
slowly to create enough momentum for the stone
to complete the intended shot.
WCF rules state that the stone must be clearly
released from the delivery stick before either
foot of the player delivering the stone has
reached the tee line at the delivery end. The
short delivery abides by this rule and will
accommodate curlers who are not comfortable
walking or running to the hog line.
At the same time the delivery arm extends
forward on the line of delivery, imparting the
rotation during the extension. To impart the
rotation the “V” of the hand comes back to the
top of the stick, or the gooseneck of the handle
re-rotates to the 12 o’clock position.
The short delivery makes judging weight a little
tougher, but with practice curlers can become
quite good at it. The long delivery can also allow
for some fine tuning with regard to weight by
adding more or less arm push upon extension.
Regardless of the technique used, curlers must
ensure the stone is kept on the line of delivery.
At least 6 or more feet before the stone reaches
the hog line, smoothly rotate the stick (in about 2
seconds) so that the “V” of your hand comes
back to the top of the stick, or the gooseneck of
the handle re-rotates to the 12 o’clock position.
At the same time the delivery arm is extended on
Brushing is an important aspect of the game of
curling. Too often curlers spend most or all of
their practice time delivering stones and spend
very little time perfecting their brushing
Effective brushing enables the stone to
maintain its momentum longer than it would
have had it not been brushed thus allowing the
stone to travel further. Since the amount the
stone curls is dependent on time, a brushed
stone will not have as much time to curl and,
as a result, the stone will travel straighter.
Learning Progression
Brushing is a skill that should be developed in
specific segments:
• Brushing effectiveness.
• Equipment and its care.
• Stance.
• Grip.
• Footwork.
• Brushing action.
Brushing Effectiveness
There have been many theories regarding the
effectiveness of brushing and what it actually
does. Brushing reduces the friction between the
stone and the ice surface in three ways:
1. Smoothing the pebble.
2. Removing frost and debris.
3. Causing the pebble to warm briefly to
create a thin film of moisture that acts as
a lubricant between the ice and the
To become an effective brusher, the curler must
develop endurance, brush head speed,
downward pressure on the brush head, weight
judgement skills and the ability to communicate
the weight to the skip or vice-skip in the house.
In order to develop an effective style of footwork
that can be used to brush on both sides of the
stone, the use of grippers/anti sliders on both
feet is highly recommended. A slip-on gripper is
placed on the sliding shoe when the curler is not
Grippers should be inspected prior to each and
every game, to ensure that they are in a suitable
condition. Any equipment that comes in contact
with the ice surface must not cause any damage
to the ice surface or leave debris on the ice
surface. Grippers are generally made of a soft
crepe-like rubber or a pebbled type of rubber.
Grippers made of a pebbled type of rubber
eventually tend to shed small pieces as they
become worn. Examine your gripper to ensure
that it is not shedding. Grippers should be
washed regularly
on the inside and
the outside with
soap and water to
remove loose
debris and dirt
There are many types of brushes on the market
today. Brushes may be made of hog hair, horse
hair or a fabric covered brush head. The brush
heads come in a variety of sizes and shapes,
some with a fixed angle between the shaft of the
brush and some with a flexible angle. New
curlers are encouraged to try a variety of
different brushes to determine which brush
“feels” right for them.
Regardless of the type of brush that the curler
selects, the brush must be cared for.
Hair brushes should be inspected after every
shot that involved brushing. This is done simply
by rubbing their hand across the bristles to
remove any frost or debris from the brush. A
quick glance will also allow the curler to inspect
the brush for loose hairs – those that appear
to have “grown” since the last time that it was
checked. These long hairs should be pulled
out and deposited in a refuse container, not
on the ice. Periodically, the curler should
check to see if the adhesive holding the
bristles in place is still in good condition.
After a period of time, the glue may break
down, allowing hairs to fall out,
potentially causing the stone to slow
down or travel off line.
Synthetic brushes need to be cleaned on a
regular basis. Between shots the brush head is
scrubbed with a small brush similar to a nail
brush. This will help to remove any loose
debris that has collected on the surface. Do
this over a refuse container.
Between games, when the brush head
has dried, the head may be vacuumed.
This will remove dust that has
accumulated in the brush head. When
the surface of the head is dirty, it can
be washed. Spray a small amount of
Stand beside the path of the stone. Position your
feet so that they are shoulder width apart,
parallel to the centre line (path of the stone).
Bend your knees so that your weight is on the
balls of your feet. The heels may be raised
slightly off the ice. This stance position will
permit you to move efficiently down the ice and
ensure that you have a clear line of vision toward
the target and your skip or vice-skip. A clear
line of vision enables the brushers to see
stationary stones and is beneficial for weight
judgement and communication.
top hand a further one-third of the way up the
handle, palm up.
Hold the top part of the handle against the rib
cage with the upper part of the arm. Lean
forward and place the brush head on the ice.
Transfer some body weight onto the brush head
by lifting the heels slightly off the ice. The bottom
arm should be relatively straight. Remember the
weight is on the balls of the feet. [metatarsal]
Bend your knees slightly and place some body
weight on the head of the brush. Take a step
(with the outside foot) to initiate forward
momentum down the sheet. From there you will
use a gliding cross country (nordic) ski style of
footwork down the ice.
Both feet remain in contact with the ice at all
times. Remember to remain on the balls of your
feet (metatarsus) to ensure that the upper body
weight remains on the brush head.
Place the brush handle across the front of your
body. Grip the handle with both hands, dividing
the handle of the brush into thirds. Position the
hands so that the hand closest to the stone is
approximately one third of the way up the handle
from the brush head. This hand is the bottom
hand and is in a palm down position. Place the
Alternate Footwork Method
Curlers are strongly encouraged to use double
grippers for footwork. If this is not possible due
to the lack of a second gripper, you may need to
learn a push-glide motion to propel yourself
down the ice. With this type of footwork, the new
curler will only be able to brush from one side of
the stone.
The side of the stone you brush on will be
determined by the sliding foot. If your slider is
on your left foot, then you must brush on the left
side of the stone.
Position your hips at a 45 degree angle to the
path of the stone. Your feet should be slightly
more than shoulder width apart. Lean forward so
that most of your body weight is on your sliding
foot, leaving the gripper foot free to provide
momentum. Simply push with the gripper foot,
slide on the sliding foot and brush in front of the
stone. When more speed is required to keep up
with the stone, bring the gripper foot up to the
sliding foot and extend the back leg to produce
Brushing Action
Apply as much downward pressure as possible
through your lower arm onto the brush head.
Implement a small push-pull action with your top
hand/arm onto the brush handle. Develop a
series of short (6 inch / 15 cm) rapid strokes to
brush/scrub the path of the stone.
Development Drills
The objective of the on-ice drills is to develop
confidence with the stance, grip, footwork and
brushing action on both sides of the stone. The
objective will be accomplished by the following
drill procedures.
• Apply a slow back and forth motion with
the top hand.
• Vary the speed on the strokes; slow/
• Repeat the drill positioned to the right of
the centre line.
Development Drill #1
Development Drill #3
Footwork (no brushing yet)
Footwork and Brushing
• Position yourself on the left of the centre
line facing down the sheet.
• Assume the correct stance and the
correct grip on the brush handle.
• Place the brush head on the ice on the
centre line.
• Implement footwork action without
• Travel slowly with the cross-country ski
style of footwork. Gradually increase the
travel speed.
• Repeat the drill on the right side of the
centre line.
Development Drill #2
Stationary Brushing (no footwork motion)
• Position yourself to the left of the centre
• Hold the top part of the handle tightly
against your body with your upper arm.
• Apply downward pressure through the
lower arm onto the brush head.
When you have practiced stance, footwork and
stationary brushing as individual drills, it is time
to combine footwork and brushing. Using the
same format as the footwork drill, move along the
ice on the left side of the stone and then perform
the mirror image of the drill from the right side.
• Position yourself to the left of the centre
• Practice slow stationary scrubbing.
• Incorporate slow cross-country ski
• Increase/vary travel speeds for draws
and take-outs.
• At the far end of the sheet move to the
right side of the centre line and repeat
the drill from the other side.
Development Drill #4
Add Stones
It’s time to incorporate the stone into the
• Repeat Drill #3 using a stone. The curlers
work in pairs. One curler pushes the
stone slowly down the ice with a brush
while their partner brushes. Gradually
increase the speed of the stone so that a
more realistic brushing action is
experienced. The partner can help to
monitor the brusher’s brushing action –
stroke length. When the stone has
traveled the length of the sheet of ice,
repeat the drill reversing the positions of
brusher and pusher. Repeat drill on the
opposite side of the stone.
• The next step is to arrange the curlers into
groups of three. One curler pushes the
stone, one brusher brushes from the left
side and one brusher brushes from the
right side.
close. The outside brusher must observe the
path of the stone and be cautious not to interfere
with the inside brusher. The outside brusher will
assist the inside brusher in judging the speed of
the stone.
