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House Call: Introducing the Toonie Tweak!

This season at the Calgary Winter Club I decided to introduce a new program for beginner and intermediate curlers called The Toonie Tweak. I want to share what I did because it is successful and can easily be replicated at other clubs.

The most important thing you need to get this going is at least one qualified instructor. This person should have their Club Coach Certification and perhaps their Competition Coach as well. The Toonie Tweak also needs to be promoted heavily with posters and email reminders.

On one Friday of every month I have been running a mini curling clinic from 6 – 6:30pm. This is right before our Friday Mixed League starts which means there are a lot of curlers around. I pick a theme for each session because ½ an hour isn’t much time and I figure it’s best to tackle one small part of the game at a time. Listed below are some of the topics we’ve covered this season:

I Walk the Line – Session on line of delivery, featured demos of what line looks like by showing a rope running from the middle of the hack down to the broom. We talked about lining up properly before a shot. There was also a drill for sliding without a rock that worked on getting the slider foot under the body.

Sweet to Sweep – This session was all about sweeping as you might have guessed. We talked about and had drills for weight judgement, proper sweeping technique, and basic sweeping rules.

Delivery Breakdown – This session broke the delivery down into 6 easy steps (Paul Webster of the National Training Centre should get full credit for this genius idea!).

Finding Your Weight – This session was all about working on controlling leg drive. We were also able to borrow Speed Traps from the National Training Centre. This allowed people to practice throwing the same time consistently. A similar drill could also be done with stop watches.

Rocks and Ice – For this session I was lucky enough to talk our Icemaker of 25 years into talking about where curling rocks are from, how they’re maintained, how the ice is maintained and what goes into making the ice you curl on.

Got to Geta Game Plan! – This is going to be my last Toonie Tweak of the season and it will be all about strategy and game planning. I plan to keep it on ice and use the rocks and house to demonstrate game situations.

Next season I see endless possibilities for this program. I’d like to work on getting some guest instructors. I’m also considering offering a daytime session prior to one of our ladies leagues.

I think the reason this program has been a successful is because it’s simple, short, cheap, and useful. The cost per session is $2 (I typically get from 6 – 16 people). The session is only half an hour and conveniently right before games begin. The sessions are packed with great ideas about how to improve your game. I take drills from various technical manuals and also ask opinions of respected coaches.

Your club isn’t going to get rich from running this program but it is a great value added option for members. If the cost is too low in your opinion then make it the Finny Fix and charge $5. If you can keep it to a toonie though I think that’s best. It is a great opportunity to get to know your membership better and often times it leads to the booking of private lessons.

Watch next week for more beginner tips.