The Curling Manual

Table of Contents

Section 2 - The Delivery by CurlTech

Overview

"Delivery" is the curling term for throwing the rock. CurlTech has defined a delivery that is the compilation of interrelated steps and processes that allow the curler to take full advantage of today's ice conditions. The CurlTech method discussed here is the next generation of the time-tested "balanced, flat-footed" delivery. It is the result of years of studying the curling greats and what made them great players.

This section provides an in-depth look at the proper curling delivery. It will introduce you to everything related to throwing the rock. These "mechanics and systems", when applied consistently, will improve shot-making leading to overall enjoyment of the game. The basics covered in this section will enable any curler to enjoy club level social games as well as top-level competitive games. The delivery fundamentals are the same for all levels of play. Your need to master these fundamental skills will be a function of your desire to play at higher levels.

The CurlTech delivery incorporates the coordination of many muscles and body parts moving fluidly. The combination of small and large muscle use will enable you to achieve power AND finesse in your game. This section describes a comprehensive delivery system that includes:

  • Delivery Process
  • Delivery Mechanics
  • Delivery Support Functions

We provide a complete package for learning and implementing the delivery.

Simple Delivery Goals

When broken down and analyzed, the delivery can be a very complex thing that few people master. To avoid over-analyzing your delivery, consider two things the most important. Make these two components your goals.

1. Throwing the rock straight (on the line of delivery)
2. Throwing the rock with a fluid motion (for consistent weight control)

The remaining part of this section describes the easiest way to master the above components.

Throwing the Rock - The Evolution

The methods for throwing a curling rock (the delivery) have evolved over hundreds of years. In the early days it was as simple as gaining a foot-hold on the ice and hurling an object forward. In the 20th century, equipment such as rubber hacks and polished rocks were introduced. It wasn't until the 1940's that the slide was incorporated into the delivery, thanks to Canadian curling great, Ken Watson. By adding a slippery surface to the non-hack foot, the curler could "slide" out of the hack and control the rock's weight and direction with greater ease. It was at that time that the delivery began its accelerated evolution. Almost immediately after Watson showed curlers his slide technique, they began to modify it. Because of Watson's delivery style, a significant rule change was needed. The near hog line became a dual purpose line as the players were not allowed to slide past it (no part of the body could cross the line). Ice conditions varied around the world but most curling club ice was slow compared to today's standards. Some thought that sliding with less effort would improve their game and they began to roll up on the toe of the sliding foot reducing foot contact with the ice. The "toe-tuck" delivery was born. Although a full-foot slide was introduced by Watson, the tuck delivery became popular for two reasons. It reduced friction on the slow surface, and allowed the curler's body to get closer to the ice. Since the slower conditions were conducive to a takeout game instead of draw game, this delivery allowed them to better "sight" the rock toward the skip's broom on the takeout. Again a rule change was need. Since many players were sliding, the hog line rule was changed so the body could cross the line as long as the rock was released by it. This type of long slide, toe-tuck game continued through the 1970's but some leading-edge players preferred the stability of the full-foot slide. In the early 80s, ice conditions improved dramatically due to the introduction of purified water/ice and the use of the ice scraper as regular maintenance tool. These two things improved the speed of the ice and curling began a rapid evolution to an aggressive, draw-type game and the need for the tuck delivery was no longer. In 1990 the Free Guard Zone rule further propelled the game to finesse and draws.

CurlTech Delivery Principles

The CurlTech delivery is a no-lift, balanced, flat-footed delivery. At first glance, it looks no different than most other balanced, flat-footed deliveries. Only after breaking down the parts can you fully realize the difference (and the value). Balance (the body directly over the sliding foot) is still the foundation of the delivery and will be stressed in many different sections. Several things make the CurlTech delivery different from other deliveries. The first is the use of large AND small muscles to throw the rock. Most other delivery methods stress the large muscles of the legs as the key power generator. The next is fluidity. The delivery skills taught here, when done properly, will become seamless. Nothing about the delivery is stepped or broken. This is critical for the development of the body's kinesthetic sense of motion (kinesthetic sense of motion refers to the body's interpretation of relative movement through a variety of sensory inputs) needed for judging draw weight and achieving overall rock control.

