The Curling Manual
Table of Contents
Section 2 - The Delivery by CurlTech
“Delivery” is the curling term for throwing the rock. Rocks are delivered, not thrown. This section documents of the entire delivery process. It is the most comprehensive documentation in the world regarding the delivery. CurlTech does not have its own delivery. Our organization simple documents the proper delivery. It is a compilation of interrelated steps and processes that allow the curler to reach their highest potential. It is the next generation of the time-tested “balanced, flat-footed” delivery and is the result of years of studying the curling greats and what made them great players. The “new era” ice conditions require finesse and precise weight control. A straight delivery (balance) with consistent weight control (tempo and timing) is described in this section. Simply stated, the CurlTech delivery is a balanced delivery with tempo.
In the first part of this section, we will focus on the delivery mechanics - how to throw a rock.
Before we get into the detail about delivery mechanics, let’s consider some history. The methods for throwing a curling rock (the delivery) have evolved over hundreds of years. In the early days it was as simple as gaining a foot-hold on the ice and hurling an object forward. In the 20th century, equipment such as rubber hacks and polished rocks were introduced. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the slide was incorporated into the delivery, thanks to Canadian curling great, Ken Watson. By adding a slippery surface to the non-hack foot, the curler could “slide” out of the hack and control the rock’s weight and direction with greater ease. It was at that time that the delivery began its accelerated evolution. Almost immediately after Watson showed curlers his slide technique, they began to modify it. The ice was rough and slow and the first modification was the toe tuck which added less friction and allowed the player to slide farther. In some cases, a lot farther. Because of this modification, a significant rule change was needed. The near hog line became a dual purpose line as the players were not allowed to slide past it (no part of the body could cross the line). Ice conditions varied around the world but most curling club ice was slow compared to today’s standards. Some thought that sliding with less effort would improve their game and they began to roll up on the toe of the sliding foot reducing foot contact with the ice. The “toe-tuck” delivery was born. Although a full-foot slide was introduced by Watson, the tuck delivery became popular for two reasons. It reduced friction on the slow surface, and allowed the curler’s body to get closer to the ice. Since the slower conditions were conducive to a takeout game instead of draw game, this delivery allowed them to better “sight” the rock toward the skip’s broom on the takeout. Again a rule change was need. Since many players were sliding, the hog line rule was changed so the body could cross the line as long as the rock was released by it. This type of long slide, toe-tuck game continued through the 1970’s but some leading-edge players preferred the stability of the full-foot slide. In the early 80s, ice conditions improved dramatically due to the introduction of purified water/ice and the use of the ice scraper as regular maintenance tool. These two things improved the speed of the ice and curling began a rapid evolution to an aggressive, draw-type game and the need for the tuck delivery was no longer. In 1990 the Free Guard Zone rule further propelled the game to finesse and draws.
Delivery Mechanics Overview
The delivery, described by CurlTech is a no-lift, balanced, flat-footed delivery with tempo. At first glance, it looks no different than most other balanced, flat-footed deliveries. Only after breaking down the parts can you fully realize the difference (and the value). Balance (the body directly over the sliding foot) and Tempo (rhythm and timing) make up the foundation of the delivery and will be stressed in many different sections. Several things make the CurlTech delivery different from other deliveries. The first is the use of large AND small muscles to throw the rock. Most other delivery methods stress the large muscles of the legs as the key power generator. The delivery skills taught here, when done properly, will become seamless. Nothing about the delivery is stepped or broken. This is critical for the development of the body’s kinesthetic sense of motion (kinesthetic sense of motion refers to the body’s interpretation of relative movement through a variety of sensory inputs) needed for judging draw weight and achieving overall rock control.
Since the delivery method discussed here incorporates many muscles working in unison, no one muscle is dominant. Consistency and weight judgment are improved. Also, in tense situations, this delivery is less susceptible to nervousness and stress as many body parts are incorporated.
The CurlTech delivery can be used by the novice curler as well as the Olympian. It is designed for ease of use AND maximum performance.
Delivery Mechanics – How to Throw a Rock
The delivery mechanics for throwing a rock can be broken down into five steps.
2. Forward Press
3. Drawback and Step (rock then foot)
4. Slide (rock then foot)
Let’s break things down even further. The following is a detailed description of how the delivery works.
