Curling Etiquette

Curling Etiquette

If you are new to curling, here is brief primer on the culture of curling.

Before the game:

  • Be on time!

  • Check your shoes and broom: Be sure you change into clean curling shoes and are using a brush that is not visibly shedding. Sand, grit and loose bristles play havoc with shot-making.

  • Stretch: Take turns making a few practice slides from the hack (be sure the pebble has had a few minutes to freeze before sliding).

  • Greet the other team: Shake hands with the other team, introduce yourself and wish the other team members, “Good curling.”

During each end of the game:

  • Be ready: Keep the game moving. Throwers are to take their position in the hack as soon as the opponent has delivered his/her stone (this is especially important for the player throwing the first stone of the end). Sweepers immediately take their position by the thrower ready to sweep. Skips are to keep the game moving by anticipating what the next shot might be and to call it crisply. Some shots do require deliberation, and may even require conversation with the vice skip, or occasionally full team conference. Skips are obliged to limit these conferences in number and length to keep the game moving.

  • Be courteous: When the opposing team is throwing never distract your opponent in the hack. Keep your distance, be silent and motionless. If you are next to throw, take a position at the side of the sheet just outside the near hog-line or stand quietly on the carpet behind the hacks and to the side of the sheet. If you are next to  sweep, stand still at the side of the sheet. Be careful not to cause a distraction by crossing the sheet when the other team is throwing a stone. Opposing skips and/or thirds stand still on the carpet or on the ice behind the back line with their brooms off the ice. Occasionally, leads and seconds may also stand on the carpet behind the house when the opposition is throwing, but must be at the side away from the direction of the shot, and must in no way create a distraction.

  • Be honourable: Curlers call their own fouls (and never the opposition’s fouls). The referee of curling is honour. If you have personally touched (fouled or burned) a moving stone, you are to be the first one to declare it.

  • Be positive: Congratulate opposing players, as well as members of your own rink, when they have made a good shot. Never say or do anything that would embarrass a player on either team who missed a shot.

At the conclusion of each end:

  • Take your appropriate place as the end is scored: Vice skips of both teams agree on the score and, when they deem it necessary, are in charge of measurement. Leads and seconds wait beyond the hog line or behind the house. Skips move to other end of the sheet awaiting the scoring decision.

  • Set up promptly for the next end: Players clear the rocks from the house while the lead of the scoring team immediately gets set to throw the first stone of the end.

At the end of the game:

  • Thank the other team: Shaking hands with the opponents and thanking them for the game concludes a curling game. Curling culture allows for teams that are well behind to shake hands and concede a game at any point. The skip of the team that is behind makes this decision after consulting her/his team.

and finally. . .

Thou shalt not heap blame upon the keepers of the ice for thy losses. Neither shall ye blame the makers of the rocks. Blame not thy team-mates, yet look inward to thyself for fault.