Since the delivery method discussed here incorporates many muscles working in unison, no one muscle is dominant. Consistency and weight judgment are improved. Also, in tense situations, this delivery is less susceptible to nervousness and stress as many body parts are incorporated.

Balance - The Foundation of a Good Delivery

The term "balance" in the curling delivery means the body is balanced over the sliding foot. Your athletic ability will dictate to some degree the level of balance that can be achieved. No matter what your ability, though, balance is still a key component. Some people can balance perfectly on their sliding foot with no pressure on the rock or broom. This is preferred but is not necessary for most curlers to enjoy the game. For most of us, balance simply means not favoring either side (rock side or broom side) during the delivery. A little pressure here and there on the rock or sliding device is not a problem. Balance allows the body to slide more upright. The more the body is upright, the straighter the slide becomes. A straight slide will produce a straight "line of delivery". Refer to the Line of delivery Section for more information.

Power Generation

There are four key power generators in the CurlTech delivery. They must exist each time you throw a rock.

  • Weight Shift
  • Body Drop

Followed by and to a lesser degree:

  • Leg Drive
  • Arm Extension

Tempo

Tempo refers to the rhythm of the delivery and is discussed later in the section. It is also an important ingredient in the CurlTech delivery. The timing and the flow of the moving parts will also help the fluidness of the motion.

Delivery Components

The delivery has four macro (and many micro) components. These macro components are known as the "delivery-critical" components. They are defined here as the moving delivery parts that are readily visible and discernable. They are:

  • Forward press
  • Draw/step (weight shift and hip elevation)
  • Slide
  • Release
1-2-3 Motion

We found that teaching a 1-2-3 motion helps new and existing curlers focus in the main components. Think of the delivery as a 1-2-3 motion with a release at the end.

The Body Drop Concept

Timing, called "Body Drop" by CurlTech, is also a key delivery component. If done properly, it is seamless and may not be a discernable part of the delivery. Body Drop refers to the body "dropping down and forward" during the delivery allowing gravity to help generate power. It is covered in detail later in this section.

If more than four macro parts can be identified in a delivery, the delivery is too complex. In fact, reducing the number of delivery parts seems to be the way of the future and seen by the Olympic curlers in 2006. Fluidity is essential to judging proper weight and is discussed in the last section.

The Delivery Process and Mechanics

The process for delivering a rock includes all of the things that happen before, during and after throwing the rock. The four component parts described earlier must be included in the overall process of delivering the rock. Let's first review the entire process and break it down in detail. Each step of the process should happen on every shot. The "delivery critical" components are in bold print.

1. Setup, shot planning and pre-shot mental preparation
2. Forward press
3. Draw/step
4. Slide
5. Release - and apply rotation
6. Follow-Through

These steps will become seamless over time.

A Quick Note: All descriptions of the delivery are for right-handed players. Lefties please adjust.

The Six Steps to the CurlTech Delivery

1. Setup, Shot Planning and Mental Preparation

Setup

Setup refers to the body position in the hack. It is the starting point of the delivery. Begin this process as your opponent's rock is traveling down the ice. When your skip is ready to call the shot, you'll be ready. Use the following steps for a proper setup.

Retrieve the proper rock for delivery. Move to the hack and step into it from behind by placing the ball of your foot against the back of the hack, toe pointing toward the broom.

Most of your weight should be on your hack foot at this time. It will stay there for the beginning portion of your delivery.

Drop to a comfortable squatting position with approximately 60-70% of your body weight on the hack foot. Keep your back straight but relaxed.

Setup Option

If you are unable to squat in the hack, simply position the feet as described earlier, bend the knees slightly and grip the rock. You are now in the "hips-up" position without squatting. Press the rock forward and begin the next step (d).

Clean the rock - Flip the rock and clean the running surface. With the rock still inverted, clean the ice area under the rock then replace the rock in position. Do this to the side to keep debris away from the sliding area.

Place your sliding foot flat on the ice, slightly ahead and to the left of the hack foot (heel to toe). There should be about one inch between the toe of the hack foot and the heel of the sliding foot.

Figure 2-1. Setup position.

Point the knee of your hack leg directly at the skip's broom. The shoulders and hips must also be square to the broom at this point.