When the two brushers are waiting to commence
brushing, they should stand well to the side and
position themselves between the back line and
the tee line. As the thrower begins the forward
motion, both brushers begin to move forward,
slightly ahead of the player delivering the stone,
so both may begin brushing as soon as the
stone is released. Both brushers must be sure
that they brush directly in front of the stone at all
Right from the beginning the curler is
encouraged to learn to brush from both sides of
the stone. Footwork is easier when the two
brushers are on opposite sides of the stone.
From a safety point of view, brushers on opposite
sides is much preferable. There is less chance
that one brusher will trip the other brusher. The
closer the two brushes are to the stone, the
more effective they will be. It is easier to get the
brushes close together when they are on
opposite sides of the stone.
Repeat the drill with a curler delivering stones
rather than pushing the stone.
The curler brushing next to the stone is referred
to as the inside brusher. The inside brusher has
the main responsibility of judging the traveling
speed (weight) of the stone, and to do so must
consistently scan the distance from the stone to
the final destination. The inside brusher should
position their brush head close to the stone.
This allows the outside brusher to also move in
• Practice brushing on both sides.
• Brush all shots lightly to keep the path clean.
• Be prepared to brush from the hog to the tee
line and beyond if necessary.
• Check brushes after each shot. Ensure that
they have not accumulated debris. Deposit
debris in the refuse container, not on the ice.
• Follow all stones to their conclusion. Don’t give
up on them part way down the ice!
• Know what shot is being called to understand
what weight is wanted.
• Develop good communication with the skip.
Let the skip know what weight was delivered.
• Prior to every shot, check the intended path of
the stone. Remove all visible debris.
• The inside brusher should brush as close as
possible to the stone. The outside brusher
should brush as close as possible to the inside
• As you brush down the ice, remember to
breathe normally. Do not hold your breath.
• Alternate your vision from the stone to the far
end and continually judge and rejudge the
• The brushers are responsible for judging the
weight of the delivered stone. The skip/viceskip is responsible for judging the line or path
of the stone. Communication between the
brushers and skip is vital.
Many times throughout the course of a curling
game, the question is asked “What is the
The person asking the question may be the
thrower. The thrower needs assistance to
determine how hard to deliver the stone. In
many instances, the person asking may be the
skip. The skip needs to know the speed of the
stone to determine if the delivered stone will
finish in the desired location. Weight judgement
skills and the ability to communicate this
knowledge are a primary responsibility of the
lead and second. Their judgement must include
knowing the speed of both draw shots and takeouts. Excellent weight judgement skills are
critical to the success of teams playing a finesse
Curlers need to develop their observation skills
and memory of various paths on the sheet of ice.
Observations include:
• How many stones have been played in
the area?
• Has the pebble been worn?
• Is there frost present?
• Is the stone moving from an area of quick
ice into an area of slower ice?
• How much impact does sweeping have?
• Has the speed of the ice changed from
the previous end?
The lead and second are the primary judges of
weight because they stand near the hog line at
the delivery end of the ice, and therefore are in
a position to see the released weight of every
There are several ways of reading
weight: using a stopwatch, comparing the
weight with your home club draw weight and
comparing the weight with a previous game’s
Many brushers use a stopwatch to aid their
judgement. Curlers time a variety of aspects of
the game but we must remember that the
stopwatch is a tool to assist them to judge.
Timing Draw Shots
Many curlers time draw shots to give the thrower
a good indication of the weight/speed needed to
deliver a specific draw shot. Timing the draw
shot would assist the thrower with:
• comparing the speed to well known ice;
• identifying any changes in ice conditions;
• identifying paths that may be fast or slow.
There are a variety of systems used to time
1. Hog line at the delivery end to stop in
the house.
2. Back line at delivery end to stop in the
3. Hog line to hog line.
4. Back line at delivery end to hog line at
delivery end.
Once the curler knows the time it takes a draw
shot to travel over a specific distance interval,
they can use this information to deliver a stone
of the same speed. Curlers must practice
delivering stones that take specific lengths of
time to travel the length of the sheet. The key
word here is “practice”. In order for the
information to be useful, the curler must practice
delivering stones of different weights or speeds.
If a draw shot requires substantial speed and
therefore a short period of time to travel down the
ice, it requires a relatively significant amount of
force. Therefore the ice is “slow” or “heavy”. If a
stone takes a longer period of time to travel the
same distance, it requires less force and is
moving slowly. The ice is, therefore, relatively
“quick” or “fast”.
During a practice, the team may determine that it
takes a stone 23 seconds to travel from hog line
to tee line. If they were to practice for ice that is
24 seconds, they would practice delivering
stones that would stop just short of the house.
Each extra second of time is equal to about 6 to
8 feet (2 to 2½ metres) of distance. Practicing on
23 second ice, for 25 second ice is a matter of
delivering draws which stop 12 feet (plus)
(approximately 4 metres) short of the house.
Knowledge of upcoming ice conditions is very
useful for practice planning. Call ahead to
competition sites and ask the ice technician
what interval time is required for a draw shot to
stop on the tee line. (Make sure that you know
where he is starting the stop watch – back line,
tee line or hog line.)
Timing from hog line at the delivery end to stop
in the house assists the thrower prior to delivery
of a draw.
Interval Timing for Sweepers
Interval timing was developed to assist brushers
to evaluate where the delivered draw shot would
stop. This type of timing is useful for the stone
that is currently in motion.
• START the stopwatch at the first back
• STOP the watch at the first hog line.
• Note the time on the stopwatch.
• Observe where the stone comes to rest.
For Example: The first stone is delivered at a
time of 3.5 seconds and it comes to rest in the
top of the 12 foot circle. The next stone
delivered down the same path is timed at 3.6
seconds. The brushers would expect that the
second stone would stop short of the rings.
The longer a stone takes to travel from the back
line to the hog line, the slower it is thrown and
hence the momentum is decreased.
Stopwatch timing, using interval times, is a
technique that helps the brushers develop their
skill in judging the delivered weight. The
brushers must constantly observe the stone as it
Near Hog Line
to Far Hog Line
Near Hog Line
to Far Tee Line
Near Back Line
to Far Tee Line
Near Back Line
to Near Hog Line
12 seconds
21.5 seconds
24.8 seconds
3.3 seconds
13 seconds
23 seconds
26.5 seconds
3.5 seconds
14 seconds
24.5 seconds
28.2 seconds
3.7 seconds
15 seconds
26 seconds
29.9 seconds
3.90 seconds
travels down the ice and re-evaluate their initial
Many factors may influence the accuracy of the
interval method of judging weight.
• Curlers who slide out slowly and then give
a push to the stone will have different
times than curlers who deliver with only a
small amount of fine tuning mechanism.
• The running surface of the stones may
vary and as a result the stones may vary
in speed and curl.
• The number of stones delivered down a
particular path in the sheet of ice will
influence the speed of ice in that path.
• Human error may occur in stopping and
starting the stopwatch. (It is advisable that
the same person on a team does all the
interval timing. Some curlers may start
and stop the watch early or late. A
difference of 1/10 of a second is
significant. The error is not important as
long as the error is consistent. If the same
curler times all their teammates’ shots, the
error will be constant.)
Note: When timing stones, use your first finger to
stop and start the watch. The finger is more
accurate than the thumb.
The second brusher should be observing the
delivery of the stone. Did the curler add a push
at the end or pull back at release? This brusher
must watch carefully as the stone is released.
The timer will confirm or deny the initial
judgement. As the stone travels down the ice,
the two brushers need to constantly fluctuate
their line of sight from the stone to the house
and evaluate the final destination of the shot.
Timing Take-outs
Competitive teams select three or four distinct
take-out weights to use. These specific weights
must be communicated, during a game, to each
team member and must be understood by each
team member.
To promote consistency in weights for takeouts, a team may use timing. Timing take-outs
is usually used in practice situations. We can all
see what a skip means by hack weight –
enough weight for the stone to reach the hack.
What does the skip mean by normal, control or
During practices, take-out weights are
predetermined so that everybody on the team
understands what weight is requested.
When working on a set team weight for a
specific weight, for example “normal”:
• Team members deliver take-outs.
• Time shot from hog line to tee line.
• Determine a comfortable time for all team
• Identify the time (for example 11
• All team members attempt to deliver
stones with this speed (within 1/2 second
of the designated time.) Developing a
consistent speed assists in making more
The drill is repeated for other weights (control,
peel). Take-out weights should be at least twoseconds apart.
Shots delivered with the requested weight
present fewer problems for the skip when he is
calling line. Shots that do vary from the
designated weight may present problems.
Communication of the exact weight delivered is
Weight judgement and communication of the
exact delivered weight is vital for success.
Brushers must practice observing and
determining the weight of the delivered stone.
