Having been glued to the telly during the recent Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, I was keen to try the popular Scottish sport of curling during my time in Glasgow. A work social was organised at Braehead, which has a fantastic facility for beginners and experienced players alike.
I was very much a newcomer to the sport but the staff at Braehead made us feel really welcome and were patient with us when explaining the basics and instructing on technique. We built up from exercises to practise pushing off and slowly got used to wearing super-smooth low grip soles beneath our shoes. The trick was to keep your weight over the ‘slippy’ foot whilst maintaining balance and keeping straight arms for stability and control.
Once we divided into teams and started playing a couple of ends, it was crucial to push off with maximum force so as to avoid having to give the stone a further push once you released it. Equally important was to aim slightly off-centre but to turn the handle slightly in the opposite direction.
Beyond that there were tactics to consider, such as blocking stones and nudging your own stones into the ‘house’. The team members not delivering the stone had to be ready to sweep to melt and the ice ahead of the stone slightly. This increased speed and straightness of the stone.
Even though this was my first experience of curling, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would be keen to try it again. The guys at Braehead are brilliantly equipped to give taster sessions and I’d recommend anyone in Scotland to give it a go.