Holding the broom with the pad facing up, place the head ahead of your sliding foot. The broom handle should be gripped about a foot from the brush head. The grip point depends on the length of your arm and body. It should be in a position to comfortably hold the broom with the head in the correct position with the left arm slightly flexed. It is important to keep the head of the broom clearly ahead of your sliding foot throughout the delivery. Allowing the broom to fade back in the delivery will move your left shoulder back and out of "square".

If you throw with a sliding device, place your hand on top of the device with a soft grip. Make sure you left hand is even with your right hand to ensure shoulder alignment.

Position the rock directly under your throwing shoulder. For most people, this is just to the side of your hack foot (other starting points are discussed later in this section). The imaginary line between your starting point and the skip's broom is known as the "line of delivery" (also discussed later). Your throwing arm must have a small degree of flex at the elbow at setup.

Receive the shot call from your skip.

Grip the rock - Place your fingers under the handle until your middle finger is positioned in the center of the rock (directly over the center axis of the rock). Hold the handle with the first set of pads on the fingers (closest to your palm). Your palm however, should never touch the handle. Bring your thumb across the handle to the other side and place it near, but not touching, the tip of your index finger. Keep the wrist high without feeling awkward. Your hand should remain in this position throughout the delivery. Cock the handle in the opposite direction of the intended turn. This is toward your body for in-turns and away from your body for out-turns. The position should be at a 45 degree angle for both turns. Keep this angle throughout the delivery until you are ready to release the rock.

Figure 2-2. The proper grip for a right-hander's out-turn

You are now ready to begin preparing mentally for a successful shot.

Figure 2-3. Front view of the proper setup position.
Pre-Shot Mental Preparation

Use the power of positive thinking when preparing to shoot. Remember that games should be played swiftly (fifteen minutes per end maximum) so don't spend too much time here. This process should take only a few seconds.

  • Mechanics of the pre-shot mental preparation:
  • Prior to setup, try to anticipate the shot called.
  • Get in the proper setup position and clean the rock.
  • Understand the shot called (confirm with sweepers if necessary).
  • Visualize perfect mechanics.
  • Visualize perfect weight and line.
  • Visualize a fluid delivery
  • Visualize success.
  • Channel your focus.
  • Execute.

It is important to visualize the weight and line before visualizing the completed shot. The entire setup and mental preparation process should take 8 -12 seconds. Visualizing the completion of the shot instead of the components may train you to "steer" the rock toward its destination instead of throwing at the skip's broom with proper weight. Trust your skip. If the broom is wrong adjustments can be made on the next shot.

2. The Forward Press

Once you are comfortable in the setup position, the skip has called the shot and the sweepers are ready, the fluid motion of the delivery starts (remember the two simple goals). Begin by moving the rock slightly forward approximately 4 to 5 inches. This "press" is the beginning of your body's kinesthetic sense of motion and is the first step in establishing proper tempo in the delivery, which again is critical to proper weight judgment. Remember to maintain the grip described earlier.

As the rock is pressed forward, your lower body should remain still. Move only at the waist and keep both arms slightly flexed at the elbow. Your knee may drop slightly but try to avoid pressing forward with just your arm. This will take your shoulders out of square before you begin the delivery.

3. The Drawback and Step (the draw/step move)

This component is one of the most important in the delivery. Generating power in the delivery is critical to controlling the rock. Power generation starts with the draw back as the hips are elevated and shifted back. This positions the hips up and back which enables your body to drop and shift forward in the next step. The remaining power will be generated from leg drive and the arm extension. (Discussed in step 3a). During the draw/step, think of drawing-in energy then directing the energy forward toward the skip's broom.

Here's how it works. Begin by drawing the rock back. Immediately after the rock starts back, lift your hips up and back. Leave your sliding foot in place for a moment then, as your hips are approaching top-dead-center, take a step back onto your sliding foot. When done properly, the sliding foot moves from the setup position to the step position rather quickly (Figure 4). The term step refers to putting pressure on the sliding foot at its farthest back position. From the setup position, simply slide the sliding foot back into position and put your body weight on it. This requires lifting your hips and upper body with your hack leg. The sliding foot should now be about 12 inches behind its original spot. Your throwing arm will almost be straight. At this point, your hips should be back (anywhere from directly over the hack to well behind it, depending on the shot, your skill level and ice conditions) and about two feet higher than the setup position with a slight bend at the knee. Your weight has shifted to the sliding foot with the foot about two to four inches behind the hack. It is very important that the sliding foot is directly behind the position it started in. If your weight is not on the sliding foot at this point, you have not shifted your weight properly, giving up critical delivery power and control. Remember, to be perfectly fluid, step back only after you have begun the drawback and elevation. This allows the step to be quicker adding tempo to the delivery.

