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.
The rock is released during the last few feet of the delivery. Until that time, the throwing arm remains slightly bent and the position of the rock handle is still turned as it was during setup (2 or 10 o’clock). Using the good grip established at setup, turn the handle from the turned position (2 or 10 o’clock) to 12:00 as you simultaneously extend your arm. Release the rock cleanly and follow through so that your hand finishes in the “handshake” position. The rock should rotate about two-and-a-half times during the draw shot.
The point of release should follow completion of timing and balance. A release is too early if it occurs simultaneously with, or prior to, achieving a balanced position over the sliding foot. Too late of a release point will present more opportunities to inadvertently take the rock off line, or crowd the hog line. Establishing a comfortable release point greatly increases consistency.
Take-outs will generally be released earlier than draws. A draw shot released at the top of the house will travel a different path and will have more time to curl than a rock released near the hog line. If the release point varies too dramatically from one shot to the next – or one curler to the next – the skip will have a tougher job reading the ice. The same is true for rock rotation. A more rapidly rotating rock will travel a straighter path. A slow turning rock (if it doesn’t “lose its handle”) will tend to curl more. Consistent rotation makes it easier for the skip to read the ice.