Communication between players is vital to curling. All team members have an important role to play, and effective communication will assist in making great plays.
Before the game, teams may wish to chat about general strategy, strengths and weaknesses, and expected ice conditions. During a team's delivery of a stone, it is important that all team members remain in constant communication.
- The team member delivering the stone should inform the sweepers if their delivery was off - they may be able to help correct the shot.
- The sweepers are responsible for judging the weight of the stone and should inform their skip as this changes. If an alternative shot appears as a result of an error, inform the skip who will decide the course of action.
- The skip is responsible for judging the path the stone will take and should let the sweepers know if they should help the stone along.
When there are a few games taking place at the same time it can get very noisy on the ice which can make verbal communication difficult. The skip will generally motion as to what shot they want, using the following gestures.
In Turn: The skip holds out their RIGHT hand. This indicates that the stone should be turned in a CLOCKWISE direction.
Out Turn: The skip holds out their LEFT hand. This indicates that the stone should be turned in a COUNTER-CLOCKWISE direction.
Freeze: The skip will draw the broom along the ice to the shot and pat the ice in front of it. The rock should come to rest alongside the existing rock in play.
Raise: The skip will hold up the broom horizontally and indicate the distance for the raise by the distance between the skip’s hands. The rock should bump the existing rock in play by that much distance.
Guard: The skip will pat the ice with the broom indicating where the guard is to stop. They may hold their hand at their waist to indicate weight. The played stone should lie in front of the house and may protect another stone.
Draw: The skip may draw the broom along the ice in a curve toward the place where the rock is to stop, or they may hold the brush to indicate the desired position of the stone and tap the top of the brush. They may hold their hand at their chest to indicate weight. The played stone should finish in the house.
Hack: The skip may tap their ankle with their hand to indicate a ‘Hack Weight’ is required. A Hack weight is where the stone should stop at the hack and no further. This weight is used for a light take-out or to push a stone to the back of the house.
Board: The skip may cross their hand across their stomach area to indicate a board weight. This is a light take-out weight where the stone would come to rest 4-6 feet behind the hack.
Control: The skip may call for 'Control Weight' when a slightly heavier shot is requested, one that can still be influenced by sweeping. This should be heavy enough to move a rock that is hit but may not take it out of play.
Takeout: The skip may pat the rock to be taken out and swing the broom backwards, indicating to take it out. They may tap their shoulder area to indicate weight. If the shot is to be a hit on the side for a roll or wick, they may pat the side to be hit.
Peel: The skip may ask for this as a way to take out one or more rocks in play, as well as the shooter. The sweepers can stand back and watch the resulting carnage.
TO SWEEP OR NOT TO SWEEP
To Sweep: skip will shout YES or SWEEP or HARD or something they swear meant the same thing. Whatever you do, keep sweeping.
Stop Sweeping: skip will shout NO or STOP or NEVER or raise a hand to halt sweeping. Easily confused with the same indecipherable call to sweep harder.