A Quick Note: All descriptions of the delivery are for right-handed players. Lefties please adjust.
Setup refers to the body position in the hack. It is the starting point of the delivery. Begin this process as your opponent’s rock is traveling down the ice. When your skip is ready to call the shot, you’ll be ready. Use the following steps for a proper setup.
a) Retrieve the proper rock for delivery. Move to the hack and step into it by placing the ball of your foot against the back of the hack, toe pointing toward the broom.
b) Most of your weight should be on your hack foot at this time. It will stay there for the beginning portion of your delivery.
c) Drop to a comfortable squatting position with approximately 70-80% of your body weight on the hack foot. Keep your back straight but relaxed.
If you are unable to squat in the hack, simply position the feet as described earlier, bend the knees slightly and grip the rock. You are now in the “hips-up” position without squatting. Press the rock forward and begin the next step (d).
d) Clean the rock - Flip the rock and clean the running surface. With the rock still inverted, clean the ice under the rock with your broom then replace the rock in position. Do this to the side to keep debris away from the sliding area.
e) Place your sliding foot flat on the ice, slightly ahead and to the left of the hack foot (heel to toe). There should be about one inch between the toe of the hack foot and the heel of the sliding foot.
Figure 2-1. Setup position.
f) Point the knee of your hack leg directly at the skip’s broom. The shoulders and hips must also be square to the broom at this point.
g) Holding the broom with the pad facing up, place the head of the broom ahead of your sliding foot. The broom handle should be gripped about a foot from the brush head. The grip point depends on the length of your arm and body. It should be in a position to comfortably hold the broom with the head in the correct position with the left arm slightly flexed. It is important to keep the head of the broom clearly ahead of your sliding foot throughout the delivery. Allowing the broom to fade back in the delivery may move your left shoulder back and out of "square".
If you throw with a sliding device, place your hand on top of the device with a soft grip. Make sure your left hand is even with your right hand to ensure shoulder alignment.
h) Position the rock directly under your throwing shoulder. For most people, this is just to the side of your hack foot (other starting points are discussed later in this section). The imaginary line between your starting point and the skip’s broom is known as the “line of delivery” (also discussed later). Your throwing arm must have a small degree of flex at the elbow at setup.
i) Grip the rock - Place your fingers under the handle until your middle finger is positioned in the center of the rock (directly over the center axis of the rock). Hold the handle with the first set of pads on the fingers (closest to your palm). Your palm however, should never touch the handle. Bring your thumb across the handle to the other side and place it near, but not touching, the tip of your index finger. Keep the wrist high without feeling awkward. Your hand should remain in this position throughout the delivery. Cock the handle in the opposite direction of the intended turn. This is cocked left for in-turns and to the right for out-turns. The position should be at a 45 degree angle for both turns. Keep this angle throughout the delivery until you are ready to release the rock.
Figure 2-3. Front view of the proper setup position. She starts the rock under her throwing shoulder although there are options here.
Once you are comfortable in the setup position, the skip has called the shot and the sweepers are ready, the fluid motion of the delivery (and the proper tempo) begins. Start by moving the rock slightly forward approximately 2 - 4 inches. This “press” is the beginning of your body’s kinesthetic sense of motion and is the first step in establishing proper tempo in the delivery, which again is critical to proper weight judgment. Remember to maintain the grip and 45 degree angle described earlier.
As the rock is pressed forward, your lower body should remain still. Move only at the waist and keep both arms slightly flexed at the elbow. Your knee may drop slightly but try to avoid pressing forward with just your arm. This will take your shoulders out of square before you begin the delivery.
Some instructors are teaching the delivery with no forward press. DO NOT eliminate this step. It is essential for proper tempo and weight control.
3. The Drawback and Step – Rock then foot
This component is one of the most important in the delivery. Generating power and tempo in the delivery is critical to controlling the rock. Power generation starts with the draw back as the hips are slightly elevated and shifted back. This positions the hips slightly up and definitely back which enables your body to shift forward and drop into position in the next step. The remaining power will be generated from leg drive and the arm extension, discussed later. During the draw/step, think of drawing-in energy then directing the energy forward toward the skip’s broom.
