Welcome to "Curling 101"

Curling Basics Video

Let's start out with this 2 minute guide courtesy of Curling Canada.

Now a little more detail . . .

The Playing Surface

The Curling playing surface ("sheet") is 14'6" - 16'6" wide and 138' feet long, set up to accommodate play in both directions. CRCC currently has six sheets. The 12' "target" at each end (the "house") is the scoring area.

curling sheet

Water is sprayed on the ice surface to create tiny bumps of ice bumps over which the stones slide. This is called pebbling.

pebbled ice

The Team or Rink

Teams usually consist of four players. The position are: the "Lead" (throws the team's first two stones), the "Second" (throws the team's third and fourth stones), the "Third" or "Vice-Skip" (throws the team's fifth and sixth stones, and handles scoring decisions) and the "Skipper" (calls the game strategy and throws the last two stones). Two of the players who are not throwing a stone usually sweep for the play who is throwing.

Game Order

Game Play

A game is composed of 8 – 10 "ends" (similar to baseball innings or bowling frames). The teams alternate turns throwing stones. The player throwing ordinarily has one shoe with an extremely slippery sole (a "slider") to allow the player to slide behind the stone in order to perfect the aim and force of the throw before releasing. Two of the players who are not throwing a stone usually sweep. The third player who is not throwing (the "skip" or "vice-skip") holds a broom to mark where the throwing player should aim (but not where the stone should stop as discussed below). When all 16 rocks have been delivered, the score for that end is determined.

Having the last stone to throw (the "Hammer") is a tremendous strategic advantage. The Team that starts the game with Hammer usually is determined by a coin toss, thereafter, whichever team did not score in the previous end has the hammer in the next end.

Why Sweep?

The sport is called "curling" because players rotate the stone as they throw it. The rotation of stone cause the stone to curve ("curl") in strategic directions. Where the player aims at the start of throw is not where the stone actually comes to a stop so a team can curl their stone around behind an opponent's stone. Sweeping in front of the stone is critical because it makes the stone travel farther (as much as 15') and curl less by:

  • Polishing ice surface in front of the stone.
  • Removing frost and debris from the ice (especially in outdoor curling).
  • Momentarily warming the ice to create a thin film of water that lubricates the ice.

Good sweeping requires strong team communication and split second judgement. (In competitive rather than social games, it also requires a great deal of physical work). Ice conditions have dramatic differences and even change during a game. The conditions affect how far stones travel and how much they curl. Skippers therefore must have keen judgement and observation skills determine account for all these factors when calling each shot.

Scoring

The goal is to place the most stones in the center of the house while knocking out opposing team stones. Rocks that are not in the house (further from the center than the outer edge of the 12 foot ring) do not score even if no opponent's rock is closer. Strategy is as important as skill, making it a game of "chess on ice" with sportsmanship as its foundation. After each team throws all of its eight stones, the score for the "end" (similar to an inning) is tallied and the next end is started until eight or 10 ends are completed.

Scoring Examples

scoring example 0y 0r 300x300scoring example 0y 2r 300x300

scoring example 1y 0r 300x300

scoring example 3y 0r 300x300

 

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Curling Stone (Rock)

Regulation curling stones (or "rock") are made are made out of polished granite. They are about 4.5" in high (excluding the handle), have about a 36" circumference, and weigh between 38 and 44 pounds. The handle is attached with bolt running vertically through the center. The bottom of the stone is concave so only a narrow band of stone, about 6 mm wide, actually touches the ice.

Good Sportsmanship

At least as much as in any other sport, good sportsmanship and civility is an integral part of curling. Each game begins and ends with a sincere handshake and stated wishes of "good curling." Celebrating an error by the opposing team, fully acceptable in some sports, is frowned upon in curling and it is good form to congratulate an opponent on a good shot. Even at the highest levels of play, a player is expected to call their rule violations by notifying the opposing team skipper if they burned a stone. When it becomes clear that a team cannot possibly win the game, the losing teams customarily concedes the match as honorable act that does carry the stigma of "quitting." In social play, winning team members traditionally buy losing team members a drink and get to know each other after the game as part of what is called "broom stacking."

