The rules of curling are simple to understand, but actually scoring points can be difficult to master and requires the use of considerable strategy.
Know how teams are set up. Each game of curling is played with two teams, and each team has four members.
Each member of the team will throw two stones per end, and each of those stones is played one at a time, not back-to-back. The other players will help direct the stone toward the house. Players will determine their order of rotation before the game and follow that rotation throughout all the ends.
Understand the layout of the ice. The actual playing surface is called a sheet, an each sheet has a house and a button.
The “house” is the target or dartboard at the end of the sheet. The “button” is the bull’s eye of this target.
Both teams will aim for the same house and button.
Players will start from a position that is 57 feet (17.4 m) away from the house.
To stay in play, the stone must stop in between the hog line, which is 21 feet (6.4 m) from the center of the house, and the back line, which lies behind the house.
Send eight granite stones down the ice. During each end, each team will send eight separate granite stones (sometimes called “rocks”) down the ice toward the goal. Each stone weighs 42 lbs (19 kg).
The teams will take alternate turns. In other words, Team A will curl one stone, then Team B will curl one stone. Team A will then curl their second stone, and Team B will curl their second after that. This continues until each team has used eight stones.
Play 10 ends. To play a full game, you will need to play through a total of 10 ends. That means each team will be curling a total of 80 stones. Each end will begin with the team who won the end before it. If Team B wins the first end, Team B starts the second end. The second team actually has a greater advantage than the first, so this is done to help even out the odds.
Throw the stone. During each turn, one player will “throw” the stone by gliding it across the ice and aiming it toward the house.
The speed, force, and direction are all important. While success is not entirely dependent upon the throw alone, it is difficult to get near the button without a good starting throw.
Sweep the stone. During each throw, the other players on a team will use brooms to sweep the ice in front of the stone as it glides across the sheet.
The ice of the curling sheet is fairly rough on its own, so if a moving stone is left on its own, it will hit these rough patches and spin or “curl” across the ice. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how the throw was made and on any obstacles in the stone’s path.
The friction of the sweeping melts the ice, allowing the stone to move across it more smoothly.
If you want to keep the use moving fast and straight, you would sweet the ice directly in front of it.
If you want the stone to curl around other obstacles, you would sweep less. Doing so causes the stone to grab onto the rough ice and turn.
Practice the three main strategy shot types. Plain, straight shots are used in curling, but strategy shots are more common and usually more significant to the outcome of an end. There are three main types of strategy shots: guards, draws, and takeouts. Each has its place within a game of curling. Guards block the house from the opposing team. These shots land just in front of the house but within the scoring area. If the opposing team were to hit the stone, that stone would likely be knocked into the house, so the opposing team will usually try to avoid that area.
Draws are shots that are designed to get around the guards by curling around them. These are some of the most strategic shots you can use and some of the hardest to implement because they have to bend around the guards in precise ways to get into the house.
Takeouts are hard, fast shots that move with such great force that they completely knock one of the opposing team’s stones out of play. Some takeouts end up within the house, while others don’t, but they must at least remain within the active play zone to be considered valid.
Get stones into the house during an end. Only stones that are within the house or button can earn points.
It is possible to land a stone within the active play area but not within the house. Stones lying in these areas at the conclusion of an end will not count toward any points.
It is also possible for no one to score points during an end if neither team gets any stones in the house.
If in doubt, you can determine whether or not a stone is in the house by standing directly above it and locating its leading edge. That edge must touch the outermost margin of the house or fall within it, but it cannot go past it.
Land more stones toward the center of the button than the other team. The team with the closest stone at the conclusion of an end will be awarded the point for that end.
Only one team can earn points during an end. Even if Team A gets one stone out of eight in the house while Team B gets all eight in the house, Team A will still get the point for that end if its stone is closer to the center than any of Team B’s stones.
You can earn more than one point during an end. If Team B has three stones closer to the center than any of Team A’s stones, Team B will earn three points. With eight stones per team, per end, eight is the maximum number of points a team can score during an end.
When you cannot determine which stone is closest simply by looking at it, a referee will need to use a measuring stick to figure it out.
Tally up your points at the completion of the game. After playing through all 10 ends, each team will tally up their points. The team with the most points will win the game.
If you have a scorekeeper, the scoreboard will be updated at the end of each end with each team’s current number of points.
Things You’ll Need
Sources and Citations
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