This is a great intro to curling video from the Canadian Curling Association.
What is Curling?
The goal of curling is to score points by sliding 42-lb curling stones down a long sheet of ice. Points are awarded to the team whose stones are closest to the house. The curling sheet is 150 feet long and 15 feet wide. There are targets (aka houses) on each end where the curlers attempts to land their stones.
A curling match consists of 8 or 10 ends. During each end, the two teams take turns sliding 16 stones (8 per team) from one end of the sheet to the other.
There are four positions on each team: lead, second, vice skip, and skip.
The lead is the first curler to throw the first 2 stones. When the lead throws, the second and vice skip sweep those stones while the skip stands in the house. Then the second throws stones #3 and #4 while the lead and vice skip sweep those stones. Stones #5 and #6 are thrown by the vice skip. Finally, the skip throws the last 2 stones while the vice skip stands in the house to call the shot. The lead and second sweep the skip’s stones.
Sweeping heats up the ice, causing it to become slick, which reduces friction between the stone and the ice.
The skip determines the strategy for each end and calls the shots that the teammates are expected to throw.
This image from coachcurling.com perfectly shows the layout of the action.
From TheSportsGeek.com: At the end of each end, the team with the stone closest to the center of the house or “button” is awarded one point for each of their stones that is closer than the opponent’s closest stone. Scoring also requires that the stone be inside the house. So, only one team is awarded points per end, and the maximum points per round would be eight (this rarely happens). The team with the highest score after all ends have been completed (or when the other team concedes) is the winner. A few scoring examples are below.
The Potomac Curling Club has written an excellent article on how to use the scoreboard in curling. Check it out here.
Now that you know how to play, here’s the equipment you will need. Wine Country Curling Club provides all of this for first-timers and newbies! Then we can point you in the right direction <<<< Debbie McCormick’s Goldline Mobile Pro Shop >>> to purchase your own accessories.
The curling stone is a thick granite stone disc weighing between 38 and 44 pounds with a handle attached to the top. The handle allows the stone to be gripped and rotated upon release; on properly prepared ice, the stone’s path will bend (curl) in the direction the front edge of the stone is turning, especially as the stone slows. The handles are colored to identify the stones by team.
The curling broom, or brush, is used to sweep the ice surface in the path of the stone, and is also often used as a balancing aid during delivery of the stone. Curling brushes may have fabric, hog hair, or horsehair heads.
Curling shoes are similar to ordinary athletic shoes except that they have dissimilar soles; the slider shoe is designed for the off foot (or sliding foot) and the non-sliding shoe for the hack foot. The slider shoe is designed to slide and typically has a Teflon sole. It is worn by the thrower during delivery from the hack and by sweepers or the skip to glide down the ice when sweeping or otherwise traveling down the sheet quickly. The non-sliding shoe, or hack foot shoe, is worn by the thrower on the hack foot during delivery and is designed to grip. It may have a normal athletic shoe sole or a special layer of rubbery material applied to the sole of a thickness to match the sliding shoe.
The foothold traditionally cut into the ice from which the person who throws the rock pushes off for delivery. The Hack is usually made of metal and heated in warm water before being placed onto the ice. As the hack cools, it melts into the ice and freezes into place. The frozen hack creates and sturdy foothold to deliver the rock.