Glossary of Curling Terms

Term Description
12 FOOT The outermost ring of the house, 12 feet in diameter.
4 FOOT The inner ring of the house, 4 feet in diameter.
8 FOOT The middle ring of the house, 8 feet in diameter.
ACROSS THE FACE A shot whose initial line of delivery is on one side of a rock and then curls past the center of the rock to hit it on the opposite side.
AILSET/TILESET The process of refurbishing a stone's running band by drilling out the running band section of the bottom of a curling stone, and inserting a granite disc (typically Blue Hone Granite) in its place.
AILSERT/TILESERT The process of refurbishing a stone's running band by slicing off 1/2" to 3/4" of the surface of a curling stone, and adhering a granite disc (typically Blue Hone Granite) in its place.
ANGLE RAISE A raise or raise takeout that must be hit at a precise angle instead of straight back.
ANTI-SLIDER / GRIPPER A soft, durable rubber that slips over the shoe to cover up the slider and provide good traction on the ice.
ARENA CLUB A curling club that operates in an ice arena that is also used for skating and hockey. These clubs normally have a very limited amount of time to prepare the ice for curling. This can result in ice conditions that are very different than the ice at a dedicated curling facility.
AROUND THE WORLD A shot where the delivered stone deflects off 2 or more stones resulting in the shooter traveling back towards the delivering end. Rarely called in a game.
BACK 12 The portion of the 12 foot circle that is behind the tee line (closer to the back line).
BACK 4 The portion of the 4 foot circle that is behind the tee line (closer to the back line).
BACK 8 The portion of the 8 foot circle that is behind the tee line (closer to the back line).
BACK BOARD The barrier that is behind the hacks. The distance from the hack to the back board varies from club to club and can be anywhere from 1-7 feet.
BACK END The skip and vice-skip (or third) are collectively referred to as the "Back end" of the team.
BACK HOUSE Throwing the stone just hard enough for it to travel to the back of the house. Often used when trying a light hit and roll or when trying to promote a stone into the house.
BACK LINE The line at the back of the house. Rocks completely beyond the line are out of play.
BARRIER WEIGHT Throwing the stone just hard enough to reach the back board, or barrier. Barrier weight is normally about 6 feet further than the hack since the location of the barrier can vary from club to club. This phrase is most commonly used by Scottish teams.
BEHIND Being closer to the back line. Used in reference to the position of a stone such as "Our stone is behind the tee" or "Their stone is behind ours".
BITER A stone that is barely in the house.
BITER STICK A measuring device that is exactly 6 ft long and is used to determine if a stone is within 6 feet of the pin. Used at the completion of an end to determine if a stone can be counted for a point. Also used at the start of an end to determine if a stone is in the house making it eligible to be taken out when the free guard zone rule is in effect.
BLANK END When an end is completed and no stones are in the house. Often the team with the hammer will try to blank the end when they have no options to score more than a single point.
BOARD WEIGHT Throwing the stone just hard enough to reach the back board. Board weight is normally about 6 feet further than the hack since the location of the back board can vary from club to club. See also Barrier Weight.
BOARDS The physical barrier at the edge of the sheet of ice. As soon as a rock hits the boards it is out of play. Commonly made of wood in curling clubs. Arenas usually use foam strips frozen into the ice. Not all sheets of ice will have boards. Some will just have a side line with the ice continuing into the adjacent sheet.
BONSPIEL A curling tournament that is usually played over a weekend. Bonspiels are a great way to travel and experience different curling clubs. Often food and beverages are provide to promote a fun social atmosphere for curlers to enjoy when they are not on the ice.
BOUNCE When a rock hits another rock and then rolls away from it. Also called a bump.
BRIER The name of the Canadian Mens National Championship.
BROOM The instrument used to sweep the ice. Brooms with synthetic heads are most common. Corn brooms are no longer commonly used for sweeping, but remain legal. Broom and Brush are used interchangeably when referring to a modern curling brush.
BROOM STACKING After each game, it is tradition for the winning team to buy the losing team the first round of drinks (winning Skip buys the losing Skip's drink, the winning Vice Skip buys the losing Vice Skip's drink, etc.), then the two teams sit down together and discuss the game, get to know your opponents, socialize and have a good time. It is also tradition that the losing team reciprocates and buys the second round. The term originates from an old tradition of both teams stacking their brooms in the house to take a break from the game.
BRUSH Brushes are used to sweep the ice in front of moving stones with a back and forth motion in which the brush pad never leaves the ice surface. Sweeping reduces the friction between the rock and the ice which causes the rock to travel farther and straighter. The terms brush and broom are often used interchangeable to refer to a modern curling brush.
