Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Curling Recap: 2/22-3/8/13

Career game #212: 2013 Winter League - February 22, 2013

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Scott......... 00111000 | 03
Allen......... 11000112 | 06

I like to say, "low scoring curling is well-played curling". I'd say that applies here, although it was very close to not being low scoring curling. The other team had some opportunities to score big, but we managed to make the key shots when we needed to make them. (Opposing Skip Keith is probably the club's most experienced curler, and he's quite good, but for some reason, I've always played well against him...so far. We play again this coming Friday.)

Also, I'm seeing some big dividends with my stopwatch timing. I time every opponent rock with a stopwatch (and every rock from our team in my head) from the far hockey blue line to the hockey red line. (Those lines are easier to see from a distance than the curling lines.) And now, I have a good idea of what the times mean, and how to translate that into my weight when I'm throwing, which is exactly the reason I do it. Yes!

Here's what the stopwatch says. Early in the game when the ice is slow, a time of 3.5 to 4 seconds corresponds to tee line weight. (Last Friday, the ice was as frosty at the start as I've ever seen it, so it was actually more like 2.5 to 3 seconds.) Later in the game once the rocks get colder and the frost gets worn down, tee line weight is closer to 5 seconds. That's a pretty big difference in terms of how hard you need to throw the rock. Late in the game, a 4 second rock is solid take out weight, not draw weight. So, it's absolutely important to keep tabs on the speed of the ice throughout the game as the ice changes.

Complicating matters is that the speed is often line dependent - much faster down the middle late in the game than on the outsides, which haven't been used as much and may still be a bit frosty. For example, in last Friday's 4th end, my draw for 3 used an outside line and ended up being a 4 second rock, which was just what I needed for that particular line. Had I thrown the same weight down the middle, it would have sailed on through the house, and then some. Arena curling isn't easy, folks!

Career game #213: 2013 Winter League - March 8, 2013
(Disclaimer: Not 100% sure about the end-by-end scores in the second half of the game.)

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Allen......... 00030000 | 03
Witcraft...... 12201321 | 12

Frustrating game. Early on it was setting up like a "predictable line, throw lots of takeouts" type of game, and so that's the strategy I called. And I made two double take-outs in this game (and didn't score in either end as it turns out), and let that get to my head in terms of the appropriate strategy, I think. However, while the line down the center (the most important one, of course) was predictable in the sense that the rocks always stayed close to the center, it wasn't so predictable that take-outs were automatic. Most ends played out like this:
- They put a rock in the rings
- We try to hit it immediately
- Eventually we either miss the opponent rock completely, or tap the opponent rock enough so that it's now out of the somewhat predictable line, making it even harder to hit next time
- They put up a guard, and then we're chasing for the rest of the end

So, poor strategy on my part. When in doubt, call for draw weight, and things will work out more often than not. Calling mostly draw shots also helps the team later on the game, because it's easier for someone to make a draw late in the game if they've been throwing mostly draws so far, as opposed to heavy take-outs. Lesson learned, and we'll try again this week!

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