Curling Draw Shots
A draw is one of the most common shots you will make in a game of curling. A draw is a shot in which the stone will end up in the house without making contact with any other stones while it glides down the sheet.
Purpose of Draws
There are two purposes to draw shots. The first is that a draw can generate offense when your team has the hammer. There are specific locations where teams will try to throw their draw shots at the start of an end. In the beginning of most ends, the team with the hammer will make draws towards the outside of the house. Later on in the end, draw shots can be placed to help your team's chances of scoring 2 or more points with the hammer.
The second purpose of a draw shot is to provide defense when your team does not have the hammer. In the beginning of most ends, the team without the hammer will try to throw draw shots near the center of the house. They commonly reside in the Top 4 Foot or Top Button. Later on in the end, draw shots can be placed near your opponent's stone to force them to 1 point when they have the hammer.
Desired Locations for Draws
As we just learned in the section above, draws will be placed in the house. By rule of thumb, it is better to have a draw shot placed in the top half of the house. This improves the stone's chances to be considering for scoring.
Think about it: if a stone is in the top half of the house, and gets hit, it may roll out-of-play, or just move to the back half of the house. If a stone is in the back half of the house and gets hit, it will probably roll out-of-play. Thus, it's better to have your draws end up in the top half of the house than the back half of the house.
The average split time from the backline to reach the hogline is about 3 to 3.5 seconds. If you are drawing to the Button or Top 4 Foot, your split time will be about 3 to 3.2 seconds. If you are drawing to the Top 8 or 12 Foot, your split time will be near 3.3 to 3.5 seconds. For most draws, the average split time from hog line to hog line is about 14.5 to 15.5 seconds. Your split time will be about 14.5 to 15 seconds for a draw to the Button or Top 4 Foot. Your split time will be about 15 to 15.5 seconds for a draw to the 8 Foot or 12 Foot.
Draw to the Button
In a game of curling, it is common for your to hear the phrase "draw to the button". Since we know what a draw is, and we know where the button is located, we can deduce what a draw to the button is.
At international curling levels, it is common for the teams to draw to the button before the game begins. Rather than a coinflip to determine which team gets the hammer, the team that is able to draw closer to the button will earn the hammer for the first end.
In other curling leagues, teams will make one draw to the button shot after two of their games. A team will throw the stone, and its distance away from the button will be measured. This is repeated for the other stone thrown after a different game. The sum of the stone's distances from the button serves as a form of tiebreaking. The team that has the smallest combined distance away from the button will win the tie.