Near Hog Line
to Far Hog Line
7 to 8.5 seconds
8.5 to 9.5 seconds
9.5 to 10.5 seconds
Bumper / Barrier
10.5 to 11.5 seconds
11.5 to 12.5 seconds
Each team member must know the layout or
shape of the sheet of ice. Even though the skip
takes prime responsibility for reading the ice,
each team member must observe each delivered
shot. On occasion, skips need help to remember
what happened at a particular time or at a
specific spot on the ice. All team members must
therefore watch all shots that are thrown (their
own and their opponents’) in case the skip
needs assistance.
• Brushers must have knowledge of how
the ice is reacting.
• Brushers need to be able to anticipate
where the break (sudden curl) occurs on
• Brushers need to know where the pebble
has worn down.
A draw that travels straight down the “well used”
middle section of the sheet might require less
weight than a draw that initially travels down the
middle and then curls over the unused ice on the
outside of the sheet. On the other hand, a draw
down the unused, outside section of the sheet in
the early ends usually requires much more
weight than one that travels down the used or
broken-in centre section. A draw shot that has a
pronounced curl needs more weight than a
straight running draw (assuming uniform ice)
because a curling draw shot has a slightly
longer path and digs into the ice more as it takes
on its curl than a straight running draw.
• The brushers must know the path of the
• Brushers must know whether the stone
curls quickly from the keener, used ice
onto the heavier, pebbled side ice so that
they can judge and brush the ice.
• Brushers must be able to judge when the
ice has gone flat (the pebble has been
worn down too much.)
Experienced brushers generally display good
anticipation when brushing. If a draw shot is
expected to curl from fast ice to heavier ice, it is
often necessary to begin brushing before the
curl begins. Furthermore, on many take-outs,
brushing must begin before the anticipated
curling occurs. Inexperienced brushers too often
do not use their brushes until the stone begins
to curl quickly – and then it may be too late. The
ice usually changes during the game.
Knowledgeable brushers recognize when this
change occurs and use their skills to adjust to
the new conditions.
Good communication during brushing may give
an advantage to a team succeed that does not
deliver as well as another. The skip’s ability to
communicate the intended shot clearly to each
team member ensures that each curler is aware
of the team’s primary objective. It is important for
all four players to take on an active role in
Verbal instructions can be used very effectively
in some situations. However, in most cases, it is
difficult to hear instructions that are shouted from
one end of the sheet to the other. An appropriate
solution is to develop a set of hand signals to
signify specific weights (touch shoulder – throw
peel weight, touch hip – throw control weight).
Each member of the team can see exactly what
weight is requested and the appropriate
decisions can be made by the thrower and the
It is a good practice to have the thrower and the
brushers return the signal to the skip. This return
signal tells the skip that all team members know
exactly what weight is being requested. Giving
the weight signal back to the skip assists the
other team members to focus on the desired
weight. At release, the outside brusher should
quickly signal the delivered speed of the stone.
The weight signal improves communication and
increases the chance for a team’s success.
Before the Shot
The skip must communicate to the thrower and
the brushers the specific shot and weight
desired. The specific weight should be signaled
and the signal returned by the teammates. The
brushers, knowing both the intended shot and
the required weight, must visualize the intended
path of the stone. It is very beneficial if the team
knows what Plan B (back-up plan) is as well.
Knowing the game plan is a must. The brushers
and thrower must know: what do we want, what
are we prepared to accept and what is not
acceptable. If we are not sure of the exact
weight, is it better to be a little light or a little on
the heavy side?
During the Shot
Once the thrower has initiated the delivery, both
brushers move down the ice with the stone. On
draw shots, one of the brushers may be timing
the back line to hog line interval. The other
brusher is observing the slide and release to
judge the speed of the delivered stone.
Immediately at release, one of the brushers will
inform the skip of the speed. The skip will use a
short command to inform the brushers of any offline delivery (wide or narrow). Communication
should continue as the stone moves down the
sheet. Brushers must always be prepared to
brush until all stones have stopped. Brushers
must continually move their line of sight between
the stone and the intended target.
Shots requiring judgment for weight and line are
the most challenging. The person in the circles
usually has control. Such shots might go as
A come around hit is being played; as the
s t o n e i s re l e a s e d , t h e s k i p c a l l s
“sweep” (the stone is narrow). The
brushers respond with “control weight”. If
the skip continues to call “sweep” the
brushers identify that the call is for line.
A come around draw is released and both
brushers immediately start brushing. The
skip knows the stone has to curl a
considerable amount and for that reason
calls “whoa” (the stone is wide). The
brushers originally started brushing
because they knew the stone was light
and therefore reply “not enough weight”.
The skip must then decide whether to
continue brushing and get the stone into
the circles without cover or to not brush
and allow the stone to curl and probably
stop short.
After the Shot
The team must communicate upon completion of
the shot. The thrower should recognize the
efforts of the brushers. “Well done, thanks.” The
skip should congratulate both thrower and
brushers if the comment is appropriate or say
“My error” if it applies. Positive communication
after each shot makes each member feel as if he
played an important role in the execution of the
On the other hand, if a shot was missed, a
simple “Tough luck, sorry” should be conveyed
to the appropriate members. The reason for the
miss should be determined and expressed by
those who erred so that if the same shot is called
later, everyone will know the adjustment
required. Negative comments should not be
uttered at any time unless they are constructive
Many inexperienced skips and vice-skips tend
to call brushing too late. Curlers should not wait
to call brushing; rather, they should develop the
habit of calling at the first indication of need.
The thrower, brushers and skip or vice-skip
have distinct responsibilities during brushing.
When determining whether or not a stone
requires brushing, the team should use the
thrower’s opinion as an initial indication of
execution. Curlers with experience usually know
at the time of release whether they have made an
error, that is, turned the stone in, flipped it out, or
thrown the wrong weight. In such cases, the
thrower will offer advice to the brushers at
The primary function of the brushers is to judge
the weight of the shots and to brush accordingly.
Both brushers must function as a unit in judging
weight. One may be the timer and the other
judges by feel and observation. On open draws,
the brushers have complete responsibility for
brushing, but on line calls, direction on
brushing comes from the person in the house.
Skip or Vice-Skip
On all shots on which line is a consideration, the
acting skip has total control. The brushers
advise him of the weight and he must believe
their call and use that information to call the
correct brushing for line. Teamwork is very
important because many shots require both line
and weight calls.
Hits and rolls and freezes demand precise
teamwork. Line is vital, but calling line requires
that weight be identified accurately. Any
deviation of weight from the expected will cause
the stone to take a path different from that which
the skip expects. Thus, both the skip and the
brushers must communicate well during the shot
to achieve the desired result.
Guards are a difficult shot to execute perfectly:
both line called by the skip and weight judged
by the brushers are important. A joint effort is
therefore necessary to produce the desired
result. However, because the most critical factor
on a guard is the line, the skip should have the
final decision on this shot.
On tap-backs, come arounds and draws, both
weight and line are important but the skip
should have the final say in calling because of
the importance of the line call.
In conclusion, the skip makes the final decision
about line and the brushers have primary
responsibility for weight. In cases where an
interaction of weight and line judgement is
needed, good communication between the skip
and brushers greatly increases the team’s ability
to produce excellent shots.
Strategy is commonly defined as "deciding what shot to play". Although this is an important element,
it is not all there is to strategy. More broadly defined, it is "the decision making process a team goes
through before, during and after a game". This includes setting goals, making game plans, deciding
game style, shot selection, and game evaluation. With this in mind it is essential that all team
members contribute to "team strategy" and as a result require a solid understanding of the following:
1. Basic terminology relative to strategy.
2. The factors that influence shot selection decisions.
3. How the Free Guard Zone Rule affects strategy and shot selection.
4. Basic strategy relative to the advantage of last stone.
5. Methods for playing different ice conditions.
When considering strategy, the terms used for
different styles of play must be clearly defined
and understood. The words offensive and
aggressive generally means that the game has
more stones in play and involves guards,
raises, come arounds and freezes. Teams
using this strategy are attempting to score more
than one point or to steal points. Associated
with this style of play is the word finesse,
referring to a more delicate type of shot such as
come around draw shots. Other terms
synonymous with this strategy are risky or
complicated. A general name for this kind of
strategy is the offensive approach or “offense
first” approach.
The following table provides for a clearer
understanding of this terminology:
Offense First
Defense First
stones in play
come around draws
run throughs
Most teams will combine offensive strategy with
defensive strategy and will therefore have a
“balanced attack”.
On the other hand, the words defensive and
cautious generally refer to a take-out style of
play where there are relatively few stones in
play. Other terms used for this style are
conservative, safe and open; as a result of very
few stones being in play most shots are
relatively simple. A general name for this kind of
strategy is the defensive approach or “defense
first” approach.
The six major factors that influence shot
selection are:
F ! Free Guard Zone Rule
The Free Guard Zone Rule influences shot
selection relative to the first four stones of an
end and impacts strategy decisions throughout
the course of a game.
