On many teams the second is the secret weapon. Take Jill Officer (team Jennifer Jones) for instance, without her amazing takeouts her team would be in big trouble. While the lead sets up the end the second is there to keep things on track and sometimes to put a derailed train back on the tracks!
You have the power to be incredible in this position. Here are some tips and tricks to help you be the best secret weapon your team can have.
- Practice your take outs. A second needs to be able to throw a good hit. Remember that in many cases a takeout can be made with board weight so don’t feel like you need to throw major heat in order to be effective. Big weight is nice but only if you can do it without losing accuracy. If you are sacrificing accuracy for big weight it’s not worth it… stick to board weight and you’ll still be able to make most shots.
- Cultivate the ability to throw a hit right after a draw or a draw right after a hit with ease. It can be difficult to shift gears and be accurate at this. The best way to acquire this skill (unfortunately!) is to practice. Hit the ice and throw draws and hits alternating. Work on calming yourself after the hits so you can be cool enough to have the feather- light touch required for a draw.
- Be ready. When your skip takes control of the house you shouldn’t still be cleaning your rock, pulling on your slip-on slider, or, heaven forbid, still gossiping up at the hogline!
- Understand the shot you’re throwing. If you don’t know what weight is expected or what turn to throw be sure to ask. Never throw a rock without truly understanding what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
- Be ready to sweep. Don’t be yakking with the other sweeper and watch the rock slide by you. Know what shot was called and stay with the rock.
- Communicate your thoughts on weight to your skip and sweeping partner frequently and don’t be quiet about it. Make sure you tell your skip what’s going on and do it loudly enough for them to hear. As the second you sweep a lot of rocks; you should have a good idea of how the ice is running and if a rock is heavy or light.
- When you’re not next to throw stand quietly between the hoglines.
- While you’re waiting for the skip to come down from the other end you can get their rock out for them and put it in front of the hack. Please note: Do NOT pull the opposition’s rock out for them, it’s NOT good etiquette it’s a safety hazard!
- When measurements and point counting are going on in the house stay out of the way. The Thirds are the only ones who should be in the house at that time.
Keep these simple rules of thumb in mind every time you play and your team will thank you. Watch next week for more beginner tips.