STICK CURLING

About the Stick Delivery

The use of a curling Delivery Stick is an alternative delivery method for players who may have issues with the traditional curling slide.  Delivery Sticks are acceptable in practically all curling games except for competitions that lead to Curling Canada national championships.  Curlers can participate in league games at the club level, there are recreational bonspiels, and competitive events for curlers who use a stick to participate in.

Who should use a Delivery Stick?

The Delivery Stick provides an optional method of delivering stones for anyone who may have issues with the traditional slide.  There is no limit to who may use the device. Many will transition to using a Stick when they’ve sustained an injury or their flexibility is reduced.  

There is a misconception that the use of the delivery stick is tied to a players age.  This is simply not true. Older players may choose the Delivery Stick as their method for delivery because of the relative safety it provides versus sliding from the hack.

Also, Wheelchair curlers use the Delivery Stick as their only means of delivering stones.

The delivery stick is not however, limited to those groups.  It is an innovative way to introduce new players to the sport who may be apprehensive about trying the traditional sliding technique.   Anyone at any age or physical condition may choose to use the delivery stick.

Equipment

There are many variations of Delivery Sticks available.  Ultimately each player must find the equipment that personally suits them best.  Some of the variations include:

  • Adjustable length – Some sticks have a locking mechanism not unlike a extendable paint stick that allows the stick to be lengthened or shortened to suit the individual. There is an ideal length for each player that varies with the player height and body type.  Delivery sticks can be both too long and too short and so players need to investigate and determine the ideal length for their individual use.
  • Handle attachment – Each manufacturer has a unique handle attachment design.  Some are simply a tube that slides over the end of the curling stone handle. Others are moulded plastic that have features to allow them to capture the handle a little differently.  Players should investigate the various options to find the one that suits them best.
  • Shaft composition – There is a wide variety of materials used in the composition of delivery stick shafts.  Wood and plastic are common as is aluminum. The material used in the shaft has very little effect on the performance of the device.
  • Broom attachment – There is a stick variation that attaches directly to a brush.  One of these attaches at the top end, opposite the brush head itself and the other attaches to the brush head.  This variation allows players to have only one device during a game. It can be cumbersome however and will add weight and potentially length to the brush.

Rules

Curlers using a Delivery Stick need to be aware of the special rules surrounding use of the equipment, as this is important for the curler to understand before learning how to deliver with a stick.

*Excerpt from Curling Canada – Rules for General Play

Rule 19- Curling with a Delivery Stick (Curling Canada’s Rules for General Play)

  1. The use of a curling aid commonly referred to as a “delivery stick”, which enables the player to deliver a stone without placing a hand on the stone handle, is considered acceptable.
  2. The use of a delivery stick is not allowed in events leading to Curling Canada championships. Exception: Wheelchair Curling.
  3. If a player starts a game with a delivery stick, then that player shall use a delivery stick throughout that game.
  4. A player may not alternate delivery from the traditional hand delivery to a delivery stick or vice versa.
  5. If delivery begins from the hack, then players using the delivery stick must adhere to Rule 8 (1) and 8 (2) and, stones must be delivered along a straight line from the hack to the intended target broom.
  6. The delivery may also begin anywhere along the center line with a portion of the stone touching the center line prior to the delivery.  The stone must be delivered along a straight line from this position on the center line to the intended target broom.
  7. A stone delivered with a delivery stick must be released before it reaches the hog line at the delivering end.  Rule 8 (5).
  8. All other delivery rules apply.

Other delivery rules to note:

  • 8 (1) The delivery of a stone by the right hand shall be initiated from the hack located to the left of the center line.  The delivery of the stone by the left hand shall be initiated from the hack located to the right of the center line.

Safety

Like the traditional curling delivery, the Stick Delivery needs to be performed safely.  Injury prevention is key.

The following are key safety factors for use with the Stick Delivery.

  • Use of Double grippers – in good condition
  • Use of Helmet (or other head protection) – See Curling Canada’s Helmet Recommendations.
  • Reduce clutter; if sweeping (4 person game) keep walkways clear of delivery sticks
  • Other standard curling safety issues:
    • Walk around rocks
    • Walk forwards not backwards
    • Warm up before curling

How to Deliver a Curling Stone with a Stick

The Stick Delivery is very similar to the traditional curling delivery, and curlers should focus on building strong fundamentals using a stick – focusing on Setup, Forward Motion/Drive, Line of Delivery and Release.

Curling Canada Stick Video

Set-up

When using a delivery stick players should always use double grippers.  Using a slider with a delivery stick is not considered safe nor effective.

Before aligning the body to the target, it is helpful to clean the stone in a safe manner.  Whether a player is using the hack or not, the hack can be used to tilt the rock over so the bottom can be accessed for cleaning.  Once the sliding surface has been properly cleaned, the player can begin to set up for the shot.

