House Call: Five Ways to Combat Slow Play

Slow play affects players at all levels. There are even teams at the Brier and Scotties who push limits and take their sweet, sweet time when playing. Slow Play is best avoided as it makes the game drag on and on and sucks the fun right out of the sport. There is a two hour time slot for a reason; somebody wants to clean your sheet after you’re done, or perhaps there’s another game scheduled behind you, not to mention that other players have places to go and things to do after the game.

Here are five ideas you can begin to implement right away that will help your game slide by at a reasonable pace:

1. Be on the Ice Five Minutes Early – If handshakes and introductions are taken care of beforehand, the actual game can start right on time.

2. Thrower Should be Ready to go When the Skip Takes Control – Once the opposition has released, the next player should be moving quickly into the hack to clean their stone and get set up so they’re ready to throw as soon as their skip takes control of the house. The sweepers can take care of watching what happens with the opposition’s stone. The thrower just needs to focus on being prepared to throw.

The thrower should be ready to throw as soon as the skip takes control of the house. (Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

3. Practice Non-Democratic Curling – Input about strategy at every turn is very rarely appreciated or productive. Ultimately the skip is in charge of skipping. If you’re not pleased with your skip’s strategy, on ice is not the place to discuss it. Not only does undermining the skip crush his or her confidence, but it also slows down the game. The person skipping the team has to be empowered to call the shots whether they’re new or not. Comments from the peanut gallery should be kept to a minimum. If you really feel overall strategy needs to be addressed, do it over a drink after the game or during a team practice session.

4. Do Not Pull Out the Oppositions’ Stones – This is an archaic and dangerous “courtesy” that has been on its way out for a long time. Not only are you wasting time and creating a tripping hazard by pulling out your opponents stone, you also have no idea what order they’re throwing their rocks in. Perhaps the second is throwing stones 3 and 8 because the skip doesn’t like how the 8 rock runs. There is no way for you to know this so by taking out their rock you are now wasting your time and theirs.

5. Don’t Worry about the Rocks Being in Order in the Corner – That’s right… who cares. Last time I checked I was easily able to find my rock whether or not it was in correct numerical order. At worst you have a 2 in 8 chance of grabbing your stone. Teams waste a lot of time putting rocks in perfect order when it really just doesn’t matter. The only time you need to worry about putting the rocks in order is at the end of the game when you’re leaving the sheet.

These are just a few ideas to speed up your game. There are plenty of other things you can do to keep things moving along at a nice clip. Try to put as many speedy-play ideas as possible into practice without losing focus on the game. There’s nothing worse than having a reputation as THE SLOW TEAM. Save yourselves and keep moving forward.

“Slow Play is best avoided as it makes the game drag on and on and sucks the fun right out of the sport,” says Kim Perkins. (Photo CCA/Michael Burns)