Here’s how it works. Begin by drawing the rock back. Immediately after the rock starts back, lift your hips up (slightly) and back. Leave your sliding foot in place for a moment. Then, as your hips are approaching top-dead-center, take a step back onto your sliding foot. When done properly, the sliding foot moves from the setup position to the step position rather quickly (Figure 2-4). The term step refers to putting pressure on the sliding foot at its farthest back position (heel to toe). From the setup position, simply move the sliding foot back into position and put your body weight on it. This requires lifting your hips and upper body with your hack leg. The sliding foot should now be about 12 inches behind its setup position. Your throwing arm will almost be straight. At this point, your hips should be back (anywhere from directly over the hack to well behind it, depending on the shot, your skill level and ice conditions) and one to two feet higher than the setup position with a slight bend at the knee. Your weight has shifted to the sliding foot with the foot about two to four inches behind the hack. It is very important that the sliding foot is directly behind the position it started in, straight back from setup. If your weight is not on the sliding foot at this point, you have not shifted your weight properly, giving up critical delivery power and control. Remember, to be perfectly fluid, step back only after you have begun the drawback and elevation. This allows the step to be quicker, adding tempo to the delivery.
Figure 2-4. Weight shifts onto the back foot. Notice the hips are behind the hack at this point. The height of the hips will depend on your comfort level, individual style, skill and experience. Elevate your hips no higher than this.
Think of this motion as an opportunity to create a pendulum action with your hips. Many will argue that consistent draw weight was achieved through the pendulum motion of the old back swing delivery. We agree to some extent and think that the “hips up and back” position is very similar to the back swing motion. To maintain the proper tempo in the delivery, don’t shift your weight back any farther after you’ve stepped onto the sliding foot. This interrupts the pendulum-like motion by creating a flat movement back. It also disrupts the tempo of the delivery.
One acceptable option for the draw/step is to elevate your hips during the forward press. Use this if you can’t lift the hips while stepping back. By the end of the press, the hips are fully elevated, ready for the Draw/Step move. (This is the fluid version of the trunk lift).
Figure 2-5. Hips shifted up and back. Legs and shoulders square to the broom. She draws the rock back on the centerline.
3a. Unleashing the Power - Transitioning from the Drawback/Step to the slide.
Now is the time to generate real power in the delivery. Power refers to the strength of the forward motion. Power equals control. The more power generated the more control you will have over the rock (and your game).
The term “timing” is widely used to describe certain movements in the delivery, particularly how the sliding foot comes into play after the Drawback/Step move. Timing (really a delay of the sliding foot) allows the upper body to drop into place and provide added power to the delivery. CurlTech uses the term Foot Delay to more accurately describe this process.
Once your hips are up and back, begin moving the rock forward toward the skip’s broom without moving your sliding foot (delay). Your body will follow the rock (except for the sliding foot). This puts the rock in front of your body keeping it on the line-of -delivery.
Leave your sliding foot behind the hack until the rock is 2-3 feet in front of the hack, half way to the back line. (Figure 2-6). As your body moves forward over the hack and then over the ice, quickly bring your sliding foot to a position under the center of your upper body. Your foot should “catch” your body as it drops. Try and wait until the last moment to bring your sliding foot forward and place it in a position on the ice that will allow your body to balance over it. As a reference, the rock should almost be halfway between the hack and the back line as the sliding foot is crossing the hack. The combination of the fast sliding foot motion and the weight of your body coming forward and down to the delivery position will generate the power needed. With this combination move, you will generate enough power to throw the wide range of shots with accuracy and consistency. This allows you to generate power using the entire body instead of just the hack leg. Calibrating draw weight is MUCH easier using this method. Be careful not to kick your sliding foot past the center of your body (too far right). The result will be a drift to the right, as your body is not balanced over the sliding foot.
Figure 2-6. The sliding foot delays slightly before moving forward. This stop-action photo shows the body during the foot delay. Notice the rock is forward and the sliding foot is still back.
A correct Foot Delay is an athletic move and requires a certain amount of coordinated body movements and leg strength. It requires practice. Start slow by delaying the sliding just a little bit and work into it.
See the paragraph on “Managing the Foot Delay” later in this section.
