This 5-part curling lesson on delivering the rock is reprinted from a United States Curling Association brochure. The entire brochure can be found at the bottom of this post.
DELIVERY – Rock Play
Much of the enjoyment of curling comes from delivering a rock consistently well. Once good fundamentals are achieved, any curler will be able to enjoy club-level social games or top-level competitive play. The degree of competition may change, but the fundamentals remain the same.
A sound curling delivery requires accomplishment in four technical areas: Alignment, Timing, Balance and Release. The delivery must be straight, the movements properly coordinated, the body in balance, and the release controlled and consistent. As each skill improves, so does accuracy. In addition to the technical aspects, a sound curling delivery requires a delicate “feel” for weight and sound mental skills.
Alignment refers to how you set up in the hack. A successful rock will travel down a line of delivery that reaches from the middle of the rock at the delivering end all the way to the skip’s broom at the far end. The simplest cause of missed shots is failure to set up properly in the hack.
- Grip your broom a foot or two from the brush head – place the ball of your foot at the back of the hack, and aim at the (skip’s) broom.
- Square your body’s shoulders and hips to the line of delivery (the imaginary line between the middle of the rock and the skip’s broom).
- Crouch down, staying “square to the (skip’s) broom.” Keep your back straight, but relaxed.
- Place your sliding foot flat. The heel of your sliding foot should be as far forward as the toe of your foot in the hack. Body weight is about evenly distributed on both feet.
- Place the broom comfortably under your arm and against your back, with the brush head (brush up) resting on the ice, slightly ahead of the sliding foot.
- Place the rock slightly ahead of the sliding foot and centered on an imaginary line between the center of the hack foot and the skip’s broom. From this point, everything is back or straight out on this line.
- Grip the rock by placing the middle knuckles of your fingers on the bottom of the handle and wrapping your thumb over the top. The pad of the thumb rests on the side of the handle: the handle is gently pinched between the thumb and the side of the index finger. Grip the stone directly above the middle of the stone. Keep your wrist high and your palm off the handle.
Notice that your sliding foot does not start along the line of delivery in the hack position. Some curlers try to force the foot quickly when coming out of the hack. What they do not realize is that they actually cause a drift problem by trying to correct a situation that would naturally correct itself. The best way for the sliding foot and body to end up along the line of delivery is to simply slide at the broom. By the time the body is extended into its slide position, the sliding foot will be along the line of delivery.
Unlike your sliding foot, the rock is always on the line of delivery. It is important to remember that the line of delivery runs from the skip’s broom to the middle of the rock, not to the center of the curler’s body. It is up to the curler to get the body in behind the rock during the slide. Some curlers’ bodies and sliding feet are directly behind the rock; others are running along a line parallel to the stone’s line of delivery.