BRUSH PAD The part of the brush that makes contact with the ice while sweeping. Most brushes are designed to allow easy replacement of the pad after they become worn from use. Brush pads are similar to golf balls since they can still be used when they are old and beat up but they won't be as effective.
BUMP When a rock hits another rock and then rolls away from it. Also called a bounce.
BURIED When a stone is completely guarded by other stones. There is no direct way to takeout a buried stone.
BURNED ROCK A shooting team's rock that has been fouled (touched by a player or equipment) while in motion. If the stone is burned prior to passing the far hog line, the rock is immediately taken out of play. If the stone is burned after passing the far hog line, the shot is allowed to play out, and the offended Skip then decides to either 1) leave the stones as they are, 2) move stones where he thinks they would have ended up had the stone not been burned, or 3) remove the burned stone plus either of the previous 2 options.
BUTTON The small circle in the center of the house. The button can vary in size.
CALLING THE SHOT Making a decision on the desired outcome for the upcoming shot and communicating the plan to the rest of the team. Skips call the shots, sometimes with input from the rest of their team.
CASHSPIEL A more competitive bonspiel that awards prize money to the top finishers. All World Curling Tour events are cashspiels. Entry fees are usually higher then other bonspiels and may not include any food or drink.
CENTER GUARD A guard that is on the center line. Commonly used by teams without the hammer to try to setup a steal in an end.
CENTERLINE The line dividing and running the length of the sheet of ice.
CIRCUS SHOT A complicated and difficult shot requiring a bit of luck to make. Often called out of desperation when there are no other shots available. Circus shots are often made by accident.
CLEAN Sweep very lightly to keep the ice surface clean and prevent the rock from picking up a piece of debris. When "Clean" is yelled out it often means the shot is on line and is going to be made.
CLUB A dedicated curling facility. Curling Clubs commonly have from 2-8 sheets of ice. Most clubs are named for the city where they are located.
COME AROUND A draw that is intended to stop behind a guard.
COMING HOME Playing the last scheduled end of the game. The "home" end of the ice is the end closest to the club room and viewing area.
CORNER GUARD A guard that is to either side of the center line. Commonly used by the team with the hammer to setup a chance at scoring multiple points while keeping a path to the button open.
COUNTER Each stone that is closer to the pin than the closest opponents stone. At the completion of each end one point is scored for each counter.
COVER A rock that cannot be taken out because a guard is in the way is said to be "under cover".
CRASHED When the delivered stone unintentionally hits another rock causing the called shot to be missed. "We crashed on a guard".
CURL A turn of the rock's handle upon release makes the rock curl, or curve, as it travels down the ice. The rock curls in the direction of the turn (like turning the steering wheel of a car).
CURLER Anyone who curls. Once a curler always a curler!
CURLING The greatest sport on ice!
CURLING PINS Pins are commonly given out as prizes for bonspiels or club league championships. Curling clubs usually have a club pin design that represents their club. Club pins are often traded among participants at events where many clubs are represented.
D.O.D. Degree of Difficulty. This statistic can be used when individual player shooting percentages are being tracked for a game to give an overall idea of the difficulty of each players shots. Typically each shot would be given a D.O.D from 1-5 with 5 being the most difficult.
DEAD HANDLE When a stone doesn't have any rotation as it slides down the ice.
DELIVERY The act of sliding out and releasing a stone. The main components of the delivery are the slide and the release. A curlers delivery is synonymous with a golfers swing.
DELIVERY AID An object that is held in the hand that is not holding the rock handle during delivery. Typically the same brush used for sweeping is used as a delivery aid however other more specialized delivery aids are available.
DELIVERY STICK A device used to deliver a stone by anyone unable to crouch down in the hack and slide out in their delivery. One end of the stick is designed to fit the handle of the stone. You deliver the stone by walking out from the hack with the delivery stick pushing the stone. This allows people to curl who would otherwise be unable to deliver a stone.
DIE Used when talking to the rock usually during a desperate attempt to convince the rock to slow down.
DIRECTIONAL SWEEPING In addition to warming and polishing the ice to help a stone go further, brushing the ice slightly scratches the ice, putting grooves in the pebble that the stone will tend to follow. By brushing the ice at an angle opposite of the direction the stone is curling will help keep the stone traveling straight. By brushing the ice at an angle in the same direction the stone is curling will help the stone curl more than it would with no sweeping.
DISH When the outside edges of the ice surface are slightly raised compared to the center of the sheet of ice. This causes the stones to curl more towards the center line and not curl towards the outside of the sheet.
