Don't Overthink Ice Tracking
We play on some "special" ice surfaces to say the least, and we regularly have to play some considerably altered strategy to succeed in a game. This is impossible to avoid, however we can't let it consume us from a strategy point of view. Consider some of these tips for making the most of sometimes poor ice conditions:
- Avoid automatically using the opposite handle - We use the opposite handle a lot, and sometimes it isn't avoidable, but it isn't always necessary. Pay attention to how falls and ridges play both ways and use them to your advantage.
- Pay close attention to ridges - We get ridges, and they impact the games more than falls sometimes. Pay attention to where they are, where they start and where they end. Sometimes ridges on the delivery end of the sheet have a bigger impact than ridges on the playing end. Getting around those delivery end ridges can make play significantly more predictable, but you have to know where they are.
- Monster weight isn't always necessary - And sometimes it doesn't even help. If you are getting ready to chuck the stone as hard as you can, think about whether it is even necessary.
- Falls allow you to hide - Just like a good sheet of curling ice falls make the stones move left to right on the sheet. Learn how to use this to your advantage, and hide behind other stones.
- Play the break - The traditional rule is sweeping a stone to stay straight and to go farther, but in a fall that isn't true. Once the stone begins to break sweeping it will actually pull the stone further left or right, it won't stay straight. This is similar to how things react on good curling except it is more pronounced.
Give these a try in your next game, see if a little change can help your team succeed.