At this point, with your foot still back, move the rock forward by moving your body toward the skip’s broom. After the rock is moving, catch your body by quickly moving the sliding foot out and under the chest. At the same time gently push out of the hack with your leg. The leg drive should perfectly compliment the weight given to the rock by weight shift and body drop. Leg drive is roughly 30% of the total power of the delivery. The body dropping down as a result of the foot delay will generate about 60% of the power with arm extension representing the remaining 5-10%. Excessive leg drive produces more of a “push” from the large leg muscles (quadriceps) instead of a fluid “throw” from the whole body. This is the major difference between the CurlTech delivery and the others.
As you slide out, you will now transfer all of your weight from the hack foot to the sliding foot. This is the most difficult part of the curling delivery. Your sliding foot should move in behind the rock with the heel on the line of delivery and behind the center of the rock. Once your sliding foot is in place, the heel should be underneath your sternum. Try to angle your sliding foot out at this point. By turning the foot to the left (out) you increase the sliding area of the foot. Approximately 30-45 degrees is optimal however, some people cannot turn their foot in this manner. Turning the foot is not delivery-critical. It simply helps you balance. It does however help turn your sliding leg out (called an “open hip”) which helps the body stay square to the broom. Angling the sliding leg in (called a “closed hip”) may angle your body to the right, Figure 2-8, making alignment more difficult. After the initial weight transfer, the slide should be established. This should occur at or before the tee line. Figure 2-7 shows an established delivery with an open hip, ready for release.
Figure 2-7. A proper, balanced slide with a good “open” hip. Notice the sliding foot “peeking” out from the side of the rock with the heel on the line-of-delivery.
Figure 2-8. A closed-hip delivery. Notice the body aiming slightly to our left by a few degrees. It is not improper but it does cause alignment issues. This makes the in-turn shot more difficult (normally aligned inside the broom).
Video 2-1. Watch the delivery in full speed. Pay close attention to the two foot delays. One delay as she’s drawing the rock back and the other as she’s moving the rock forward. Rock, foot, rock foot.
<Insert Delivery Video 2>
Video 2-2. Here’s the delivery from the front view. She starts behind the hack, drops into the setup position, cleans the rock and delivers.
Once your delivery is established, no downward pressure should be on the rock or the broom (sliding device) at this point. As a practical matter though, the broom can be used to help you stay upright if you inadvertently place the sliding foot too far right. It also helps newer curlers not fall while they practice good balance. Perfect balance is great but, as mentioned earlier, the goal is not to put excess pressure on the rock or broom. Your hack foot should trail directly behind your body, on the line of delivery.
Your upper body should be roughly 30-45 to the ice at this time. This position allows good balance and visualization of the entire plane in front of you. A position that is too low will not allow the visualization of the plane while a position too high will not allow good broom alignment and sighting.
Your grip should be soft at this point with the handle still coked at 45 degrees and some bend at the elbow (finesse not strength). NO ROTATIONAL PRESSURE SHOULD BE APPLIED IN EITHER DIRECTION UNTIL RELEASE. Think of the slide as the time to “lay the rock down for your sweepers”. A nice, smooth slide with no rock movement will keep the rock on the line of delivery.
Your broom head is still clearly ahead of your sliding foot and your shoulders are square. The broom should be resting on the ice with minimal pressure. (If one of the sweepers kicked it, your delivery would still be sound)
As you slide through the house, your arm should still be slightly flexed and the handle still cocked. They both should remain this way until just a few feet from the intended release point which, depending on how much power is being generated by the delivery, should be somewhere near the hog line.
All of the rock's rotation is applied within a 4-5 foot area by shifting the handle from the cocked position to the or hand shake position.
At this point all of the energy from the delivery is hopefully moving toward the skip’s broom.
When you are four or five feet from the release point, begin rotating your rock and straightening your arm. The flexed arm allows you to “throw” the rock instead of just letting it go. This is known as a “positive” release, referring to the solid rotation of the rock and the forward movement of the arm toward the skip’s broom. Keep the energy moving forward by applying the release evenly with no lateral movement.