Figure 2-4. Weight shifts onto back foot. Notice the hips are behind the hack at this point.

Think of this motion as an opportunity to create a pendulum action with your hips. Many will argue that consistent draw weight was achieved through the pendulum motion of the old back swing delivery. We agree to some extent and think that the "hips up and back" position is very similar to the back swing motion. To maintain the proper tempo in the delivery, don't shift your weight back any farther after you've stepped onto the sliding foot. This interrupts the pendulum-like motion by creating a flat movement back. It also disrupts the tempo of the delivery.

Draw/Step Option
One acceptable option for the draw/step is to elevate your hips during the forward press. By the end of the press, the hips are fully elevated as in Step 3, ready for the Draw/Step move. (This is the fluid version of the trunk lift)

Figure 2-5. Hips shifted up and back. Legs and shoulders square to the broom.

3a. Unleashing the Power - Transitioning from the Draw/Step to the slide.

Now is the time to generate real power in the delivery. Power refers to the strength of the forward motion. Power equals control. The more power generated the more control you will have over the rock (and your game).

The Body Drop (formerly called "Timing")

The term "timing" is widely used to describe certain movements in the delivery, particularly how the sliding foot comes into play after the Draw/Step move. Timing (really a delay of the sliding foot) allows the upper body to drop into place and provide added power to the delivery. CurlTech uses the term Body Drop to more accurately describe this process.

The Body Drop Process

Once your hips are up and back, begin moving the rock forward toward the skip's broom without moving your sliding foot. Your body will follow (except for the sliding foot). This puts the rock in front of your body keeping it on the line-of -delivery.

Delay the Foot

Leave your sliding foot behind the hack until the rock is 2-3 feet in front of the hack (Figure 2-6). As your body moves forward over the hack and then over the ice, quickly bring your sliding foot to a position under the center of your upper body. Your foot should "catch" your body as it drops. Try and wait until the last moment to bring your sliding foot forward and place it in a position on the ice that will allow your body to balance over it. As a reference, the rock should almost be halfway between the hack and the back line as the sliding foot is crossing the hack foot. This "body drop" allows gravity to generate power. The combination of the fast sliding foot motion and the weight of you body coming forward and down to the delivery position will generate the power needed. With this combination move, you will generate enough power to throw the wide range of shots with accuracy and consistency. Be careful not to kick your sliding foot past the center of your body (too far right). The result will be a drift to the right, as your body is not balanced over the sliding foot.

Figure 2-6. The sliding foot delays slightly before moving forward. This stop-action photo shows how dramatic the body drop is.

A correct Body Drop is an athletic move and requires a certain amount of coordinated body movements and leg strength. It requires practice. Start slow by delaying the sliding just a little bit and work into it.

4. The Slide

At this point gently push out of the hack with your leg. The leg drive should perfectly compliment the weight given to the rock by weight shift and body drop. Leg drive is roughly 30% of the total power of the delivery. Weight shift, body drop and arm extension represent the remaining 70%. Excessive leg drive produces more of a "push" from the large leg muscles (quadriceps) instead of a fluid "throw" from the whole body. This is the major difference between the CurlTech delivery and the others.

As you slide out, you will now be transferring all of your weight from the hack foot to the sliding foot. This is the most difficult part of the curling delivery. Your sliding foot should move in behind the rock with the heel on the line of delivery and behind the center of the rock. Once your sliding foot is in place, the heel should be underneath your sternum. Try to angle your sliding foot out at this point. By turning the foot to the left (out) you increase the sliding area of the foot. Approximately 45 degrees is optimal however, some people cannot turn their foot in this manner. Turning the foot is not delivery-critical. It simply helps you balance. After the initial weight transfer, the slide should be established. This should occur at or before the tee line.

Once your delivery is established, no downward pressure should be on the rock or the broom (sliding device) at this point. As a practical matter though, the broom can be used to help you balance when learning the delivery. Perfect balance is great but, as mentioned earlier, the goal is not to put excess pressure on the rock or broom. Your hack foot should trail directly behind your body, on the line of delivery.

