If you are new to the third or skip position you know what a challenge it can be to call line. The person in control of the house is not meant to be a broom-holding statue. There’s so much more to it.
As the skip or third it is your job to call line. The sweepers are the ones in charge of weight. They should be letting you know how much weight the shot has while you call back instruction based on line.
What is line? Line is the path along which the stone is travelling. Hopefully when you held the broom for the thrower to show them where to aim they came out of the hack and hit the broom. Now you need to watch carefully and communicate with your sweepers. Is the rock curling too much? Is it curling too little? Do the sweepers say it’s light? Heavy? You need to put all this information together quickly and let them know if they need to sweep.
One of the most common mistakes I see when people first try to call line is positioning. They seem stuck to the place where they were holding the broom. It’s important to move with the rock so you can accurately judge its path. Don’t be afraid to squat down for a more accurate view, just be sure you continue to move with the stone.
Another common mistake is being shy. Not that there is anything wrong with being shy socially, I’m a little on the shy side myself. I mean shy about letting your sweepers know they need to sweep or stop sweeping. It’s loud out on the ice during a game. Namby-pamby, “please, if you wouldn’t mind sweeping,” whispers are not going to cut it. You do need to yell a bit… from the diaphragm! Remember your sweepers need to be able to hear what you want them to do and often. Yelling is also an excellent stress reliever!
Something else I see a lot of is giving up. If it becomes apparent the shot called is not going to work out many people just walk away. Don’t give up. The game of curling is built on plan B’s, and C’s, and even D’s! You need to think fast and come up with an alternative shot. Perhaps if the rock is a little heavy you can call your sweepers on and get a little rub off a guard to slow it down.
The last and most important mistake I see is people being scared to make a mistake. You will make a line call error. Kevin Martin makes line call errors, not often, but it happens. You have to lose the fear of making a mistake in order to gain the confidence needed to succeed.
Watch next week for more beginner tips.