Curling Gameplay & Brief History

Curling, often called the 'Roaring' Game' due to the sound of a stone gliding over ice, is believed to be one of the oldest team sports worldwide, though its exact origins remain unclear. Early depictions resembling curling can be found in 16th-century Flemish paintings by Pieter Bruegel. Written records from 1540 in Scotland mention a challenge involving stone throwing on ice. Over time, this pastime transformed into a modern sport, complete with world championships and large TV audiences. Initially played on frozen lakes and ponds, competitive curling now takes place indoors on carefully controlled ice. Scotland was the birthplace of curling clubs, with the first rules formalized there in the 19th century. Curling's international reach expanded as Scots settled in countries with cold climates, notably Canada, the United States, and others. Notably, curling made its Olympic debut in 1924 at the Winter Games in Chamonix, France, solidifying its status as a globally recognized sport. Curling has evolved over the years, introducing new disciplines like Mixed Doubles (two-person teams) and Wheelchair Curling. Today, it boasts 73 nations with Curling Federations. Back in 1932, Curling made its first appearance as a demonstration sport at the Lake Placid Olympics, with Canada emerging as the winner. It took until 1998 for Curling to gain official Olympic medal status for both men's and women's teams. Since then, the sport has seen remarkable growth and international recognition. In 2008, the first World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship was held, introducing a new dynamic to the sport. Wheelchair Curling was also introduced, gaining official Paralympic medal status in 2002. These developments have paved the way for Curling to expand its reach and popularity worldwide.

Rules: How to Play

In traditional curling, teams typically have four players, but mixed doubles involves teams of two, with one female and one male player. Women's, men's, and wheelchair curling teams can also include a fifth player known as the Alternate, who acts as a substitute. Each team designates a Skip as the team captain, and a Vice-Skip assists them. The Skip directs play and stands in the scoring area, while the Vice-Skip takes over when the Skip is throwing their stones. In team curling, each player delivers two stones in consecutive turns during each round, called an End, alternating with the opposing team. Teams use eight stones of the same color, either red or yellow, in official events. The players' positions are Lead, Second, Third, and Fourth. The Lead throws the first two stones, the Second throws the next two, the Third throws the following two, and the Fourth throws the last two. Skips usually throw the final stones, but this isn't mandatory. In mixed doubles, both teams throw five stones each. They start each round with one stone pre-placed, allowing for a possible six-point score. One player throws the first and fifth stones, while the other throws the second, third, and fourth stones

Field of Play

Curling is played on a long, specially prepared strip of ice called a sheet. The sheet is over 45 meters long and up to five meters wide. At each end of the sheet are two target-like circles called houses. Each house has four rings that determine the position of the curling stones, with the center being known as the Button.

Scoring & Basics of the Game

Teams score one point for each of their own stones in or touching the house that are closer to the center than any of the opponent's stones. Only one team can score in an end. If neither team's stones are touching the house at the end of an end, it's called a blank end. Teams take turns throwing their stones from the Hack at one end of the sheet to the house at the other end. Stones must be released before the Hog Line to be in play. Stones that don't pass the hog line are removed. After each end, the teams switch directions. Once all stones are thrown, players calculate the score themselves. Curling usually consists of ten ends, but can be shorter in some formats. Teams can concede a game before the end if they choose. The team with the most points wins.

Last Stone Draw

Before a game of curling starts, teams decide who gets the Last Stone Advantage, also known as the Hammer. In championship games, this is determined by the Last Stone Draw (LSD), where players throw stones towards the center of the house, and the closest stone wins the advantage. Having the last stone means a team throws the final stone of the end, giving them a chance to score points or win. After scoring, the advantage shifts to the opposing team for the next end. Teams aim to score more than one point in an end. Sometimes, they choose to blank an end, leaving no stones in the house to keep the last stone advantage. However, in mixed doubles, blanking an end also gives the opposing team the last stone advantage.

Power Play

In mixed doubles, teams can use a power play once per game. To activate it, they must decide at the start of an end, before the stones are placed. Usually, pre-placed stones start with the team having the last stone advantage putting one at the back of the four-foot circle (red). The other team starts with a center guard (yellow). During a power play, these pre-placed stones are moved to the side, forming a corner guard (yellow) and a stone behind it, touching the tee line (red).

Game timing & Equipment

Game Timing: A championship curling game typically lasts about three hours. Teams are allotted Thinking Time based on the game format. In ten-end games, teams get 38 minutes each. For eight-end games, it's 30 minutes. Wheelchair curling teams have 38 minutes for eight-end games, and mixed doubles teams have 22 minutes. Equipment: In curling, players use heavy granite stones. Each stone weighs almost 20 kilograms. Players also have their own brush and special curling shoes. These shoes have one sole for grip and one for sliding, called a Slider. They also use a gripper, a removable rubber sole that protects the slider, keeps it clean, and helps the player stay stable on the ice.

Shots, Sweeping & Shouting

There are three main types of curling shots: Guards, Draws, and Take-outs, each with various versions.

● Guards are thrown to the front of the house, in the Free Guard Zone, to protect stones in play. Draws aim to reach the house and set up scoring positions.

● Take-outs remove stones from play. Meaning the stones that are hit out of their previous scores are no longer factors of the determined outcome.

● When thrown, a stone will curl across the ice sheet. Players rotate the stone clockwise or counter-clockwise to control its path on the pebbled ice, influencing where it stops.


Sweeping warms the ice to help the stone glide smoothly. It's done by applying downward force while moving the broom back and forth.

Sweeping makes the stone go farther, often by two or three meters. It also reduces the stone's curl, making its path straighter.


Players often shout "Hurry! Hard!" to communicate during a game of curling because of the long ice sheet. However, some teams use hand signals instead of shouting.

Wheelchair Curling

Wheelchair curling is for people who can't walk long distances, such as those with spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, or amputations, who use wheelchairs.

Teams in wheelchair curling must have both female and male players. Delivery sticks can help players throw stones, and there's no sweeping.

Benefits of Curling

- Physical Exercise: Curling provides a moderate level of physical activity, involving walking, sliding, and sweeping, which can contribute to cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility.

- Social Interaction: Curling is a team sport that fosters camaraderie and social interaction among players. It provides opportunities to meet new people, build friendships, and strengthen existing relationships.

- Mental Engagement: Curling requires strategic thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making, which can help improve cognitive function and mental agility. Inclusivity: Curling is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels. Adaptations such as wheelchair curling make it accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.

- Community Engagement: Curling clubs often serve as hubs for community activities and events, providing a sense of belonging and connection to local communities. Enjoyment and Recreation: Curling offers a fun and recreational activity that can be enjoyed by individuals, families, and groups, providing a break from daily routines and stress.

- Skill Development: Curling requires the development of various skills such as coordination, balance, and teamwork, which can be transferable to other aspects of life.

- Competition and Achievement: Curling provides opportunities for competitive play at various levels, from local leagues to international tournaments, allowing players to set goals, strive for improvement, and experience the satisfaction of achievement.

Overall, curling offers a unique combination of physical, social, and mental benefits, making it a rewarding and enjoyable activity for participants of all backgrounds and abilities.

Curling Diciplines

- Men's (Under 21, Under 18)

- Women's (Under 21, Under 18)

- Mixed Doubles

- Wheelchair

- Floor Curl

- Coaching

- Ice Technician

- Officiating