Your upper body should be roughly 30-45 degree to the ice at this time. This position allows good balance and visualization of the entire plane in front of you. A position that is too low will not allow the visualization of the plane while a position too high will not allow good broom alignment and sighting.

Your broom head is still clearly ahead of your sliding foot and your shoulders are square. The broom should be resting on the ice with minimal pressure. (If one of the sweepers kicked it, your delivery would still be sound)

Always Think Balance

As discussed earlier, balance is the number one building block to throwing the rock on the line of delivery. Balance allows you to slide straight at the skip's broom and to throw the rock on the line of delivery without lateral movement (drifting). Focus on balancing over the sliding foot. If possible, put no weight on the rock or broom (sliding device). Without some type of balance, you will never reach your true potential as a shot-maker. Most curlers favor the broom side by leaning on the broom. This puts your body weight "off-center" and results in a drift to the right.

To test for proper balance, raise your broom one inch off the ice after your delivery is established (top of house). If you use a sliding device, take the pressure off the handle.

The Sliding Device

The rules permit a player to deliver a rock with a broom, without a broom or with a sliding device. The use of a sliding device began in the late 1990's. Devices such as the Crutch or Stabilizer can be used by the novice curler to help achieve a more upright, balanced-like delivery. If balance is difficult to achieve, we recommend the use of a sliding device that allows you to place a little weight on the broom side of the body. As mentioned earlier, the more weight you put on the broom or sliding device, the more your body will be out of square and a drift right will occur. If you need the device for any reason, try to use as little pressure as possible.

Caution!!

The sliding device can cause some logistics problems with your team. After delivery, the device must be placed at the opposite end of the sheet in preparation for the next end. Front-end players (lead and second) are not allowed outside the hog lines during the end unless they are throwing, sweeping or preparing to sweep. Moving though the house area with your sliding device is a violation of the rules and may be distracting to your opponent. Using a team sliding device (everyone slides with the same device) is a better option. Each player simply hands off the device to the next player.

Figure 2-7. A proper, balanced slide. Notice the sliding foot "peeking" out from the side of the rock with the heel on the line-of-delivery.

A Note About Sliders.

The sliders that are built into curling shoes are faster and more stable than the slip-on sliders used by newer curlers. As soon as possible, invest in a good pair of curling shoes for improved balance. The best shoes for stability are ones with a thick Teflon slider on a shoe with a good, stable, high-grade leather upper.

CurlTech Choice for shoes:

1/4 inch Teflon, two holes and a firm, leather upper

1/4 inch Teflon, two holes on any other shoe

5. The Release

As you slide through the house, your arm should still be slightly flexed and the handle still cocked. They both should remain this way until just a few feet from the intended release point which, depending on how much power is being generated by the delivery, should be somewhere between the top of the house and a foot from the hog line.

All of the rock's rotation is applied within a 4-5 foot area by shifting the handle from the cocked position to the twelve o'clock or hand shake position.

When you are four or five feet from the release point, begin rotating your rock and straightening your arm. The flexed arm allows you to throw the rock instead of just letting it go. This is known as a "positive" release, referring to the solid rotation of the rock and the forward movement of the arm toward the skip's broom.

Application of the Handle in Detail

In order to keep the rock on the line of delivery, the rock must be rotated over its center point. The pressure that turns the rock comes from only two fingers and the thumb, one finger on each side of the center point. For an in-turn, the thumb moves to the right and ring finger to the left, counter to each other. Each pressure point is the same distance from the center axis of the rock. For the out-turn, the index finger and ring finger apply the necessary pressure. For consistency and predictability, the rock should rotate approximately 2 - 2 1/2 times during the length of the shot.

Any lateral movement of the rock while putting on the turn will result in the rock moving off the line of delivery. This is where many shots are missed. Extend the arm through the base of the skip's broom. Never raise the arm at release. This will interrupt the fluid forward motion of the release.

6. The Follow-Through

The follow-through is also a key component of the delivery. It is important to stay in the sliding position for several seconds after letting go of the rock. This will prevent you from "popping up" too early and will also give you a good look at the shot as it travels down the ice. This is valuable in the assessment process that each player should go through immediately following the shot. To improve balance and build leg strength, hold the balanced delivery position until you stop. Never rest your hand on your sliding foot. This will create a balance dependency in the follow-through and reduce overall balance consistency. Avoid the temptation to follow directly behind the shot. This is a team sport and the other players on your team have control of your rock. After release, consider this the "hand-off" point to your sweepers and skip.