DOUBLE A takeout that removes two stones from play. The delivered stone normally stays in play.
DOUBLE PEEL A shot that is intended to remove two stones from play and have the shooter go out of play. Normally the stones removed with a double peel are guards.
DOUBLES A variation of the traditional game. In Doubles Curling there are only 2 people per team. Each end starts with 1 pre-positioned stone from each team in play. One of the positioned stones is a center guard and one is positioned on the center line just behind the tee line. The positioned center guard belongs to the team without the hammer. Each team then delivers 5 stones to complete the end. No rocks can be removed from play until the 4th delivered stone.
DOWN WEIGHT A takeout played with less weight than normal. Commonly used when it is important for the delivered rock to stay in play.
DRAG EFFECT When two stones are very close together the drag effect may cause the stone to move at a different angle than where it visually looks like it will travel when impacted.
DRAW A rock that stops in front of or in the house. Also a schedule or time for a curling game.
DRAW SHOT CHALLENGE The calculation made by taking the average distance of the Last Stone Draws (LSD), excluding the least favorable LSD, and used, if required, to assist in the determination of ranking after a round robin.
DRAWMASTER The person in charge of setting up the game times for any bonspiel, playdowns, or club leagues. This can be a very difficult task!
DUMP Over rotation of the wrist while releasing the stone in a way that causes the stone to suddenly be narrow of the target.
EIGHT ENDER When a team scores 8 points in one end. Very rare, similar to a hole-in-one but harder to achieve!
END One end is complete when all 16 rocks (eight per team) have been thrown to one end of the sheet. When an end is complete the score for that end is determined. Only one team may score in each end. If there are no rocks in the house at the completion of the end then there is no score for that end. A game is usually eight ends, or about two hours. Championship games are 10 ends, or about 2.5 hours. After each end, the score is determined.
EXTRA END If the score is tied after the completion of the last scheduled end, an extra end is played. The extra end is played the same as the other ends. The team that scores in the extra end wins. Club leagues and bonspiels may have alternate procedures for extra ends at their event, such as Skips Draw to the Button, where each Skip delivers one stone, with sweepers, and the Skip with the stone closest to the button, wins.
FALL When a spot in the ice is not level. A stone that is on a fall is prevented from curling normally and slides in the opposite direction as if sliding down a hill.
FINISH The amount a rock curls during the final 10-15 feet of its travel. If the ice has a lot of finish it means the rock curls more at the end of its travel than during the start.
FIVE ROCK RULE The first 5 stones (the first 2 from each team, plus the third stone of the team without the Hammer) of an end cannot be used to remove an opponents stone from play if that stone is in the free guard zone. This rule was implemented for all Grand Slam events for the 2014 – 2015 curling season.
FLASH When a takeout is called but the shooter fails to hit any other stones. Also known as a "Flyby".
FREE GUARD ZONE Any stone that is in between the tee line and the hog line but not in the house is in the free guard zone. The free guard zone rule says you cannot remove an opponents stone that is in the free guard zone until your teams 3rd delivered stone of the end.
FREE GUARD ZONE RULE The first 4 stones (2 for each team) of an end cannot be used to remove an opponents stone from play if that stone is in the free guard zone. This rule was adopted to create more scoring opportunities.
FREEZE A draw that finishes in front of and up against another rock.
FRONT END The lead and second are collectively referred to as the front end of the team.
FROST Under certain ambient air conditions a layer of frost can form on top of the pebble. This frost will buildup on your brush pad as you sweep and can also accumulate on the running surface of the stone. Often the outside portions of the sheet will have more frost.
FUDGE When a stone travels over ice that has had most of its pebble worn down it may "fudge up" and slow down suddenly. Similar to a pick but not caused by debris.
FUN-SPIEL A bonspiel where the goal is more about having fun than winning or losing.
GLOVES Curling gloves have added padding for protection while sweeping. They may also be lined for warmth.
GRIPPER Slips over the shoe to cover up the slider and provide good traction on the ice. Same as "Anti-Slider"
GUARD A rock between the hog line and the house used to thwart the opposition from hitting a rock in the house.
HACK A rubber foot hold used to push off of when curlers deliver the rock (like starters blocks in track). It is about 132 feet from the scoring area.
HACK WEIGHT Throwing the stone just hard enough to reach the hack.
HAMMER The last rock thrown in each end.
HANDLE Attached to the top of the stone. The handle allows you to control the stone as you slide out in your delivery. Also used to refer to the amount of rotation on a stone when it is delivered. Such as "They didn't have enough handle on that one."
