Basic Rules and Etiquette

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Basic Rules

Curling is a unique sport that combines strategy, precision, and teamwork. Here are the basic rules of curling:

  1. Teams and Players: Curling is played between two teams, each consisting of four players. There are also variations of the game that involve fewer players.
  2. Playing Surface: The game takes place on a rectangular sheet of ice with defined boundaries. The sheet is divided into several sections, including the house (target area) and the playing area.
  3. Objective: The objective of curling is to slide granite stones, known as “stones” or “rocks,” toward the house and position them as close as possible to the center, called the “button.”
  4. Delivery: Players take turns delivering their stones by sliding them from one end of the sheet toward the other. The stones must be released before reaching a specific line called the “hog line.” Players must also keep one foot in contact with the ice during the delivery.
  5. Sweeping: As the stone is gliding down the ice, players from the delivering team use brooms to sweep the ice in front of the stone. Sweeping helps to control the stone’s speed and direction by reducing or increasing the amount of friction between the stone and the ice.
  6. Scoring: After all the stones have been played in an end (round), points are awarded based on the position of the stones within the house. Only one team can score points in each end, and the team with the stone closest to the button earns a point for each of their stones that is closer to the button than any of the opponent’s stones.
  7. Ends and Game Length: A game typically consists of eight to ten ends, depending on the level of play. The team with the highest score after the designated number of ends wins the game.
  8. Strategy: Curling involves strategic decision-making, such as where to position the stones, when to sweep, and when to remove opponents’ stones from play. Teams use various tactics to gain an advantage and prevent their opponents from scoring.

It’s important to note that curling has more intricate rules and terminology beyond these basics, including rules related to sweeping, stone positioning, and fouls. However, this overview should provide a good starting point to understand the fundamentals of the game.


Curling has its own set of etiquette guidelines that help promote fair play, sportsmanship, and respect among players. Here are some common etiquette practices in curling:

  1. Handshakes and Sportsmanship: At the beginning and end of each game, it is customary for players to shake hands with their opponents as a sign of respect and good sportsmanship. Acknowledge your opponents’ shots and offer congratulations for well-executed plays.
  2. Line of Delivery: Once a player has entered the hack (starting position), it is important to avoid walking in front of or distracting them. Respect the line of delivery and allow the player to focus on their shot without interference.
  3. Quiet during Delivery: Maintain silence and refrain from unnecessary movement or conversation when a player is delivering their stone. This ensures they can concentrate fully on their shot.
  4. Sweeping and Communication: If you are sweeping a stone, communicate with your teammates to coordinate your efforts effectively. Use clear and concise verbal signals to indicate the desired action (e.g., “Hurry hard!” or “Whoa!”). Avoid excessive or unnecessary communication that may distract other players.
  5. Respect for the Ice Surface: The ice surface is carefully prepared and maintained, so it’s crucial to respect it. Avoid dragging your feet, tapping your broom, or causing any unnecessary damage to the ice. Clean debris from your shoes before stepping onto the ice to prevent contamination.
  6. Timely Play: Be mindful of the pace of play and keep the game moving smoothly. Be ready to deliver your stone when it’s your turn and avoid unnecessary delays between shots.
  7. Assist in Measuring: If the position of stones requires measurement to determine scoring, offer assistance when requested by the skip or officials. Cooperate and be honest during the measuring process.
  8. Respect for Equipment: Treat the curling stones, brooms, and other equipment with care and respect. Avoid slamming or mishandling stones, and return borrowed equipment in the condition you received it.
  9. Good Sportsmanship: Above all, maintain a positive and respectful attitude throughout the game. Accept both victories and defeats graciously, and congratulate opponents on their successes.

By following these etiquette guidelines, you’ll contribute to a positive and enjoyable curling experience for yourself and your fellow players. Curling is not just about the competition; it’s also about fostering camaraderie and building lasting connections within the curling community.