Curling Rules: A Comprehensive Guide to the Game

Curling Rules: A Comprehensive Guide to the Game

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the rules of curling! Whether you are new to the sport or looking to brush up on your knowledge, this article will provide you with all the essential information you need to understand and enjoy the game. From the basics of gameplay to the intricacies of scoring and strategy, we will cover everything you need to know about curling. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of curling rules together!

Basic Rules of Curling

The Playing Surface

The game of curling is played on a rectangular sheet of ice known as the "curling sheet." The sheet is 146 to 150 feet long and 14.2 to 15.7 feet wide. It is divided into four sections called "houses," with each house consisting of a set of concentric circles known as "rings." The surface of the sheet is meticulously prepared to ensure a smooth and level playing field.

Equipment and Tools

Curling requires a few essential equipment and tools. The primary equipment is the curling stone, also known as a rock, which weighs approximately 38 to 44 pounds. Each team typically has eight stones in different colors. The curling stone is made of granite and has a handle attached to it for gripping and throwing. In addition to the stones, players also use brooms to sweep the ice in front of the moving stone, altering its path and speed.

Objective of the Game

The objective of curling is to score points by getting your team’s stones closer to the center of the house than your opponent’s stones. The team with the stone closest to the center, known as the "shot rock," at the end of each round receives one point for each stone that is closer to the center than the opponent’s closest stone.

Team Composition

Curling is played between two teams, each consisting of four players. The team members take turns delivering the stones and sweeping the ice. The player who delivers the stone is known as the "thrower" or "deliverer," while the other three players are responsible for sweeping, strategizing, and providing guidance to the thrower. Team dynamics, coordination, and communication are crucial for a successful game.

These basic rules of curling lay the foundation for an exciting and strategic game. Understanding the playing surface, equipment, objective, and team composition is essential for both beginners and seasoned curlers.

Scoring in Curling

How Points are Scored

In curling, points are scored by determining which team has stones closer to the center of the target, known as the "house," than the opposing team’s stones. The team with the stone closest to the center, called the "shot stone," is awarded one point. Additional points are given to the team for each of their stones that are closer to the center than any of the opponent’s stones. The maximum number of points that can be scored in a single end is eight.

Types of Scoring Ends

Scoring ends in curling can vary depending on the outcome of each round. There are three types of scoring ends:

  1. Blank End: A blank end occurs when no points are scored by either team. This happens when all stones are removed from play or when the team with the hammer (the last team to throw in the end) intentionally clears the house to prevent the opposing team from scoring.

  2. Singles: A single is scored when only one stone of a team is closer to the center of the house than any of the opponent’s stones. The team with the shot stone is awarded one point.

  3. Multiple Points: Multiple points are scored when a team has two or more of their stones closer to the center of the house than any of the opponent’s stones. Each stone that meets this criteria counts as one point, and the team is awarded the total number of points for their stones.


In the event of a tie after completion of all ends in a curling match, tiebreakers are used to determine the winner. The most common tiebreaker is an extra end, where an additional end is played to break the tie. In this extra end, each team throws the same number of stones as a regular end, and the team with the highest score in the extra end wins the match. If the score remains tied after the extra end, additional extra ends may be played until a winner is determined.

Another tiebreaker method is known as a "draw to the button." Each team selects one player to throw a stone, aiming to get it as close to the center of the house as possible. The team with the stone closest to the button wins the match.

Tiebreakers are necessary to determine a clear winner in a curling match and ensure fair competition.

Gameplay and Strategy

Delivery Techniques

When it comes to curling, the delivery technique is of utmost importance. The way a player delivers the stone can significantly impact its trajectory and final position. There are several key components to a successful delivery technique:

  1. Stance: To start, a player must have a balanced and stable stance. This involves positioning the feet shoulder-width apart, with the non-dominant foot slightly ahead of the other. The player’s body weight should be evenly distributed.

  2. Grip: The grip is crucial for maintaining control over the stone during the delivery. The player should hold the handle of the stone with their dominant hand, using a relaxed grip. The fingers should be wrapped around the handle, with the thumb positioned on top for stability.

  3. Slide: The slide is what allows the player to smoothly deliver the stone down the ice. As the player begins their slide, they should push off with their non-dominant foot, extending the leg fully. The dominant foot should remain slightly behind for balance. During the slide, the player should maintain a low center of gravity and keep their body weight centered.

Sweeping Techniques

Sweeping plays a crucial role in curling as it can influence the speed, direction, and distance the stone travels. Proper sweeping techniques can help control the path of the stone and enhance its chances of reaching the desired target. Here are some essential aspects of effective sweeping techniques:

  1. Positioning: Sweeping is typically performed by two players, one on each side of the stone. They should position themselves slightly ahead of the stone with their feet shoulder-width apart. The players should crouch down, holding the broom with both hands, and be ready to exert force.

