Curling Etiquette and Positioning

Here are some basic points of playing the game that beginners may already be aware of, and some finer points they may not know:

  • Both teams shake hands before a game.
  • A player from one team tosses a coin, while the other team makes the call (mostly this task is done by the Thirds/Vice Skips). Whichever team wins the toss has the option of throwing the last rock, or choosing rock colour. The team that wins the toss will usually opt for the advantage of last rock, in which case the other team chooses the colour they want.
  • It is usually left to the Third/Vice Skip to put up the score for their own team, but anyone on the team can do this.
  • When it's team A's turn to throw, players from team B should not be in the area between the backboard and the hog line where team A is throwing. This area is considered to be the territory of team A, and players on team B should wait at the side of the sheet between the two hog lines or behind the backboard.  As soon as the rock has been delivered, players from team B can then move into the area to prepare for their team's throw - and the rule applies the other way round.
  • Preparing rocks and placing them in front of the hack for your team mates is good practice. Putting the rock in front of the hack is also something the front-end (Lead and Second) should do for their Skip's rocks. It all helps to save time and keep the game moving along.
  • When your team mate is throwing their rock, sweepers should keep far enough back with their brooms into their bodies, so that they don't block the sightlines, or impede the movement, of their team mate throwing.
  • Similarly, when you have finished sweeping your team's rock and you're walking back down the sheet, keep to the edge. Remember that the other team will be throwing their rock and that the sightlines down the sheet should be unblocked.
  • You should avoid stepping onto or walking up and down the sheet of ice next to the one you're playing on if teams are playing on it.
  • It's okay for a Skip to stand behind the other Skip to watch the line, but the Skip behind should try not to have their broom placed down vertically on the ice, since this may put the thrower off by seeing two brooms! It's courtesy for the Skip standing behind to position their broom horizontally across their body.
  • Sweepers should position themselves on or around the tee line, near to the hack, to start sweeping a rock. If your team mate releases a slow moving rock, waiting for it to come to you at the hog line or beyond defeats the purpose of sweeping. Sweepers should start moving with the thrower and be level with the rock ready to sweep as soon as it is released if needed.
  • The other reason why sweepers should position themselves closer to the hack for sweeping, is so that when the Skip comes to throw a rock (which would already be waiting for them at the hack!), the Skip can discuss strategy with the sweepers while preparing to throw. This makes it easier for the Skip to communicate with the front-end, the front-end will benefit by knowing what they need to do and will start to understand more about strategy; and it keeps the game moving along quicker.
  • Strategy and decision making is the responsibility of the Skip. When it comes time for Skips to throw, they should discuss strategy with their Third/Vice Skip. These decisions should not be drawn out. Taking too much time is unfair on the opposition. Seconds and Leads can get involved in some strategy discussions, but consistently being involved slows the game down.
  • All players should be aware of what's going on in a game. Be ready to throw your rock when it's your turn.
  • Both teams shake hands after a game. If people are having a sociable drink after the game, it's considered good etiquette to sit with your opposition.