Curling how to sweep
Now that we have learned the basics of sweeping, why curlers sweep stones, and terms you will hear while sweeping a stone, we can learn how to sweep a stone. While curlers on television make sweeping look effortless, it is an incredibly aerobic activity. By learning how to sweep properly, you can channel as much energy as possible into sweeping the stone.
There are two things we will learn about sweeping a curling stone:
- Moving with the Stone
- Sweeping Effectively
Taking the Stone
If you have watched curling before, you have noticed that one sweeper sweeps closer to the stone and the other sweeps farther away from the stone. There is a term used for the sweeper that sweeps closest to the stone. That term is called "taking the stone". For our learning purposes, the sweepers will decide who will "take the stone" before the thrower starts their delivery. The sweeper that does not "take the stone" will "take the house", and sweep in front of the sweeper "taking the stone".
IMPORTANT: At advanced levels of playing, you may see or hear the skip explicitly tell one of the sweepers to take the stone. This has to do with a new concept in curling called "directional sweeping". This concept is a bit too advanced for what we are learning here.
Sweeping the Stone
When you are sweeping the stone - but really the width of the running band - you are sweeping at approximately a 40 to 45 degree angle to the stone's path of motion. The sweeper across from you will also be sweeping at a 40 to 45 degree angle. Thus, the motions of the sweepers should make an 80 to 90 degree angle with each other.
As you sweep the stone, move your broom back and forth between the distance of the running band of the stone. For a given shot, you could be sweeping between 15 and 25 seconds, so it is important to pace yourself as you sweep. As you continue to curl, you will develop stamina to sweep harder and faster over the duration of a shot.
REMEMBER: You can be sweeping the stone for up to 15 to 25 seconds. It is important to not overwork yourself on one shot because you will have to sweep again in 30 to 45 seconds, but also make sure the stone ends up in its desired location.
If you are sweeping and your skip tells you to stop sweeping, move your broom back towards you. Make sure you move your broom backwards and not upwards. If you move the broom up after you sweep, you may hit your teammate with your broom.
Then, if your skip tells you to sweep again, place the broom back on the ice and continue your sweeping motion. Over the course of one shot, there may be times in which you need to sweep, and other times in which you are not. Make sure to listen to your skip so you know when to sweep.
Listening to Your Skip
As you sweep the stone, make sure you are listening to your skip for when they tell you to sweep or not. As we learned in Curling Sweeping Lingo, there are various terms, or sweeping lingo, that your skip could say while you are sweeping. Keep an ear out for these terms so you can sweep the stone when it is important to do so.