Curling is a team sport of strategy and technique. It is the only sport where the object being thrown can be manipulated to alter its path after it is released. There are four players to a team. Each player delivers the granite stone. Two team members sweep the ice in front of the granite stone to reduce friction on the ice surface. This influences the stone to travel further or curve slightly. A fourth player called the Skip stays near the house (the concentric circle target) to help guide the direction of the stone by telling the sweepers what to do. Each player delivers the stone. Each player sweeps except for the Skip who stays at the house.
Delivering the granite stone is done by starting in a low lunge. The back leg is rested against the hack (a rubber stop for the foot). The back leg pushes off the hack gently while in a low lunge. One hand holds the stone, the other arm is holding onto a broom for balance. The eyes are focused on the target. Eye to hand co-ordination is essential when releasing the stone gently and with control. The goal is to deliver the stone as close to the center of the house. Strong quadriceps, strong core and open hips are essential to stay low in the lunge and balanced when delivering the stone.
The sweeper has the most physically demanding portion of the game. Sweeping action involves pushing down on the broom with the body weight. The shoulders, arms and back are used. The sweeping action is fast, in short forward and backward strokes. Sweeping is most effective when performed close to the traveling stone. This helps speed up the movement of the stone. Sweeping on either side of a stone is useful to influence which side the stone has to curl towards. Muscle balance on both sides therefore is important.
1. Quadriceps – strong quadriceps are required to stay in the lunge.
2. Hips – open hips are important for the low lunges.
3. Back and core – The sweepers have to push down on the broom with their body weight on the ice to make it smoother. This helps move the stone further. They use their back, arms and torso muscles to push down. A strong core is essential to stay balanced in the lunge.
4. Arms and shoulders – The arms and shoulders work hard in the explosive sweeping action. Strengthening them is helpful.
Reclining Hero Pose – Supta Virasana – Stretches the quads.
One legged Frog Pose – Eka Pada Bhekasana –. Stretches the quads, and shoulder.
Revolving chair pose – Parivritta Utkatasana –. This pose strengthens the quads and glutes, while the twisted torso stretches the back, shoulders and core.
2. Hips: To open up the hips to achieve low lunges.
Wide angle seated forward bend – Upavistha Konasana
Bound Angle pose – Baddha Konasana
4. Arms and Shoulders:
Four limb staff pose- Chaturanga Dandasana . To strengthen the arms and shoulders.
Pose dedicated to Garuda – Garudasana . Stretches the shoulders, hips and arms. Strengthens the quads.
MrYoga.com Contributor: Aggie F