The FGZ Rule provides substantial opportunities
for offense including comebacks in the middle
and late ends of a game with or without last
The score in relation to the end you are playing
will greatly influence shot selection decisions.
Last Rock/Stone
Last stone advantage plays a key role in shot
selection decisions. Having last stone
advantage may result in a more offensive
approach. Not having last stone may dictate a
defensive approach.
Knowing the position by position strengths and
weaknesses of your team and your opposition
will have a great impact on the strategy you
employ. The key element is knowing how to
maximize your own team’s strengths.
The strategy you design for your team and the
shot selections you make during a game should
be based on the abilities of the individual players
and the team as a unit.
Ice conditions will play a key factor in
determining the strategy a team is able to apply.
Fast, swingy ice will produce optimum playing
conditions. Straight ice conditions will restrict the
aggressive come around approach and may
dictate a raise style game plan.
It is important to note that, of these factors, last
stone advantage and the relative skills of both
your team and the opposing team are the main
factors that influence shot selections for the
developing curler. To be successful however, all
team members, but especially the skip, must
have a good understanding of how the six
factors influence shot selection.
The skills of opponents and teammates required
to successfully play both offense and defense
are critical to planning strategy and making
appropriate shot selection.
The Free Guard Zone Rule provides a number
of offensive and defensive options to well
prepared skips. Strategy and shot selection
relative to the first four stones of each end will
provide teams with numerous interesting and
challenging decisions.
1. The ability to think on your feet and make
shot selection decisions based on
"FESRAI" is very demanding and is
influenced by the number of stones in
play. Teams are constantly faced with
reevaluating their game plan and shot
selection options as they analyze the
relative “risk vs reward”.
2. "Flexibility" plays an important role in
designing game plans and developing
strategy as teams are faced with having
to change their strategy within many
ends as they move from defense to
offense and vice versa.
3. The terms "patience" and "caution"
cannot be ignored an over-creative skip.
Teams who cannot back up their
creative and aggressive strategy with
p r e c i s i o n s h o t m a k i n g w i l l fin d
themselves on their way home ahead of
4. Effective skipping requires the ability to
think two or three shots ahead, thus the
common reference that curling is “chess
on ice”.
5. Establishing the relative ability of your
team compared to the opposition and
the “playability” of the ice surface will
play a major role in developing your
team strategy.
6. The ability of a team to score 2+ points
with last stone or give up only 1 point
without last stone will have a significant
effect on shot selection, particularly in
mid to late ends. A two to four point
variance with two or three ends
remaining cannot be considered an
insurmountable lead.
7. Teams with last stone may prefer to
score their 2+ points to the side of the
sheet but will often find themselves
forced to the centre in search of
offensive opportunities and to defend
against a potential steal. Teams without
last stone will be presented with many
opportunities to steal but will also be
challenged with trying to defend against
multi point ends being scored against
them by offensive-minded last stone
8. The main challenge will be on how to
defend against an offensively adept
Without Last Stone
In situations where the score is close or a team
is ahead in points, defense is the word that will
best describe the approach of teams without last
stone. In these situations, skips will attempt to
apply a strategy that will limit the opposition to
the scoring of only one point. To accomplish
this, knowledgeable skips will direct play
towards the centre of the sheet, thus restricting
the opposition's ability to spread their stones
out. This may ultimately block the opposition's
path to the four-foot circle, thus enhancing the
opportunity to steal a point(s). Teams without
last stone are usually more cautious in their shot
selection, in that take-outs are played rather
than draw shots when opponents have stones in
the house.
Teams without last stone, who as a result of
score, end, ice or opposition, would prefer to
play a defensive style of game are faced with an
interesting dilemma. Their lead cannot remove
any opposition stone from the FGZ and as a
result, they have a few shot selection options
available with the final decision being greatly
dependent upon the skill level of the lead.
Remember - giving up two points in many
situations will be perfectly acceptable.
Orchestrating offense without last stone is very
easy with the Free Guard Zone Rule. The
placement of centre guards which cannot be
removed by the opposition until the 5th stone of
the end can produce a number of opportunities
for a team to control centre ice and potentially
steal a point(s). The only major concern the skip
without last stone is faced with relative to the
placement of a centre guard is "if" the last stone
skip will elect to come around it. The further out
the centre guard is the more likely the last stone
skip is to play an aggressive come around
draw in search of 2+ points.
With Last Stone
In situations when early ends have passed and
the score is close or a team is down in points,
offense is the word that best describes the
approach of teams with last stone advantage. In
these situations, skips will attempt to apply a
strategy that will result in the scoring of more
t h a n o n e p o i n t . To a c c o m p l i s h t h i s ,
knowledgeable skips may direct play to the
sides of the sheet, thus enabling them to spread
their stones out. This also tends to keep the path
to the four foot circle open for a possible endsaving last stone draw shot.
Last stone teams will attempt to initiate their
offense to the side of the sheet by establishing a
corner guard(s) but may also find themselves
developing offensive opportunities on centre ice
as a result of attempting to prevent a potential
steal. Aggressive last stone skips will take
advantage of centre guards by playing come
around draws in an effort to score 2+ points,
even though this strategy will put them at greater
risk to a potential steal. Ice conditions may also
force last stone skips to direct play towards the
centre of the sheet if stones are not curling
much from the centre line out.
Teams with last stone advantage who would
prefer a defensive style of play because of
score, ice conditions or the relative abilities of
the opposing teams have a number of shot
selection options available to them. Their
objective may well be to ensure the opposition
does not have the opportunity to steal a point(s)
and therefore controlling centre ice will be a key
factor. If the opposition lead places a centre
guard the last stone skip will have to decide
which of several defensive options best suits the
It is important to note that it is common practice
for a skip who cannot score more than a single
point to throw the final stone through the house
or to hit and roll out, thus blanking the end and
keeping last stone advantage.
Game strategy may vary dramatically as the
game progresses. For the purpose of developing
a game plan including shot selection, we
recommend dividing the game into segments
based on an 8 to 10 end game.
Note: In all situations, your team's familiarity with
the game plan and ability of the opposition and
knowledge of ice conditions may influence your
decision to be more offensive or defensive in
your shot selections.
Shot Selection Options
Early Ends (1 - 3) - With Last Stone
Early ends (1 - 3) - Without Last Stone
Most teams will attempt to implement a
defensive game plan during this segment of the
game especially as it pertains to avoiding high
risk finesse shots. Remember, you do not have to
score (steal) in the early ends without last stone
to ensure victory. It is more important to keep the
score close as you build your team's confidence
while learning the ice and assessing the abilities
of the opposition. A general objective is to limit
the opposition to scoring a single point when
you do not have last stone. Even allowing two
points is acceptable. There are three basic
options relative to the placement of the first
stone of the end:
Shot option #1 - long centre guard
Shot option #2 - short centre guard
Shot option #3 - top of the four foot or eight
The safest choice is selection #3 (defensive).
Teams may be a little more aggressive in early
ends when they have the advantage of last
stone but generally speaking, still try to avoid
risky situations that require the making of finesse
shots. Last stone skips will also tend to play a
defensive style of play as they build the
confidence of their teammates while assessing
the ability of the opposition and learning the ice.
They will attempt to score their 2+ points to the
side of the sheet but will not be overly
concerned about scoring a single point,
blanking the end or giving up a steal of one.
There are three situations teams with last stone
are likely to face when they go to throw their first
stone of the end:
Situation #1 - long centre guard
Situation #2 - short centre guard
Situation #3 - top of four foot or eight foot
The following early end shot selection
suggestions represent the safest choice
(defense first).
Shot option - situation #1 - draw to the 8 foot
behind the tee line and to the side of the sheet
Shot option - situation #2 - draw to the 8 foot
behind the tee line and to the side of the sheet
or bump the short guard into the house on an
Shot option - situation #3 - hit and stay on
opposition stone
There are many other options that last stone
teams have when presented with the above
situations. Remember to apply the FESRAI
factors and choose the shot that best suits your
Middle Ends (4 - 6) & Late Ends (7 - 9) Without Last Stone
The middle and late ends of a curling game
often present teams without last stone many
interesting and difficult strategy situations. Skips
must continually analyze the situation, apply the
FESRAI factors and determine the most
appropriate shot for their team. The ability to
"think on your feet" is critical as game situations
will force teams to switch back and forth
between offense and defense.
Teams who are comfortable with the score
relative to the end of play may well continue their
defensive approach and attempt to limit the
opposition to only one point or try to develop a
safe steal. Teams who are either down in points
or prepared for the challenges of finesse shot
making will move to a more offensive style of
There are three basic options relative to the
placement of the first stone of the end when the
score is reasonably close:
Shot option #1 - long centre guard
Shot option #2 - short centre guard
Shot option #3 - top of four foot or eight foot
Teams who are comfortable with the score
relative to the end of play will probably stay with
shot selection #3 or consider #2 as the option
with the potential for a safe steal.
Teams who are either down in points or
prepared to move to a more aggressive draw
style game will choose shot selection #1 or #2.
