A guard shot is a type of stone placement designed to protect stones in the house. These shots are called guards. A shot is considered a guard if it stops within the guard zone. However, if a stone is mostly in the guard zone, but bites the 12 Foot, it is not considered a guard.
Purpose of Guard Shots
The purpose of guards are to protect stones that are in the house. Thus, guards are always used to promote defense in a game of curling. Guards are usually thrown in the beginning of the end, but are occasionally thrown in the later parts of the end. There are two types of guards, each of which serve a different function:
- Center Guards
- Corner Guards
A center guard is a guard that remains close to the centerline, and can vary by a stone-width or two. Center guards are thrown by the team without the hammer. This is because the center guard will block part of the path to the button, which will reduce the chances of the team with the hammer to be able to score two or more points. It is common to see the team with hammer remove center guards later in the end.
A corner guard is a guard that remains away from the centerline. Corner guards mainly protect the outside parts of the 8 Foot and 12 Foot. Corner guards are thrown by the team with the hammer. This is because the team can later draw around these guards to sit one rock in the house, thus ensuring that the draw shot is protected. If a team can draw around a corner guard they threw, they theoretically have a good chance of scoring two or more points. It is common to see the team without the hammer remove corner guards later in the end.
Guard Split Times
As we learned in Curling Split Times, the average backline to hog line split time for guards is between four to four and a half seconds. If you are trying to place a guard that just passes the hog line (a high guard), your split time may be a little longer. For guards that are in the middle of the guard zone, your split time will be closer to four and a half seconds. For guards closer to the house, your split time will be closer to four seconds. The average hog line to hog line split time for a guard is between 16 and 18 seconds. If you are throwing a high guard, your split time may be closer to 18 seconds. If you are throwing a guard in the middle of the guard zone, your split time will be closer to 17 seconds. If you are throwing a guard closer to the house, your split time will be closer to 16 seconds.