Below is some information about curling. You can download the U.S. Curling Association Curling Development Program Basic Curling Manual. You can also read about Curling Game Play & Strategy and Fun Facts about Curling.
Click on these links to be taken to these sections below:AN INTRODUCTION TO CURLING • THE PLAYING SURFACE • CURLING EQUIPMENT
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area. It is related to bocci ball and shuffleboard. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called “rocks”, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game, points being scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.
The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. This gives the game its nickname of “Chess On Ice”.
Curling tradition began in Scotland in the 1500 to 1600’s, where it was played on frozen ponds using irregular stones. Curling first came to North America in the 1700’s. In 1832, the Orchard Lake Curling Club, near Detroit, MI, became the first curling club in the U.S. The United States Curling Association was founded in 1958 and governs curling in the U.S. In 1998 curling debuted in the Winter Olympics as a medal winning sport (prior to that it was played, but as a demonstration sport only and you could not win a medal). And most importantly, in April 2011, the Mount Washington Valley Curling Club was formed!
More so than in many team sports, good sportsmanship is an integral part of curling. Even at the highest levels of play, players are expected to “call their own fouls”, so to speak, such as alerting the opposing skip if they “burned” a stone. A match traditionally begins with players shaking hands and saying “Good Curling” to each member of the opposing team. It is also traditional for the winning team to buy the losing team a drink after the game. This is often referred to as the Spirit of Curling. This tradition is in contrast to the games of darts where the loser traditionally buys the winner a drink by way of congratulations.
The playing surface or curling sheet is defined by the World Curling Federation Rules of Curling. The sheet is an area of ice, carefully prepared to be as flat and level as possible, 146 to 150 feet (45 to 46 m) in length by 14.5 to 16.5 feet (4.4 to 5.0 m) in width.
A target, the house, is marked at each end of the sheet. The house consists of three concentric rings formed by painting or laying coloured vinyl sheet under the ice and are usually distinguished by colour. These rings are defined by their diameters as the four-foot, eight-foot and 12-foot rings. The rings are merely a visual aid for aiming and judging which stone is closer to the centre; they do not affect scoring but a stone must at least touch the outer ring or it does not score.
Each house is centred on the intersection of the centre line, drawn lengthwise down the centre of the sheet and one of the tee lines, drawn 16 feet (4.9 m) from, and parallel to, each backboard. These lines divide the houses into quarters.
The centre of each house, at the intersection of the centre line and the tee line, is known as the button. Two hog lines, are drawn 37 feet (11 m) from, and parallel to, each backboard.
The hacks are fixed 12 feet behind each button; a hack gives the thrower something to push against when making the throw. On indoor rinks, there are usually two fixed hacks, rubber-lined holes, one on each side of the centre line, with the inside edge no more than 3 inches (76 mm) from the centre line and the front edge on the hack line. A single moveable hack may also be used.
A key part of the preparation of the playing surface is the spraying of water droplets onto the ice, which form pebble on freezing. The pebbled ice surface resembles an orange peel, and the stone moves on top of the pebbled ice. As the stone moves over the pebble, any rotation of the stone causes it to curl to the inside or outside; the amount of curl can change during a game as the pebble wears. Due to this, the ice maker must also be aware of the pebble wear, and the ice will typically be scraped and re-pebbled prior to each game.
The CURLING STONE (also sometimes rock, North America), as defined by the World Curling Federation is a thick stone disc weighing between 38 and 44 pounds with a handle attached to the top. The maximum allowable circumference is 36 inches. The minimum height is 4.5 inches. The handle is attached by a bolt running vertically through a hole in the centre of the stone. 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. Two popular colors in major tournaments are red and yellow. The only part of the stone in contact with the ice is the running surface, a narrow, flat annulus or ring, 0.25 to 0.50 inch wide and about 5 inches in diameter; the sides of the stone bulge convex down to the ring and the inside of the ring is hollowed concave to clear the ice.
Traditionally, curling stones were made from two specific types of granite called “Blue Hone” and “Ailsa Craig Common Green”, found on Ailsa Craig, an island off the Ayrshire coast in Scotland. Blue Hone has very low water absorption, which prevents the action of freezing and melting water from eroding the stone. Ailsa Craig Common Green granite is a lesser quality granite than Blue Hone. In the past, most curling stones were made from Blue Hone; however, the island is now a wildlife reserve and the quarry has closed.
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.
In earlier days, brooms were made of corn strands and were similar to household brooms. Brushes were used primarily by elderly curlers as a substitute for corn brooms. Today, brushes have replaced traditional corn brooms at every level of curling, but are universally referred to as brooms. Curling brushes may have fabric, hog hair, or horsehair heads. Modern curling broomsticks are usually hollow tubes made of fiberglass or carbon fiber instead of a solid length of wooden dowel. These hollow tube handles are lighter and stronger than wooden handles, allowing faster sweeping and also enabling more downward force to be applied to the broom head with reduced shaft flex.
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. Most shoes have a full-sole sliding surface, but some shoes have a sliding surface covering only the outline of the shoe and other enhancements with the full-sole slider. Some shoes have small disc sliders covering the front and heel portions or only the front portion of the foot, which allow more flexibility in the sliding foot for curlers playing with tuck deliveries. When a player is not throwing, the player’s slider shoe can be temporarily rendered non-slippery by using a slip-on gripper. Ordinary athletic shoes may be converted to sliders by using a step-on or slip-on Teflon slider.
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 toe of the hack foot shoe may also have a rubberised coating on the top surface or a flap that hangs over the toe to reduce wear on the top of the shoe as it drags on the ice behind the thrower.
If you would like to try out a little virtual curling, clicking here will take you to the link.