Rules of Curling | How it is Played?

Curling is a very exciting sport, especially for those who enjoy top-notch levels of fitness and agility. It’s an ancient sport, in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice with them towards the target area. This area is segmented into four concentric circles related to bowels, boules and shuffleboard.

Rules of Curling

There is evidence that this game existed in Scotland in the early 16th century but of course, it wasn’t exactly the same as a modern Curling game. The world’s oldest curling stone is kept in a museum containing ancient sports equipment in Stirling, Scotland.

Today, this game is played in the US, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. Even in Asian countries including China, Japan and Korea, this game is popular among both genders male and female who also participate in numerous yearly events featuring the sports of Curling.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to score more points than your opposing team. The points are scored by pushing a 44-pound stone down the snowy sheet (on which Curling is played) and two of his partners will clear the ice to make sure that the ball reaches nearest to the target area.

The entire target area is called house and the middle part is called button, the closer you take the ball to the house, the more points you’ll get.

How to Play?

Curling is a team sport in which players, in alternative turns, push the stone towards the target area. When one player pushes the stone the other player cleans up the way for smooth movement of the stone. Points are awarded as per where the stone stops in the target zone.

But before you start playing Curling, you need to understand legal techniques allowed to push the stone, fouls and point scoring system. To learn everything about Curling, make sure you read all the rules mentioned below.

General Rules of Curling

  • Each team consists of 4 players.
  • Curling games can be of 7-10 rounds. In each round, all 4 players get 2 stone curling turns.
  • All 4 players take 2 turns each with the stone, trying to get it down nearest to the home.
  • During every turn, two of their companions clear the way from ice with brooms because the Curling surface is not smooth.
  • The companions with the brooms can’t touch the stone but only clear the way for its smooth travelling. If this happens, the opposite team decides whether to disqualify the stone or give another chance by resetting the stone for another turn.
  • Any stone that goes out of the house after entering, it is disqualified from the game.
  • Teams get one point for every stone that stops near to the button.
  • The points are marked by the referee at the end of the round.
  • You can also hit your opponent’s stone out of the home with the help of your own stone. This will result in points taken out from your opponent’s scorecard.
  • At any point of the match, if a team feels they have no chance of winning the match, they can concede the game.
  • There are no ties in Curling, if both teams have the same number of points at the end of their turns, one more round is played to determine the winner.


A coin toss takes place before the match and the winning side either picks the colour of stone they’d play with or get the Hammer.

Time Duration of Curling

International Curling game has the limit of 73 minutes, according to rules, the last curling turn must be executed before the 73rd minute otherwise the team can be disqualified from the game.

Curling Pitch

Curling pitch is always flat and smooth icy area around 46m long and 44.5m wide. At the end of the pitch, there is a house, this house is usually of circular shape with 12ft. diameter. There are two more circles inside it, one red and one white, the red one has a diameter of 8 ft. while the white one is 4ft in diameter.

Playing Equipment

The equipment required for the game are stones and brooms.

Stones: The stones used in it are made of granite and are 11 cm high with a circumference of 91cm. The weight of these stones remains between 17-20kg.

Brooms: Because these brooms are only supposed to clear the snow in the way of the stone, there are no restrictions regarding their weight and size. They are usually made of fiber or fiberglass.

Curling is a safe game and no protective equipment are required, however, still, players are allowed to use gloves, special curling trousers and a stopwatch to understand the pace of the surface and need for sweeping.

Scoring in Curling

Scoring in Curling can be difficult to comprehend, but once you have seen the game live, all your confusions will be cleared. Let me break down the scoring in simple points.

  • Scoring is always done at the end of the round when all 4 players have taken their 2 turns of curling the stone.
  • Whichever team’s stone is found closest to the center of the house (Button) is awarded a point.
  • Every stone of yours that is found closer to the house than your opponent’s stone brings one point to your account.
  • You can also hit out your opponent’s stone from the house while sending your stone into the house.

What is Hammer?

Hammer is the last stone sent in the end in Curling. With all stones in front of him, the player sending the Hammer can score more points and also send out the opponent’s stone out of the box, in this way, not only will he earn more points for his side but the opposing team can also lose a significant number of points.

If the Hammer scores a point in the first round, the same team retains it for the next round as well. Otherwise, the other team takes the hammer in the next round.


There are goal umpires and boundary umpires. Together they supervise professional curling matches.

Famous Curling Events

The World Curling Championship and Olympics are the biggest events of Curling. Numerous countries from different regions of the world participate in these events with professional male and female curlers in separate contests.

Governing Body

The World Curling Federation (WCF) is the governing body for the game with offices in Perth, Scotland. The federation previously operated with the name of International Curling Federation (ICF) but before the first ever inclusion in Olympics, the federation had to change its name. The WCF sanctions all international curling events which are managed by its employees from different member countries.