Effective brushing is often overlooked by curlers. This is unfortunate because good brushing can be the difference between a great shot and a missed shot. Brushing can drag a stone farther along, it can keep a stone on line and it can keep a stone from catching debris. There are a number of things you can do to better your brushing.
Remember your bottom hand should be placed a third of the way up from the bottom of the brush. Your top hand should be placed a third of the way down from the top of the brush handle. The top third of the handle should be pressed snugly into your rib cage. Your brush can be placed on either side of your body as long as it doesn’t cause you to walk backwards. You should always be able to look up to see where you’re going and communicate with your skip.
You want to keep your brush strokes nice and tight and apply as much pressure as possible to the head of the brush. If you get over top of the broom head you’ll get nice, even pressure.
Beginners are often tempted to position themselves far away from the thrower (usually past the hogline) prior to the stone being thrown. This is not effective as it is very difficult to get a read on weight when you haven’t seen how hard the thrower kicked out of the hack and if they pulled pack or pushed the stone upon release. It is best to start nice and close to the thrower, somewhere in the house is ideal. When the thrower begins their backward motion brushers should start to walk and stay with the stone all the way down the ice.
If you’re sparing on a regular basis a useful skill to develop (it’s not just useful for sparing… in general it’s a great skill to have) is being able to sweep on either side of the stone. The reason for this is simple; other players will likely have side preferences already set; it will be greatly appreciated if you are able to adapt to their routines. If you are unable to do this right off the bat don’t worry it’s just a skill to work on for the future. Keep in mind the easiest time to learn how to do it is when you’re starting out because, while your body will have a natural preference, everything feels a little awkward when you’re a beginner!
Make sure you decide who is going to brush closest to the stone prior to the stone being thrown. This will prevent bumping of broom heads which generally leads to ineffective brushing and burned stones.
It is important to communicate with the skip as much as possible. They will ask where you think the stone will end up. Take a guess when the thrower lets go. It’s ok if you’re wrong. You can revise that guess as you get closer to the other end. The more guesses you make the more accurate you’ll become. Remember it is your job to judge the weight not the skip’s. The skip is there to call line and take into account the information you’ve given about the weight.
Watch next week for more beginner tips.