The third is the heart of every team. The go-between the skip and the front end. A jack of all trades; the third needs to throw hits and draws with ease, understand the ice and strategy, and be able to sweep like heck whenever required.
You have the power to be incredible in this position. Here are some tips and tricks being the very best third you can be.
- Learn to know when your skip wants advice from you and when to shut up and hold the broom! Curling is not a democracy; your skip has the final say on what shots are called. The last thing a team needs is a third who second guesses the skips every call.
- Stay in the game. While curling is a social game you still need to know what’s going on. You never know when your skip might seek your advice. The last thing you want is to stare blankly at them before asking sheepishly, “what end are we in and who has the hammer?”
- Be confident with calling line. Your skip should not be calling line from the far end after they’ve thrown. You are in charge of line call when the skip is throwing. Be decisive and loud enough for the sweepers to hear and know when to call for plan b, plan c, or even d!
- 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!
- Once you’ve thrown your second rock be sure to head straight down to the far end. Don’t miss out on valuable strategy time with your skip.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remember it’s your job to confirm the number of points scored with the opposition and to take care of all measurements. Don’t listen to comments from the peanut gallery; you and the opposing third are the only ones who should be in the house.
- Remember to post the score! Everyone likes to know what’s going on in the game so stay on top of posting the score. As an aside; if you get way up in points (as in, it’s the 4th end and the score is 8 to nothing in your favour, for instance) you can stop hanging up the points. Just keep track in your head and post if the opposition does eventually score. There’s no need to rub salt in the wounds too much.
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.