The Rules of Curling
Curling is a sport where players throw 42 pounds stones down a 150 foot sheet of ice. Curling originated in Scotland, and came over to North America during European emigration to the United States. The sport has continued to spread across Europe, and is now becoming increasingly popular in Asia. With the addition of the Mixed Doubles format - in which one male and one female play on a team - there are a number of additional opportunities to further spread the culture of curling across the world.
The goal of the game is to score more points than your opponent by throwing your stones into a series of concentric circles, known as the house. In addition to throwing stones, two of the teammates will sweep the stone as it travels down the ice. In curling, each team is throwing stones into the house so that they can score points. The team that scores the most points after completing eight or ten ends will win the game. To successfully score points, teams will utilize various strategies depending on which team has the hammer and which end is being played.
Game Format and Duration
A game of curling is broken down into eight ends, in which the two teams alternate throwing each of their eight stones, for a total of 16 stones thrown per end. In more competitive play, ten ends will likely be played. Since the curling sheet is symmetric, teams will throw their stones towards one side of the sheet in an end, and then throw their stones towards the other side of the sheet in the next end. This cycle repeats until eight (or ten) ends have been played.
Curling Rules Summary
- A curling team consists of four players. The positions are called lead, second, vice, and skip.
- A game consists of eight or ten ends, a time in which teams alternate throwing eight stones each, for a total of 16 stones thrown per end.
- A curling sheet is between 144 and 150 feet in length, and 14 feet, two inches in width.
- When a team is throwing a stone, it must be released before the first hog line a player reaches, and must fully cross the second hog line in order to be in-play.
- If a stone is released after a portion of it has already passed the first hog line, the stone shall be immediately removed from play.
- If a stone fully passes the backline or makes contact with one of the sidelines, it is out-of-play.
- When a team is throwing a stone, any number of teammates may sweep the stone.
- A single teammate may sweep an opponent's stone as it begins to cross the tee line.
- If a teammate or object makes contact with a stone while in motion between the two hog lines, it is removed from play.
- If a guard is removed before the first five stones of the end are thrown, the guard is placed back where it was, and the stone that forced the guard out-of-play is removed from play.
- If a teammate or object makes contact with a stone while in motion after passing the second hog line, the opposing skip determines where the stone is placed.
- Only one team can score in an end.
- After the end has been completed, the team with the stone closest to the button will earn one point.
- The scoring team will also earn one point for every stone closer to the button than the opponent's closest stone to the button.