The curling delivery can be very demanding. Even people with healthy, athletic bodies have a difficult time mastering the skill. It may be the case that you no longer can use the traditional balanced flat-footed delivery. For those who choose, the game can be played with the use a throwing device for delivery purposes. Terms like the "stick" and "extender" are commonly used for the throwing device. Curlers may choose this device for a variety of reasons:
- General health issue
- Back and knee problems
- Any loss of mobility
Most clubs today accept the use of the throwing device in league play. Check with your league coordinator for any specific rules that may prohibit its use. The World Curling Federation has no specific language regarding the use of the device. The rules do state however that "the rock must be delivered by the hand". This would prevent the use of the throwing device in any event leading to world play.
The device was originally created to allow less mobile curlers a chance to continue curling when their lack of mobility would have normally caused them to quit. As throwing devices gain more popularity, rules and regulations will be written. Already, some clubs have disallowed the free switching of hand and device deliveries. This is due to the unfair advantage the device thrower has when throwing heavy weight.
Throwing Device Mechanics
Begin by placing the foot into the hack as with the traditional delivery. Place the opposite foot just behind the hack foot. Hold the device firmly with a slightly bent elbow. Unlike the traditional delivery, place the handle straight.
Placing the left foot behind the hack at setup helps the body begin the forward motion. Once established in the setup position, begin moving forward by walking toward the skip's broom. Keep the rock straight until release.
Before the rock reaches the hog line, rotate your hand either palm-up or palm down, depending on the turn. Extend the arm slightly. Keep the elbow close to the body for a clean release.
Rules Pertaining to the Throwing Device
The following are the generally accepted rules for throwing device use.
- You must start with the "throwing arm" side foot in the hack.
- The walking path must extend toward the skip's broom along the line of delivery
- The rock must be released before the rock touches the hog line
- If a player starts a game with the stick, they must complete the game with a stick
- Not allowed in most championship events
(From the CurlingSchool.com - The Curling Manual - Section 4 http://www.curlingschool.com/manual2007/Section4.html)