Teams who are protecting a substantial lead late
in a game may well choose to throw their first two
stones of the end through the house.
Remember, your team's strategy in the middle to
late ends of a curling game should be to
position yourself for the win. Aggressive shot
selection must be backed up with excellent shot
Middle Ends (4 - 6) & Late Ends (7 - 9) With Last Stone
The middle and late ends provide last stone
teams with their greatest opportunity to take
control of the game and position themselves for
the victory. The ability of the opposition and
condition of the ice should no longer be a
mystery. Your team should be mentally and
physically prepared to implement both the
strategy and shot making required by the game
In games where the score is close or the last
stone team is down in points, the ultimate
objective will be to score two or more points. As
a result, skips will apply offensive minded tactics
while attempting to avoid the steal. The more
desperate the situation relative to score and end
of play the more offensive the shot selections will
When the score is close, last stone skips would
likely prefer to develop their offense to the side
of the sheet. Last stone skips who are down in
points will take their offensive opportunities
wherever they can find them. "To take a chance
or not take a chance" will be the most often
asked question.
Teams who enjoy a comfortable lead during this
stage of the game or wish to avoid a draw style
game will maintain the defensive tactics of the
early ends.
There are three situations teams with last stone
are likely to face when they go to throw their first
stone of the end:
Situation #1 - long centre guard
Situation #2 - short centre guard
Situation #3 - top of four foot or eight foot
Most common “offense first” approaches:
Shot option - situation #1 - come around draw
Most common “defense first” approaches:
Shot option - situation #1 - draw to the 8 foot
behind the tee line and to the side of the sheet
Shot option - situation #2 - draw to the 8 foot
behind the tee line and to the side of the sheet
or bump the short guard into the house on an
Shot option - situation #3 - hit and stay on
opposition stone
There are many other options that last stone
teams have when presented with the above
situations. Remember to apply the FESRAI
factors and choose the shot that best suits your
Final End - Without Last Stone
The intricate strategies applied in the final end
with the game on the line will provide skips with
their greatest challenges. Teams without last
stone with a one or two point lead will be faced
with some interesting choices as the end
progresses. Those teams who initiate the end
with defensive tactics designed to provide them
with last stone in the extra end may well find
themselves having to switch to offense in fear of
not making it to the extra end. Most teams who
do enjoy a two point lead will probably start the
end with defensive tactics while some teams
with a one point lead will play the final end to
steal a point. The four basic shot selection
options for all situations remain the same.
Shot option - situation #2 - come around draw
Shot option - situation #3 - corner guard
Shot option #1 - long centre guard
Shot option #2 - short centre guard
Shot option #3 - top of four foot or eight foot
Shot option #4 - through the house
Teams who are tied or down in points will
choose either shot selection #1 or #2.
Teams who are one point up have the choice of
all four shot selections with #2 and #3 being the
most common choices.
Teams who are 2 or more points up in score will
probably choose shot selection #3 or #4.
The ability to immediately recognize situations
that warrant a change in game plan will be a skill
critical for final end success. A flexible game
plan is critical to winning in these situations.
Final End - With Last Stone
Every skip dreams of having the opportunity to
win the game with a dramatic last stone. The
trick is to create this oppor tunity by
implementing sound strategy.
Last stone skips who enter the final end
anywhere from two points up to two points
down are going to be in for some fun. The shot
selection options will be endless with the game
hanging in the balance. A one or two point lead
may prove to be difficult to defend even with last
stone and yet a one or two point deficit may well
put the last stone team in a position to win.
The most interesting situation will be a one point
variance on the score board and two offensive
minded skips dictating the strategy!
Last stone teams will typically face four
situations in the final end when their lead plays
his/her first shot.
Situation #1 - long centre guard
Situation #2 - short centre guard
Situation #3 - top of four foot or eight foot
Situation #4 - stone through the house
Teams who are either tied or up in points will
probably be looking at situation #1 or #2. A
defensive approach is recommended early in the
end as the key factor is controlling the four foot
area. A light weight “chip” or “tick” on the
stone in the Free Guard Zone that only pushes
the stone off to the side of the sheet or into the
house on an angle is the best choice of shot.
Teams that are one point down playing the 10th
end should anticipate having to deal with any
one of the four situations.
Teams that face situations #1 or #2 have some
interesting choices to make. There will be a great
deal of variation in the way that last stone teams
skip this scenario. A couple of the shot options
Shot option #1 - situation #1 or #2 - play a corner
Shot option #2 - situation #1 or #2 - play a come
Shot option #3 - situation #1 or #2 - play the
open side in the house
Teams that face situations #3 or #4 will usually
respond with a corner guard. Remember, in
analyzing last end situations it is a good idea to
base your strategy on the opposition making
their shots, not missing them! As well, you
should be playing to your own team’s strengths.
There are many other options that last stone
teams have when presented with the above
situations. Remember to apply the FESRAI
factors and choose the shot that best suits your
Basic Summary:
Offense First
Defense First
after early ends
early in the game
with last stone
without last stone
down in points
up in points
team strengths
team strengths
One of the key ingredients to being a good skip
is maximizing the abilities of your team while
trying to take advantage of any opposition
weaknesses you may be aware of or knowledge
you may have relative to their game plan.
Your Team
The recommended approach to developing a
team game plan and making shot selection
decisions is to factor in the strengths of your
individual players. This approach should include
consideration of type of shot, preferred weight,
most consistent turn and even weight judging
skills and sweeping ability. Confidence comes
with success and is the key factor in developing
a winning attitude. Whenever possible, allow
your players to play the shots they have the
greatest chance of making!
The Opposition
Like other sports, knowledge of the opposition is
essential for the development of a winning game
plan. The type of information that will assist you
in developing your strategy includes individual
strengths and weaknesses in all components of
the game as well as an analysis of their
strategical approach to the game in a variety of
situations. Scouting the opposition prior to a big
game is well worth the time and should provide
you with the opportunity to enter the game
completely prepared regarding your opponent.
Reading of Ice
The reading of ice is every player's responsibility.
Players should make an effort to familiarize
themselves with the curl of both turns from the
centre of the sheet to the outside, and from the
outside towards centre. Learn the ice for both
draws and take-outs, commit this knowledge to
memory and update it as the game progresses.
From the start of the game, the skip must gather
information from every shot. This task can be
made easier by calling shots while using the tee
line as a reference point and watching closely
when the opposition delivers. The skip must
memorize where the stone stops relative to the
type of release as release may vary from player
to player.
The importance of reading ice cannot be
overemphasized. It is often the difference
between making and missing shots and
separates the great skips from the rest of the
field. The key is to concentrate for the entire
game because ice conditions may vary from
early to middle and from middle to late ends.
This critical skill can be improved with practice.
Key Team / Athlete Factors
“Attitude” A positive attitude and knowing your
team’s strengths are strongly recommended.
“Confidence” Your confidence in delivering the
shots and making the right strategical choices
will increase with experience and comfort.
“Game Plan” Your game plan should be
based on what works best for your team.
Developing pre-determined responses to
specific game situations is the recommended
“Scouting” K n o w i n g t h e s t r e n g t h s a n d
weaknesses of your opposition on a player by
player basis will positively affect your game plan.
There will be a need to remain
flexible within your game plan as you will often
be kept hopping from offense to defense and
vice versa.
Both sweeping and shot
communication are of great importance given the
number of precision shots that are attempted.
“Conditioning” Physical conditioning will lend
itself not only to the vigorous demands of
sweeping but the strain of a long tough
“Release” Controlling the release will play a
major role for teams striving for consistency
when ice conditions do not lend themselves to a
come around game. Players will need to
develop the ability to vary the release and thus
influence the amount a stone will curl. This is a
high performance area.
Creative skipping is a key factor
as the ability to think on your feet while the game
hangs in the balance will be critical.
“Ice Reading” The ability to consistently
execute finesse shots is, to a great degree,
based on ice reading skills. This requires a total
team effort.
Too much ego can prove to be a
major detriment to teams who cannot back up
“risk vs. reward” strategy with consistent
“Team Strengths”
Maximizing the abilities of
your players will contribute greatly to your
“Risk vs Reward”
The ability to consistently
evaluate “risk vs reward” will always have a
positive impact on strategy discussions.
“Mental Toughness” T h e n u m b e r o f k e y
decisions and difficult shots places great
importance on all of the mental components.
“Finesse” Depending on your game plan, your
ability to execute difficult shots requiring the
combination of touch and accuracy will be of
paramount importance.
Curling, like other sports, requires players to perform skills using movements that go beyond normal
everyday activities. A warm-up provides a stepwise progression to prepare a player for the transition
from pre-game to game activity. Failure to properly warm-up can lead to discomfort, poor
performance, and possible injury.
Warm-ups, prior to getting on the ice, can play
an important role in preparation as a means of
performance enhancement. An appropriate
Warm-up may improve performance by:
1. Activating the body’s circulatory system
by enhancing blood flow will improve the
body’s ability to utilize oxygen and
remove waste product. Blood vessels
open up increasing blood flow thereby
maintaining muscle temperature.
