Curling Team Positions
On a curling team, there are always four people playing. There are four main positions on a curling team. They are the:
The lead throws the first two stones on a curling team, which are usually the first and second stones of each end. After the lead throws their two stones, they sweep the remaining six stones thrown by their team. It does not matter which side of the stone the lead stands on when they sweep. In some curling leagues, the leads from each team are responsible for executing the coinflip.
The second throws the next two stones on a curling team, usually the third and fourth stones of the end. They sweep the remaining six stones thrown by the lead, vice, and skip. This means that the second throws stones three and four. In some curling leagues, the seconds are expected to keep the scoreboard updated. In other leagues, this is the skip's responsibility. At the competitive level, this doesn't matter because there is a scorekeeper that updates the scoreboard.
The vice usually throws the fifth and sixth stones of the end. They sweep the stones thrown by the lead and second. After they throw their stones, the vice acts as the skip whilst the skip throws their stones. On televised curling, the terms vice and third are used interchangeably. However, there are also some people that still use the term vice-skip to refer to the vice or the third.
The skip usually throws the seventh and eighth stones of the end. The skip is at the other end of the curling sheet determining the overall strategy for the end (and the game), communicates the desired shot to the teammate throwing the stones, and tells the sweepers when they should sweep. The skip is considered to be the strategist on the team. The skip always stands at the opposite end of the ice and calls the shots that the team needs to make. The skip throws the final two stones on a curling team. This means that the skip throws stones seven and eight.
PRO TIP: Occasionally, you will hear the skip referred to as the fourth. This is not a common term in the United States, but is sometimes used during international curling events (and televised ones too), especially if the usual throwing order is not followed. Essentially, the skip acts as the strategist. The skip will always tell the remainder of the team which shots to throw. There are different types of strategies that a skip can utilize throughout a game.
The fifth is exactly what is sounds like. It is a fifth player on the curling team. If, for some reason, one of the four curlers becomes ill or is unable to play a game of curling, the fifth will play as the fourth teammate. Usually, the fifth will play the lead position. However, the skip can determine the positions each teammate will play in this instance.
Curling Team Formats
- Open: any four people play on a curling team.
- Mixed: two men and two women play on a curling team. The usual throwing order is Male-Female-Male-Female or Female-Male-Female-Male.
- Men's: Men's: only four men can play on a curling team.
- Women's: only four women can play on a curling team.