HARD Sweeping for maximum effectiveness. Trying to make the rock travel as far and/or straight as possible. Same meaning as "Hurry". These terms can also be combined as in "Hurry Hard!"
HEAVY Throwing a rock with more weight (speed) than what the skip called for.
HEAVY ICE When the ice is "slow" and the rocks have to be thrown harder.
HIT A shot that is intended to make contact another stone. Similar to a Takeout but a more general description of any shot where the delivered stone will make contact with another stone.
HIT & ROLL A shot designed to take out an opponent's rock and then roll the shooter to a designated spot, such as behind a guard.
HIT WEIGHT The weight thrown for a takeout. The normal hit weight that teams play for takeouts can vary. It is important for hit weight to be consistent within the team so it is easier for the skip to call the shots.
HOG LINES Located 21 feet from each T-line. A rock must be released before the near hog line, and travel beyond the far hog line, or it is removed from play.
HOG LINE VIOLATION Touching the handle of a stone during delivery after the leading edge of the stone reaches the hog line The penalty for a hog line violation is the loss of that shot.
HOGGED ROCK If a delivered stone does not make it completely across the far hog line it is considered hogged and removed from play. One exception is that if the delivered stone hits another stone that was in play preventing it from completely crossing the hog line the delivered stone is considered in play even though it is not completely across the hog line. Hogged rock can also refer to a stone that is removed from play due to a hog line violation by the person delivering the stone.
HOUSE The round scoring area, 12 feet in diameter, with concentric circles of four and eight feet in diameter inside.
HURRY A command shouted by the skip or shooter to tell the sweepers to sweep.
ICE The playing surface for a curling game.
ICEMAKER The person in charge of maintaining the ice. They are responsible for scraping, pebbling, and maintaining the proper ice and ambient air conditions that are necessary for good curling ice.
IN-OFF Using a stone to redirect the delivered stone onto an otherwise inaccessible stone.
IN-TURN Releasing the stone with a turn of the wrist that tends to bring the elbow in towards the body. This turns the stone clockwise for a right handed curler and counter-clockwise for a left handed curler.
INSERT A disk of granite that is inserted into a stone to be used as the running surface. Inserts allow the granite best suited to be used for the running surface of a stone to be paired up with the granite best suited for impact.
INSIDE Sliding off the intended line of delivery in a direction closer to the intended destination of the shot. Same as "Narrow".
JAM When playing a takeout and the object stone is hit by the delivered stone but then unintentionally hits another stone and remains in play. Skips need to be aware of jam possibilities as they call the line for a takeout.
KEEN ICE When the ice is "fast" and less momentum is needed on the rock. Same as fast or quick ice.
LAST STONE DRAW (LSD) During National and World competitions, to determine which team will begin the game with the Hammer, each team, during the last 2 minutes of their pre-game practice, must deliver a stone clockwise and counter-clockwise, trying to get each stone to stop so that it is covering the button of the house. Teams are allowed to sweep, just as if it were a shot played during a game. Each shot is then measured for distance from the button. If the button is covered, the distance is recorded as zero. Stones that are not in the house are recorded as 73 inches. After the first stone has been measured, it is removed and the 2nd stone for the LSD is delivered. The two distances are then added together. Which ever team has the lowest combined distance has the choice to deliver the first or second stone of the first end. Each player must deliver stones for the LSD at least 2 times during the competition event.
LAZY HANDLE Releasing a stone with little rotation. A soft release usually results in a lazy handle.
LEAD The player who delivers the first two rocks of each end, alternating with the opponent's lead. The lead throws mainly guards and draws. These first 2 rocks are critical for executing the desired strategy for each end.
LIGHT Not delivering the stone with enough force to achieve the skips desired outcome.
LINE The path the stone is traveling on. The initial line of delivery is from the starting point of the stone in the hack to the skips brush at the far end. As the stone begins to curl down the ice the line changes. A skip might yell "Line!" to the sweepers indicating that the stone needs to be swept to hold the line or prevent the rock from curling more.
LITTLE ROCKS Lighter weight curling stones used by children to begin learning the game. Little rocks can be the same size as standard stones or they can be smaller.
LOSING THE HANDLE When a delivered stone begins with rotation but then as it moves down the ice the rotation slows down or stops. This could happen because of the ice conditions, a lazy handle, or from the stone hitting a piece of debris on the ice.
LSFE Last Stone First End. This acronym is commonly used to indicate which team started the game with the hammer. After the first end the team with the hammer can be determined by the score in the previous end.