2. Engaging the musculoskeletal system
will further Warm-up muscles to reduce
muscle stiffness, to provide a more
forceful contraction and to help prevent
3. Exciting the neuromuscular system
allows the brain to coordinate the
nervous system’s ability to fire muscles
effectively and efficiently. It will also
increase speed of contraction and
relaxation of warmed muscles. Warmups are also known to delay fatigue.
Warming up should at least consist of the
• 5 to 10 minutes of continuous movement
such as jogging, stepping, stair climbing to activate the circulatory system (step)
• 5 to 10 minutes general and specific drills
– to excite the neuromuscular system
• Technical aspects such as slide and
Development of a Warm-up Routine:
The “Step-Stretch-Slide” Approach
Curling, like other sports, requires players to
perform skills using movements that go beyond
normal everyday activities. A warm-up provides
a stepwise progression to prepare a player for
the transition from pre-game to game activity.
Failure to properly warm-up can lead to
discomfort, poor performance, and possible
A proper warm-up has three components:
1. Vigorous whole body aerobic exercises –
affecting the circulatory system.
2. Dynamic stretching exercises – affecting
the musculoskeletal system.
3. Simulation exercises – affecting the
neuromuscular system.
We can apply each of these three components to
curling in a warm-up routine that we call “stepstretch-slide”.
• 5 to 10 minutes dynamic stretching
exercises – to engage the
musculoskeletal system (stretch)
• stepping up and down on a stair tread
The first phase of a proper curling warm-up is a
whole body aerobic activity such as stepping
exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to
generate body heat and to raise the level of
function of the cardiovascular system. These
exercises should be done for approximately 5 to
10 minutes just prior to the 5 to 10 minutes of
stretching that should occur before going on the
ice. The stepping movement should initially be
light and rhythmical and gradually progress in
intensity, but not to the point of “breaking a
• stepping up and down on a low bench
The goal is to elevate the heart rate, increase
blood flow, and heat the deep parts of the body
such as the muscles and joints. While warming
up, the intensity should be mild, with a good rule
of thumb being that the curler should be able to
maintain a regular conversation without working
up too much of a sweat. Progressive exercises
such as skipping, stair climbing, jogging/
marching on the spot, or full body calisthenics
might be suitable to a curling venue. The
participant starts slowly and steadily increases
the pace. The athlete should be provided the
opportunity to develop his/her own routine as
long as it meets the aerobic content requirement.
The imagination and creativity of the coach,
instructor and athlete can find many possibilities
when designing a “step” routine to be done in a
curling facility. Here are a few activities that
could take place in a club:
• marching on the spot
• alternating bum kicks on the spot
• jogging on the spot
• hop scotching on the patterns of a rug
• hop scotching over a number of brushes
• walking rapidly backward, forward, and
side ways in a limited space
• dancing to music supplied on a personal
listening device
• rapid free movement exercises
• shadow boxing while facing a glass
trophy case
Dynamic Stretching is defined as slow controlled
movements through the full range of motion.
Dynamic stretching is the most appropriate form
of exercises for the Warm-up. By contrast, static
stretches are more appropriate for the Cooldown. Dynamic stretching involves moving parts
of your body and gradually increasing reach,
speed of movement, or both. In dynamic
stretches, there are no bounces or "jerky"
movements. An example of dynamic stretching
would be slow, controlled leg swings, arm
swings, or torso twists.
Dynamic stretching should be done immediately
after the “step” portion of the warm-up and for 5
to 10 minutes before going on the ice. Perform
your exercises (leg raises, arm swings, etc...) in
sets of six to ten repetitions. If after a few sets
you feel tired - stop. Tired muscles produce
waste product, which causes a decrease in the
coordination of your movements. Do only the
number of repetitions that you can do without
becoming fatigued. For best results, athletes
should run through their dynamic stretching
routine twice.
If static stretching is to be used at all as part of
the warm-up, the static stretch should only be
held for a few seconds (3-5) or no longer than it
would be used in the sport. Static stretches held
longer than 10 or 15 seconds will induce a
relaxation response and will not allow powerful
muscles to contract as forcefully at the start of
the game.
D yn a mi c S tr e tc h i n g a n d M o b i l i ty
The following are examples of dynamic
stretching and mobility exercises, which could
form part of the Warm-up program in a training
Neck Mobility
• Flexion/Extension - Tuck your chin into
your chest and then lift your chin upward
as far as possible without straining.
Complete 6 to 10 repetitions.
• Lateral Flexion - Lower your left ear
toward your left shoulder and then your
right ear to your right shoulder. Complete
6 to 10 repetitions.
• Rotation - Turn your chin laterally toward
your left shoulder and then rotate it toward
your right shoulder. Complete 6 to 10
Shoulder Rolls
• Stand tall and relaxed. Raise your
shoulders towards your ears, take them
backwards, down and then up again in a
smooth action.
• Complete 6 to 10 repetitions.
Arm Circles
• Stand tall and relaxed with your hands 12
inches from your sides.
• Keeping your body still, move your hands
in small circles gradually increasing the
speed up to 10 repetitions. Reverse the
direction for 10 repetitions.
• Repeat the small arm circle action with
your arms straight out at 90° from your
sides. Complete 10 repetitions.
• Finally complete large arm circles both
forwards and backwards for 6 to 10
Overhead Reach
• Stand tall with good posture, feet slightly
wider than shoulder-width apart.
• Bend smoothly first to one side while
reaching overhead with the arm on the
s i d e
that you are stretching and then repeat on
the other.
• Repeat 6-10 times on each side with a
slow rhythm, breathing out as you bend to
the side, and in as you return to the
Golfers Twist
• Extend your arms out to your sides, and
twist your torso and hips to the left,
shifting your weight on to the left foot.
Then twist your torso to the right while
shifting your weight to the right foot.
• Complete 6-10 repetitions on each side.
Leg Swings – Backward and Forward
• Stand sideways to the wall place your
hand on the wall for balance.
• Swing your leg furthest from the wall
forward and backwards for 6 to 10
• Turn and repeat with the other leg.
• Leaning slightly forward with both hands
on a wall and your weight on your left leg,
swing your right leg to the left in front of
your body, pointing your toes upwards as
your foot reaches its furthest point of
• Then swing the right leg back to the right
as far as comfortable, again pointing your
toes up as your foot reaches its final point
of movement.
• Complete 10 to 12 repetitions on each
• Repeat with the left leg and alternate for 6
to 10 repetitions on each leg.
Heel Raises
• Leaning forward with your hands on the
wall and your weight on your toes, raise
and lower both heels in a controlled
• Each time, lift your heels one to two
inches from the ground while maintaining
ground contact with the ball of your feet.
• C o m p l e t e 6 t o 1 0 r e p e t i t i o n s .
The final phase of the curling warm-up is done
on-ice using the sliding movements associated
with the delivery and brushing skills. These are
the most traditional of curling warm-up
exercises. Sliding from the hack should progress
from an initial easy leg drive and high upper
body position to a full take-out leg drive with the
upper body in the actual delivery position.
Footwork during simulated brushing should
progress from short to long foot strokes with a
gradual increase in broom pressure.
Half Lunges
• Standing tall both feet together (starting
• Keeping the back straight, lunge forward
with the right leg approximately 1 metre.
• Bend knees to slightly load the
quadriceps muscles and return to start
If a curling team meets at a designated time
before a game in order to warm-up together,
several other benefits can happen. The overall
standardization of the warm-up habit can be
helpful in developing the pre-game routine. This
routine has been shown to be successful in
optimum preparation for competitive
The goal of the Cool-down is to return the body
to its original state of homeostasis or equilibrium.
Curling can leave the body with a build up of
cellular waste product such as lactic acid,
carbon dioxide and other products that can
hamper recovery. Intense brushing and stressful
delivery positions can also push the body to its
limits resulting in fatigue, stiff and sore muscles
as well as micro-tears or other injuries.
waste products from the working muscles
and to increase range of movement.
Static stretches are more appropriate to
the Cool-down as they help muscles to
relax and increase their range of
movement. Studies have concluded that
little benefit occurs prior to 15 seconds in
holding a static stretch and that 30
seconds will provide a much better result.
What are the benefits of a Cool-down?
Decreasing Aerobic Intensity
An appropriate Cool-down will:
In the Cool-down, the reverse of the aerobic
component of the Warm-up routine should be
employed. If the heart rate and body
temperature are high, then work to gradually
bring the heart rate down by starting the activity
briskly for a minute or two and then gradually
slowing down. This should take between 5 to 10
minutes depending on the body temperature and
heart rate at the end of the game/training
session. Dynamic, no impact exercise can also
be incorporated to attain the required results.
