Curling is a winter sport, played on ice. Ice is slippery, hard, cold, and wet. When normal caution is ignored, you can discover any or all of those facets, probably in that order.
- Warm up before the game. Stretching and warming muscles before going out onto the ice can help prevent injury.
- Step onto the ice gripper-foot first. Never use your slider foot to step onto the ice.
- Always be careful when stepping off the ice. Always put your slider foot up first.
- Never stop a rock with your hand. Your fingers can be crushed, especially if the rock hits another rock while you’re trying to stop it.
- Never use your foot to stop a fast-moving rock. You could lose your balance and fall. Use your broom to stop a rock.
- Always carry your broom, which you can use to avoid or break a fall in case you lose your balance.
- Watch for stray rocks and prevent rocks from going onto another sheet.
- Keep the rocks on the ice at all times. Slide the rocks-never lift them.
- Keep your feet on the ice. Walk or slide, never hop or run.
- Keep your weight on the balls of your feet. If it’s on your heels, you tend to fall backwards and bonk your head.
- If you can’t keep up with a fast-moving rock while sweeping, just let it go. It’s not worth the risk of falling and your sweeping will probably be ineffective.
Never go onto the ice when your balance is impaired from sickness, excessive alcohol, etc.
BASIC RULES TO GET YOU STARTED
Curling is played by 2 teams of 4 players. The teams alternate throws towards the circular target (called the house). The object is to have more stones closer to the centre than your opponent after all 16 stones have been thrown. Each player throws two stones, while their teammates sweep and direct the stone towards the house.
A typical game is played in 8 ends. In each end, 16 stones are thrown. Only 1 team can score in an end; the team with the closest stone to the centre (the shot rock). That team scores one point for each stone closer than their opponent’s best stone.
Your team consists of a lead, second, vice skip, and skip. Once you set your line-up for the game, you must keep it that way for the entire game. The lead throws the first two stones for your team, while the second and vice sweep. The skip will call the shot, and can help sweep if needed. (Any of the 4 positions can act as ‘skip’, but you must always throw in the order which you started.)
If you have only 3 players, the lead throws the first 3 stones, the vice throws the next 3, and the skip throws the final 2 stones. (Your forth can join in wherever when they arrive J) Subs generally should throw either lead or second.
The hammer is the last stone of the end, which is an advantage. The vice skips will flip a coin at the start of the game to determine the colour of stones and the hammer for the first end. The coin toss winner chooses first, typically choosing the hammer. The means the opponent throws first. After the end, the team that scored will throw first in the next end.
SCORING & THE SCORE BOARD
After all 16 stone have been played, the team with the stone closest to the centre wins the end. They receive one point for every stone that is closer than their opponents.
WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS IF THERE IS A DISPUTE.
Most decisions about rules are left to the skips, although in official tournaments, decisions may be left to the officials. However, all scoring disputes are handled by the vice skip. No players other than the vice skip from each team should be in the house while score is being determined. In tournament play, the most frequent circumstance in which a decision has to be made by someone other than the vice skip is the failure of the vice skips to agree on which stone is closest to the button. An independent official (supervisor at Canadian and World championships) then measures the distances using a specially designed device that pivots at the centre of the button. When no independent officials are available, the vice skips measure the distances.