Parts of a Curling Broom
The shaft of the broom is typically made of a composite material. This allows the broom to be lightweight and durable, which makes it easier for the sweepers to sweep the stone effectively. The shaft of the broom is usually about 4 feet long.
The broomhead is usually made of a synthetic material, but there are still some brooms out there that have hair or bristles instead of a pad. Due to progress in sweeping technology, the World Curling Federation has created a synthetic broomhead that all players must use when playing in major bonspiels and international competitions.
On some brooms, the broomhead has the ability to rotate and change its position. This makes it easier to use when you are delivering or sweeping a stone. Other brooms have a fixed broomhead.
As you sweep the ice, it is common for your broom to pick up tiny particles or debris on the ice that can make your broomhead dirty. You will notice that your broomhead is becoming dirty because it will begin to take on a black tint in color.
The best way to make sure this doesn't happen is to clean your broomhead regularly. Most people will clean their broomhead once or twice a year, or whenever they finish a curling season. The easiest way to clean your broomhead is by cleaning it in a washing machine or dishwasher. However, some people still prefer to clean it by hand. Regardless of washing method, make sure that all of the soap suds are rinsed from the broomhead before attaching it back on your broom.
Holding a Broom When Delivering
Most curlers hold a broom when they are delivering a stone to provide them with balance when pushing out of the hack. In a curling delivery, you are constantly shifting your body weight. During a delivery, it is important that your body weight is evenly distributed between the left and right halves of your body. Holding a broom (or other stabilizing device) makes the delivery more balanced and precise. In reality, curlers should be able to perform a delivery without any stone or broom in hand and push out of the hack perfectly balanced.
Sweeping After Throwing
This usually does not happen, but sometimes you will sweep the stones you throw. This is becoming more relevant now that Mixed Doubles curling is gaining popularity. Even on a team of four, you can sweep the stones you throw, but rarely happens.
Alternatives to Brooms
As an alternative to the broom, some curlers use a stabilizer, which serves the same purpose as a broom (during the delivery). It is rare, but a few professional curlers use the stabilizer to deliver, the most notable being Reid Carruthers.
The World Curling Federation recently made a chance to a rule establishing a specific type of broomhead required for major curling events that do not significantly affect the trajectory of a curling stone when swept.