Curling Shot Combinations

Now that we have learned about all of the different basic shots that can be executed in a game of curling, we can begin to expand our horizons and learn some more creative shot combinations. Usually, the above shots will provide enough opportunities for your team to score 2 or more points with the hammer, and force your opponent to 1 point when they have the hammer. However, there may be a scenario in which a more difficult shot must be made.

Since you already have learned about split times for the basic shots, we are confident that you will be able to apply them to the shots we will be learning about. This will also allow us to discuss the shot-making process a little more in depth.


Angles are Everything

Before we begin to learn about curling shot combinations, it is important that we understand the importance of angles when making shots.

If you are trying to hit a stone for a raise, takeout, peel, etc., it is important that you know where to hit the stone sitting on the other side of the sheet. In addition to the nose and corners of the stone, we will also use three more terms:

  1. "Hitting a stone thick": hitting the stone within a one-quarter stone length of the nose of the stone.
  2. "Hitting a stone thin": hitting the stone within a one-quarter stone length of one of the corners of the stone.
  3. "Hitting (some length) of the stone": hitting the stone some length in from one of its corners. If you hit half of the stone, you will be trying to hit the stone halfway between one of its corners and the nose. If you hit two-thirds of the stone, you will be trying to hit the stone two-thirds of the length between one of its corners and the nose.

Curling Shot Combinations

Based on the shots we previously learned about, there are some obvious combinations that can help your team score 2 points with the hammer or force your opponent to 1 point. We will walk you through a few of these combinations to give you an idea of some curling shot combinations.

During a game, your skip may come up with a very ambitious shot that does not fit any of the types of shots we have discussed or will learn about in this chapter. In curling, an overly ambitious shot like this is referred to as a circus shot. Here, we will not be discussing circus shots. However, if some of the shots we will learn about are amplified to include more stones, they could be considered circus shots.

Raised Takeout

For a Raised Takeout, you will be combining the shot of a raise and a takeout, specifically in that order. Raised Takeouts are useful if your team has a guard out in front of the house, or a stone in the front half of the 12 Foot. Let's take a look at the house below.

In the house, we can see that there are too many stones to be able to perform a traditional takeout on the yellow stone sitting on the button. Also, we see that it is frozen to our red stone that is in the back of the 4 Foot. If we were to hit the yellow stone on the nose, it would accomplish nothing, because the yellow stone will remain the shot rock. However, if we raise our red stone in the Top 12 Foot, we can hit the yellow stone thin and remove it from play.

In order to execute this shot, it is best if we use our broom as a tool to determine where we need to hit each stone. We need the stone to leave the house at about a 30 degree angle with respect to the tee line, or about one-third of the stone. This means that we will hit the yellow stone rather thin. To ensure that the red stone hits the yellow stone, we need to hit about one-third of it. Now, we have a plan of action to execute the shot. If we look think back to our house now, we essentially made "invisible lines" between the stones that need to be hit.

If you are able to hit these stones on the correct angles, you will have successfully executed the raised takeout. Below, we included one more example of a Raised Takeout with the "invisible lines" for you to review on your own.

Raised Freeze

For a Raised Freeze, you will be combining the shot of a raise and a freeze, specifically in that order. Raised Freezes are useful if your team has a guard in front of the house, or a stone in the 12 Foot or 8 Foot that can be used to freeze on to an opponent's stone. Let's take a look at the house below.

In the house, we can see that there are too many stones to perform a regular freeze. We can no longer perform a raised takeout because the yellow stone is nose frozen on one red stone, and corner frozen on the other. Since the yellow stone is guaranteed to score, we need to freeze to prevent the opponent from scoring 2 points.

In order to execute this shot, we will once again use our broom as a tool to determine where we need to raise our red stone so that it is corner frozen to the yellow stone. To raise the red stone on to the yellow stone, we need to hit it at about a 45 degree angle, or about half a stone. Unlike the raised takeout, we will need to use much less weight so that the red stone will become frozen on to the yellow stone. Let's look at our "invisible lines" again so that we can understand where each stone will end up.

If you are able to hit the red stone in the Top 8 Foot on the correct angle, along with the correct weight (about Back 4 Foot weight for this shot), you will be able to execute the Raised Freeze. Below, we included one more example of a Raised Freeze with the "invisible lines" for you to review on your own.

Be Creative

While we learned about two of the most common curling shot combinations, there are plenty others that have been performed before. Some of them include:

  • Triple Raise and Double Takeout
  • Hit and Roll and Double Takeout
  • Double Peel
  • Double Takeout and Freeze

The types of curling shot combinations and circus shots can prove to be endless. As you continue to learn, watch, and possibly play the sport of curling, think about other types of shot combinations or circus shots can be made in such scenarios. Remember to stick to the basics. If a simpler shot can be executed to achieve the same result, perform that rather than a curling shot combination or circus shot.