Sauchie and Bannockburn Curling Club

    Member of Scottish Curling

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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.


Have you every wondered about what a skip has to think about while he is standing at the head managing the play?

Well I did and so I thought about what a skipping app for your phone and the likes of Google Glass would look like and so ended up with the screen view above. It is fantastically busy but I managed to cram everything I could think of into one screen wit the option of adding or taking away more information if required.

So what does it all mean? I'm sure you can figure out the easy ones, stone being played etc.

Left to right, top to bottom,

Ends to play, current end with hammer, previous ends with hammer.

Previous stones played, FGZ is not in operation now, stone 6 being played.

Left side:

The score is red 3, yellow 5.

Time left is 23minutes and 9 seconds, green colour as estimate that is more than enough time to complete

Player is Murray

Draw % success is 85%

Murray is right handed.

Shot is Legal (released before hog line)

There is a gap because the view is skewed to the left side of screen.

There is an average of 23cm draw on this side of line

Middle (over stone):

Handle is ON and good (green tick)

Arrows indicate how wide of brush shot is, line shows where in relation to brush

Red arrows mean wide of brush (red shift), Blue arrows mean inside brush (blue shift)

Tags are showing where pickup happened and patch of ice with no pebble

The shot is travelling faster by +0.05 seconds

Right side: No sweeping required.

Currently, lying down 2 yellow

Strategy Target scoring 2

The tactics are balanced at moment (options for defensive and aggressive not in use)

The ice is keen at the moment (getting faster)

There is an alternative play that would be successful if used based on current line/weight of stone.

Bottom: Recording movie

Zoom is on

Arrows indicate Green = Called shot, Blue = present line

Player information is ON

Ice tag information is ON

Rink icon shows called and current line. Blink on it to call up overlay showing stones in house.


WOW that's a lot to keep on top of. Spare a thought for the skip.....................

By The Skip, Feb 19 2020 01:58PM

It is normal for teams with the hammer to want to keep the centre open for their last stone. So it makes even more sense for the opposition to block it up. So what follows is a competition to keep their stones around the button. Guards in the free guard zone play their part. For the team with the hammer it is still possible to chip stones on the centre line out of the way as long as they don't go out of play. They normally put guards away from the centre and play behind them. However, it becomes impossible to ignore the stones that the opposition put into the centre and they have to move them. Knocking guards away from the centre line if they are far from the house, or knocking them into the house if they are close to the house to move stones in the house are normal strategies. For the team without the hammer, it is then important not to line up stones to make it easier to knock out stones in the house.

Let battle commence.

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, 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, Mar 7 2018 11:34AM

Calling guards at the start of an end can set you up for a good score, but as the play progresses it is easy for these stones to become a nuisance. This happens all too often for a stone in the middle of the rink. If they must be moved, make the best use of them, can they be split? can you run them back into opposition stones? If not then get rid of them. Any stone helping the opposition is not a good stone even when it is one of yours.

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