What Do The Hand Signals Mean In Curling?

What Do The Hand Signals Mean In Curling

Have you ever been confused about what all the fancy hand signals curlers use during games are for? The players aren’t just waving about aimlessly; those signals have a meaning. After all, it can get noisy on the ice, and the skip needs to communicate with their team effectively. Read on to learn more about the different types of hand signals and what they mean.

The Skip

Before we get into all the different types of hand signals, it’s important to know who the skip is. They will be initiating most of the signals on the ice. The skip is the team lead, and they play the last two stones of the round. They must be good leaders, strong collaborators, and have an overall good shot when on the ice.

Type of Shot

When the team goes to take a shot, the skip will communicate what type of shot they need to take. If they are to take a draw shot, the skip will take the brush and draw a curve on the ice to where the rock should stop. The skip will call a take-out shot when they need to remove the opposing team's rock. In this situation, they will touch the stone to be taken out and bring the brush backward. If the team needs to protect one of their stones on the ice, the skip will call a guard shot. They will hold their brush above their head and then pat the ice where the guard should stop. Depending on where the team wants a shot to end up, the shooter can either spin the rock clockwise or counterclockwise. The skip determines this by raising their right arm to indicate a clockwise turn or raising their left arm to indicate a counterclockwise turn. 

Weight of Shot

While similar to the type of shot, the weight of a shot means the force or speed it is taken with. The skip decides on the weight of the shot by deciding where it should end up. If the shot needs to end up at the tee line, the skip will place or draw their brush back and forth along the tee line. Similarly, they will do the same movement on the back of the house if they want the rock placed there. If it should end at the hack, the skip will lift their foot and touch it. If they want the stone to go to the barrier, they will take their hand and rub their stomach. Lastly, if the skip wants the rock placed at the strike, they will touch a shoulder with their hand.


After a shot is taken, certain players are in charge of sweeping in front of the rock as it slides on the ice. If the skip wants the players to sweep, they will shout “yes” or “sweep.” If the skip wants the players to stop sweeping, they will lift a hand or shout “stop.”