Watch the rock as it travels down the ice. This will allow you to see the rock's overall path for future reference. The farther away you are the better your overall view of the entire shot. The skip and sweepers are usually prepared to handle the sweep calls.

Do not rest your bare hand on the ice for longer than an instant. Your body temperature will melt and damage the ice in a matter of moments. Also, never rest your knee on the ice for longer than a few seconds. Even with pants on, your body temperature will melt and damage the ice.

Post-Shot Assessment

During the assessment of each rock, determine if you've hit the broom with the proper weight. If it was a good shot, try and remember what it felt like so you can do it again.

If you missed the shot, try and figure out why. Make minor corrections on your next shot. Be objective and critical of your delivery. Acknowledge your mistakes. You can't get better without learning from them.

Weight Window

The responsibility of the person throwing the rock is to throw the proper weight on the proper line (hitting the broom). Because sweeping can add 8-10 feet of distance to a rock, the thrower only has to hit the "weight window". Depending on the quality of your sweeping, the window is approximately eight to ten feet deep, meaning that if a rock is thrown ten feet short of the intended stopping point, the sweepers can increase the distance. So, any rock thrown inside the ten-foot weight window is thrown correctly. It is then up to the sweepers to complete the shot. If a rock is thrown beyond the intended stopping point, there is nothing the sweepers can do to help. In other words, it's better to be a little light than a little heavy on draw shots.

Determining proper weight is difficult to teach because it relies mostly on the body's sensation of position and movement. This kinesthetic sense is enhanced by the fluidity of the delivery.

Adjusting the Delivery for Different Weights

One of the most commonly asked questions from beginning curlers is "how do I adjust the delivery for different weights". Several different weights are required to throw all of the shots in curling. In addition, ice conditions are different from club to club. They may even be different within the club, where the conditions are constantly changing. From guards to heavy peels, the CurlTech delivery can accommodate.

The answer to the above question is that all power generators of the delivery need to get stronger for stronger shots. Specifically, the weight shift, body drop (slider foot delay) and to a certain degree, leg drive.

For example, on heavier shots and heavier ice, the weight shift may change from the hips being over the hack to hips being completely behind the hack. Body Drop may change from a slight delay to a long delay. Leg drive may change from almost nothing to a full push. Arm extension may change from a slow extension to a quick one.

Extra power is also needed with small-framed or petite curlers. The body weight/rock weight ratio changes significantly from a 100 lb frame to a 185 lb frame. The smaller framed curler must use the extra power to throw all shots. The rock is 42% of the 100 lb curler's body weight. This is equivalent to the 185 lb curler throwing a 78-pound rock!

Harnessing the Power

Changing weight first depends on the body's ability to generate power and ice conditions at the time. Each person has a varying degree of athleticism. This is a big factor when it comes to describing how to adjust weight. Early thinking on the no-lift delivery centered on leg drive. More weight - more leg drive. Less weight - less leg drive. This is not the case. The leg muscles cannot be tuned finely enough for the subtle changes needed, particularly on fast ice

As a general rule, curlers should generate enough power to slide through the hog line.

Now that we understand the power generators, we must adjust them all when adjusting weight. The following matrix is directional only. Each curler will differ. Use it as a base point and modify if necessary. The first matrix describes how the power generators may work throwing different shots on different ice conditions.

Weight Shift Leg Delay Leg Drive
Draw on 23-second (hog to tee) ice.
Large Frame Hips slightly behind hack Medium Small
Small Frame Hips behind hack Medium Medium
Junior Hips behind hack Large Medium
Takeout on 23-second ice.
Large Frame Hips behind Medium Medium
Small Frame Hips well behind hack Large Large
Junior Hips well behind hack Large Large
Draw on 25-second ice.
Large Frame Hips over hack Small Negligible
Small Frame Hips over hack Small Small
Junior Hips over hack Medium Medium
Takeout on 25-second ice.
Large Frame Hips over hack Medium Small
Small Frame Hips behind hack Medium Medium
Junior Hips behind hack Large Medium

As you can see, the delivery can compensate for different ice conditions. Use these to start and modify as needed.