LYING Referring to which team is count and how many counters they have. When a team is "lying 3" it means they have 3 stones, in the House, closer to the button than the closest opponents stone.
MATE The person who holds the brush when it is the Skip's turn to throw. A synonym for "Vice-Skip".
MEASURING STICK The device used to accurately measure how far a stone is from the pin. Modern measuring sticks may be accurate to the thousandth of an inch. Used when two or more stones are too close to call visually.
MIXED Curling with 2 men and 2 women on the team. Mixed Curling requires the men and women to alternate in their teams shooting order. Many countries have a Mixed National Championship, including the United States, but there is no World Championship of Mixed Curling.
MIXED DOUBLES Doubles curling where each team consists of one man and one woman. There is an annual World Mixed Doubles Championship, which began in 2008.
NARROW A rock delivered inside the intended line of delivery, or closer to the intended destination of the shot. Same as "inside."
NEGATIVE ICE When a skips brush is positioned such that the delivered stone must travel the opposite direction that it would normally curl to make the shot. If a skip is calling negative ice you might think the shot calls for an out-turn when they are actually playing an in-turn (and vice versa). Negative ice is played when there is a fall in the ice.
NEVER An exaggerated sweep call meaning do not sweep. Contrary to the meaning of the term it is not unusual for a call of "Never" to be shortly followed up with a call of "Hard!"
NIPPER Used to shave off the very top of the pebble before a game. This helps to condition the ice, making it more consistent at the start of a game. Freshly pebbled ice is slower than ice that has been nipped or played on.
NO BOUNCE Commonly called out when attempting a freeze to indicate that it is better for the shooter to stop before making contact with another rock than to slightly tap another stone. Sometimes even a small tap can make a big difference in what shot may be available for your opponent.
NO HANDLE When the delivered stone is released with no rotation. The path of a rock with no handle will be unpredictable. (Like a knuckle-ball in baseball)
NORMAL Term used to indicate normal hit weight is required for this shot. Normal hit weight can vary between teams.
NOSE HIT A nose hit results in the delivered stone remaining stationary after impacting a stone and the impacted stone continuing on the same path as the shooter.
NUMBER SYSTEM A system developed to help communicate where the stone is expected to stop. The most common system uses the numbers 1-10 with 1, 2, 3 being guards, 4 is top 12, 5 is top 8, 6 is top 4, 7 is the tee line, 8 is back 4, 9 is back 8 and 10 is the back 12. The sweepers call out the number of where they think the stone will stop. This helps the skip determine if the shot needs to be swept for line or if a plan B needs to be called.
OFF Stop sweeping. Some teams may continue to clean the ice when the skip calls Off. Similar terms include "Right off" or "Whoa."
OPEN Referring to a stone that is not guarded.
OUT OF STONES When a team does not have enough stones in play or remaining to be thrown to at least tie the game. When a team is out of stones they lose and the game is over.
OUT-TURN Releasing the stone with a turn of the wrist that tends to bring the elbow away from the body. This turns the stone counter-clockwise for a right handed curler and clockwise for a left handed curler.
OUTSIDE Sliding outside the intended line of delivery in a direction further from the intended destination of the shot. Same as "Wide."
PAPER CLUB A curling club that formed but does not yet have any access to ice to curl on. Paper clubs may form so they can begin raising funds in hopes of establishing curling in their area.
PAPERED When a rock passes by another rock so closely that it doesn't look like you could have fit a piece of paper between them.
PEBBLE Pebble refers to the tiny water droplets that cover the ice surface. Before each game the ice is pebbled by using a water canister with a specialized nozzle or pebble head (think shower head) that creates water droplets in the correct size and pattern. If the ice was perfectly flat (no pebble) the friction between the ice and the rocks would be so great that it would be almost impossible to get a rock to slide to the far end of the ice.
PEEL A shot that is intended to remove another stone and then roll out of play (removes both stones from play). Usually thrown with heavy or up weight.
PICK When a stone hits a piece of debris on the ice causing it to change path.
PIN The center of the house. If a measurement is needed the pin is the anchor point for the measuring device.
PLAN B Changing the desired outcome of the current shot as it travels down the ice. A Plan B is called when the skip realizes the original call is no longer possible. It is very important for the skip to look for Plan B alternatives as soon as they know the original shot will not be made. Sometimes the Plan B works out better then the original call!
PLAYDOWNS A competitive tournament leading to state, national, or world championships.
PORT A space between two stones that is wide enough for another stone to fit through. A narrow port has barely enough room for a stone to fit while a big or wide port has more room.
PROMOTION To tap a stone closer to the Button. Same as a Raise or Tap Back.
