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Pebbles to Boulders: Drills and Fun Activities – Part 2

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 - Posted by Mort Cooper

Last week we introduced and talked about the use of drill stations as a way to maintain programming interest through out the long curling season. By making slight adjustments to the drills we talked about, you can add tons of fun with activities with a twist and provide immediate feedback to a Little Rockers progress with skills. Keep in mind we want to keep these activities fairly simple for the little people, so complicated tasks should be kept to the older curlers.

Slide for the Candy Bucket, is very basic and best used during festive seasons of Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Take a plastic kids sand bucket or beach pail, fill it with candy treats of the season. Place the bucket a reasonable distance from the hack so the curler has to slide straight toward it. The task is for the curler to slide to the bucket, reach in and take one candy treat. On their next turn, place the bucket a little further from the hack than their last slide and ask them to slide further with a little more power.

Slide to the Cup, again is a slide drill asking the curlers to slide toward a target, a cup placed on the ice, upside down. The target can be anything that will not leave a mark on the ice, such as a tissue box or kids toy. Ask the curler to slide toward the cup and pick it up. You can add the rock to the deliver, asking the curler to hit the cup with the rock during the slide.

Slide to the Gizmo, is a targeting device made of aluminum tents poles (old style) or connectable pvc pipe. A tri-angle base supports an arm that extends beyond the base with a string dangling from the top section. A pipe cleaner or two are tied to the end of the string, making a small but soft target. The length and height of the arm needs to be such that the curler can slide under. The curler slides with the rock toward the pipe cleaner target. The idea here is for the rock and curler to slide through the string. The string and pipe cleaners are soft enough so not to hurt or awkwardly distract the curler. A good slide will be reinforced with the visual of the curler hitting the string straight on.

Delivery between the Pylons, is a fun station to ask the curler to slide and deliver the rock between two or three pair of pylons. In effect, a gauntlet is created. The pylons, must be the shorty type so the curler in the delivery position can slide over them. Pylons can be set up with a pair at the back-line, then another pair at the back four foot and the last pair on the front four foot. A good slide is rewarded with making it through the gauntlet without touching the pylons. The pylons can be replaced with tissue boxes or again kids fun toys. Cups do not work so well, for they are too light and move when the curler breezes by. When the curlers get older, pylons can be replaced with other rocks and can be progressively drawn closer together to make the skill more difficult. But for now, we are making the gauntlet a fun activity for the Little Rockers.

Hit the Dangling String, is a very basic set up with an eight foot 1x 2 piece of wood strapping. From the middle of the strapping, staple to the wood, lengths of string every twelve inches apart. At each end of the strapping, place 14 inch pylons to set the strapping on, with the strings dangling below the wood, but not touching the ice. What you now have is a multiple targeting device that can be set partway down the ice sheet on the pylons. The curler can through rocks to the far end of the ice sheet, with the rocks being able to slide beneath the wood strapping. Goal here is to choose a target and have the rock hit the selected string as the rock passes.

Sweeping to Numbers, is just like the zone game played by the much older curlers for a sweeping drill. Give numbers to zones at the far end of the ice beyond the hog line. Let us say zone 1 is beyond the hog line to half way to the house, zone 2 is half way to the house to the top of the house, zone 3 is top of the house to the tee line, zone 4 is tee line to back-line and zone 5 is passed the back-line. With sweepers ready, have a rock thrown down ice and the sweepers call out a zone they think the rock will stop. They will now judge the rock as to whether it needs brushing or not, to reach its desired location.

I am sure there are plenty of fun activities that can be thought of to compliment the few mentioned here. Whatever it takes to make curling fun!!



About Mort Cooper
Mort Cooper has been a curling administrator for over 25 years, beginning with 10 years as the Executive / Technical Director for the Ontario Curling Federation. He spent 3 years as the Curling Professional at Brantford Golf and Country followed by 10 years as Club Manager / Ice maker at the Brant Curling Club and one year as the General Manager of Guelph Curling Club. Presently, he is working on a semi-retirement career with a few outdoor pursuits, one of which is a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System with Snow Valley Ski Resort in Barrie. In a volunteer curling capacity, Mort's career is highlighted with 10 years service as the Technical Advisor with the Uniroyal Goodrich World Junior Curling Championships, and along with his wife Donna, are major contributors to the Tim Hortons Little Rock Resource Guide. Mort acts as a resource on Little Rocks and is a Business of Curling Facilitator with the Canadian Curling Association.

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