Beginning curlers can often benefit more from practicing a few simple drills than from diving into a real game. Simply working on delivery mechanics, technique, and balance can be the key to improving your overall curling skill level when you are just starting out. Below are several good curling drills for beginners that can help speed up a novice curler’s progression. Some of the drills will help in shot making of draws and takeouts, and some will help with sweeping. Beginners who devote time to these drills will notice immediate improvement in their game.
Drills to Help Beginning Curlers with Balance and Shot Delivery
Balance Drill 1 – Balance and overall comfort in your delivery posture are important for allowing consistent shot making. One simple way to improve balance and comfort in your delivery pose is to simply get into your ideal delivery position off of the ice, and hold your body still for as long as possible (within reason of course). This will be difficult initially. You may only be able to hold the pose for a few seconds, but eventually you will develop muscle memory which will allow you to be comfortable and stable in the pose which will transfer directly to your form and balance on the ice.
Balance Drill 2 – Attempt sliding out of the hack without a stone and with your broom flat on the ice square to your shoulders. Place both of your hands on your broom shoulder width apart, and push out of the hack. Repeat this process to become comfortable sliding and pushing out of the hack in the proper direction. By keeping both of your hands on the broom you eliminate any imbalance in your body position. This drill will keep your shoulders squared up to your target with your head and shoulders held high and your back end low. Your sliding foot will be directly below your sternum for perfect balance. Ideally a beginning curler will be well balanced and comfortable with this drill before ever throwing a rock.
Hitting the Broom – Being able to aim your shot directly where your skip is calling it is known as “hitting the broom,” and it is crucial to consistent shot making. Hitting the broom all starts with how you set yourself up in the hack. Be sure to point your toes and square up your shoulders to your intended target. When you push out of the hack your body should travel directly toward your skip’s broom. One way to practice this is to place two cones or even two rocks off to one side of the hack at the same distance as the near T-Line. Practice pushing out of the hack and making your entire body pass through the cones or rocks (picture a field goal in football, but you are the ball). As you get better at this drill you can move your target farther away and move your cones or rocks closer together.
If you practice these drills your shot making will improve quickly and dramatically. When you are comfortable, stable, balanced, and able to hit the broom, you will be on your way to making great shots on a consistent basis.