Listen up wobblers and weeblers! Nobody wants to see you fall, so take a few pieces of advice from someone who calls too many ambulances at this time of year.
Just because it’s a new season doesn’t mean everyone needs to forget about safety. I find that at this time of year there are three sorts of folks who go down.
There’s Casual McStrollerton; this player has a year or two of curling under his belt and he wants everyone to know he’s dripping with experience. He’s the first one to step on the ice, eager to show his buddies how summer has only brought a certain maturity to his impressive skill set. This is the guy who’s going to throw his first rock of the season with his gripper on, face planting harder than an equipment-free parachuter. If you are this guy, remember it’s always the slick ones who go down the hardest. Take your time, there’s no rush. Ease back into the season and keep your feet on the ground.
The next likeliest person to take a tumble is Sally Stiff-n-Scaredy-Legs. To be honest, Sally scares me the most. She thinks if she is ever-vigilant and stiff as a board she will avoid catastrophe by sheer force of will. Sally thinks the worst, she visualizes every possible disaster scenario, and if she goes down she’s going stiffer than a zombie in a George Romero movie.
If you think you might be a Sally Stiff-n-Scaredy–Legs, put things into perspective for yourself. Everyone falls. It’s going to happen. Remember that the looser you are when you bail, the better off you’ll be. It’s good to remember your mortality, but if thoughts of worst-case-scenarios are paralysing you instead of urging simple caution, it’s time to let go a bit. Enjoy yourself… its curling!
The last category of first-rate fallers is the category that should humble us all. This is the Average Joe-Curler category. Yes, this includes everyone from Kevin Martin to that guy in your mixed league who wears the cowboy boots and chews a toothpick on the ice. I’ve seen season-ending falls take out curlers who’ve been at the sport for more than 20 years. Falling can happen to anyone. We don’t need to live in terror but we also can’t be too casual.
– Remember to step on the ice with your gripper foot first and then your slider foot.
– When you get off the ice, step off with your slider first, then your gripper.
– Remember your core. Keeping those abs engaged will give you added stability and strength.
– It’s not a race, so slow the heck down!
– Warm up before heading out. Save yourself the hours of agony a pulled muscle can bring.
– Wear your gripper at all times. The only time you need to take it off is when you throw.
– Make sure your gripper is in good shape and fits snugly. Grippers need to fit nice and tight. Nasty falls happen when a gripper comes off unexpectedly.
Let’s get back on the ice and have some fun! Stay tuned for more tips for beginners.