Weight Control Simplified
Many curlers over-think the weight control necessary to make most shots. As it relates to draws, there are an infinite number of places a rock can stop between the hog and the back line. A common question is "how do I change my weight for all these different shots. The Curling School suggestion is to break down all shots into three weights.

  • Short of the house
  • In the house
  • Through the house
The Default Weight or Default Delivery

This refers to a reference point delivery that you can practice. It should be your in-the-house weight at your club. If you can zero-in on your default delivery, the other two weights can easily be achieved on demand. All guards (short-of-the-house) can be thrown ten feet shorter than your default. Hack weight to bumper weight (through-the-house) can be thrown ten feet farther than default.

Try not to throw shots to their exact spot. Remember sweeping can add eight feet or so.

Timing Rocks

Many curlers use stopwatches to help gauge the speed of the ice. By timing the rock's travel, you may be able determine how fast or slow the ice is and judge relative changes in the ice speed. Most players time draw shots from the hog line to the tee line (some time rocks from hog to hog). A typical hog to tee time for a draw on normal ice is between 23 and 25 seconds.

The higher the number, the faster the ice (25 seconds is faster than 23)

This is counter-intuitive. The terms fast and slow refer to the ice conditions and not the rock speed. Imagine trying to throw a rock ten feet on a concrete surface. Because of the rough surface of concrete, you would have to throw the rock extremely hard and fast to cover that distance. As the rock travels over the concrete, it slows down rapidly and may only take one or two seconds to come to rest. Now imagine throwing the rock the same distance (ten feet) on ice. Since ice is much smoother and slicker than concrete, much less energy is required to move the rock ten feet. This rock actually is moving slower and traveling longer. It may take five or six seconds to come to rest.

In the early ends of a game, the ice may be frosty or may have a fresh pebble. This means more friction, similar to the concrete example above. As the game continues, the pebble slowly wears away and the sweeping removes most of the frost. The ice gets faster as the game continues. Draw times at the beginning of a game may be 21 to 22 seconds. This will most likely increase to 23 or 24 seconds toward the middle ends.

Be careful not to assume that the ice is the same speed in all areas. A faster track is created down the center of the sheet. An area approximately three feet on either side of the centerline is usually faster than the outer edges. The reason for this is most rocks travel down this fast-track area. It is also caused by the polishing of the ice resulting from sweeping and by the polishing action of the sweeper's shoes. Shots thrown on the outer edges can be a second slower than the center track. In the later ends however, the fast track area begins to flatten-out due to the number of rocks, footwork and sweeping. This leads to a slower area called a flat spot or "fudge" spot and the ice gets slower. This happens sometimes in longer, more competitive games.

Don't try to judge draw weight from times alone. Timing helps judge relative ice speed. It helps you respond to changes in the ice surface during a game. It also helps you judge ice speed at other club's relative to your own club. As mentioned in the Sweeping Section, try to get a "sense" of draw weight first. Use stopwatch times to enhance your skills.

Troubleshooting

CurlTech receives many requests to analyze individual deliveries. Our first response to curlers would be to ask the following questions:

  • Is your rock consistently on the line of delivery throughout the delivery?
  • Is your weight consistently close to the desired weight?

If a curler can answer yes to both questions, no changes are necessary, even if the delivery is not proper. A proper delivery simply helps the curler be consistent with line and weight. Of course most curlers answer no to both questions. This is where delivery analysis and troubleshooting comes into play. The following matrix will help identify any problems with your delivery. These apply to right handed curlers. Lefties please adjust.

CurlTech Troubleshooting Chart

Symptom Problem Correction

Unbalanced delivery Sliding foot misaligned Move sliding foot under chest

Drifting to the right Not balanced Move sliding foot left

My rocks curl more Soft release Apply turn faster
Short release Recalibrate closer to hog
Turning in at release Establish grip and maintain
LOD outside/in Maintain LOD

My rocks curl less

Turned out at release

Establish grip and maintain

Hard release

Apply turn slower
LOD inside/out Maintain LOD

Not generating power Weight not shifting Shift weight back
Hips not elevated Bring hips up and back
Improper body drop Delay sliding foot
Too little leg drive Push during body drop

Draw weight stinks Delivery lacks tempo Step back onto foot 1-2-3
Delivery too low Raise head and torso

Converting to the No-Lift Delivery

The curling delivery has evolved over the years. Today's delivery requires finesse and minute calibrations due to the increased quality of the ice surface.

