Curling Club Handbook

Welcome! We're glad you have chosen to become a member of the Port Perry Curling Club. We're committed to serving our membership, so please don't hesitate to contact any one of our club Directors with any questions, concerns or compliments. We welcome your suggestions and advice and will make every effort to earn your continued support. As a member, it is your privilege to participate in the many different activities the club offers. Please keep in mind that our club’s ability to offer its varied services and events depends greatly on the active participation of the membership, so we encourage you to volunteer whenever and wherever you can. Volunteering is also a great way to get to know other club members. 

Good Curling!


Curling is a sport where ease of movement is critical. It requires bending and stretching during the course of the game which lasts about two hours on the ice surface. You will also wish to be comfortable off the ice as you enjoy both pre- and post-game chats. 

A pair of curling shoes is ideal but if you are just starting this sport, a clean pair of running shoes worn only while curling will do nicely. They MUST NOT be worn outside because even the smallest bit of dirt on the ice surface can cause a rock to go off course. If your shoes are not insulated you will probably wish to wear a very warm pair of socks.  There are also insoles made of reflective material that you can place in your shoes to provide a barrier between your foot and the cold surface.

Your pants should be such that they will allow for plenty of stretch and free movement both during delivery and sweeping. Available on the market are curling pants, jogging suits, stretch leggings, and yoga pants. Most people find it difficult or uncomfortable to curl in jeans, cords or dress pants. It is also recommended that curling pants not be worn outside in case they may come in contact with road salt or grit, which could then be transferred to the ice surface.

Dressing in layers is suggested for your upper body. At the start of a game you may find it cold or damp on the ice. As the game progresses, with increased movement you may wish to peel off the outer layer. Some people layer, for example, turtleneck, vest, sweater/fleece and jacket. It is preferable not to have fleece as your outermost layer   anytime during the game. The constant rubbing of your arms against your body causes small bits of material to fall on the ice. These can get caught under the rock, causing it to go off course. It will not take you long to know what works best for you. (Skips tend to dress warmly as they sweep less.)

Generally, people wear curling gloves or mitts that have a non-slip palm and keep the hands warm and protected while sweeping. A considerable amount of body heat is lost through your head; some people like to wear a hat.

Curling clothing and equipment can be purchased from Last Rock pro shop. These are suggestions and in short order you will find your own comfortable way to dress.


Little equipment is needed to enjoy this sport. A slider is a piece of Teflon worn on the bottom of your shoe, which allows you to slide smoothly while delivering your rock. The slider can be a separate article that attaches to your shoe with an elasticized band or it can be attached directly to your shoe. If your slider is attached to your shoe you will need a gripper, a rubber cover to protect the slider from dirt and to keep you from losing your footing on the ice and on the carpeted area at each end of the sheet.

A broom is the other piece of equipment that is required; they come in a variety of shapes, textures and handle configurations. If you choose not to purchase a broom, there are “club” brooms available for your use.

Glossary of Curling Terms:

Backline: The line across the ice at the back of the house. Stones (or rocks) which are over this line are removed from play.

Biter: A stone that just touches the outer edge of the circles.

Blank End: An end in which no points have been scored.

Bonspiel: A curling competition or tournament.

Burned Stone: A stone in motion touched by a member of either team or byany part of their equipment. The touched stone may be removed from play.

Button: The circle at the centre of the house.

Counter: Any stone in the rings or touching the rings which is a potential point.

Curl: The amount a rock changes directionwhile travelling overthe ice sheet.

Delivery: Right handed deliveries are made with the right foot in the left handed hack. Left handed deliveries are made with the left foot in the right handed hack. The delivery and release of the stone is intended to occur in a reasonably straight line from the hack towards the target broom. 

Draw Weight: The momentum required for a stone to reach the house at the farend of the ice sheet.

End: A portion of a curling game that is completed when each team has thrown eight stones and the score has been decided.

Free Guard Zone (FGZ): The FGZ is the area between the hog line and the tee line excluding the house. Any stationary stone(s) belonging to the opposition located in the FGZ shall not be removed from play by the delivering team prior to the delivery of the 5th stone of the end. 