• aid in the dissipation of waste products including lactic acid which may have built
up during activity
• reduce the chances of dizziness or
fainting caused by the pooling of venous
blood at the extremities
• relaxing muscles and returning them to
their ideal range of motion
• if necessary, icing aches and pains to
facilitate recovery
Cooling down period should consist of the
• 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking decrease body temperature and remove
waste products from the working muscles
• 5 to 10 minutes static stretching exercises
- decrease body temperature, remove
Static Stretching
Static stretching is more commonly and correctly
used after the curling game or practice session.
Since sliding and brushing stress the muscles at
a high intensity, some tightening of the muscles
are expected after playing or practicing. A
chronic tightening of muscles, due to not
stretching them back to their original flexibility,
will eventually create an overuse injury. Muscles
that continually get tighter will eventually create a
misalignment thus creating a weakness in the
body. As soon as that weakness is stressed
beyond its capacity, an injury will occur.
Therefore, to prevent chronic tightening, regular
stretching should become a part of a team’s
routine once a game or practice has finished.
Static Stretching Exercises
The following are examples of general static
stretching and mobility exercises, which could
form part of the Cool-down program at the end of
a training session. The aim is to relax the
muscles and facilitate a return to pre-game/pretraining range of motion. In all exercises breathe
easily while performing them and hold the static
stretches for 20 to 30 seconds.
Hamstring Stretch
• Sit on the ground with both legs straight
out in front of you.
• Bend the left leg and place the sole of the
left foot alongside the knee of the right
• Allow the left leg to lie relaxed on the
• Bend forward keeping the back straight
and hold for 20-30 seconds.
Calf Stretch
• Stand tall with one leg in front of the other,
hands flat and at shoulder height against
a wall.
• Ease your back leg further away from the
wall, keeping it straight and press the heel
firmly into the floor – hold 20-30 seconds.
• Keep your hips facing the wall and the
rear leg and spine in a straight line.
• You will feel the stretch in the calf of the
rear leg.
• Repeat with the other leg.
Lunge Stretch
• Kneel on your right knee with your left leg
further forward.
• Keep your back straight and gradually
move your hips forward until you feel a
gentle stretch along the front of the right
thigh and/or along the hamstrings of the
left leg – hold 20-30 seconds.
• Repeat by turning and facing the opposite
Cobra Stretch
• You will feel the stretch in the hamstring of
the right leg.
• Lie face down on the floor, fully
• Repeat with the other leg.
• Bring your hands to the sides of your
shoulders and ease your chest off the
floor, keeping your hips firmly pressed into
the ground – hold 20-30 seconds.
• You will feel the stretch in the front of the
Inner Thigh Stretch
• Sit with tall posture.
• Ease both of your feet up towards your
body and place the soles of your feet
together, allowing your knees to come up
and out to the side
• Resting your hands on your lower legs or
ankles and ease both knees towards the
ground – hold for 20-30 seconds
• You will feel the stretch along the inside of
your thighs and groin
• Bring your hands to the sides of your
shoulders and ease your chest off the
floor, keeping your hips firmly pressed into
the ground – hold 20-30 seconds.
• You will feel the stretch in the front of the
Quadriceps Stretch
• Lie face down on the floor, resting your
forehead on your right hand.
• Press your hips firmly into the floor and
bring your left foot up towards your
• Take hold of the left foot with the left hand
and ease the foot closer to your buttocks
– hold for 20-30 seconds.
Worship Stretch
• With your hands and knees on the floor,
slide hands forward and sit back onto
your heels.
• Place your forehead on the floor and hold
for 20-30 seconds.
• Keeping your forehead on the floor, reach
your left hand to the left followed by your
right hand to the left and the rest of your
upper body - hold 20-30 seconds.
• You will feel the back stretch under your
right arm.
• Repeat in the other direction and hold for
20-30 seconds.
Chest Stretch
• Stand tall, feet slightly wider than
shoulder-width apart with knees slightly
• Hold your arms out to the side parallel
with the ground and the palms of the
hand facing forward.
• Stretch the arms back as far as possible –
hold 20-30 seconds.
• You should feel the stretch across your
• Repeat with the other side of the body.
• You will feel the stretch along the front of
the thigh.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
• Stand tall, feet slightly wider than
shoulder-width apart with your knees
slightly bent.
• Place your right hand on your left
shoulder and your left hand on your right
• Ease the right arm closer to you chest and
across your body – hold 20-30 seconds.
• You will feel the stretch in the back of the
• Repeat with the other arm.
Upper Back Stretch
• Stand tall, feet slightly wider than
shoulder-width apart with knees slightly
• Interlock your fingers and push your
hands as far away from your chest as
possible, allowing your upper back to
relax – hold 20-30 seconds.
• You should feel the stretch between your
shoulder blades.
• You will feel the stretch in the back of the
• Repeat with the other arm.
Triceps Stretch
• Stand sideways to a wall and place your
elbow on the wall with your hand behind
your neck.
• Gradually move your elbow up the wall
until you feel a gentle stretch – hold 20-30
• You will feel the stretch in the shoulders
and the triceps.
• Repeat on other arm.
Forearm Stretch
• Standing with your right arm held out
directly in front of you, and your palm
facing down, place your left hand on top
of your right hand.
• Gently apply pressure downwards until a
stretch is felt on top of your arm towards
your elbow, hold 20-30 seconds and
repeat on other arm.
• Stand tall, feet slightly wider than
shoulder-width apart with your knees
slightly bent.
• Place your right hand on your left
shoulder and your left hand on your right
• Ease the right arm closer to you chest and
across your body – hold 20-30 seconds.
There are four components of physical training
for curling that are required for all four positions:
• Aerobics
• Flexibility
• Strength
• Nutrition
Aerobics is needed for stamina, weight control
and general health.
Flexibility is required for proper technique and
injury prevention.
20 minutes at a mild-to-moderate pace. The
average heart rate during such activity should be
approximately 80% of age-adjusted maximum
(220 - age). This type of training should be done
three times per week, on alternate days, during
the summer pre-season months. Progression in
training should be accomplished by adding
about 5% per week to the original time of
Example: At the end of the season, John has a
few weeks rest and now has started jogging
again. He can jog for 20 minutes, after a proper
warm-up, before beginning to feel tired. His
aerobic program starts with 20 minutes jogging 3
times a week and he adds 1 minute (20 minutes
x 5%) to his time each week.
Strength is needed because of the forces
required to deliver the stone and sweep under
various (particularly heavy) ice conditions.
Nutrition is needed to generally provide the
necessary energy to perform and particularly to
provide stable energy to the brain for prolonged
mental activity.
The particular form of aerobic training required
for general fitness for curling is the sub-threshold
type, i.e. intensity below anaerobic threshold.
Usually this consists of some form(s) of
rhythmical, whole-body activity such as running,
brisk walking, swimming, biking, rowing, etc.
which the curler can do continuously for at least
The particular form of flexibility training for
general curling fitness is a combination of static
active used during warm-up and dynamic used
during cool-down.
A good routine of static stretches systematically
progresses from one end of the body to the
other, i.e. head-to-toe, center-to-ends, etc.
Dynamic stretching exercises used as a part of
cool-down should emphasize stretching using
curling specific movements in the following
• ankle
• knee
• hip, including groin
• shoulder
Calisthenics should concentrate on ankle, knee
and hip movements which simulate the angles at
which the leg drive action occurs. Examples of
suitable calisthenics would be stair-climbing or
stride walking uphill.
Four to six sets of 6-8 such exercises is sufficient
for one work-out.
For abdominal strength use sit-up “crunches”
where curlers lie on their back, thighs
perpendicular to the floor, knees bent, feet
supported on a chair or bench, and raise their
trunk about halfway to their knees. Sets of 20
crunches can be alternated with back raises
where curlers lie on their stomach, hands behind
head, and arch up so that the trunk is lifted off
the floor.
Like aerobics, strength exercises should be
done 3 times a week on alternate days.
Gradually increase the number of sets from your
starting point to a maximum of six.
Strength training increases the ability of muscles
to produce force. Strength is generally needed
in curling, particularly in the leg drive movement
within the delivery and in the abdominals and
low back to stabilize the body during sweeping.
These strength requirements are increased on
slow (heavy) ice.
Abdominal-low back strength may be particularly
useful in preventing low back pain, one of the
most common complaints among curlers.
Strength training for curling can best be
accomplished by initially using calisthenics and
then progressing to free weights (isotonics) if
The purpose of this section is to build on the
base of information below with two additional
concepts specific to the nutritional requirements
for curling:
• fast and slow carbohydrates
• stimulants
• a well balanced diet
• the carbohydrate pre-competition meal
• adjusting the carbo pre-competition meal
relative to the time available from meal to
• maintaining fluid intake
• sugar and salt (electrolyte) replacement
• things to avoid in the pre-competition
Nutritional Requirements for Curling
As with all competitive types of performance,
both the training for, and the playing of, the sport
of curling increases nutritional requirements over
basic levels.
