Curling is a team sport with four players on each side. The object of curling is to get the stones of your team to be closer to the target than the stones of your opponent. The target is a 30-centimeter diameter circle called the tee or button, located in the center of a 4-meter bull’s-eye called the house. Each member on both teams gets to deliver, or shoot two stones for a total of 16 stones each end. An end is like an inning in the sport of baseball.
In the game, the team you play on is called a rink, which is made up of four players: the lead, the second, the third (or the mate, vice, vice-skip), and the skip. Each curling player in a team has specific roles:
- The lead: The lead, who throws the first 2 rocks of the end and then sweeps the next 6, must be a strong sweeper and very good at throwing guards.
- The second: The second, who throws the third and fourth stones of the end, must be strong at playing take-outs. The second sweeps the first 2 stones and later the final 4 of the end. The second and the lead must be in sync as sweeping together.
- The third (or mate/vice): The third (or mate/vice), who throws the fifth and sixth rocks of the end, should be good at all shots, but particularly draws. The third’s job is to help the skip discuss the strategy of the final 2 stones of the end and to set up the shots that will be thrown by the skip. The third is also the member who posts the score at the conclusion of the end.
- The skip: The skip is the curling team’s captain who decides the strategy. The skip’s job is to tell the other members when to sweep and where to throw their shots. The skip, who also delivers the last 2 shots of the end, must be good at all types of shots.