Alignment Set up – Delivering from the Hack

  • Standing behind the hack attach the delivery stick to the handle of the stone.
  • Move the stone to a position close to where it will start in the delivery.
  • The hand holding the stick should be placed in the center of the body close to the belly button.
  • The stone should then be placed close to the line of delivery, in front of the hack which the player will be throwing from. Left hack for right handed players and the right hack for left handed players. Because it can be difficult to move the stone side to side with the delivery stick, it is helpful to get it close to the initial delivery position before trying to align your feet.

Once this initial set-up is complete, the player may step into the hack from behind.  This is both a safety issue and an aid to proper alignment towards the target.  The delivery stick is intended to be used with one hand and players must decide if they are going to throw right handed or left handed prior to the set up.  

Set up – Delivering from the Hack

  • Direct the hack foot forward at the target.
  • Position the other foot parallel to the hack foot with a small comfortable distance between the feet.
  • Ensure the body, including hips and shoulders, is square to the target broom.

Set up – Delivering from along the Center-line

The alignment set up is the same as when delivering from the hack with the major difference being that the stone must be touching the center line in the set up.  Once that alignment is set:

  • Ensure the rock is in contact with the center line.
  • Position both feet parallel to each other and aligned toward the target.
  • Hips and shoulders are squared to the target.
  • Hold the delivery stick in one hand with the end positioned near the belly button.

Stone “Grip”

Once the player has aligned themselves in their starting position with the feet directed to the target, the stone, which should already be connected to the delivery stick, can be put into its final alignment.

  • Position the stone in its final set upl position in front of the “hack” foot, on the intended line of delivery and on the center line if not delivering from the hack.  The distance from the foot will be a personal preference but it should be noted that the further away from the foot it is positioned, the more difficult it is to keep the stone on the line of delivery once forward movement is initiated.  Positioning the stone too close to the foot can cause a players shoulders to hunch up and this should be avoided. The ideal rock placement should be such that there is good control of the stone and should allow for players to have relaxed level shoulders prior to starting their forward movement.
  • Adjust the stone orientation so the gooseneck is directed at 10:00 o’clock for a clockwise rotation and at 2:00 o’clock for a counter clockwise delivery.

  • Grip the delivery stick in a similar way to how the player would grip the curling stone.
    • The hand should be wrapped completely around the delivery stick with a firm and controlling grip.
    • When the stone is in the 12:00 o’clock position, the wrist should be straight.
    • The wrist will then rotate to prepare for applying the correct rotation upon release.
  • Once the stone is in position, the hand gripping the delivery stick is positioned roughly in front of the navel.
  • Shoulders should still be square to the target, level and relaxed.
  • The player’s head should be up with the focus on the target, not on the stone.

Forward Motion/Drive

  • The forward motion is initiated with a slight forward press to ensure the stone isn’t sticking in place.
  • Forward motion is initiated by leaning forward slightly with both shoulders and then a step towards the target with the non hack foot first. 
  • Players must walk directly towards the target and deliver and release the stone straight up that line.

Weight

The walking pace will determine the weight applied to the rock.  A faster pace will increase the weight, a slower pace will result in less weight applied.

Turns and Release

  • Application of the turn begins approximately three feet from the expected release point.  Remember, the stone has to be clear of the delivery stick before it reaches the near hog line.  
  • The turn is applied in the same way as with a traditional release.  The delivery stick is rotated in the desired direction to apply the rotation.
  • This rotation occurs over a distance of about three feet and should ideally result in the attachment on the stone pointed at the target (12:00 o’clock).
  • Players may apply a slight extension upon release but should NOT rely on this extension for the majority of the weight generation for the shot.  The extension is for fine tuning weight only.

At all times during the forward movement, the gripped end of the delivery stick should remain close to the navel so that the stick is centered behind the bulk of the body.   

Consistent weight control comes from establishing a consistent walking pace during the forward movement.  Upon release this movement should not stop. Players should continue to walk forward and follow through after the stone is released from the delivery stick.  Stopping at the point of release is dangerous and it does not help players to maintain a feel for weight. Players are allowed to continue walking past the hog line as long as the stone has been released from the delivery stick prior to it reaching the hog line.

Stick Delivery – Cheat Sheet 

Competitive Opportunities

In Ontario, there is a four person Ontario (South) provincial stick championship held annually.. The four person game is played in the same manner as the traditional game with each player delivering two stones with sweeping allowed.  

There is also a National Two-person Stick championship.  The two person version has some different specific rules as defined in the Curling Canada Rules for General Play (Rule 20). In particular, the two person game has no sweeping involved.  Information on entering both four and two person playdown events can be found at the CurlOn website:

https://ontcurl.com/open-competitions/

More specific information on the Canadian two person championship can be found at the Canadian Stick Curling Association site:

http://canadianstickcurling.ca/