Sauchie and Bannockburn Curling Club
Welcome to the blog of the Skip.
This is a place where the thoughts, trials, tribulations, celebrations and commiserations on being a skip (and no doubt comments on how to deal with a skip) will be posted as the season progresses along with any things Curling that may be of interest.
Help build up a store of useful knowledge by supplying helpful comments to any posts. Any interesting ones will be followed up in further posts.
By The Skip, Mar 12 2019 10:51AM
Because there are no sweepers in wheelchair curling, there is total reliance on the player delivering the stone to get it right every time. So lining up the player, stone and stick with the skip's brush is critical. Very often the skip will tell the player to move their wheelchair to line up better, using their long sticks as a guide.
Zhuo Yan of China lines up her shot in the World Wheelchair Championships in Stirling, 2019.
The rest of us don't have that luxury if not playing with a stick, yet could you as a skip at the other end tell a player is not lined up correctly for their shot? As they push out it can become very apparent that there will be a problem, but by then it's too late.
Someone using a stick should walk out towards the brush so the skip might have a chance to influence the shot before it is made but there is very little time to do so.
So everyone setting themselves up to play a shot must align themselves with the skip's brush to ensure they slide out with their body and stone on the brush to deliver the shot as required.
Then you've only got handle and weight to worry about :-)
By The Skip, Mar 12 2019 10:31AM
There was a lot of controversy over brushes and directional sweeping, so much so that the World Curling Federation banned all but a single type of brush pad for their competitions, but the results of the controvery are still with us today. Basically, by using one sweeper to brush at more purposeful angles instead of two sweeping across the stone’s path, you had more control the stone’s curl. By sweeping into the curl it will cause the stone to draw more, by sweeping against the curl it will keep the stone straighter. The single pad type has reduced the effect of different brushes somewhat but most top teams still use it. In a demanding competition only one player is sweeping at a time unless weight is the issue. Hence you will hear a skip shout a sweeper by name to sweep to give the desired change in the stone's direction. Does it make a difference? Is it worth trying this at club level?
Bobby Lammie sweeping directly in front of the stone to make it go further, another rule change that allowed this type of sweeping, rather than side to side.
By The Skip, Mar 11 2019 03:05PM
The World Wheelchair Championships took place in Stirling last week, 3rd - 10th March 2019, were you there? Why not?
There was a lot of great play and it was interesting to see the game played without any sweeping at all. So the players had to be perfect every shot, no one else was going to help them. There were different methods of delivery used, with different sticks and ways of lining up the shot included.
Scotland played China in the final after defeating Norway, the previous holders of the trophy in the semi-finals.
The shot of the match was played by the Chinese skip in his last sone of the third end. Scotland had taken out a Chinese counter on thhe side of the button and rolled over to remove another counter sitting on the button itself and stay there behind a wall of stones. Wang Haitao immediately pointed to a Chinese stone out to the side of the house and indicated he would hit that stone and come across to the button. He duly did to move the Scottish stone enough to win the point. There was nothing the Scottish skip Aileen Neilson could do, it was a steal of one. The only one of the game.
Third Zhang Mingliang roars his Skip's shot over to the Scottish stone as Aileen Neilson watches it.
By The Skip, Feb 19 2019 04:18PM
The trick shot it is called, chipping an opposition guard stone to move it off the centre line to open up the house for the side with last stone. I first saw this in the womens game but now many teams have tried it, even the new Scottish Men's Champions. When it works it is a good tool to use, but it requires exceptional skill to pull it off. Too heavy and the guard will be replaced if it goes out of play. Worse still, these stones can be knocked into the house. You are giving your opponent shots to work with. You can also have your own stone left where the original guard was. This might be slightly better but often it is not. That is a deliberate choice for the skip. Be aware of unintentional moves too, especially to your own stones, sweep them out of play to get them put back as guards or sweep them into the house to count later on. Remember the 5 stone guard rule too. This forces the team without the hammer to be more aggressive and go round guards.
This is a shot that leads need to practice if it is to be used. Weight and line are critical, back rink weight at least and only the edge of the stone must be hit. Not a lot of leeway for error. I have seen quite a few missed even at World level.
By The Skip, Feb 19 2019 04:03PM
The one call that many club curlers fear, the dreaded "Same again". If they played the last shot perfectly, can they do it again? No pressure, but it doesn't happen very often that it is repeated, so why do it?
If the last shot didn't work, what are the chances this time? Too light last time, look to see if there is a shot that can be stopped by a another stone as they are likely to play heavy this time. If a World Champion skip can be heavy in such circumstances, so can anyone else. Were they too heavy last time?, chances are they'll be short the next time, can you live with a guard? Make sure the shot will not block your future game play or help the opposition.
So think it through before simply saying "Same again".
Spare a thought for the Skip