Curling is an ice sport similar to hockey where you play with a team and face another team. There are women’s and men’s teams and you can enjoy it both in the regular Olympics and the Paralympics Winter games versions. At King West Magazine we want to give newcomers a beginners guide to curling.
There are four players in each team, one of which is the designated team captain that is called Skip in this sport, and also a Vice-Skip. Since there are mixed teams and wheelchair curling teams, there can also be an additional member that is there to be a substitute, referred to as Alternate.
The names of the positions within curling teams are fairly easy, as they are only referred to as Lead, Second, Third, and Fourth. Each player needs to deliver two stones of the same colour, in order from Lead through Fourth.
The Curling Ice Field
The ice over which the curling players dispute their games is prepared specially for this end and it is referred to as Sheet. The standard measure is 5 meters of width by 45 meters of length, with the circles of each team painted at each end of the Sheet, which is called houses.
The houses look like a target made up of four rings, with the center one called Button. The idea is to pass the stones through as close to the Button as possible.
Each team races to make its stones reach the house, but only the one with the stones closer to the center can score. Blank ends take place when, after an end, no stones are touching either of the teams’ houses.
Each time an end is finished, the teams switch sides on the Sheet and start again trying to get their stones on their houses. The players calculate the scores on their own, once all the stones have been delivered on both sides.
Additionally, each game consists of 8-10 ends, depending on the kind of event that is being played.
Last Stone Draw
This is decided before the game even begins when two players from each team compete to bring a stone the closest to its house’s button. The stones are delivered in clockwise and counterclockwise directions, in a process that is known as the Last Stone Draw.
When a team wins the LSD, they may get to score one more point at the last end of the game.
There is much more to curling than we have been able to include in this guide, but these are the very basics any newcomer needs to know to get into the sport. It is important to keep in mind how many stones have been delivered and whichteam won the LSD at the beginning of any game, to tell which is more likely to win.