Application of the Handle in Detail
In order to keep the rock on the line of delivery, the rock must be rotated over its center point. The pressure that turns the rock comes from only two fingers and the thumb, depending on the turn, one finger on each side of the center point. For an in-turn, the thumb moves to the right and ring finger to the left, counter to each other. Each pressure point is the same distance from the center axis of the rock. For the out-turn, the index finger and ring finger apply the necessary pressure. For consistency and predictability, the rock should rotate approximately 2 – 2 1/2 times during the length of the shot.
Any lateral movement of the rock while putting on the turn will result in the rock moving off the line of delivery. This is where many shots are missed. Extend the arm through the base of the skip’s broom. Never raise the arm at release. This will interrupt the fluid forward motion of the release.
The Follow-Through and Post-Shot Assessment
The follow-through is also a key component of the delivery. It is important to stay in the sliding position for several seconds after letting go of the rock. This will prevent you from "popping up" too early and will also give you a good look at the shot as it travels down the ice. This is valuable in the assessment process that each player should go through immediately following the shot. To improve balance and build leg strength, hold the balanced delivery position until you stop. Never rest your hand on your sliding foot. This will create a balance dependency in the follow-through and reduce overall balance consistency. Avoid the temptation to follow directly behind the shot. This is a team sport and the other players on your team have control of your rock. After release, consider this the “hand-off” point to your sweepers and skip.
Watch the rock as it travels down the ice. This will allow you to see the rock’s overall path for future reference. The farther away you are the better your overall view of the entire shot. The skip and sweepers are usually prepared to handle the sweep calls.
Do not rest your bare hand on the ice for longer than an instant. Your body temperature will melt and damage the ice in a matter of moments. Also, never rest your knee on the ice for longer than a few seconds. Even with pants on, your body temperature will melt and damage the ice.
During the assessment of each rock, determine if you’ve hit the broom with the proper weight. If it was a good shot, try and remember what it felt like so you can do it again.
If you missed the shot, try and figure out why. Make minor corrections on your next shot. Be objective and critical of your delivery. Acknowledge your mistakes. You can’t get better without learning from them.
And there you have the five steps to delivering a rock. The next sections will describe some components to a great delivery.
The Big Three – Balance, Tempo and Release
If you want to perfect your delivery, focus on the three things that are the most important.
Balance - To throw the rock straight (on the line of delivery)
Tempo – To throw consistent weight
Release – To apply rotation while keeping the rock on the line of delivery.
The term “balance” in the curling delivery means the body being centered or balanced over the sliding foot. Balance is needed to throw the rock straight and to allow the power and energy to be funneled down the line of delivery (a line AND weight issue). Your athletic ability will dictate to some degree the level of balance that can be achieved. No matter what your ability, though, balance is still a key component. Some people can balance perfectly on their sliding foot with no pressure on the rock or broom. This is an ideal situation but is not necessary for most curlers to enjoy the game. For most, balance simply means not favoring either side (rock side or broom side) during the delivery. A little pressure here and there on the rock or sliding device is not a problem for most club-level curlers. Balance allows the body to slide more upright. The more the body is upright, the straighter the slide becomes. A straight slide will produce a straight “line of delivery” giving the curler a greater chance to “hit the broom”. Refer to the Line of Delivery Section for more good information.
Balance is the number one building block to throwing the rock on the line of delivery and tempo is the building block for weight judgment. Balance allows you to slide straight and channel energy toward the skip’s broom and to throw the rock on the line of delivery without lateral movement (drifting). Focus on balancing over the sliding foot. If possible, put no weight on the rock or broom (sliding device). Without some type of balance, you will never reach your true potential as a shot-maker. Most curlers favor the broom side by leaning on the broom. This puts your body weight “off-center” and results in a drift to the right with energy being diverted to the right.
To test for proper balance, raise your broom one inch off the ice after your delivery is established (top of house). If you use a sliding device, take the pressure off the handle.
Tempo is a musical term that we can apply to the curling delivery. In our case tempo is the pace and rhythm of the delivery. More specifically, it’s the fluid pace and rhythm of the delivery. Later in this section we will talk about how tempo is incorporated into the three main steps of the delivery. A delivery with tempo helps the body control power and energy. Many other sports use tempo in the mechanics of the athletic move. A pitcher using the windup. Every golf swing, every bowler, every baseball hitter. Removing rhythm and tempo from the delivery removes the ability to naturally control the body movement essential for weight control. The timing and the flow of the moving parts will also help the fluidness of the motion.
