House Call: Don’t Fear the Wings

It’s your turn to throw and in your mind you’re begging the skip not to call it. “Give me a draw, give me a freeze, give me anything else,” you chant internally. To your dismay the skip ignores your silent pleas and lays down the broom on the outer edge of the 12 foot. She wants you to hit a stone sitting on the t-line, full 12. It’s a wide open hit, so what’s with the fear? You try to shake it off and just throw the rock. You jam your foot into the hack and twist it towards the edge because you know this shot is way out in the wings. You sigh, kick out of the hack as hard as you can, give the rock a mighty shove, and watch with predicted horror as your rock bounces off the side-boards before coming anywhere near the rock you intended to hit. Sound familiar? Perhaps you usually miss this shot by going by way inside. It’s usually one or the other. You’re in good company. Most beginners are terrified of shots in the wings. The truth is, these shots don’t have to be difficult. It’s all about how you approach them. If you find you’re chronically missing this type of shot have a chat with your skip. Start with asking for a little more ice (make sure your skip understands why she’s giving you more ice). With more ice you can throw less weight (board weight is all you need, even hack weight will do). Throwing less weight will give you more control. Next, have a look at your hack foot. Yes, it should be angled towards the skips broom but remember it’s a minute adjustment. Think about drawing an imaginary line from your middle toe all the way down to your skips broom. Make sure you also line up your knees, hips, shoulders and stone with the broom. You should feel much more in control when you slide out. Once you get more comfortable and confident with this type of shot you can start to throw a little more weight when needed and your skip can tighten up the ice. Watch next week for more beginner tips.