Guard: A stone that is placed in a position so that it may protect another stone.

Hacks: The foot-holds at each end of the ice from which the stone is delivered.

Heavy: A rock delivered with a greater force than necessary.

Hog Line: A line 10 meters from the hack at each end of the ice.

Hogged Stone: A stone that does not reach the far hog line. It must be removed from play.

House: The rings or circles toward which play is directed consisting of a 12-foot ring, 8-foot ring, 4-foot ring and a button.

In-Turn: The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to turn and curl in a clockwise direction for a right-handed curler. For a left-handed curler the rotation is counter-clockwise.

Lead: The first player on a team to deliver a pair of stones for his/her team in each end.

Light: A rock delivered with insufficient force.

Out-Turn: The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to turn and curl in a counter-clockwise direction for a right-handed curler. For a left-handed curler the rotation is clockwise.

Pebble: A fine spray of water applied to a sheet of curling ice before commencing play.

Raise: When one stone is bumped ahead by another.

Roll: The movement of a curling stone after it has struck a stationary stone in play.

Second: The curler who delivers the second pair of stones for his/her team in each end.

Sheet: The specific playing surface upon which a curling game is played.

Shot Rock: At any time during an end, the stone closest to the button.

Skip: The player who determines the strategy, and directs play for the team. The skip generally but not necessarily delivers the last pair of stones for his/her team in each end.

Spare: An alternate player or substitute.

Slider: Slippery material placed on the sole of the shoe, to make it easier to slide on the ice during delivery.

Stick: Device used for delivery of a stone. The delivery must start from the hack and be released before the hog line.

Sweeping: The action of moving a broom or brush back and forth in the path of a moving stone. This allows the stone to travel farther and curl less.

Take Out: Removal of a stone from the playing area by hitting it with another stone.

Tee Line: The line that passes through the centre of the house parallel to the hog line and backline.

Third Or Vice-Skip: The third player on a team to throw two stones in each end.  Generally this player acts as the skip when the skip is delivering his/her stones and assists with shot selection decisions.  

Weight: The amount of force given to the stone during the delivery.

The Curling Sheet:

Safety on the Ice:

Curling is not a dangerous sport but serious injuries can occur if you are not careful. The beginning of the season is when the majority of injuries happen. Ice is very hard and very slippery. It is easy to forget this as we get more comfortable. This is when mistakes happen and injuries can occur. Here are a few suggestions to make the season safe:

  • Make sure your shoes have good grip. If not, invest in a gripper to ensure stability.
  • Wear grippers at all times except when throwing rocks. Learning to sweep with two grippers is safe and easy. 
  • Ensure your grippers fit snugly and are not going to fall off.
  • When you step on the ice to throw be sure to get on with your gripper foot first and not your slider. When you get off the ice after throwing the reverse is true, step off with your slider foot first.
  • Look out for other players when moving rocks around on the ice. Also be aware of rocks are being moved near you and be ready to move safely out of the way.
  • While it is important to stop rocks from running into the hacks do not put yourself at risk to do so.
  • Take things slowly. While it is important to keep a game moving along at a nice clip, if everyone is where they’re supposed to be, it doesn’t have to be a race. Move on the ice at a safe pace.
  • Be aware of emergency procedures at your club and the location of the first aid kit, defibrillator etc. 

Team Composition:

A Team is made up of four players; a Lead, a Second, a Third or Vice, and a Skip.


The Lead delivers the first two rocks for the team. After the lead rocks have been delivered, (s)he will then sweep the rocks being delivered by the rest of the team. Leads should also place the Skip’s rock in front of the hack when it is the Skip’s turn to deliver their rocks (this helps to maintain the pace of the game).


The Second delivers the next two rocks for their team and sweeps rocks being delivered by the rest of the team. While sweeping, s/he is also trying to determine how far the rock will travel down the ice.