Proper tempo mimics the old back swing delivery. Tempo keeps your body in motion, which is good. Perfect tempo can be measured by the old one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three.
One-One Thousand – Top of press
Two-One thousand – Step
Three – Sliding foot under chest
The above section described the release mechanics. Release is one of the big three because you must keep the rock on the line of delivery by keeping the energy moving forward. Any lateral movement at release will make your shot making inconsistent.
Let’s talk about how power is generated during the delivery. There are misconceptions here. There are four key power generators in the delivery. They must exist each time you throw a rock. The first two and most important are:
Followed by, to a lesser degree:
The “Foot Delay” by CurlTech, is also a key delivery component. If done properly, it is seamless. The Foot Delay refers to the sliding foot being delayed two times in the delivery. Once as the rock is drawn back and another as the body moves forward to slide. The second delay allows the body to drop slightly down and forward”. This allows gravity to help generate power. It is covered in detail later in this section.
The rules permit a player to deliver a rock with a broom, without a broom or with a sliding device. The use of a sliding device began in the late 1990’s. Devices such as the Crutch or Stabilizer can be used by the novice curler to help achieve a more upright, balanced-like delivery.
ALL new curlers should learn with a sliding device. As you begin to master the balanced delivery, transition to your broom for sliding purposes. Proficient adult curlers will transition to a broom from the sliding device after curling for one or two years. If balance is difficult (or impossible) to achieve, we recommend the permanent use of a sliding device. This allows you to place a little weight on the broom side of the body. As mentioned earlier, the more weight you put on the broom or sliding device, the more your body will be out of square and a drift right will occur. If you need the device for any reason, try to use as little pressure as possible.
Don’t allow the ease-of-use of the sliding device to prevent you from achieving a balanced delivery. We’ve seen capable curlers never achieve a good balanced delivery (causing line of delivery and weight problems) because of the sliding device. It’s very easy to simply lean on the device and feel comfortable.
The sliding device can also cause some logistics problems with your team. After delivery, the device must be placed at the opposite end of the sheet in preparation for the next end. Front-end players (lead and second) are not allowed outside the hog lines during the end unless they are throwing, sweeping or preparing to sweep. Moving though the house area with your sliding device is a violation of the rules and may be distracting to your opponent. Using a team sliding device (everyone slides with the same device) is a better option. Each player simply hands off the device to the next player. You may even have two, one at each end.
A note about sliders.
The sliders that are built into curling shoes are faster and more stable than the slip-on sliders used by newer curlers. Stability is necessary for good balance. As soon as possible, invest in a good pair of curling shoes for improved stability and balance. The best shoes for stability are ones with a thick Teflon slider on a shoe with a good, stable, high-grade leather upper. Shoes with a full, thick slider on the whole surface are more stable.
CurlTech Choice for shoes:
#1 ¼ inch full Teflon, two holes and a firm, leather upper
#2 ¼ inch full Teflon, two holes on any other shoe
Teflon sliders come in two types, the full and the pad type. Pad types have two pieces of material, one on the heel and one on the front foot. These sliders are more comfortable to walk in since they “hinge” in the middle. Full sliders are more stable. This is why we recommend them.
The responsibility of the person delivering the rock is to throw the proper weight on the proper line (hitting the broom). Because sweeping can add 8-10 feet of distance to a rock, the thrower only has to hit the "weight window". Depending on the quality of your sweeping, the window is approximately eight to ten feet deep, meaning that if a rock is thrown ten feet short of the intended stopping point, the sweepers can increase the distance. So, any rock thrown inside the weight window is thrown correctly. For sweepers to effectively manage the rock placement, the ideal weight is in the middle of the weight window. It is then up to the sweepers to complete the shot. If a rock is thrown beyond the intended stopping point, there is nothing the sweepers can do to help. In other words, it’s better to be a little light than a little heavy on draw shots.
The size of the weight window depends on the ice conditions and the sweepers. It ranges from a zero foot window with no sweepers to approximately a twelve foot window with two world class sweepers. Which one do you want?
Determining proper weight is difficult to teach because it relies mostly on the body’s sense of position and movement. This kinesthetic sense is different with all players. Practice, and the level of fluidity in the delivery will dramatically increase this skill.
