Curling Hit and Rolls
Now that we learned about takeouts, we can learn about another upweight shot, called a hit and roll. A hit and roll is exactly what it sounds like - a stone is thrown, hits another stone, and rolls to its desired location. While it may seem easy to explain, hit and roll shots are some of the most precise shots thrown in a game of curling. Together, we will learn about hit and rolls, how they relate to takeouts, and the split times required for a hit and roll.
Purpose of Hit and Rolls
Hit and rolls are commonly used to reach the Button or Top 4 Foot area without drawing to the house. Sometimes, the guard zone may be cluttered with a couple center guards, and it is pointless to try and remove the guards. Thus, a hit and roll allows your team to still try and throw a rock that can be considered for scoring. Hit and roll shots are usually played in the later parts of an end, but there are some instances in which a hit and roll will be played earlier in an end.
- Into one of their own stones that is acting as a corner guard, or is in the Top 12 Foot or Top 8 Foot.
- Into one of their opponent's stones that is in the Top 12 Foot or 8 Foot.
- Into any other stone on the sheet that would help the thrown stone roll into the Top 4 Foot or Button area.
Important: With hit and roll shots, the team throwing the rock most likely wants it to become shot rock, or block their opponent's path to the button. Since these shots are played later in an end, there is a chance that the rocks in the 8 Foot and 12 Foot may not count for scoring. Thus, it is okay if you hit your own stone and roll in. Hitting your opponent's stones work just as well.
There are a few special hit and roll shots that we will explore now. They are:
- Around the Horn Shots
- Hit and Roll Behind a Guard
Around the Horn Shots
An around the horn shot is a hit and roll in which the stone being thrown hits multiple stones across part of the house before rolling to its final destination. In some cases, there will be too many guards to draw to the button, but no rocks in the front half of the house that your team can use to hit and roll to the button. However, there may be numerous stones in the back half of the house.
By hitting many of these stones, your stone can achieve the necessary roll to the button. As we see in the image above, the three stones that we would hit form a triangle. In this case, the thrown stone will hit the first stone and roll towards the second stone. After hitting the second stone, it will roll towards the third stone. After hitting the third stone, it will roll up towards the button and stop.
There are also shots in which an around the horn shot can hit only two other stones and roll towards the button. This shot works by hitting the first stone on an angle, and nearly hitting the nose of the second stone to roll towards the button.
Hit and Roll Behind a Guard
A hit and roll behind a guard is exactly what it sounds like. A team will hit another stone - usually their opponent's stone in this case - and roll behind a guard. Remember when we learned that some hit and rolls are played early in an end? This is the one!
In some curling games, there may be a time where a team is trying to blank an end. In this case, the team will want to keep the house free of any stones. Thus, the opponent will try to hit the stone in the house and roll behind their center guard. This forces the team trying to blank the end to make a difficult takeout on the stone behind the guard.
While some hit and roll shots require quite a bit of weight, others can be thrown with a hack weight. For hit and roll shots, the backline to hog line split time can vary between 1.75 and 2.25 seconds. For heavier shots, your split time will be closer to 1.75 seconds. For gentle hit and rolls, your split time will be closer to 2.25 seconds. Similarly, the weight thrown will affect the hog line to hog line split time. For more upweight hit and rolls, the split time between the hog lines can be between 9 and 11 seconds. For gentler hit and rolls, the split time between hog lines can be between 12 and 13 seconds.