Curling is a team sport, played on ice, where two teams take it in turns to slide stones made of granite towards a target – known as a House. It is an Olympic and Paralympic winter sport with medal disciplines for Women’s, Men’s, Mixed Doubles and mixed Wheelchair teams.
Traditional curling teams are made up of four players while the mixed doubles variation of the sport consists of teams of two players, one female and one male. In women’s, men’s and wheelchair curling, teams can also have a fifth player known as the Alternate – a substitute. Each team designates a Skip – team captain – and Vice-Skip.
The role of the skip is to direct play for the team and they are found standing in the house at the scoring end of the sheet. The vice-skip takes over the skip’s duties for the team when the skip is delivering their stones.
In team curling, each player delivers two stones, in consecutive order, in each End – a round – while alternating with an opponent. Each team uses a set of eight stones all with the same handle colour – red or yellow at World Curling events.
The playing positions are commonly known as Lead, Second, Third and Fourth. The lead is the player who delivers the first two stones. The second plays the third and fourth stones. The third plays the fifth and sixth stones and the fourth plays the last two stones. Skips usually play fourth, but that’s not essential.
In mixed doubles, both teams play five stones each. They begin every end with one stone, per team, pre-placed therefore it’s possible to score six points in an end. One player plays the first and fifth stones while the other player plays stones two, three and four.