One of the most commonly asked question from beginning curlers is “how do I adjust the delivery for different weights”. Several different weights are required to throw all of the shots in curling. In addition, ice conditions are different from club to club. They may even be different within the club, where the conditions are constantly changing. From guards to heavy peels, the CurlTech delivery can accommodate.
The answer to the above question is that all power generators of the delivery need to get stronger for stronger shots. Specifically, the weight shift, body drop (slider foot delay) and to a certain degree, leg drive.
For example, on heavier shots and heavier ice, the weight shift may change from the hips being over the hack to hips being completely behind the hack. Body Drop may change from a slight delay to a long delay. Leg drive may change from almost nothing to a full push. Arm extension may change from a slow extension to a quick one. Extra power is also needed with small-framed or petite curlers. The body weight/rock weight ratio changes significantly from a 100 lb. frame to a 185 lb. frame. The smaller framed curler must use the extra power to throw all shots. The rock is 42% of the 100 lb. curler’s body weight. This is equivalent to the 185 lb. curler throwing a 78-pound rock!
Changing weight first depends on the body’s ability to generate power and ice conditions at the time. Each person has a varying degree of athleticism. This is a big factor when it comes to describing how to adjust weight. Early thinking on the no-lift delivery centered on leg drive. More weight – more leg drive. Less weight – less leg drive. This is not the case. The leg muscles cannot be tuned finely enough for the subtle changes needed, particularly on fast ice
As a general rule, curlers should generate enough power to slide through the hog line.
Now that we understand the power generators, we must adjust them all when adjusting weight. The following matrix is directional only. Each curler will differ. Use it as a base point and modify if necessary. The first matrix describes how the power generators may work throwing different shots on different ice conditions.
Large Frame Hips slightly behind hack Medium Small
Small Frame Hips behind hack Medium Medium
Junior Hips behind hack Large Medium
Takeout on 23-second ice.
Large Frame Hips behind Medium Medium
Small Frame Hips well behind hack Large Large
Junior Hips well behind hack Large Large
Draw on 25-second ice.
Large Frame Hips over hack Small Negligible
Small Frame Hips over hack Small Small
Junior Hips over hack Medium Medium
Takeout on 25-second ice.
Large Frame Hips over hack Medium Small
Small Frame Hips behind hack Medium Medium
Junior Hips behind hack Large Medium
As you can see, the delivery can compensate for different ice conditions. Use these to start and modify as needed.
Weight Control Simplified
Many curlers over-think the weight control necessary to make most shots. As it relates to draws, there are an infinite number of places a rock can stop between the hog and the back line. A common question is “how do I change my weight for all these different shots. The CurlTech suggestion is to break down all draw shots into three weights.
This refers to a reference point delivery that you can practice. It should be your top of the house weight at your club. If you can zero-in on your default delivery, the other two weights can easily be achieved on demand. All guards (short-of-the-house) can be thrown ten feet shorter than your default. Hack weight to bumper weight (through-the-house) can be thrown ten feet farther than default.
Try not to throw shots to their exact spot. Remember sweeping can add eight feet or so.
The foot delay and can be difficult for some. If you are not comfortable with the mechanics, start by not delaying the foot at all. This may be more comfortable. Slowly try to delay the foot more and more. You can still make all the shots without the delay. Fine tuning your draw weight and throwing harder weight takeouts will require a delayed foot.
Timing Rocks (to measure ice speed)
Many curlers use stopwatches to help gauge the speed of the ice. By timing the rock's travel, you may be able determine how fast or slow the ice is compared to your club and to judge relative changes in the ice speed throughout the game. Players time draw shots in two different ways, short times and long times.
Time a rock from the hog line to the tee line (some time rocks from hog to hog). A typical hog-to-tee time for a draw on normal ice is between 23 and 25 seconds. Long times are very consistent and don’t vary between players. It is the best tool for monitoring ice conditions during the game and is the one number that is not player specific. It can be used with all four players.
