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Curling 101

About the Sport

Curling has a long and rich history. While its origins are lost in the mists of time, Scottish curlers already were playing the game by the beginning of the 16th century on frozen ponds and lochs.

Their earliest equipment included stones formed by nature, each one unique. These stones often curved, or “curled,” as they slid down the ice, and the players used besoms or brooms to clear snow and debris from the path of the stones.

Today, curling is a game of strategy, finesse and strength, contested by teams generally comprised of four players. The principle of curling is simple – get your stone closer the center of the target circles, called the “house,” than your opponent. Players of all skill levels can participate and compete even at older ages than most sports allow.

Respect, honor and tradition are core elements of the game. Curlers are close knit and you can rely on a warm welcome in curling clubs throughout the world. Camaraderie among players is inherent in the sport and tradition calls for both teams to sit together after a game, discussing what was and what might have been.

Come join us.

A 2 Minute Guide to Curling


Curling Basics

Curling is a sport in which two teams (rinks) of four players each slide 40-pound granite rocks (also called stones) down a sheet of ice toward a target at the other end. Each team tries to get more of its stones closer to the center of the target than the other team.

  • Throwing rocks - Each player on the team throws two stones in each end. (An end is similar to an inning in baseball.) Each team throws eight stones in an end. The players alternate throwing with their counterpart on the other team.

  • Curling rocks - When a rock is thrown down the ice, depending on its rotation -- which is applied intentionally -- it will curl, or bend, one way or another. How much (or little) a rock curls or bends, depends largely on the conditions of the playing surface.

  • Sweeping - Sweeping makes a rock curl less and travel farther. The lead, second, and third all take turns sweeping the rocks. The skip, who is like the team’s quarterback, is the only one who doesn’t regularly sweep stones.

  • Keeping score - Once all 16 rocks have been thrown down the ice, the score for that end is counted based on the final positions of the stones in the house, (the group of circles on the ice that looks like a bull’s eye). Only one team can score in an end. A team scores one point for every rock that it has closer to the center of the house than the other team.

  • Strategy - Generally, the skip determines a rink’s strategy. During the game, the skip stands at one end of the sheet and tells his or her other three players where they should place their shots. A team’s strategy doesn’t always go according to plan. This is a part of what makes curling so much fun. No two games are alike; the unpredictability is always appealing.

The Members of a Curling Team

A team consists of four players. Each player has specific duties:
  • Lead - Throws the first two rocks of the end and then sweeps the next six. The lead usually sets up the game with guards but is not limited to this.

  • Second - Throws the third and fourth stones of the end. The second sweeps the first two stones and then the final four of the end.

  • Third/Vice - Throws the fifth and sixth rocks of the end. The third/vice also sweeps for the lead and second and then replaces the skip in the house while the skip throws the final two rocks of the end. The third/vice also posts the score at the conclusion of the end.

  • Skip - The captain of the team who decides the strategy. It is the skip’s job to tell the other players where to throw their shots and when to sweep for line. The skip usually delivers the last two shots of the end, but will sometimes throw lead/second/third rocks but still determine the strategy.

Curling Terminology

  • Blank end - An end where no points are scored.
  • Bonspiel - A tournament in which curlers compete.
  • Burning a rock - An infraction that happens when a player touches a stone as it’s traveling down the sheet.
  • Button - The very center of the target rings or house.
  • Delivery - The action of throwing a stone to the other end of the playing surface.
  • Eight-ender - A perfect end where every one of the team’s eight stones scores a point.
  • End - The way a curling game is divided. An end is like an inning in a baseball game. A curling game has either eight or ten ends.
  • Gripper - The rubberized sole of one of your curling shoes. It helps you keep your footing on the ice. See slider.
  • Hammer - The last rock of the end.
  • Hack - The foothold in the ice you use to push off from when you deliver the stone.
  • House - Also known as the rings, this is the name of the giant bull’s eye at either end of the sheet of ice. It consists of a set of concentric circles, called the 12-foot, 8-foot, 4-foot, and the button.
  • Hurry hard - A directive given to sweepers by the skip or third, to sweep vigorously for line .
  • Rock - Also known as a stone, the granite playing utensil that a curler delivers. Regular-sized rocks weigh approximately 44 pounds.
  • Sheet - The frozen playing surface on which the game is played.
  • Slider - The slippery sole of one of your curling shoes. It helps you move or slide along the ice.
  • Tee line - The line on the playing surface that runs across the middle of the house.
  • Weight - The amount of force used to deliver a stone.

Curling Etiquette


Start with a handshake. At the beginning of the game, greet the members of the opposing team with a handshake, tell them your name, and wish them “Good Curling”.

Finish with a handshake. When the game is over, offer each of the players a hearty handshake and move off the ice. The winning curlers traditionally offer their counterparts some refreshments.

Keep the ice clean. Change your shoes. Sand, grit and dirt are the ice’s worst enemy. The shoes you wear should only be used for curling. Keep them clean.

Compliment good shots, no matter which team makes them. Respect your opponent.

Be ready. Take your position in the hack as soon as your opponent has delivered his/her stone. Keep the game moving; delays detract from the sport.

Be prepared to sweep as soon as your teammate releases the rock.

After delivering your stone, move to the side of the sheet between the “hog “ lines, unless you are the skip. Leads and seconds are not permitted in “house” or “rings”, except when sweeping or to remove the stones after the count has been determined by the vices.

Be courteous. Don’t distract your opponent in the hack. Sweepers should stay on the sidelines between the hog lines when not sweeping.

Place your skip’s rock in front of the hack to help speed up the game.

All games on the ice should run approximately the same time. Therefore, if your game is an end or two behind all other games you should pick up the pace. Each player should be ready to deliver their rock when their skip puts down the broom.



Here are some basic curling tips for curlers of all skill levels courtesy of; Curl up With Jamie Sinclair

Tip #1 Balance

Tip #2 Sweeping

Tip #3 Broom Position

Tip #4 How to Score

Tip #5 Reading the Scoreboard

Tip #6 Stance in the Hack

Tip #7 The Slide

Tip #8 Grip and Release

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Chinguacousy Curling Club

9050 Bramalea Road
Brampton, ON L6S 6G7

Email: i[email protected]


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Land Acknowledgement

“We acknowledge the land on which we gather, and which the Chinguacousy Curling Club operates, is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples inhabited and cared for this land, and continue to do so today. In particular we acknowledge the territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Ojibway/Chippewa peoples; the land that is home to the Metis; and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation who are direct descendants of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land, and by doing so, give our respect to its first inhabitants.”

Work cited: https://www.peelregion.ca/council/indigenous.asp

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