  2. Pressure: The amount of pressure applied during sweeping affects the stone’s speed and distance. Players should communicate and coordinate their efforts to ensure consistent pressure. Generally, a firm and steady pressure is applied, with the broom angled at an optimal position to maximize the effectiveness.

  3. Technique: Sweeping involves brushing the ice in front of the stone while moving in the same direction. Players should use a long and smooth stroke, exerting pressure with the broom’s bristles. The sweeping motion should be synchronized between the players to maintain control and maximize the desired effect.

Shot Selection

Choosing the right shot is a critical aspect of curling strategy. Shot selection depends on various factors, including the position of the stones, the score, and the desired outcome. Here are some key considerations when deciding on the best shot:

  1. Reading the Ice: Before choosing a shot, players must assess the ice conditions. Factors such as the curl, speed, and any irregularities should be taken into account. This helps determine the required weight and direction for the shot.

  2. Assessing the Situation: Evaluating the current state of the game is essential. Factors such as the score, the position of the stones, and the opponent’s strategy should be considered. Whether the team is in a defensive or offensive position will influence shot selection.

  3. Shot Execution: Once a shot has been selected, proper execution is crucial. The player delivering the stone must focus on the desired weight, line, and turn. Communication between team members is key to ensure everyone is on the same page and can adjust their strategy if necessary.

Defensive and Offensive Tactics

In curling, teams employ both defensive and offensive tactics to gain an advantage over their opponents. Understanding these tactics is fundamental to developing a successful strategy. Here are some defensive and offensive techniques commonly used in curling:

  1. Defensive Tactics: When playing defensively, teams aim to protect their stones and limit their opponents’ scoring opportunities. This can involve placing guards, which are stones positioned in front of the house to obstruct the opponent’s path. Teams may also strategically place stones to reduce the scoring potential of the opposing team.

  2. Offensive Tactics: Offensive tactics focus on generating scoring opportunities and gaining an advantage. Teams aim to position their stones strategically to set up potential scoring shots. This can involve removing opponents’ stones, drawing to the button, or manipulating the position of existing stones to create a favorable situation.

  3. Adapting Strategies: Curling is a dynamic sport, and strategies may need to be adapted throughout the game. Teams must be prepared to adjust their tactics based on the changing circumstances, opponent’s moves, and the desired outcome. Communication, observation, and quick decision-making are essential for effective defensive and offensive play.

Remember, mastering gameplay and strategy in curling takes practice and experience. By honing delivery techniques, sweeping techniques, shot selection, and understanding defensive and offensive tactics, players can elevate their performance on the ice.

Curling Etiquette


In the game of curling, sportsmanship is highly valued and plays a crucial role in maintaining the spirit of the sport. Curlers are expected to exhibit fair and respectful behavior towards their opponents, teammates, and officials. Good sportsmanship not only fosters a positive atmosphere on the ice but also enhances the overall experience for everyone involved.

Fair Play

Fair play is an essential aspect of curling etiquette. It entails following the rules and regulations of the game, as well as adhering to the principles of honesty and integrity. Curlers are expected to compete fairly, without attempting to gain an unfair advantage through cheating or unethical tactics. Respecting the decisions of the officials and accepting the outcome of the game with grace and humility is a fundamental part of fair play in curling.


Clear and effective communication is vital in curling, both within a team and with opponents. Curlers should communicate their intentions, strategies, and concerns openly and respectfully. Good communication helps prevent misunderstandings, ensures fair play, and facilitates the smooth progression of the game. It is important to maintain a positive and constructive tone during discussions and to listen attentively to others.

Respecting the Ice

The ice in curling is meticulously prepared to offer optimal playing conditions. Respecting the ice involves taking care not to damage or disrupt the playing surface. Curlers should refrain from dragging their feet, kicking the ice, or causing any unnecessary marks. Additionally, it is important to avoid distracting or disturbing opposing players while they are delivering their stones. Respecting the ice not only maintains fairness in the game but also shows appreciation for the efforts put into creating a suitable playing environment.

Remember, understanding and practicing curling etiquette not only showcases your respect for the sport but also enhances the enjoyment and camaraderie shared among players. By embodying sportsmanship, fair play, effective communication, and respect for the ice, you contribute to the overall integrity and positive experience of the game.

The sport of curling may seem complex at first, but with this comprehensive guide to the game’s rules, you can gain a deeper understanding of its intricacies. From the basics of the playing surface and equipment to the various positions and strategies, this article has provided a detailed overview of curling rules. Whether you are an aspiring curler or simply curious about the sport, this guide will serve as a valuable resource to enhance your knowledge and appreciation for the game. So grab your broom, slide onto the ice, and enjoy the exciting world of curling!