The world of curling skip calls

Being a new curler, I’m loving NBC’s very comprehensive Olympic curling coverage.

I’m also getting a kick out of how skips instruct their sweepers to sweep away.

US and Canada: “Sweep! Hard! Hurry! Hurry hard!”
Russia: “Deebie! Deebiedeebie! Deebiedeebiedeebiedeebiedeebie shoo shooshooshoo!”
Japan: “Sweep!” (Yup, in English. So kawii.)

I know this is sort of off-topic, but would you explain curling to me, please? We were watching it the other day, and I don’t understand it at all. (I was making dinner at the time, so I wasn’t paying complete attention, but still!) How does one score? What is the goal? I’m completely clueless, but I’m very curious about this sport. Do you want to hit the opponent’s rock? Do you want to land your rock in the middle of the “target”? I’m baffled. :confused:

The most simplistic way I can think to explain it is that, at the end of each “end” (or round), whichever team has a rock closer to the center bulls-eye (I don’t know the official name for it) gets one point for every rock within the circle that is closer to the target than the closest of their opponent’s rocks.

As an example, say Team 1 has landed rocks within the circle at 1 foot, 2 feet, and 5 feet away from the center. Team 2 has a rock at 3 feet and 6 feet from the center. Team 1 gets two points because their 1 ft. and 2 ft. rocks were closer than Team 2’s 3 ft. rock.

I imagine, and hope, that someone will come in here and phrase this more eloquently than I have. I am hungry and awaiting pizza, so I can be forgiven. :slight_smile:

Jakeline and I died when we saw your post, and this in particuar. Since we’ve been following Olympic curling, we grew very fond of the burly guy from Norway. He should have been a gymnastics coach…

Okay, canadian checking in. What’s more, I actually remember some of this from watching the scott’s tournament of hearts and such on tv with my dad. (That’s the women’s curling nationals in Canada - I can’t remember at the moment what the mens’ nationals is called. (checks wikipedia.) Right, the Brier - that’s right.

Anyway, Asimovian did a good job with the scoring. Also, whoever has most recently scored, if anybody has, must throw the first rock at the beginning of each ‘end’ of sixteen rocks. (eight for each team, two from each team member,) and the other team thus gets to throw last. Throwing last in the end, (right before scores are determined,) is a tactically advantageous position, referred to as ‘having the hammer’, and a lot of the strategy of a match revolves around that. If you have the hammer, generally you don’t want to give it up for a single point, and so would rather clear all the stones out of the house (so nobody scores,) than leave one of your own stones in the house, scoring one point and giving up the hammer to the other side.

Most of the newbie questions seem to be answered. Hitting an opponent’s rock is meaningless except (1) inasmuch as it might affect the scoring, such as knocking the oponent further away from the center of the house or out of it entirely. (2) there are rules about not hitting the first four rocks that the other team has thrown, if they are out in front of the house as advance guards.

I think I’ve done my duty. You can ask further questions if you like here, or join one of the other current curling threads on the board. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=elmwoodCanada: “Sweep! Hard! Hurry! Hurry hard!”

You see, this is why I love curling. You throw a rock across a sheet of ice and then you yell at it.

We watched U.S. vs. Japan women the other night, and I could’ve sworn the Japanese team was yelling “Clean Clean CLEAN!”.

We must’ve misheard that :dubious: :smiley:

Sounds like Deebie needs to get her ass in gear or she’s going to be thrown off the team!

Actually, that was Dordi Nordby, the female skip from Norway, screaming ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHH!!! I did’t see the men’s game yet, but if the skip there was also yelling “ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHH!!!”, well, now we know.

The folks at the club told me they were yelling in English, so … well, I gotta’ check out the DVR. “Clean only” is one of the common calls, though.

The Japanese Women’s Curling team calls in English, not in Japanese, so the announcer schooled me last on Tuesday. This is because the English phrases and words are much shorter than the equivalent Japanese ones, and it is easier to call them out in the incredible pressure cooker that is Olympic curling.

That link to the NBC site says that Dordi Norby is 6’4" and 128 pounds. I don’t think so.

She might not be 6’4", but this is her 5th Olympic games.

Are they going to show the Canada v Japan match at some point?


Japan beats Canada, 5-2. Huge upset, apparently.

okay, thanks for 'splaining it to me. I once tried to guess how the scoring works, but couldn’t figure it out…

But will somebody please explain to me why this is considered fun? I can see why the rock-thrower-person has to be skilled at aiming,etc. But how much fun is it for the sweepers? I just don’t get it.