The Third is responsible for the coin toss with the opposing Third; the winner usually chooses to have “last rock” for the first end and allows the opposing Third to choose rock colour, although the winner of the toss is also entitled to choose rock colour and allow the other team to have last rock. The team without last rock then delivers their rock first. The Third/Vice delivers the third set of two rocks and is also responsible for sweeping the Lead and Second rocks. It is usually the Third who holds the broom when it is the Skip’s turn to deliver their rocks. After the Skip’s rocks have been delivered, it is the duty of the Thirds from both teams to determine the points scored in the end and perform the measure should it not be clear which rock is in scoring position. If a measure is required and you are unsure how to proceed, ask the opposing Third or the Skips for assistance. The Thirds should be the only people in the House at the conclusion of each end. It is also the responsibility of the Third to mark the score on the ice and on the draw sheets located on the boards in the lounge. The third is best positioned to act as a coach and mentor for any novices on the team. In that role he or she should give advice and answer questions on rules, technique, etiquette and strategy.


The Skip stands at the far end of the sheet and holds the broom for the delivery of the rocks by the other team members. The broom is a visual aide for the person delivering their rock. The positioning of the broom is decided by the Skip’s ability to “read” or understand the movement of the rocks on the ice. Positioning of the broom will be dependent on ice conditions, the type of shot being played, and the position of other rocks in and around the house. The Skip who delivers the last rock in the end is said to have “the Hammer”. The role of the Skip includes: 

  • Making your team aware of curling etiquette.
  • If you observe a member of your team committing a violation of a rule or etiquette gently point out their error. 
  • Setting an example; be courteous and respectful. 
  • Complimenting a good shot by a member of your team.
  • Tailoring your expectations to the ability of your team members. Be considerate of those not quite so talented. 
  • While game strategy is the skip’s responsibility, you should discuss strategy with the Third and be willing to explain your calls to your team members when asked. Strategy decisions should not be drawn out. Taking too much time is unfair on the opposition
  • Knowing the rules so you can assist your team. 

Curling Etiquette:

  • Rules of Play – We subscribe to the rules of the Canadian Curling Association (CCA), and the Ontario Curling Association (OCA), 
  • Missing a game – If you are unable to play your game, you are responsible for arranging a spare and informing your Skip as early as possible. There is usually a list of spares for your draw, however you may call any member or ask the people who are curling before or after your game.
  • Cancelling your game – If your game needs to be cancelled or rescheduled, the Skip is responsible to inform his/her team and the Skip of the opposing team as early as possible. (S)He should also inform the League Rep.

Before Starting the Game

  • Clean shoes before going on the ice. 
  • Clean brooms over garbage cans so dirt etc. does not fall onto the carpet.
  • Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponents before the game & wish everyone ‘good curling’.
  • The Third from one team tosses a coin, while the other team’s third makes the call. 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. 

During the Game

  • Be ready to throw when it is your turn.
  • The leads who will be throwing the first rock of the end should prepare themselves and their first rock to throw and not assist in clearing the other rocks after the end is over.                  
  • An eight end game should take no more than two hours to play, a six end game, 1 ½ hours – allow 15 minutes per end. This goal can be achieved if the skips plan their strategy while the opposition is delivering their rocks. All team members should be ready to deliver their rock when it is their turn. As soon as the person delivering the rock before you has released their rock, you can step into the hack, clean your rock and be ready to play as soon as your Skip calls your shot. Keeping the pace of play maintains interest and aids in concentration in the game. The teams using the ice after you will appreciate it also!
  • It is conventional but not necessary to throw the rocks in the order of the numbers on the rocks.
  • Only the skip or third of the delivering team should be in the house. 
  • When your teammate is throwing their rock, sweepers should keep far enough back with their brooms against their bodies so they don't block the sightlines of the thrower. 
  • Similarly, when you have finished sweeping your team's rock and you're walking back down the sheet, keep to the side line. Remember that the other team will be throwing their rock and that the sightlines down the sheet should be clear. 
  • Sweepers should be between the hog lines and to the side of the ice sheet when rocks are delivered so as not to block the view of the opposing player who is throwing.  
  • When an opposing player is in the hack and ready to throw, do not cross the ice or enter the house or in any way interfere with his or her concentration.
  • If you find that you are walking back towards the hack when someone is delivering their rock, you should stand still and remain motionless during the opposing teams’ delivery and while their hand is still on the handle. Remain relatively quiet so the person delivering will not be distracted. Also, keep your broom down and out of the way, but not on the ice surface—the only broom in a stationary position on the ice should belong to the person who has control of the house.
  • It is okay for a Skip to stand behind the other Skip to watch the line, but the Skip behind should not place the broom vertically on the ice, since this may put the thrower off by seeing two brooms! It is a courtesy for the Skip standing behind to position the broom horizontally across the body. 
  • Sweepers should pay attention to their skip’s call for the next curler on their team so they know what is expected for the next shot.
  • When the final stone of an end comes to rest in the house, leads and seconds should remain well outside the house until the Thirds have measured (if necessary), determined the score, and agreed to move stones. Do not move any rock until the Thirds have given the okay. 
  • Compliment your opponent for a good shot. One of the nicest curling traditions is that players and spectators compliment a good shot by either side while not remarking on a poor shot or a competitor’s misfortune.
  • After the end is completed all rocks should be returned to their designated area; being in proper order is not necessary. This will also help keep the game on pace. The Lead who is delivering the first rock in the new end should be getting ready while the rocks are being gathered.

