By Cindy – Victoria Curling Performance Centre

Welcome back to a new curling season everyone!  Attached is the information that will be provided at the Novice curling clinic on September 23 and 25, 2009 at the Victoria Curling Club.  The clinics run from 6:00-9:00 p.m. with the Novice group meeting on Monday and Wednesday and the intermediate group meeting on Tues and Thursday.  Sign up is with the office – the Novice group is full so stay tuned for another session to come.


Warm up and cool down before any activity is an important facet in your ability to play and enjoy the sport for many years.

Warm up for Curling


? Done for a few minutes prior to stretching

? Gets blood flowing to the muscles; prepares soft tissue and energy systems for training and movement efficiency.

? Can help to delay fatigue.


? Do immediately prior to going on the ice

? Helps curler to move more comfortably through the range of motion needed


? Slide from the hack in a progression, start slow (just slide to top of house) and build to a take out slide.

Ice Orientation and Terminology

The curling sheet of ice is 44.5 m long and 4.75 m wide.

The “hacks” are the footholds in the ice for the delivery of the stone. There are 8 rocks per team, 16 rocks per sheet. Each “rock” or stone weighs 20 kg and is made from granite.

The rock is delivered from the hack at one end of the ice and must cross the hog line at the far end but not pass the back line of the ice in order to be in play.

There are 4 players on each team; skip, third, second and lead. Each player throws 2 rocks, alternating with the opposition team…for example – lead on the blue team throws 1st rock, lead on the red team throws 1st rock, lead on the blue team throws 2nd rock, lead on the red team throws 2nd rock…and so on with the second throwing next, then third, and finally the skip throwing the last 2 rocks.

Reviewing the Delivery

The Stance:

? Hack foot – ball of foot against back of hack – toe pointing to the target

? Sliding foot – flat on ice – parallel to hack foot (not angled outward or in) – heel of sliding foot to toe of hack foot

? Brush – brush head resting on ice – brush head slightly ahead of sliding foot – if using sliding aid, held parallel and even with the rock

? Shoulders – square to the line of delivery (target) – level with ice surface

? Head – erect – eyes focused on target

? Throwing Arm – comfortably extended – firm

Pull Back:

? Forward Press- Slight forward motion of stone, arm and upper body move as a unit

? Pull Back – Using legs, raise hips keeping weight balanced between both feet – Pull stone straight back on line of delivery (Rock) – move sliding foot back after stone is in back position (Foot)


? Body – Shoulders and head remain at the same height as when in the stance position

? Forward Slide- Initiate forward motion with leg drive – Stone begins forward motion (Rock) – Start moving the body towards target after the rock has been put in motion (Pause) – As hack foot and leg extend, sliding foot moves in behind stone (Foot) to centre of body weight for balance.

Grips, Turns, Release:

? Grip – Firm grip – Index finger close to neck of handle, other fingers firmly together. Thumb pressed firmly on the other side of the neck forming a “V” that should point to the shoulder.  The handle should rest on the second joint of the fingers.   The wrist should be kept in a “high” position above the handle.

? Turn – Handle is held in 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock position, depending on the turn.  The handle is kept in this position throughout until the last meter of the slide when release is put on.

? Release – 1 meter prior to release, the turn is applied with a distinct rotation of the wrist and forearm to the handshake position.  Follow through with the throwing arm and hand remaining pointed to the target on the line of delivery.   Positive release should result in 2-3 rotations.


? Stance – Position feet so they are shoulder width apart, parallel to centre line.  Bend knees so your weight is on the balls of your feet, lifting heels off ice.  Open stance – shoulders are facing the target end…closed stance – shoulders are facing throwing end.

? Grip – divide the handle of the brush into thirds. Position the hand closest to the stone one third of the way up the handle in a “palm down” position. Place the other hand one third above the lower hand in a “palm up” position.

? Foot Motion – Use of grippers on both feet for optimal power and ability to sweep on both sides of the rock.  Bend your knees and place some weight on the head of the brush. Take a step with the outside foot and begin using a cross country ski action, staying on the balls of your feet.

? Brush Motion – Apply pressure downward through your lower arm on the brush head, using a push pull action with your top hand. Use a short 6? rapid stroke across the running path of the stone. Remember to finish your stroke away from the rock.

Communication and Stopwatches

? Before the Shot – The call is communicated from the skip to the throwers and sweepers, usually using hand signals for a specific take out weight, or tapping the ice with the broom for a draw. It is also beneficial for the players to be aware of “Plan B”.

? During the Shot – Brushers may use stopwatches to time from the back line to the hog line, an interval time. Use this number as a reference point to assist in judging the weight. Remember to observe the slide and release when factoring the weight judgment. Upon release, let the skip know what the weight is, and again at least 2 more times. Using the zone system is an effective way to communicate the location of the shot. The person in the house should be letting sweepers know if there is lots of room or line is tight.


? Strategy is about playing the right shots. It is the actual decisions made by the team, on and off the ice that will determine the specific shots that they will select in a wide range of game situations.

? Tactics are about playing those shots right. It is the various skills and systems that a team employs during a game or competition in order to maximize their effectiveness.

? Factors to consider: Free guard zone, what end are you playing, what is the score, who has last rock advantage, skills and abilities of your team and your opponents, ice conditions, how many rocks remain in the end.

Offensive Shots: finesse, risky, lots of rocks in play, guards, freezes, come around draws

Defensive Shots: cautious, conservative, few rocks in play, open, hits, peels

Balanced attack: combine offensive and defensive strategy

If you have any questions, please contact me through this blog or through my contact information at the top of this page.

Have a great season everyone and we’ll see you on the ice!

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