Dr Goldline on Speed of Play
An important note to our readers: Dr. Goldline is not a real doctor, in any way, shape or form; the moniker is used purely for entertainment value. In addition, the views expressed are entirely those of the author and not of management or any other curler. As the saying goes, “Put 3 lawyers/mathematicians/scientists (or curlers!) in a room and ask them the same question, and you’ll get 3 different answers”.
Dear Dr Goldline: I am two months into my first season of curling. We have two hours in which to play our game and most weeks, we manage to play a full 6 ends which seems fine with me. But my skip keeps saying that we should be able to play 8 ends in that amount of time. How is that possible?
Dear Slow but Steady: Your skip is a very wise and knowledgeable individual. He/she is right: there is no reason why you shouldn’t complete 8 ends of play in 2 hours.
Right now, you are like many curlers out there: you curl at your club once or twice a week and enjoy being out on the ice. But imagine you continue to hone your skills and ultimately reach the point that you are competing at a provincial, or dare I say it, a national level event. The reality is that at advanced levels of competition, games are timed and it is important to keep the game moving along.
There is no time like the present to review some simple tips to ensure that you can squeeze in 8 ends of play each week.
1) Be ready to play and be out on the ice on time for each and every game. In fact, if you see your opposition in the lounge before the game, why not get a head start and shake hands and wish each other “good curling” before you step out into the ice shed? If the vices are present, they can also complete the coin toss before hitting the ice.
2) Be in the hack and ready to deliver your rock when it is your turn. When the opposing player slides by you and releases his/her rock, go to the hack, clean your rock and be ready for your skip’s instructions. You can watch the opposition’s rock from the hack.
3) Move out of the house after you make your shots. Go between the hog lines and don’t cross the sheet unnecessarily.
4) At the conclusion of a full end of play, leads should move to the end of the sheet and prepare to set up for their shots. Let the seconds and vices clear the rocks to the sides/back of the rings and set up for the next end of play.
5) Curling is not a democracy – let the skip call the game and only provide input on the very few occasions when you’re specifically asked to do so.
6) For the skips out there:
- Only a few shots in a game need extensive thought. Have a game plan.
- Move out of the house once your team’s shot has come to rest to allow the other skip room.
- At the completion of an end, go down immediately to start the next end.
- Help out by arranging the rocks behind the hack during each end of play.
Two hours is plenty of time in which to complete a game. So this week, I encourage all curlers to focus and aim to “play 8”. Good curling everyone!