Curling Playing An End

You are ready to begin-playing your game of curling. Since your team has the hammer, your opponent will be delivering the stone first. Before we get into playing the end, we need to make sure we know where to stand while our opponent is throwing their stones. These etiquette rules apply for every shot that your opponent makes.

Waiting/Standing Etiquette

When a team is watching their opponent shoot a stone, it is common courtesy for them to remain away from the action, so that the team shooting may move freely, along with their stone.

The sweepers must be in between the two hog lines, by the sidelines. After the opponent's stone crosses the first hog line, the sweepers may assume their position for their team's shot.

While the opponent delivers the stone, the next person to shoot will be behind the hack. As soon as the opponent releases their stone, the thrower may assume their position in the hack for their team's shot.

The skip will remain behind the backline while the stone is being delivered. After the stone is in motion, they may move into the house if they feel that the opponent's stone may need to be swept out-of-play.

Now, your opponent is throwing their first shot of the game. After your opponent pushes out of the hack and releases the stone, you get set in the hack to throw your stone. By doing this, you keep an efficient pace to the game.

Your Turn to Throw

Now that you are setup in the hack, your skip gives you the important information about the shot, and you get set to deliver. You will be throwing a corner guard. Your opponent moves towards the outside of the sheet, and you may now deliver your stone.

After your stone is delivered, you watch it travel down the ice. It turns out to be a well executed corner guard. Now that you have delivered your stone, and it has stopped moving, you must move out of the way so that your opponent can now deliver their second stone.

After the Shot

Since you are the lead, you will be throwing the first two stones. Therefore, you will go behind the hack while your opponent delivers their stone. Then, you will repeat the process we just learned to throw your second stone, and keep the game moving along a an efficient pace.

After the Lead's Stones

Now that you have thrown your second stone, your opponent's second will begin to throw their stones. Your second will now move behind the hack to prepare for their shot, and you will move to the sidelines, in between the two hog lines, and wait to sweep.

It's Time to Sweep

Now that the opponent's second has thrown their first stone, it is time to sweep your second's first stone. You will stand in between the hack and the hog line as the second gets set in the hack. As the skip is conveying the information about the shot to the second, you and the vice (the other sweeper) will pay attention to what the skip is conveying, and decide who will take the stone.

Now, the second is delivering their stone. You are walking alongside the stone, and paying attention to your skip, who will tell you when to sweep or not. After the stone comes to a stop, you will move to the sidelines, in between the two hog lines, and wait to sweep the next stone.

Repeating the Process

As the lead, you will be sweeping the remainder of the stones as they are thrown during the end. As we have read many times already, you will be alternating throwing stones with the opponent. While the vice throws their stones, you will sweep with the second.

After the vice throws their stones, they will go down to the other end of the ice to hold the line for the skip. Once again, you will sweep with the second. As a common courtesy, the lead is responsible for placing the skip's stone in front of the hack. This allows the skip to come from the other end of the ice and immediately get ready to throw their stone. Furthermore, it keeps an efficient pace to the game.

As you sweep the skip's stones, you will most likely hear instructions from the vice, but the skip may interject with instructions as well. After the stone stops, you will retreat to the sidelines (in between the hog lines) again, and then set up the stone for the skip after the opponent's skip delivers their stone. This will be the last stone thrown in the end.

Important: If you are not the lead, take note where you would be at different times during the end. Most people new to the sport of curling start out by playing on a team as the lead, which is why we explained it from this perspective.

Completing the End

After all 16 stones are thrown - 8 red and 8 yellow - it is time to determine the score.