QUAD A takeout that removes 4 stones from play. Very rare!
RAISE A draw that raises another rock into the house. Also called a Promotion or Tap Back.
RAISE TAKEOUT Using the delivered stone to hit one rock straight back into another rock.
READING THE ICE Learning and remembering how much rocks will curl in different spots on the ice. Every sheet is different so every game one must learn how the rocks are moving on the ice for that game. For this reason it is important for the Skip to watch the paths of every rock played in their game.
REVERSE HANDLE When a stone begins rotating in one direction but ends up rotating in the opposite direction as it moves down the ice. Similar to Losing The Handle.
RIGHT OFF Stop sweeping.
RIGHT UP Keep sweeping until the stone stops. This term can be confusing since "Right up" could be interpreted to mean lift your brush off the ice. If the Skip is going to use this sweep call they should make sure the rest of their team is familiar with what they mean.
RINGS The different size rings that make up the house. Usually painted red, white, and blue.
RINK A curling team, which consist of four players, the skip, third (vice-skip), second, and lead. All players are involved in every shot, with one shooting, two sweeping, and one calling strategy. Two rinks play against each other. Commonly used with the Skip's last name as in "The Smith rink."
ROARING GAME A nickname given to the sport of curling. Originating from the sound the stones make when sliding down the ice (a dull roar).
ROCKS Also known as Stones, are made of rare, dense polished granite. Each rock has a circumference not greater than 36 inches, height not less than 4.5 inches, and weighs between 38 and 44 pounds, with 42 pounds being the standard weight. Modern rocks are now comprised of two types of granite, one for the main body of the rock and one used as an insert for the running surface of the rock.
ROLL Any movement of the delivered stone after impacting another stone.
ROTATION Refers to how much the stone is spinning as it moves down the ice. 2-3 rotations is typical for most shots.
RUB When one stone lightly touches another stone. This term is usually used when the stone in motion is not traveling vary fast, such as when throwing a draw.
RUNBACK A Raise Takeout
RUNNING SURFACE The part of the curling stone that is in contact with the ice. A narrow circular band on the bottom of the stone.
SCORING Only one rink scores per end. That being the rink with the rock(s) closest to the center of the house. The team with the highest score at the end of a game wins. The maximum score in each end is eight, which is very rare. Typically, one to three points are scored per end.
SCRAPER A large blade used to shave off all the pebble leaving a completely flat ice surface. Curling clubs vary in how often they scrape their ice but at major competitions the ice is scraped in-between every game.
SECOND The player who delivers the second two rocks (3rd and 4th) of each end for that team, alternating with the opponent's second. The Second throws more takeouts and peels. These shots are useful for preventing your opponent from controlling the play of the end.
SENSOR HANDLE Handles that incorporate sensors to determine if the stone is released before it reaches the hog line. A magnetic strip under the ice is used as a reference for the sensor to determine when the stone reaches the hog line. Capacitive sensing is used to determine when the stone is released from the hand. Sensor handles can be identified by the silver colored coating on the handle and by the LED's that turn on after the stone is delivered.
SHEET The 138-foot long, 14′ 6" to 16′ 6" wide ice playing area. The sheet's design allows play in both directions. Curling clubs typically have anywhere from 2-8 sheets of ice.
SHOES The main difference between curling shoes and regular athletic shoes are the bottoms. One shoe will have a flat textured rubber bottom for maximum traction on the ice while the other shoe will have a slider attached. The slider will be on the left foot for a right handed curler and the right foot for a left handed curler.
SHOOTER Used to refer to the current delivered stone. As in "Roll the shooter!" which means sweep the delivered stone after it has hit a stationary stone to make it roll as far as possible.
SHOT Shot can be used in multiple ways. It can refer to the delivery of a stone as in "Whose shot is it?","It's your shot", or "Nice shot!". It can also be used as in "Who's shot?" asking which team has the rock that is closest to the center of the house.
SHOT ROCK The rock that is closest to the center of the house.
SIDE LINE The out of bounds line on each side of a sheet. As soon as the edge of a stone touches the side line it is out of play. Some sheets may have a physical barrier instead of a line in the ice.
SILVER BROOM The name given to the annual World Curling Championships from 1968-1985.
SKIP Player who holds the broom as a target for shots by the other three players. Skips are team strategists and must study, or read, the ice, judge the amount of curl, and call the shots. Skips usually throw the last of two rocks of each end, but can throw lead, second or third rocks.
SLIDE When delivering a stone you push out from the hack and slide towards the Skip's brush. The goal of the slide is to get the stone and your body sliding in a straight line from the center of the hack to the Skip's brush.
