Curling 101


Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area.

Two teams of four players slide 42 pound granite stones across the ice curling sheet towards the house, which is the target at the end of the sheet. The teams consist of a Skip, Third, Second and Lead. The Skip is the chief strategist for the team. Each member, beginning with the Lead, throws two stones for a total of eight stones. The way to win the game is to accumulate the most points. Points are scored for the stones which are closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.

Curling gets it's name from the turning of the stone as it slides on the ice. The curl of each thrown stone is caused by the way a curler's hand is turned when they release their stone. The path and distance of the stone can be further influenced by the sweepers using their brooms as they travel down the sheet with the thrown stone. The brooms are used to alter the ice in front of the stone. Curling is a game of strategy where the curlers try to place their stones in the best position in each end. The skill and strategy required to properly place a team's stones is what gives curling the nickname “chess on ice”. Curling is sometimes also referred to as “the roaring game” because of the sound the stone makes as it slides down the ice over the pebbles, which are water droplets on the ice surface.


Curling is thought to have originated in late Medieval Scotland. A curling stone which bore the date 1511, and another bearing the date 1551, were found when a pond was drained in Dunblane, Scotland. In early curling, the players depended more on luck than skill, because the stones were usually just flat bottomed river stones, not the smooth polished stones in use today.

Curling was an outdoor sport in Scotland in the 16th - 19th centuries. The first organized curling club in Scotland was established in 1716 in Kilsyth, it is still around today. Scotland is home to the World Curling Federation, the governing body for the sport of curling. Scottish immigrants took the sport of curling to Canada and the first club in North America opened in 1807. The first club in the United States was created outside of Detroit, Michigan in 1830. Today, curling is played all over Europe and has spread to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Korea.


Good sportsmanship is an essential element in the sport of curling. The Spirit of Curling is the traditional practice of the winning team buying drinks for the the losing team after a game. Players are also expected to call their own fouls during the game, such as informing the opposing team's skip when a stone is burned. Burning a stone occurs when a broom or body part touches a stone after it has been thrown.

Sometimes a team will concede when it no longer has a reasonable expectation of winning a game. Concession is not considered to be “quitting”, it is an honorable act that allows for more socializing time at the conclusion of the game. To concede a match the losing team removes their curling gloves and offer handshakes to the other team. Regardless of whether a game is conceded or won during its natural course, a game ends with sincere congratulations and handshakes all around.


A 2 Minute Guide to Curling


Curling Etiquette


Start with a handshake. At the beginning of the game, greet the members of the opposing team with a handshake, tell them your name, and wish them “Good Curling”.

Finish with a handshake. When the game is over, offer each of the players a hearty handshake and move off the ice. The winning curlers traditionally offer their counterparts some refreshments.

Keep the ice clean. Change your shoes. Sand, grit and dirt are the ice’s worst enemy. The shoes you wear should only be used for curling. Keep them clean.

Compliment good shots, no matter which team makes them. Respect your opponent.

Be ready. Take your position in the hack as soon as your opponent has delivered his/her stone. Keep the game moving; delays detract from the sport.

Be prepared to sweep as soon as your teammate releases the rock.

After delivering your stone, move to the side of the sheet between the “hog “ lines, unless you are the skip. Leads and seconds are not permitted in “house” or “rings”, except when sweeping or to remove the stones after the count has been determined by the vices.

Be courteous. Don’t distract your opponent in the hack. Sweepers should stay on the sidelines between the hog lines when not sweeping.

Place your skip’s rock in front of the hack to help speed up the game.

All games on the ice should run approximately the same time. Therefore, if your game is an end or two behind all other games you should pick up the pace. Each player should be ready to deliver their rock when their skip puts down the broom.



Here are some basic curling tips for curlers of all skill levels courtesy of; Curl up With Jamie Sinclair

Tip #1 Balance

Tip #2 Sweeping

Tip #3 Broom Position

Tip #4 How to Score

Tip #5 Reading the Scoreboard

Tip #6 Stance in the Hack

Tip #7 The Slide

Tip #8 Grip and Release

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