The first time a person comes out to try the great sport of curling, they will most likely take a learn to curl class. This class is one’s introduction to all things curling: brief history, equipment, gameplay, strategy, and technique. These classes will hopefully spark an interest in curling and lead to the participant joining the local curling club. So what should one expect when they are going to attend their first learn to curl class?
People that are going to attend a learn to curl class should remember that everything will be provided by the club in terms of equipment. They only need to wear athletic type shoes and clothing that would be appropriate for roughly 2 hours on the ice, i.e. pants, sweatshirt. In terms of pants, jeans are not ideal because of limited flexibility, but they can definitely work if need be.
Upon arrival to the curling club, the participants will be arranged into small groups and an instructor will begin the event. The instructor will generally speak about the history of curling and the rules of the game including scoring. They will field any general questions about curling and then once everyone is comfortable with the concept of the game, the on ice training will begin.
Generally the instructor will pair off the participants in two lines facing each other approximately 3 feet apart for some curling stone delivery training. The participants will learn how to grip the stone and practice the two shot types (in-turn and out-turn) by throwing a stone slowly to each other from that short distance of 3 feet.
The next step would be sliding out of the hack (the footholds that are frozen into the ice at the end of each sheet). This will typically be done without delivering the stone at first so as to get new participants comfortable with sliding on the ice. The instructor will show proper form and help to guide participants to get into proper balanced position during this training.
After this would be putting the two training items together with practice on delivering an actual shot out of the hack. Participants will slide out of the hack with a stone and then release it down the ice towards the target at the other end. Most participants will struggle with getting their stones all the way down the ice and this is perfectly normal. It gets better quickly with practice.
Sweeping is the next phase of the instruction. The teacher will usually arrange the students in two lines again facing each other and push a stone for them to sweep in front of. This is to get some practice as to what it is like sweeping a stone as it is moving down the ice towards its target.
Now that the training has been completed, the instructor will put together teams to get some practice in playing a couple ends of actual curling against each other. This is a great opportunity for the students to put to use all that they have learned in the session so far, and hopefully spark that lifelong interest in this wonderful sport of curling.
If taking a learn to curl session like this sounds like fun to you, simply find your local curling club from our listings, and figure out when the next session is available.