SLIDER Worn on the sliding foot or part of the sliding shoe, it allows the curler to slide on the ice with very little friction during the delivery of a stone to allow for long, smooth motion and follow though. Commonly made from hard plastic or steel.
SOFT RELEASE Releasing the stone with almost no rotation of the hand and fingers. This results in a stone with very little spin or handle. A stone with little spin may curl too much or might lose its handle.
SPIEL Short for Bonspiel. A curling event normally played over a weekend.
SPINNER A stone thrown with an unusually high number of rotations which actually causes the stone to curl less and travel further down the ice than a stone thrown with normal rotation. Only in rare situations is a spinner called for.
SPIRIT OF CURLING The Spirit of Curling embodies the etiquette and courtesies expected to be shown by those who play the game.
SPLIT Using the delivered stone to tap a rock that is out of the house into the house and have the shooter then roll into the house.
SPLIT THE HOUSE Two stones from one team on opposite sides of the house. This prevents your opponent from being able to make a double takeout.
STEAL To score in an end when your team doesn't have the hammer.
STONE Also known as Rocks, are made of rare, dense polished granite. Each stone has a circumference not greater than 36 inches, height not less than 4.5 inches, and weighs between 38 and 44 pounds, with 42 pounds being the standard weight. Modern stones are now comprised of two types of granite, one for the main body of the stone and one used as an insert for the running surface of the stone.
STOPWATCH Commonly used to time rocks as they travel down the ice. The time it takes for a rock to travel a fixed distance of the ice gives an indication of the speed of the ice.
STRAIGHT ICE When the ice is not curling much. On straight ice a draw might only curl 1-2 feet.
STRIKING BAND The part of the curling stone that contacts other stones. This granite needs to be able to withstand many impacts.
SWEEPING Players sweep to make the rock travel farther, or to keep it from curling too much. Good sweepers can increase the distance a stone travels by more than 10 feet. Sweeping creates a thin film of water under the rock that allows it to glide easier. Two players are ready to sweep each shot.
"SWINGY" ICE When the ice is curling a lot. On swingy ice a draw might curl 5-6 feet.
TAKEOUT A rock the removes another rock from play and have the shooter stay in play.
TAP BACK A shot that is intended to move a stone closer to the tee line. Usually played with draw or back house weight. Also called a Raise or Promotion.
TEE (or Button) Center of the house. Also called the Pin.
TEE LINE The line perpendicular to the center line that runs through the center of the house.
THICK When a stone hits another stone closer to the nose than desired.
THIN When a stone hits another stone further away from the nose than desired.
THIRD The player who delivers the third two rocks (5th and 6th) of each end, alternating with the opponent's third. The player who holds the broom for the Skip, and who assists the Skip with game strategy. Also known as a Vice Skip or Mate.
TICK A shot where the delivered stone is intended to lightly hit a guard to push it close to the side of the sheet but not out of play. This shot is used when the free guard zone rule prevents a team from completely removing the stone from play.
TIGHT When the stone is delivered inside of the intended line of delivery. Usually if the skip yells "Hurry hard!!!" immediately after the stone is released the thrower was tight.
TIME At certain levels of competition the games will be timed. Each team starts with a set amount of time. During the game the clocks count down with only one team's clock running at a time, similar to chess clocks. If you run out of time before the delivery of your team's last stone, you lose.
TOP 12 The portion of the 12 foot circle that is in front of the tee line (closer to the hog line).
TOP 4 The portion of the 4 foot circle that is in front of the tee line (closer to the hog line).
TOP 8 The portion of the 8 foot circle that is in front of the tee line (closer to the hog line).
TOP HOUSE The portion House that is in front of the tee line (closer to the hog line).
TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS The name given to the annual Canadian Women's National Championship.
TRIPLE Removing 3 rocks from play with one shot.
UP Stop sweeping.
UP WEIGHT A takeout played with more weight than normal. Used for peels and shots where you need to move several stones.
VICE-SKIP The Vice-Skip holds the brush in the house when it is the Skip's turn to throw. The Vice-Skip normally discusses strategy more with the Skip than the other two on the team. The Vice-Skip commonly throws the fifth and sixth rocks for the team but can throw any pair.
WEIGHT The momentum, or force, behind a rock as it glides down the ice. More weight makes the stone travel faster and farther.
WHEEL A shot where the delivered stone deflects off 2 or more stones resulting in the shooter traveling back towards the delivering end. Rarely called in a game. Also called an "Around the World" shot.
WICK When one stone barely touches another stone. Similar to a "Rub."
WIDE A rock delivered outside the line of delivery or further from the intended destination of the shot. Same as "Outside."