Warm-up properly before a game – Allow time to stretch and warm up to reduce the risk of strain or stretch injuries.
Know your surroundings – Curling sheets at the club are usually full and busy. If you are aware of potential situations, you are more likely to respond in a safer manner.
- Before you step out on the ice, be aware of the sheets being used and possible situations that can arise, such as people moving on the ice or stray rocks from adjacent sheets.
- During a game, be aware of the club ice staff pebbling or scraping beside your sheet. Loose snow and unfrozen pebble may transfer to your sheet potentially causing a hazard during your game.
- Don’t go on the ice until your sheet is ready or until you have permission.
- Cool your shoes on the sidelines before you take a practice slide.
Wear appropriate gear – Make sure you are using gear that fits well and in good condition. It will improve both your comfort on the ice, as well your safety.
- A slip-on slider or a gripper that is not sized properly has the potential to come off; similarly worn out items like an old gripper can also not function as well, all potentially causing a fall.
- Use double grippers when sweeping for greater stability.
- Use safety head gear.
- Dress warmly and in layers to prevent becoming too cold or overheated.
On the Ice
Your slider foot should always be LAST ON and FIRST OFF – Falls are most common when curlers are stepping on or off the ice. Always step on the ice with your gripper foot first, always step off the ice with your slider foot first.
Exercise caution while moving around the ice – Ice is very slippery, especially when it is fresh at the beginning of the season.
- Walk on the ice, don’t run as there’s more of a potential to slip or for your gripper to slip off if you do.
- Use your broom for balance to help you get on and off the ice, as well as getting up from the slide position. We also recommend using it as you move around the ice with the brush head touching the ice surface in order to help provide greater balance.
- Brooms should be used appropriately, and not swung around or used in child’s play (using it as a sword, pushing people with it, etc.)
- Wait until your skip and sweepers are ready before throwing the rock.
Be aware of where the rocks and equipment are – Another common cause of falls are tripping on rocks or other curling paraphernalia.
- Do not leave equipment laying around on the playing surface or in a place where other players on the ice could trip on it. Grippers and extra brooms should be left on the back boards out of the way of people walking.
- Walk down the side of the sheet if you aren’t sweeping to avoid the other team’s rocks travelling down the sheet.
- Don’t shoot the rock too hard. Forty-two pounds of moving granite has enough energy to take someone out easily, even if moving slowly.
- Don’t let the rock go flying into the hack. Rocks removing the hacks not only damages the hacks and the ice, but also can create other potential safety hazards.
- Don’t try and keep up with a fast moving rock. If you find it difficult to keep up with a fast rock, then STOP! Avoid the potential fall. Sweeping doesn’t impact fast rocks very much anyway.
- Know where rocks are when you’re moving on the ice and never try and stop a fast moving rock with your body, use your broom.
- Catch rocks before they go on other sheets or knock someone over.
- Curling rocks should never be carried or lifted. Always push the stone to where you want it to go. Lifted stones that are dropped or whose handles break have the potential to cause broken bones if they fall on someone or severe damage to the ice.
Play sober and healthy – If you’re not feeling well, have an injury or have had a few too many drinks, you’re much more likely to either lose your balance or make an already existing injury even worse.
- Don’t shake hands if you are sick, bump elbows or give a head nod.
- Wash your hands after touching the rock handles.
By no means is this an exhaustive list and it is strongly recommended that all curlers take the time to identify potential dangers and ensure that they protect themselves adequately.
If you have any tips that you think should be added to the list, please email us at email@example.com.
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