Curler's who learned to deliver with a back swing may want to convert to a no-lift delivery. CurlTech strongly believes the no-lift delivery, when done properly will allow each player to reach their true potential.

Benefits to Converting

The no-lift has three clear benefits:

  • Fewer opportunities for mistakes with less moving parts
  • Better draw calibration on fast ice
  • Easy to eliminate the "C" curve

Less moving parts refers to the back swing itself. Prior to the no-lift, most delivery troubleshooting (other than balance) revolved around the direction of the back swing and the down swing. With fewer moving parts, no-lift the delivery is much smaller resulting in a "softer" draw delivery with good "feel".

Losing the "C" Curve

The affect of the hack configuration and placement was rarely discussed as a delivery variable. It was probably the most under diagnosed problem in the back swing delivery. The common problem of the "C" curve was created by the hack placement. The rules state that each hack must be three inches from the centerline. This means the hacks were roughly six inches apart. If you place your foot straight in the hack (this is what was taught), there is not enough room between the ankle and the centerline to draw the rock back straight (on the line of delivery). Most curlers who kept their foot straight in the hack had to draw the rock back (back swing) outside the line of delivery to clear the ankle. This resulted in the rock coming back down across the line and in front of the body. This is the "C" curve. The most proficient back swingers twisted their foot in the hack to avoid this. This was never taught in any curling clinic but was absolutely necessary to maintain the line of delivery. Since the rock is not swung in the no-lift, this is not a factor.

Even with the no-lift delivery, there are still opportunities to create the "C". Avoid pulling the rock in front of your body as you slide out of the hack. This happens much less with fewer moving parts.

The Conversion

Converting to the no-lift from a swing delivery is very simple. It does however require some rethinking about how power is generated. With the swing delivery, power is generated from three key areas:

  • Back swing approx. 50%
  • Body drop approx. 30%
  • Leg drive approx. 20%

Most curlers who convert without instruction simply remove the back swing from their existing swing deliveries. By reviewing the above chart you can see that could be a huge mistake. Removing the back swing without replacing it with another power generator leaves you with a much weaker delivery. This leads to frustration on slower ice or when asked to throw takeouts. In this case, curlers compensate with leg drive power. This may work for larger people and on heavier hits but experience shows that the leg muscles cannot calibrate small enough to throw consistent finesse shots. In some cases, small-framed people don't have the leg strength to throw heavier shots. This is the most common problem of the conversion.

Take a look at the no-lift power generators.

  • Weight Shift approx. 25%
  • Body Drop approx. 50%
  • Leg Drive approx. 20%
  • Extension approx. 5%

The no-lift requires that you replace lost power with power from shifting the hips up and back (and then down and forward in the Body Drop). A slight arm extension can also help with power and act as a fine-tuning technique.

The one benefit to the back swing was it provided good tempo to the delivery. With the rock swinging back into position, there was no chance to slow or break the rhythm of the delivery (since the rock weighs 42 pounds). This created a natural tempo in the swing delivery. If you remove the swing, tempo needs to be replaced. Read the Delivery section to create tempo with a no-lift delivery. It's as simple as adding a 1-2-3 rhythm.

Enjoy your new delivery. Your shot-making percentage will increase resulting in more fun.

CurlTech Delivery Quick Reference

  • Setup
    • Ball of your foot on the back of the hack.
    • Squat with weight on the hack foot
    • Sliding foot ahead of hack foot
    • Left hand (grip on broom or device) in front of the sliding foot
    • Cock the handle at 45 degrees
  • Forward Press
    • Move the rock slightly forward
  • Draw/Step
    • Draw the rock back under the throwing shoulder
    • Simultaneously raise the hips
    • Delay sliding foot then step back
  • Body Drop
    • Move the rock first
    • Delay the sliding foot
    • "Catch' the body as it drops into the sliding position
    • Slide
    • Position the sliding foot with the heel on the line of delivery
    • Arm still flexed
  • Release
    • Slowly extend the arm and rotate rock positively towards skips broom
  • Follow-Through
    • Continue sliding until body stops (or half way, which ever happens first)