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Curling 201

200 Level Courses - Designed for the Novice Curler

Curling 201 - The Basics

Curlers deliver the stone by pushing off from the hack (similar to a starter's block in track) with their dominant leg with a teflon slider under their non-dominant leg.  They then release the stone with a pre-determined rotation which causes the stone to curl in the direction of the rotation as they decelerate.  2 other team members will sweep the stone to make the stone go further and/or to slightly impact the direction of the stone (more details in Curling 301).  Curlers must release the stone before the hog line (the thick line located 27 feet from the hacks) and the stone must fully pass the far hog line to stay in play.  Once an opponent's stone touches the tee line that bisects the rings (or "the house") at the far end of the ice, the other team's skip can sweep the stone to try to get it deeper in, or potentionally through, the house.

Top of the House/Back of the House

  • The portion of the house in front of the tee line (closer to the delivering side) is known as the top of the house.  The rings in the top of the house can be referred to as top button, top 4 (foot), top 8 (foot), and top 12 (foot).
  • The portion of the house behind the tee line (further from the delivering side) is known at the back of the house.  The rings in the back of the house can be referred to as back button, back 4 (foot), back 8 (foot), and back 12 (foot).
  • It is generally preferable to draw to the top of the house rather than the back of the house.  The reason for this is that by drawing to the back of the house, your opponent is provided the opportunity to freeze their stone to yours which both protects their stone and makes it closer to the pin than your stone.

Types of Guards:

  • High Guard - A guard designed to come to rest in the first third of the guard zone (the area between the hog line and the house)
  • Mid Guard - A guard designed to come to rest in the middle third of the guard zone 
  • Tight Guard - A guard designed to come to rest in teh last third of the guard zone (closest to the house)

Types of Draw Shots:

  • Open Draw - A draw shot designed to come to rest in the open
  • Come Around - A draw shot designed to come to rest behind another stone
  • Freeze - A draw shot designed to come to rest against or very close to another stone.  Freezing a stone to an opponent's stone generally protects your stone because your opponent cannot remove your stone without losing their own stone and it often will take two shots to remove a frozen stone.

Types of Takeouts:

  • Nose takeout - A takeout designed to hit another stone in the center of the rock ("the nose") which will transfer 100% of the energy to the hit stone and the thrown stone will stop dead
  • Hit and roll - A takeout designed to hit another stone to the left or right of the nose.  The hit stone will still generally leave the rings but some of the force will be retained by the thrown stone which will then roll left or right
  • Tap - A takeout designed not to remove a stone from play but instead just move a stone further back in the rings
  • Peel - A shot designed to remove both the target stone and the thrown stone from play.  Peels are generally thrown with a lot of velocity and hit just the left or right third of the target stone

Turns

  • In Turn - An "in turn" is a rotation of the stone upon release in which the back end of the stone's handle rotates in towards the body of the player delivering the stone.  For a right-handed player, the in turn is a clockwise rotation which will cause the stone to curl to the right.  Here's the rub though...for a left-handed player delivering the stone, the in turn is a counter clockwise rotation which will cause the stone to curl to the left.  
  • Out Turn - An "out turn" is a rotation of the stone upon release in which the back end of the stone's handle rotates "out"(or away) from the body of the player delivering the stone.  For a righ-handed player delivering the stone and out turn will be a counter clockwise rotation making the stone curl to the left.  For a left-handed player delivering the stone, the out turn is a clockwise rotation which will cause the stone to curl to the right.
  • The terms in turn and out turn are used commonly at the elite level where teams are playing with one another all the time and therefore the right/left handed issue is ingrained in their minds.  Its usage at the club level is slightly less common, especially among newer curlers. 

Curling 202 - Curling Ice 

The ice at a particular facility will change day to day and will even change during the course of a game.  Factors that impact the ice include the surface temperature of the ice, the amount and quality of the pebble, the humidity and more.  During the course of the game, the speed of the ice will vary.  Most commonly, the ice will be a little slower at the start of the game.  As the game progresses and stones go down certain paths, the stones will erode the pebble a bit and the ice will speed up on those paths.  Eventually, commonly used path will have the pebble worn down enough that the ice will slow down again.  "Reading the ice" is an important skill that can be the difference between a good team and a great team. 

Curling 203 - Curling Stones

Curling stones are made from special types of microgranite mined in two places in the world.  Common Green Ailsite and Blue Hone Ailsite are forms of granite mined from Ailsa Craig, a small island located in the Firth of Clyde.  Pink, Blue or Green Trefor microgranite comes from Trefor, Wales.  The microgranite used in curling stones is granite that fomed more quickly than most traditional granite and is therefore impermeable to water. 

 Ailsa Craig 2   Trefor Quarry 
Ailsa Craig, Firth of Clyde, Scotland Trefor Quarry, Trefor, Gwynedd, Wales

 

There are three main parts of a curling stone: (1) the handle, (2) the striking band and (3) the running surface.

The handle of a modern curling stone can be either plastic or metal.  Most curling clubs will have the traditional plastic curling handle known as a "Curlex" handle.  Curling handles used at some competitive events are metal handles and have sensors in them that detect heat on the handle and detect the hog line.  These handles will turn on a green light if the handle does not sense a hand on the handle when the stone hits the hog line and will turn on a red light if the handle does detect a hand when the stone hits the hog line.  Handles are attached to the stone with a bolt that runs through the center of the curling stone.  Curling stones will typically have 3 identifiers on the top.  The first letter or number is located at 12 o'clock on the dial and indicates the sheet to which the stone belongs.  Sheets are typically identified by number (1-4 for a 4 sheet club) or letter (A-D for a 4 sheet club).  The numbers at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock on the stones will be identical and indicate the stone number (1-8).  Typically, curling stones are thrown in numerical order (1-8) nut top level curlers can recognize the difference in behavior between curling stones and may adjust the order that stones are thrown.  Curling handles will be of two colors (one for each team).  The most common curling handle colors are red and yellow, but a wide variety of handle colors are in use throughout the world.

The striking band of a curling stone is the portion of the curling stone that comes into contact with another curling stone when they collide.  Blue Hone Ailsite is the best microgranite for the striking band of curling stones as it the strongest and least likely to break down due to the repeated contact. 


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3837 N. Wells Street 
Fort Wayne IN 46808

 

Directly across Wells Street from the Parkview Ice House

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The Fort Wayne Curling Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers leagues for curlers of all ages and abilities, Learn to Curl sessions, private events, corporate events and activities for those with special needs. Curling is truly a sport for everyone and we hope that you will take the time to try this fantastic sport.

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