What are Curling Stabilizers?
The stabilizer in curling aims to improve a player's delivery during a game. Also known as a curling crutch, the stabilizer helps to balance a player before they launch their rock. It keeps shoulders leveled and squared, so that a player may have a consistent curling delivery. In curling you're playing on a sheet of ice, and "throwing" your rock from your end of the ice to the other. "Throwing" a rock, is essentially pushing it along the ice proving to be a difficult task when it comes to consistency. Stabilizers provide a support of balance, making throwing a more manageable task. Stabilizers seek to improve players "throwing" form, and players rock transport.
Along with enhancing game play, stabilizers also take pressure off the player's joints. In the long run, players will be grateful that a stabilizer not only aids in gameplay but aims to protect a players body.
Regardless of experience, stabilizers are used at all levels of the game. A stabilizer looks like a "T" on the bottom, with a rectangular handle on the long side of the "T". On the underside of the "T", there are small teflon strips or dots that allow the stabilizer to glide along the ice with the thrower.
PRO TIP: When you are using a stabilizer, always make sure the short side of the "T" is in the front of the stabilizer. If it is in the back, your sliding foot may hit it, and you can slip during your delivery.
Some curling companies have created a broomhead attachment to a stabilizer. Traditionally, curlers will wipe down the underside of the stone with their broom or glove (or towel) before delivering it. Now, curlers that use a stabilizer can also have a broomhead to wipe down their stones. As a new curler, it is likely that the stabilizers you use will likely not contain the broomhead attachment. It will just be the "T".