After the Game

  • 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. Each member of the winning team offers to buy a beverage for the corresponding position on the other team. Normally later, the other team reciprocates but this is not mandatory.   Drinks are available in our downstairs bar/lounge. Please do not bring alcoholic drinks into the ice area.
  • Arrange rocks in numerical order once the game is complete.

Suggestions for Finishing a Game on Time

  • Be on time. Please be ready to curl your first rock right on time.  If you are playing the first scheduled game of the draw your ice will be ready before you get there. Occasionally the game before you may finish early. Get to the club in time to change and warm up before your start time. When you are late you are holding up seven other players. If you know you may be late, let your Skip know; they can start without you.
  • There may be occasions when you are unable to curl as scheduled. It is your responsibility to get a substitute. Call your skip and give the name of the curler sparing for you or the names of the people you have called. No shows are a no-no!
  • If your team leads off on any particular end, the Lead should gather their rock, clean it and do their pre-shot routine while the Third and the Second put the rocks away.  
  • Players should always be ready to deliver their rock as soon as the Skip asks for it. Do not wait until the Skip places the broom to clean your rock. 
  • Be courteous. Don’t distract the person in the hack. 
  • Sweepers, be sure to walk back to the delivering end as close to the sidelines as possible so as not to block the line of delivery of the next person. 
  • Leads or Seconds, place your Skip’s rock in front of the Hack while the Skip and Third are setting up the Skip’s shot.
  • Skips, keep the game moving by minimizing delays in making decisions. Avoid long conferences. You are in charge of the game. It’s rock science, not rocket science.



  • Any member of the team may sweep their team’s rock up to the T-line; only one sweeper may do so after the rock has crossed the T-line. The opposing team’s rock may only be swept by you after it crosses the T-line.  
  • You are not permitted to “warm up the ice”, i.e. sweep any rock that is stationary.
  • You may only sweep a rock that is in motion. 
  • While sweeping, you will need to communicate to your Skip where you believe the rock will come to rest and sweep the rock accordingly so that it ends up where the Skip has requested (no mean task). 
  • The two team members who are not currently throwing, travel beside and sweep (as necessary) the rock being delivered by their teammate. The purpose of sweeping is to help a rock travel further or keep it straight. To be safe and effective, sweepers should be positioned on opposite sides of the running rock.
  • The Skip or Third is viewing the line of the rock as it travels down the ice. (S)He will call on the sweepers to start or stop sweeping at any given time.  It is difficult for the Skip to judge the speed of the rock. Communication from the sweepers helps the Skip determine where the rock will come to rest.


