Curling Etiquette

    Respecting your Ice Surface

    1. Check your footwear: All shoes worn on the ice must be clean indoor shoes or curling shoes.  Clean and replace your grippers regularly to limit the amount of debris that gets transferred onto the ice surface. 

    2. Check your Broom head: If you use a club broom, scrub it before and after your game.  If you have your own broom change your broom head regularly. 

    3. Watch the Hack: Make every effort to prevent rocks from hitting the hacks. It can do a lot of damage and potentially impact your ability to continue playing your game. Skips and Vices should take this responsibility during games. 

    Pace of Play

    Are you always racing the bell to try and get your eight ends in? Try some of these tips to keep your game moving! 

    1. Arrival: Don't just be on time, be early and ready to go as soon as your sheet is ready. 

    2. Leads:  Always be ready in the hack. Grab your first rock and get into the hack while your teammates and the other team clean-up the rocks. 

    3. Rock clean-up: It doesn't need to be perfect. Put your rocks into their respective corners and keep going. As long as the rocks are out of the way (we don't want anyone tripping) that's good enough - trust me it'll save you some precious seconds! 

    4. Seconds/Front End: Set-up your Vice and Skips rocks in front of the hack to help keep the game moving. 

    5. Vices: If you have to look at rocks more than twice to see who is shot at the conclusion of the end, measure! Don't waste time humming and hawing - grab the stick! 

    6. Skips: Be decisive when it's easy. Try and have 1-2 shots in mind based on how the house is looking and what the other team is throwing. Sure sometimes you get a curve ball and are left scratching your head, so save your time for these moments.

    How to Move Around on the Ice

    On the back board: If you’re the skip or vice, stand on the back board at the playing end while the opposition is throwing. If you’re throwing next, stand on the back board at the throwing end.

    Between the Hog Line: If you’re a sweeper and your team is NOT throwing, stand between the Hog Lines as close to the sideline as possible.

    Inside the Hog Line: if you’re a sweeper and your team IS throwing, stand inside the Hog Lines ready to sweep.

    Post Game Exiting: Look both ways before you cross a sheet! Is someone in the hack (close or far end)? If so, wait until they throw and then cross the sheet. 
    *Bonus tip: this etiquette tip also applies to Vices going to get the measuring device during the game - look before you cross a sheet.


    Curling is a sport with many rules that (nearly) all curlers follow. Some are universal, whereas others vary from region to region, or club to club. Here are some things that you should be aware of.

    You must:

    • Shake hands with your teammates and opponents before or after every game and wish them “good curling.”
    • Never distract your opponents.
      • Be off to the sides of the sheet and out of the way when the other team is delivering.
      • If you are in the house or behind the house, stand still and hold your broom horizontally when the other team is delivering.
    • Play reasonably quickly.
      • Arrive and be ready to curl on time.
      • Be ready to throw when it is your turn.
    • Stay out of the house if you are not the skip or vice (exceptions can be made to this rule in league play on occasion).
      • Vices are responsible for agreeing on the score. Everyone else should be out of the house.
      • If there is a measurement, the vices are responsible.
      • The vice of the scoring team generally hangs the points on the scoreboard for that end.
    • Take responsibility for keeping the ice in the best possible condition.
      • Sweep debris off the ice.
      • Never clean a dirty broom on the ice. Leave the ice area to do this.
      • Keep your hands, knees, and other body parts off the ice surface when possible. Hands and knees melt the ice and leave indentations, which can affect shots.

    You should:

    • Throw the rocks in order. This is not a rule, but it ensures that each player delivers the same two rocks each end.
    • Clean the running surface of the rocks before delivering. Use your hand – not a dirty broom head.
    • Socialize with the other team in the lounge after the game when possible.
      • Sit at a table with your teammates and your opponents – generally this should be the table that is closest to the sheet you played on.
      • The norm is that the winning team buys a round of drinks for the losing team, and the losing team buys the second round


    There are four positions on a tradional curling team - Lead, Second, Vice, and Skip.

    At the BGCC, the vices flip a coin to determine which team gets the last rock in the first end. In some regions, this is done by the leads. At competitive events, this is often determined by a pre-game draw to the button.

    Time does not allow for pre-game practice. However, many curlers do take a practice slide immediately before the game. If you choose to do this, slide without a rock and quickly move out of the path so others may slide.

    Our norm use to be that curlers would “pull” rocks for their opponents. For example, the red lead would find the blue lead’s rock and set it near the hack before delivering his or her own rock. This was considered to be a courtesy, but most club members no longer do this.

    Breaking ties

    The rules for breaking ties are set by the drawmasters. At the BGCC, this is usually a draw-to-the-button by one member of each team. You may sweep your own team’s rock, but not your opponent’s. The first team’s rock is removed before the second team delivers. Closest to the button (and in the house) wins.
    There are alternatives: A league could play a 4-rock end in which each player delivers one rock instead of two rocks. A full extra end could be played. (This is how ties are broken in competitive events.) Generally, time does not permit this, but it might be used for a league championship game.

    Shaking Hands Early

    The team that is behind always has the right to concede the game. This is done when the skip decides to shake hands with the opponents because he or she does not believe the team can realistically come back and win the game. This happens quite often at all levels of curling from league games to the Olympics. The decision always belongs to the trailing team, and there is nothing wrong with completing a game just for practice in most circumstances.

    There are a few exceptions: Some bonspiels are “points” bonspiels and may require all ends to be completed. It would be discourteous to continue a game that cannot be realistically won if you were participating in an event that was running behind schedule or if you know that the other team must play more games in a short period of time and could use the break. Lastly, hand shakes are expected as soon as a team has been mathematically eliminated. Thus, if you fewer stones either in play or left to deliver than are needed to at least tie the game, the game should end without the remaining rocks being played (unless both teams agree to continue).


    On-Ice Safety

    Injuries and near misses can happen in curling. Here are a few pointers to be aware of while on the ice:

    • Footwear:  Footwear will wear out after a while.  In addition to grippers getting holes in them and leaving rubber pieces on the ice, the soles of both grippers and shoes will eventually wear flat and become more slippery.  All grippers should be replaced annually, and curlers should check their footwear every week to ensure that the soles have adequate traction on the ice.

    • Situational awareness:  Many injuries occur because curlers are simply not aware of what’s going on around them.  Attention must be paid to the game situation and the positioning of the stones.  If you are a sweeper, take a hard look at the situation in front of the house and in the house BEFORE the next stone is delivered.  Further, any stones that are removed from play must be placed back in their “parking lots” at the first opportunity.

    • Items on ice:  The only objects that may be left unattended on the ice are the stones.  Brooms, stabilizers, grippers, gloves, etc., may not be left sitting by themselves on the ice AT ANY TIME.  This is not only a safety requirement, but is actually in the USA Curling Rules of Play (R11.b).  Such items, when left unattended, must be placed on the berms or walkways around the ice surface (NOT on the glycol pipes at the scoreboard end of the sheet).

    • Help each other:  Keep an eye open for potential unsafe situations and warn others when appropriate.  One such situation is if you notice a person backing up in the house toward a stone that they may have forgotten is there.

    Curling is a great game, but it’s no fun at all if someone gets hurt.  Let's keep everyone safe!

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    The Bowling Green Curling Club is the only curling club in Northwest Ohio. We curl at the Black Swamp Curling Center and new members are always welcome! Come on out and enjoy the good people and good times that occur while curling.  We embrace all levels of curling from beginners to competitive and we hope to see you on the ice soon.