Activation of the stretch receptors in the stomach
by the presence of an amount of food sufficient
to distend it (full stomach feeling) causes the
nervous system to send blood to the stomach to
participate in the digestive process.
This is
detrimental to performance because that blood
is better used elsewhere, either in the working
muscles or the brain especially.
The level of circulating blood sugar has a direct
effect on mental function. This is because blood
sugar is the primary fuel of the brain. Low blood
sugar results in reduced mental performance
and can affect how you feel, how you interact
with others, how you remember, and how well
you solve problems.
The presence of easy to obtain stimulants such
as caffeine, nicotine, and fast acting sugars in
our everyday diets produces a stress on the
nervous system.
This happens because our
nervous system tries to smooth out the rise and
fall of body functions between activation and
relaxation. Stimulants tend to push the activation
cycle and the nervous system will try to
compensate by creating rebound effects to offset
the stimulation.
During the rebound (down)
periods performance is impaired particularly in
the more complex mental functions.
Curling requires some complex mental functions
combined with physical performance.
Visualization of the ice pattern, memorization of
characteristics of individual players, and the
complexities of strategy are a few examples of
such mental function. The need for a stable
physical basis for mental function lies in
nutritional practices which provide sufficient
blood sugar over 2 - 3 hours without rebound
Good nutrition and good training go hand in
hand and allow the athlete to enter training and
competition at peak ability. During the training
season what you do and do not eat is important.
If an athlete’s diet is deficient in a specific
nutrient, body reserves will decline and physical
capabilities will be limited. During competition
however, most often what you do eat is the
critical element. If you eat the wrong kinds of
foods, or the right foods at the wrong time work
output can be adversely affected.
No single food or “magic meal” will ensure top
performance, however some foods taken in the 2
- 3 hours prior to training or competition can
hinder an athlete’s performance. The goal is to
ensure adequate energy for exertion without any
discomfort or fatigue.
Too much food causes the nervous system to
send blood to the stomach to help with
digestion. This is detrimental because we want
the food going to the muscles.
A protein meal takes 3 to 4 hours to digest.
A fat meal takes 3 to 4 hours to digest
A carbohydrate meal takes 2 hours to
A good meal the day of competition (to store
energy) would include a high proportion of
carbohydrates (grains, pastas, cereals). Snacks
prior to and during competition should be small
in quantity and include carbohydrate foods that
are slow to moderate in speed.
Fast carbohydrates eaten alone are rapidly
absorbed, causing the blood glucose levels to
rise sharply. In turn the pancreas is stimulated
and secretes insulin to return the glucose levels
to normal. Often in response to a rapid rise in
blood, levels will drop below normal.
condition can produce dizziness, lack of
steadiness, nausea and low energy.
It would be better to eat nothing prior to a game
than to eat fast carbohydrates.
Fast carbohydrates may be eaten after
c o m p e t i t i o n b u t n o t b e f o re o r d u r i n g
competition. Protein meals are best served
after competition or on days when the curler is
not competing.
If you have less than 2 hours until competing
only eat small amounts of slow carbohydrates.
Water is often a neglected part of an athlete’s
diet. Water is very important for an exercising
athlete. It supplies the body with necessary
blood volume and therefore, oxygen to the
muscles. Water makes up 60 percent of your
total body weight and 70 percent of your
muscles. Without enough water you can’t work
at your top level of performance.
If you start a game or a practice without having
enough water in your body or if you sweat during
a game or practice and do not replace the lost
water, you may become dehydrated. You can
become dehydrated even when you lose just a
few pounds as sweat.
How can you avoid dehydration?
• Drink plain, cool water before, during and
after the game even if you do not feel
• Avoid sports drinks before or during the
game. Because they contain salt or sugar,
they are not absorbed by the body as
quickly as water.
• When you exercise in a cool environment
(arena or curling club) your body still
sweats. To keep warm and yet allow the
sweat to evaporate wear several layers of
loose clothing. Layers of clothing will trap
the war mth from your body while
absorbing your sweat. If you become too
warm a layer can be removed. Curlers
would be advised to drink approximately
a third of a cup of water during every end.
those requiring fine muscular coordination and
intense concentration such as curling) since it
may cause increased heart and respiratory rates
and associated increases in psychological
tension which may be detrimental to
Caffeine is a stimulus for acid secretion in the
Restrict caffeine ingestion when
traveling abroad since it may add to gastrointestinal upset already brought about by foreign
foods, drinks and climate.
Avoid caffeine
ingestion while flying since it causes increased
urine production and water loss and adds further
to the condition of dehydration which is prevalent
during most high altitude flights.
Limit the amount of caffeine ingested at all times,
but particularly just prior to competition and
when the stomach is relatively empty.
Caffeine is contained in varying amounts in
several foods and beverages. Tea, coffee, colas
and cocoa all contain caffeine. As with most
drugs, caffeine has both favourable and
unfavourable effects on the body. Coffee does
appear to relieve psychological fatigue. Studies
have shown that caffeine ingestion may impair
learning of new manual skills and movements
requiring fine muscular coordination (such as the
curling delivery). As a result of these studies a
curler who normally relies on caffeine to calm his
nerves should then try it in a weaker form
(diluted tea).
Caffeine ingestion causes an increase in resting
heart rate, possibly stimulates cardiac muscle
and tends to increase the amount of work done
by the heart. Ingestion of caffeine should be
limited prior to some sports competitions (e.g.
Planning is an essential part of any successful activity and planning practices is no exception. If you
and your team are to achieve the goals that you have set together, you need to know where you are
headed and what you have to do to get there. Many teams and individuals never develop as they
should in curling because they spend hours in meaningless practice. Practice time must be planned
so that the entire time is spent profitably.
When planning your practices, there are a
number of factors to consider if they are to be
effective and meaningful. Practices should:
• Be consistent with season goals.
• Be well planned.
• Have a specific function.
• Have a variety of activities.
• Meet team and individual needs.
• Vary according to season.
• Be meaningful and beneficial.
• Be enjoyable.
The practices should consist of three types of
1. Warm-up – consists of stretching and
simulation exercises which will prepare
the player for activity and reduce the
chances of injury.
2. Skill development – the players practice
conditioning, delivery, brushing/
sweeping, and strategy skills with the
coach providing feedback on
3. Cool-down – consists of progressively
less physical activity and stretching
exercises to bring the player to a resting
• Keep players active.
• Build confidence.
The practice plan should contain the following:
1. List of objectives – what this particular
practice is designed for.
2. List of activities – the drills and routines
that will accomplish the objectives.
3. Description of each activity – a detail of
how each activity is to be run.
4. T i m e f r a m e f o r e a c h a c t i v i t y –
appropriate times set so that objectives
can be met.
The plan for the season should include practice
sessions designed to identify and to eliminate
faults. The corrections needed depend largely
on the individual, his or her ability and the
amount of time left before an upcoming
competition. When planning practices, consider
the time of the season and the schedule of
important competitions. Early season practices
will focus on fundamentals and elimination of
major faults. At this time of the year, you will have
a good deal of time to work on major changes in
technique, if they are required. On the other
hand, in the late season you will have time for
only very minor corrections. Practices prior to
competition must focus on being positive and
attempting to instill confidence in all team
members, and therefore should vary according
to the time of the year. They can be categorized
under early, mid and late season.
Notice that the emphasis here is in identifying all
major faults and then designing practices to
eliminate them. Drills used should include
conditioning elements. At this time of year,
strategy training can be introduced.
Mid-season planning should focus on:
• Conditioning.
• Fault correction.
• Expanding strategy.
• Finer shot-making drills.
• Solving major problems that have
• Developing communication skills.
Early season planning should take into account
the following elements:
• Conditioning – improve fitness.
At this time of the year, major competitions are
approaching. Major faults should be largely
corrected by now. Finer shot-making drills should
now be used in practice. Strategy goals for the
season should be largely accomplished by this
• Emphasizing fundamentals.
• Focusing on major faults.
• Introductory strategy.
• Simple shot-making drills.
• Introduction of communication skills.
Late-season planning should incorporate the
following elements:
Practice sessions just prior to competition
should consider the following:
• Conditioning – maintenance.
• No conditioning.
• Focusing on minor faults correction.
• Only very minor corrections.
• Strategy to meet different situations.
• Strategy for competition itself.
• Specific shot-making drills.
• Simple shots for confidence.
• Competitive practice sessions.
• Positive feedback.
• Fine tuning communication skills.
• Team meeting for the competition.
Now only minor corrections in technique can be
made. It is too late in the season to work on
major faults if any are still present. Because this
is the time of major competition, strategy
sessions now can be quite specific. Competitive
practice sessions are used as simulation for
actual game situations.
During any pre-competition practice, the main
objective is to instill confidence in team
members. Drills based on simple shots are
confidence builders. The coach also can be very
instrumental in instilling positive feelings
amongst the team members. If the practice is at
the competition site, players should concentrate
on getting a feel for the ice.
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