Factors Influencing Shot Selection:

  1. Free Guard Zone (FGZ) Rule —The Free Guard Zone Rule influences shot selection relative to the first four stones of an end and impacts strategy decisions throughout the course of a game. The FGZ Rule provides substantial opportunities for offense including comebacks in the middle and late ends of a game with or without last rock. 
  2. Score—The score in relation to the end you are playing will greatly influence shot election decisions. 
  3. Last Rock—Last rock advantage plays a key role in shot selection decisions. Having last rock advantage may result in a more offensive approach. Not having last rock may dictate a defensive approach. 
  4. Ability—The skills of opponents and teammates required to successfully play both offense and defense are critical to planning strategy and making appropriate shot selection. Knowing the position by position strengths and weaknesses of the team and the opposition will have a great impact on the game strategy. The strategy you design for your team and the shot selections you make during a game should be based on the abilities of the individual players and the team as a unit. 
  5. Ice—Ice conditions will play a key factor in determining the strategy a team is able to apply. Fast, swingy ice will produce optimum playing conditions. Straight ice conditions will restrict the aggressive come around approach and may dictate a raise style game plan. It is important to note that, of these factors, last rock advantage and the relative skills of both the team and the opposing team are the main factors that influence shot selections for the developing curler. 



Most club and bonspiel games are eight ends. Competitive games are often ten ends. In each end the rock(s) of the same colour closest to the centre of the house count as one point each. The score and any measuring is determined by the Thirds of both teams; all other players should remain outside the Hog line. 


Scoreboard etiquette: While spectators enjoy having the score posted quickly after the completion of an end, curling etiquette does exist in certain situations where delaying or even not posting the score would be considered a sportsmanlike gesture. For example, if after 3 or 4 ends, a team is leading by 7 or more (for example), then further scoring should be postponed until the trailing rink counts an end – please use your judgment. In these situations, it can be considered unsportsmanlike to rush and immediately post the results of an end.


The etiquette of conceding a win/loss game: After the completion of any end, a team may concede a game by the conceding skip offering to shake hands with the skip of the winning team. After a team has conceded, they may still play for fun if time allows (no score). If time is short, good etiquette is to concede a game when all chances of winning the game are gone. This will allow the ice crew time to prepare the sheet for the next game to start on time. E.g. If a team needs 4 to tie the game on the 8th end, and by their third’s first stone is not laying at least one, then there is no hope and a skip’s handshake is proper etiquette.


At the end of the game, the Third should note the final score and the number of ends won by their team. This information is then recorded on the draw sheet in the lounge. As a courtesy, often the winning Third will record the information for both teams.


Port Perry's Scoreboard:

Our club uses Club style scoreboards where the centre numbers on the score board represent the score of the match. The cards hung above or below the center numbers are the ends played and they show the accumulated points scored by the team up to and including that end. The number on the card represents the End. Depending on which team has scored, the end number is hung either under or above the number that represents the total number of points scored to that point in the game.






























Blank Ends [5]

Sample Game:

[1]Yellow scores 3 points in the first end.  [Yellow leads 3-0]

[2]Red scores 4 points in the second end.  [Red leads 4-3]

[3]Red scores 2 points in the third end.  [Red leads 6-3]

[4]Yellow scores 4 points in the fourth end.  [Yellow leads 7-6]

[5]No points were scored (blank end) in the fifth end. The card is hung in the Blank Ends area.  [Yellow leads 7-6]

[6]Yellow scores 2 points in the sixth end.  [Yellow leads 9-6]

[7]Yellow scores 4 points in the seventh end. For a score that is higher than the scoreboard’s center numbers, the end number is posted using a “wrap around”. This indicates the score is twelve higher than the center number.  [Yellow leads 13-6]

[8]The eighth end is in progress.  


Competition Scoreboard:

Some clubs and many televised curling events use the International style scoreboard and the score is marked in the same manner as on a baseball scoreboard. The Ends are at the top of the scoreboard. There is a box below the scoreboard containing numbers. The scoring team’s Third chooses the number that corresponds to the number of points scored in each end and hangs it beside the colour of rocks that were in scoring position and under the corresponding End.

Baseball-style scoreboard





































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Port Perry Curling Club

483 Bay Street
Port Perry, Ontario
L9L 1M7

phone: 905.985.7972

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Interested in Curling?

Are you new to the sport of curling? Want to give it a try? Interested in becoming a member of the Port Perry Curling Club? We're always looking to welcome new members to our club. Please view our League Description page and make sure to sign-up for our Learn-to-Curl sessions. For more information or email us with your questions. Good Curling!