House Call: Be a Better Lead

Being a good lead isn’t about making all your shots all of the time. There’s so much more to it. If you’re new to curling you may think there is some sort of hierarchy to the positions and lead is the lowliest of all. I think Cori Bartel (Olympic Silver Medalist), and Craig Savill (lead for team Howard), would take exception to that. In fact it’s been said many times that with the advent of Free Guard Zone the lead has become the most important position. So let’s lay to rest this ludicrous idea of hierarchy once and for all. You have the power to make an incredible difference on your team by being the best lead you can be. Here are some tips and tricks to making yourself invaluable in the position.
  • 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! If you have the first shot of the end your team can take care of putting the rocks away. You need to find your rock and get in the hack immediately.
  • 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 lead you sweep the most rocks in a row, 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.