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Coaches Corner - 5

Editor: Chris Daffern
Date: 2014-12-30

In September 2014, the CCA issued a revised, updated rule book that is in force to August 2018.  The Rules will remain consistent throughout the four year Olympic quadrennial in line with the World Curling Federation.  However, the CCA may consider rule changes (if any) during the quadrennial that make sense for fair play for all players, whether high-level, elite competitors or recreational club curlers.  The current edition of the Rules is available for $6.50 from the CCA’s online Store.  It’s well-worth having a copy in your curling bag when you’re travelling around to bonspiels and competitions or keeping in your Club locker.

For our purposes, these articles focus primarily on club level players, the rules of curling for general play and improving club play.  But a note, particularly to competitive players and coaches: it is your responsibility to be up-to-date on the CCA and OCA  rules of competition, the codes of ethics and standards of fair play and the OCA Rules Supplement (updated to October 16, 2014) and any other competition-specific rules.  There have been instances where competitive players (who should have known better) clearly were not up to speed on the current rules of competition and should have been embarrassed by their conduct.  We’d like to think that Members of the Oshawa Curling Club are better informed and adhere to the first statement of the Fair Play standards:

Fair Play begins with the strict observance of the written rule; however, in most case, Fair Play involves something more than even unfailing observance of the written rules.  The observance of the spirit of the rules, whether written or unwritten, is important.”

The CCA has posted on its website an overview of the 2014-2018 rule changes along with a rationale and reference source.  For the complete list, see http://www.curling.ca/about-the-sport-of-curling/getting-started-in-curling/rules-of-curling-for-general-play/.

Rule 12- the Free Guard Zone

Any of the first four rocks of an end that comes to rest in the free guard zone is protected from being removed from play until the fifth rock of the end.  When the delivering team removes an opposition’s rock in the FGZ from play before the fifth rock is played, “whether directly or indirectly, without exception, the delivered stone must be removed from play and any other displaced stones replaced as close as possible to its original position.”

Any stone previously in the FGZ, whose location is now not in the FGZ but still in play, may be removed at any time without penalty.  In other words, a stone that has been moved from a FGZ location to a scoring positon in the house or biting the tee line is not protected and may be removed from play at any time.

Rule 8 – Game Time Operation

The CCA and the WCF have adopted the “Thinking Time” rule in place of running time for officiated competitions.  While this does not directly apply to club competition, the principle is worth noting because nothing is more frustrating and aggravating than slow play.  As a guideline, Skips (and Vice Skips in charge of the house) are strongly encouraged to commit in their game planning to make every reasonable effort to adhere to a maximum of thirty minutes of thinking time for an eight end game.

Slow play is a problem.  It’s a problem not just for skips but for all players.  Slow play affects all of us; those on the ice at the time and our fellow Members waiting for us to finish so their game may start.  So here are five ideas from the Canadian Curling Association that will help the game move along at a reasonable pace.
1. Try to 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. Practice what's called "ready curling".  The next rock thrower should be ready to go as soon as your skip has taken control of the house. But if you are unsure about the skip's call, ask one of your teammates to explain it. Never throw a rock if you're not sure of what the call is.
3. Practice non-democratic curling. The skip is in charge of calling the game and determining the strategy and game plan.
4. Don't pull out or set up your opposition's stones.  This is an archaic and dangerous "courtesy" that has been on its way out for a long time.
5. Don't worry about the rocks being in order in the rock boxes on either side of the hacks.
It’s been such an issue at both recreational and competitive levels, there are three articles on the CCA website about improving the speed of play.  For more, read the articles at the following links;

-          http://www.curling.ca/blog/2011/02/17/house-call-stop-slow-play/

-          http://www.curling.ca/blog/2011/11/09/house-call-slow-play-is-poison/

-          http://www.curling.ca/blog/2012/12/12/house-call-five-ways-to-combat-slow-play/

Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to speed up play in the arena.

Rule 11 – Sweeping

This is a case where old rules and the current rules vary and where players make mistakes, particularly in the following subsections:

“(2) A stationary stone must be set in motion before any sweeping may occur.” This applies to both the delivering team and the non-delivering team.  The practice of “warming up” the ice is illegal.  And “(3) Only the skip or vice-skip of the non-delivering team may sweep their stone(s) after it is set in motion.”

“(5) Behind the tee line at the playing end, only one player from each team may sweep at any one time. This may be any player of the delivering team, but only the skip or vice of the non-delivering team.”


“(6) Behind the tee line, a team has first privilege of sweeping its own stone but it must not obstruct or prevent their opponent from sweeping.”  It was a breach of this rule by the non-delivering team Skip that led to a brief but totally unnecessary physical altercation during a recent non-club, competitive game.

Rule 9 – Touched Moving Stones

In the same game, another incident occurred where the delivering team touched (or burned) its own rock while sweeping it in the scoring end house.  To the credit of the brusher, he quickly admitted touching his own rock.  The non-offending team was not in a position to have seen the touch.  But subsection 9(3)(a) of the rule for touched rocks inside the hog line at the playing end reads as follows:

“If a moving stone is touched … by the team to which it belongs, … , all stones are allowed to come to rest, after which the non-offending team has the option to remove the touched stone and replace all stones that were displaced after the infraction to their original positions; or leave all stones where they came to rest; or place all stones where it reasonably considers the stones would have come to rest had the moving stone not been touched.”

The non-offending team chose to remove the burnt rock from play - - as was its right.  But there is no doubt that it left ill feelings between both teams that carried over to after the game.  Did the non-offending team act appropriately?  That may be argued.  You had to be there.  But the behavior of the opposition skip was clearly inappropriate and could have been subject to disciplinary procedures.

Which brings us back to the “Curlers’ Code of Ethics” and “Fair Play” standards; playing the game at every level with a spirit of good sportsmanship, conducting yourself in an honourable manner, on and off the ice, doing nothing that could be interpreted to be intimidation and being respectful to teammates and opponents.

Our conduct is always being judged by others.  Not only are we competitors, we are also ambassadors of the Oshawa Curling Club.  Our behavior and demeanor inevitably reflects positively or negatively on YOUR Club.


Chris Daffern  

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