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.
Timing refers to a finely tuned sequence of movements during the delivery. The separate parts are integrated into a continuous, fluid motion essential for accuracy and consistency. There are three major movements during the delivery: Press, Drawback and Slide.
Once you are comfortable with your setup in the hack, the delivery motion begins with a forward press. Simply move the rock ahead a few inches down the line of delivery, basically to initiate motion and get the rock “unstuck” from the ice. Be sure to keep the rock’s “turn” position (2 or 10 o’clock) during the press.
Pull the rock straight back on the imaginary line from the hack foot to the skip’s broom. Make sure that the stone does not touch the hack foot. Simultaneously elevate your hips and draw them back behind the hack. At the peak of the drawback, the majority of your body weight has shifted to the hack foot and the slider foot has moved back to a point where the toe is about even with the heel of the hack foot. Your shoulders remain square to the skip’s broom and the rock’s turn position is held at either 2 or 10 o’clock.
The transition from the drawback to the forward slid involves a significant weight transfer as your hack foot pushes out of the hack. Forward movement is initiated by the rock, followed closely by the sliding foot. Your hack foot thrusts you forward and your body weight shifts almost entirely onto your sliding foot during the slide. Your hack leg trails directly behind your body. By keeping the timing and movement controlled as the sliding foot gets centered, one fluid motion is created. Your sliding foot position is the key to balance.
Many curlers kick out of the hack as soon as the forward slide begins. Leg drive should begin after the rock and your slide foot have started forward so that the body weight can be shifted smoothly from hack leg to sliding foot. To improve leg drive timing, practice delivering without the rock. Allow the sliding foot to move in gradually. As body weight is shifted to the sliding foot, initiate leg drive. Delivering without a rock is also a good way to check to see if your delivery is balanced.