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Weight By The Numbers

If you’ve watched any curling on TV you’ve probably heard the players respond to the skip’s “where?” with something like “three” or “eight/nine” and you’ve probably wondered what exactly those numbers mean.

Excerpted from Wikipedia’s Glossary of Curling entry the text below explains just what those numbers mean.

Diagram that shows the number weight calling system as it relates to the ice surface. The tee line has been contained within the button to avoid confusion.

Diagram that shows the number weight calling system as it relates to the ice surface. The tee line has been contained within the button to avoid confusion.

During a game, sweepers might call out numbers. These numbers indicate how far the sweepers think the rock in play will travel.This system is relatively new to the game and is often attributed to the Randy Ferbey rink since they were the first major team to use the system, but it is not known whose idea it originally was.

  • 1 to 3 indicates a rock in the free guard zone;
  • 4 to 6 the rings in front of the tee line;
  • 7 being on the button;
  • 8 to 10 the rings behind the tee line.

Sometimes, 11 is used to indicate a stone thrown so that it passes through the house and out of play. With this system, the sweepers can communicate more effectively where they think the stone will end up or the skip can better tell the deliverer how hard to throw it.

Basics of Curling

Basics of Curling

Two four-person rinks (teams) compete, with each rink throwing (sliding) 8 rocks per “end” of play. Teams alternate turns, and each player throws (slides) two stones. Each end starts with the leads (first players) alternating throws, followed by the seconds, then the thirds (more commonly known as vice-skips) and finally the skips, who throw last, plot strategy, and study how the rocks move on the ice.

Judicious sweeping in front of the moving stones can affect both the distance traveled, and the amount of curling a stone does on it’s way down the sheet of ice. [Read more…]

How to try Curling

If you have never curled before, and that includes most people, we have opportunities for you to get your feet wet.   [Read more…]

What Equipment Do I Need To Curl?

Items for you to bring for your first time curling:

  • Warm, loose-fitting clothes (sweatshirt or sweater)
  • Gloves & an optional hat
  • Clean sneakers or rubber-soled shoes
  • A good nature and sense of humor

Items we’ll supply:

  • Great ice
  • Curling stones
  • Sweeping brooms

[Read more…]

Build Your Own Stabilizer

Of course it is quite easy to purchase a stabilizer, but often times the fun is in the making. You’ll have your own, and at a price that’s hard to beat. [Read more…]

Scoreboard 101

Reading our scoreboard takes a bit of getting used to. This page will walk through the process in a more detail than the previous page, the basics of curling. The example used is different, but will, I hope, explain what goes on. Olympic level curling on television has the advantage of computerized digital scoreboards. Most curling clubs rely on the hang tag method, it’s simple, it needs only one set of numbers representing the ends played, and it works. No computer glitches here. [Read more…]

Curling Safety

Curling is a winter sport, played on ice. Ice is slippery, hard, cold, and wet. When normal caution is ignored, you can discover any or all of those facets, probably in that order.

  • Warm up before the game. Stretching and warming muscles before going out onto the ice can help prevent injury.
  • Step onto the ice gripper-foot first. Never use your slider foot to step onto the ice.
  • Always be careful when stepping off the ice. Always put your slider foot up first.
  • Never stop a rock with your hand. Your fingers can be crushed, especially if the rock hits another rock while you’re trying to stop it.

[Read more…]


The following links will take you to informative web sites with in depth discussions on the rules of curling:

pdf_iconWorld Curling Federation Rules of Curling, October 2014 (pdf)
(Source: World Curling Federation website Site also includes a link to a changelog from 2011 to 2014)

pdf_iconUSCA 2014-2015 Rules of Play (pdf)
(Source: USCA website)

Grand National Curling Club (GNNC) rules for 5 year & under bonspiels

Mixed Doubles – The newest form of curling in the USCA, consists of one male and one female curler per team.

Skins format – An alternate method of scoring, often considered a more aggressive form of the sport.

Canadian Curling Association rules of play on the CCA web site.

Something only Potomac Curling Club has: Nuclear Curling.

Skins Competition

The Skins format differes from regular curling in that a point ‘skin’ is awarded for each end won, with the skin value for each end increasing as the game progresses. A skin is awarded if the team with the hammer scores two or more points or the opposing team steals the end. If neither of these occur the skin is carried over to the next end and the total value at stake grows. This results in a very exciting offensive style of play where every end is like the final end of the game with teams going all out to win. At the completion of eight ends the team with the most skin value wins the game. [Read more…]

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles is the newest form of curling in the USCA.
The rules presented here are copied from the USCA Curling News, published in May 2007.

A Mixed Doubles team consists of two players (one male and one female).


  1. Scoring is the same as in regular curling.
  2. Each game will consist of eight ends. If at the completion of the scheduled ends the score is tied, play shall continue for the extra ends required to determine the winning team.
  3. Each team shall receive 48 minutes of playing time for an eight-end game. When extra ends are required, the clocks will be reset, and each team shall receive 6 minutes of playing time for each extra end.
  4. Each team shall deliver five stones per end. The player delivering his/her team’s first stone of the end must also deliver his/her team’s last stone of that end. The other team member shall deliver the team’s second, third and fourth stones for that end. The player delivering the first stone can change from end to end.
  5. No stone, including those in the house, can be removed from play prior to the delivery of the fourth stone of an end. If there is a violation, the delivered stone shall be removed from play, and any displaced stone(s) shall be replaced to their original position by the non-offending team.
  6. Prior to the start of every end, one team shall instruct the game umpire to place their team’s stationary stone (1), and their opponent’s stationary stone (1), in either position A or B
    A. A stone bisecting the center line, midway between the hog line and the front of the house; or
    B. A stone on the back half of the button, bisecting the center line and touching the tee line.
  7. The team having the decision on the placement of the stationary stones shall be:
    (a) Unless predetermined, the teams opposing each other in the game shall use a coin toss to determine which team has the decision in the first end.
    (b) Following the first end, the team that lost the end will have the decision on the placement.
    (c) If an end is blanked, the team that did not deliver the last stone in that end shall have the decision on placement in the next end.
  8. The team whose stationary stone is placed in the position in front of the house shall deliver first in that end, and the team whose stationary stone is placed in the house shall deliver the second stone of that end.
  9. Prior to the start of every game at WCF competitions, each team shall be allowed a 5 minute warm-up period on the rink on which they will be playing. The team delivering the last stone in the first end shall practice first.

Having read the above rules numerous times, some clarification is in order.  Reading #5 above, and watching the video, the first three rocks thrown can not be a takeout, even for stones in the house. The fourth and subsequent stone can be a takeout.

If you win the coin toss, then you get “the decision“.  If you happen to lose an end, then you also get “the decision“.  If you have “the decision“, then your team gets to decide where to place the two stationary stones, one each of yours and your opponent’s, as specified in #6 above.  By deciding whose stone goes in the house and whose is a guard you’ve also determined the hammer.  By placing your stone in the house, you’ve taken hammer.

You can also watch a six minute promotional video on YouTube.

There is a variation on the above, called “Sturling”, a melding of “Stick” and “Curling”. They have their own web site so I won’t be duplicating the rules here.