The higher the number, the faster the ice (25 seconds is faster than 24)
This is counter-intuitive. The terms fast and slow refer to the ice conditions and not the rock speed. Imagine trying to throw a rock ten feet on a concrete surface. Because of the rough surface of concrete, the rock would quickly decelerate and you would have to throw the rock extremely hard and fast to cover that distance. As the rock travels over the concrete, it slows down rapidly and may only take one or two seconds to come to rest. Now imagine throwing the rock the same distance (ten feet) on ice. Since ice is much smoother and slicker than concrete, much less energy is required to move the rock ten feet. This rock actually is moving slower and traveling for a longer period of time. It may take five or six seconds to come to rest.
In the early ends of a game, the ice may be a bit frosty or may have a fresh pebble. This means more friction, similar to the concrete example above. As the game continues, the pebble slowly wears away and the sweeping removes most of the frost. The ice gets faster as the game continues. Draw times at the beginning of a game may be 22 to 23 seconds. This will most likely increase to 24 or 25 seconds toward the middle ends. Be careful not to assume that the ice is the same speed in all areas. A faster track is created down the center of the sheet. An area approximately three feet on either side of the centerline is usually faster than the outer edges. The reason for this is most rocks travel down this fast-track area. It is also caused by the polishing of the ice resulting from sweeping and by the polishing action of the sweeper’s shoes. Shots thrown on the outer edges can be a second slower than the center track. In the later ends however, the fast track area begins to flatten-out due to the number of rocks, footwork and sweeping. This leads to a slower area called a flat spot or “fudge” spot and the ice gets slower. This happens sometimes in longer, more competitive games.
As a sweeper, don't try to judge draw weight from times alone. Timing helps judge relative ice speed. It helps you respond to changes in the ice surface during a game. It also helps you judge ice speed at other club's relative to your own club. As mentioned in the Sweeping Section, try to get a “sense” of draw weight first. Use stopwatch times to enhance your skills.
Most curlers measure the ice speed using short times or split times. Typically, a short time is the time a rock travels from the back line to the nearer hog line. Draw numbers like 3.75 seconds and 3.85 seconds are common. Because of different delivery types, short times can change by player. We prefer you use long times to judge conditions and let the sweepers use short times as a sweeping tool.
Using short times as a sweeping tool is very effective. It is discussed in the Sweeping Section.
Use the power of positive thinking when preparing to shoot. Remember that games should be played swiftly (fifteen minutes per end maximum) so don’t spend too much time here. This process should take a moment.
Mechanics of the pre-shot mental preparation:
1. Prior to setup, try to anticipate the shot called.
2. Get in the proper setup position and clean the rock.
3. Understand the shot called (confirm with sweepers if necessary).
4. Visualize perfect mechanics.
5. Visualize perfect weight and line.
6. Visualize a fluid delivery
7. Visualize success.
8. Channel your focus.
It is important to visualize the weight and line before visualizing the completed shot. The entire setup and mental preparation process should take less than 10 seconds. Visualizing the completion of the shot instead of the components may train you to “steer” the rock toward its destination instead of throwing at the skip’s broom with proper weight. Trust your skip. If the broom is wrong adjustments can be made on the next shot.
CurlTech receives many requests to analyze individual deliveries. Our first response to curlers would be to ask the following questions:
If a curler can answer yes to both questions, no changes are necessary, even if the delivery is not proper. A proper delivery simply helps the curler be consistent with line and weight. Of course most curlers answer no to both questions. This is where delivery analysis and troubleshooting comes into play. The following matrix will help identify any problems with your delivery. These apply to right handed curlers. Lefties please adjust.
Delivery Quick Reference
· Ball of your foot on the back of the hack.
· Squat with weight on the hack foot*
· Sliding foot ahead of hack foot
· Left hand (grip on broom or device) in front of the sliding foot
· Cock the handle at 45 degrees
· Move the rock slightly forward
· Draw the rock back first then the foot
· Draw under the throwing shoulder
· Simultaneously raise the hips slightly*
· Delay sliding foot then step back onto sliding foot
Move Forward and Delay the Foot
· Move the rock forward first
· Delay the sliding foot
· “Catch’ the body as it drops into the sliding position
· Position the sliding foot with the heel on the line of delivery
· Arm flexed slightly
· Handle still cocked
· Slightly extend the arm and rotate rock
· After release, continue sliding for a few seconds
*Check the manual for options