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House Call: A Word about Strategy

We’re coming up on my favourite/least favourite time of year. It’s almost time for The Season of Champions… you know, when the Scotties, the Brier, The Canadian Juniors, etc. flood your TV screens and all you do for days on end is watch and voice your (not so humble) opinions to the commentators and players who certainly can’t hear you and probably wouldn’t care if they did but damnit why don’t they listen to you! Deep breath!

Oh, come on, if you’re a curler you know you do this too, and if you’re new to curling; you’ll know exactly what I mean by the end of March.

Now you may be asking why this is also my least favourite time of year… well I’ll tell you.

This is the time of year when every house league game in the country, nay, the world, slows to a snail’s pace so club curlers can call ridiculously difficult shots just like they saw on TV. This is something I have admittedly, but not proudly, fallen prey to in the past. I am writing this blog early as a pre-emptive strike in hopes that readers will remember who they are during this Season of Champions and call their games accordingly.

I’m not saying if you’re down three in the 8th and there’s a circus shot for the tie you shouldn’t attempt it. I’m saying to keep things as simple as possible as often as possible. Here is a rule to live by:

PLAY THE EASY SHOTS WHENEVER YOU CAN AND
MAKE YOUR OPPOSITION PLAY THE HARD SHOTS!

Tape it up in your curling locker; have it printed on a T-shirt, lest you forget. Before you decide to call the long raise to the button instead of the wide open draw please remember my words. Kevin Martin, Jennifer Jones, and Cheryl Bernard practice constantly, play a zillion games in a season, and when you see them on TV they’re playing on arena ice which is completely different to what your average curler (you and me) plays on.

Now that you know about the epidemic bound to sweep (pardon the pun) your club in the New Year you can use it to your advantage. When you notice the other skip painfully assessing angles for an outrageously difficult shot when he should just play the open hit you can snicker silently to yourself while you wait. Keep playing the easy shots and leaving your opposition tempting hard shots and it will pay off.

In the mean time, have a very merry Christmas and watch next week for more beginner tips.