Basics of Curling
Two four-person rinks (teams) compete, with each rink throwing (sliding) 8 rocks per “end” of play.
Teams alternate turns, and each player throws (slides) two stones. Each end starts with the leads (first players) alternating throws, followed by the seconds, then the thirds (more commonly known as vice-skips) and finally the skips, who throw last, plot strategy, and study how the rocks move on the ice.
Sweeping in front of the moving stones can affect both the distance traveled, and the amount of curling a stone does on it’s way down the sheet of ice.
A game is typically 8 ends (10 ends in competitions) and last about 2 hours.
Scoring is simple. The team receives one point for each of their rocks that are within the house and are closer to the center than any of the opposition’s stones. The team that scores throws first in the next end.
At the completion of each end, the thirds determine the score. In recreational clubs the third on the team that scored is responsible for hanging the score. In elite competition play, officials manage the scoreboard.
The ice sheet is 15 feet wide and 138 feet long from hack to hack (rubber footrests where the curling delivery begins).
The houses at each end are 12 feet in diameter, with rings of 8 feet, 4 feet and one foot (the ‘button’) painted into the ice. At the center of the house is the tee.