The history of curling

The origin of curling traces back to 16th century Scotland, where the sport was played on frozen ponds and lochs. The first recorded match took place around 1541: a Scottish notary recorded a challenge between a monk at Paisley Abbey and a relative of the abbott. Scottish immigrants spread the sport to North America: the first Canadian curling club opened in Montreal in 1807, and the first American club appeared in Pontiac, Mich. in 1828. The Royal Caledonian Curling Club in Scotland, the so-called “mother club” of curling, wrote the first official curling rules in 1838.

Technique

Technique is vital in curling. Without technique it is difficult to direct the stone in the correct direction and at the right speed. Some people are naturally gifted, others will take their time to develop.

 

Like any sport, perfecting technique is an extremely difficult achievement, but here are some hints and tips to get you started:

 

  • Hold the stone with your strong hand and hold a brush or crutch to support your balance in the other
  • Crouch into the hack with your strong leg, hold the stone slightly in front and to the outer side of your stronger foot
  • Push off, extending your strong leg behind you, with toes sliding along the ice, and gliding on your opposite foot
  • Extend your arm and hand in the direction to which you are aiming the stone for. You must be accurate in aim and weight (velocity and delivery) to ensure your stone comes to rest upon your anticipated target
  • To apply curl to the direction of your stone you must turn the handle in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. This is called giving it the correct handle
  • The player must release the stone before passing a certain point known as the hogline

An introduction to curling

Essentially, the goal of curling is to score points by sliding curling stones down a sheet of ice with the aim of getting as many of your stones closer to the centre of the house (the area that looks like a target) than your opponent. However, there’s more to it than that and here’s some of the basics the help you get into this wonderful sport.

Sweeping

Sweeping with a brush, also known as a broom, reduces the friction between the ice and the stone’s surface, ensuring it curls less. It also creates a thin layer of water that helps the stone glide across the surface, allowing the stone to continue momentum in its intended direction.

Scoring

After completing each end, the team with the stone(s) closest to the centre of the house (known as the tee or button) scores one point.

 

Teams can score more points for every other stone in the house closer to the tee than the closest stone belonging to the opposing team. Stones must be in or touching the house to be considered for scoring.

 

The team scoring delivers the first stone in the next end, giving the opponents what is called the ‘hammer’, or the last stone advantage of that end.