Picks on Your Curling Ice
I can pretty much guarantee that every curling facility in Canada suffers from ‘picked’ rocks during recreation play as well as what you see and hear on television from the elite players. Picks are a pain and often spoil a good game or causes a team to lose.Or it happens so often, the game itself is not fun anymore. You know from previous blogs that customer service is the name of the game if we want to experience growth and while your icemakers will do all they can to provide solid ice that is fast and curls, it is up to us to educate our curlers on why we have so many picks and how we can change the way we do things to significantly reduce the number of times it happens in a game.
- Hot feet…..It is universally agreed that heat from individuals that are working hard while brushing has the potential to be transferred through the bottom of shoes to the ice. When hot feet come into contact with the ice while brushing, smudges where the pebble has been affected appear (from pushing off with the gripper foot/feet) and can definitely affect the ice surface causing picks. How can we help ‘fix this’? Players go through a footwear cooling down period prior to commencing play. So, stand behind the hack while shaking hands; and/or walk down the side of the sheet to the hog line and back before your practice slide.
- Dirt……Players often walk with their curling shoes on, from the dressing rooms to the ice surface bringing the dirt from the floors / carpets with them. How can we help ‘fix this’? Carry your shoes with you to the ice surface OR stay on the playing surface during an entire game.
- Grippers…..Older, worn out grippers tend to peel off small pieces of rubber that can definitely cause picks. Also, grippers are being worn out from the inside. The teflon or metal sliders dig away at the inside of the gripper causing small pieces to break off and get onto the ice and cause picks when the sliding foot gripper is removed for throwing. How can we help ‘fix this’? New grippers OR a concerted effort to keep them “new” through washing and removing small pieces of rubber about to come off OR remove the sliding foot gripper behind the hacks. It is also recommended that player’s who remove a gripper/anti-slider for the purpose of delivery, should leave it on the ice as opposed to setting it up on a walkway. There is a substantive difference in the ambient temperature of the two surfaces.
- Body Parts on ice, knees / hands…..We have supplied information (below) from a current study being conducted at a university in Canada. Body parts touching the ice when during the slide have virtually no impact on the ice surface. Body contact in one spot on the ice for a period of 3 plus seconds after releasing the stone renders that spot “damaged” and it will not be improved until it is scraped and re-pebbled. This includes the knees and hands of skips and thirds while calling line in the house. National Team Program players have been made aware of this information and have truly made great strides in staying off the ice (except the feet) following the release of the stone. It is not perfect but it certainly has vastly improved. How can we help ‘fix this’? Get your hands and knees off the ice following release at the conclusion of the delivery. Skips and thirds do the same in the house.