But I suppose it’s better than the [post=346267] 2 man luge[/post]…

I think the reason there is more than one person on a curling team is so that the skip doesn’t have to drink alone.

A sport obviously born from the marriage of cabin fever, alcohol and trying to break shit. Seriously, what’s not to love?

The sweepers get to throw too!

Here’s how it works. I’ll use “Rink 1” and “Rink 2” for the team names, since curling teams are called … well, rinks. Rink 1 is throwing rocks with red handles. Rink 2 is throwing rocks with yellow handles, and has the “hammer.”

  1. Rink 1 lead throws 1st rock. Rink 1 second and Rink 1 third/vice sweep.

  2. Rink 2 lead throws 2nd rock. Rink 2 second and Rink 2 third/vice sweep.

  3. Rink 1 lead throws 3rd rock. Rink 1 second and Rink 1 third/vice sweep.

  4. Rink 2 lead throws 4th rock. Rink 2 second and Rink 2 third/vice sweep.

  5. Rink 1 second throws 5th rock. Rink 1 lead and third/vice sweep.

  6. Rink 2 second throws 6th rock. Rink 2 lead and third/vice sweep.

  7. Rink 1 second throws 7th rock. Rink 1 lead and third/vice sweep.

  8. Rink 2 second throws 8th rock. Rink 2 lead and third/vice sweep.

  9. Rink 1 third/vice throws 9th rock. Rink 1 lead and second sweep.

  10. Rink 2 third/vice throws 10th rock. Rink 2 lead and second sweep.

  11. Rink 1 third/vice throws 11th rock. Rink 1 lead and second sweep.

  12. Rink 2 third/vice throws 12th rock. Rink 2 lead and second sweep.

  13. Rink 1 skip throws 13th rock. Rink 1 lead and second sweep Rink 1 third/vice serve the skip’s role in the house, holding the broom for the skip to aim at.

  14. Rink 2 skip throws 14th rock. Rink 2 lead and second sweep Rink 2 third/vice serve the skip’s role in the house, holding the broom for the skip to aim at.

  15. Rink 1 skip throws 15th rock. Rink 1 lead and second sweep Rink 1 third/vice serve the skip’s role in the house, holding the broom for the skip to aim at.

  16. Rink 2 skip throws 16th rock. Rink 2 lead and second sweep Rink 2 third/vice serve the skip’s role in the house, holding the broom for the skip to aim at.

A lead and second will sweep six rocks in an end. A third/vice will sweep four. A skip won’t run after any, but they may help with sweeping after a rock crosses the hog line and moves towards the house.

There’s more than throwing involved. Sweeping cleans the ice (yes, Elza B, you heard it right), but it also lets the rock run farther than it would without sweeping, and straightens out the curl in the path. The skip tells the sweepers when to go so they steer the rock where he wants it.

Back in the days of straw brooms (Whop! Whop! Whop!), cleaning was more important, since a little scrap of straw could throw the rock way out of line, but there’s still debris on the ice that can cause trouble.

When you’re done watching the Olympics, watch a movie- Men with Brooms is a hoot!

As others have noted, everybody throws the rock 1/4 of the time, and that’s the most important skill. But sweeping is more challenging than you might think. If the stone is thrown too softly, you want to start sweeping “for weight” as quickly as possible, and it takes time to develop the judgment as to when to do that. You need to sweep quickly just after the release, when the stone is moving quickly, and then switch gradually to a slower and firmer sweep as the stone slows down. And of course, you need to work in tandem with the opposite sweeper and not interfere with each other or bump the rock.

Plus it helps keep you warm and works up your thirst for the post-game libations!

Sweeping is the aerobic part of it, for the exercise. It’s sort of like the running back and forth in basketball - I don’t think either is much fun, but it’s part of the game. But sweeping is a skill as well - to judge when to sweep, when to hold off, how hard to sweep - the worst gut-sinking feeling is to sweep your team’s rock out of the house.

As for the shooting part - one of the most satisifying feelings I know is when you throw your rock for a draw and it tucks itself perfectly behind the guard as shot. It’s one of those things that even when you understand why it happens, just seems impossible. (Sadly, for me it seems more impossible than for others… :frowning: ) Throwing a good take-out is fun (who wouldn’t like hucking a 40 lb hunk of granite down the ice for a big satisfying BOOM), but a nice draw-behind is almost spiritual.

It seems quite similar to lawn bowls without the Depends®.