Hand signals can be unique to an area, a club, or even an individual skip. Most skips, however, use a variation of a few commonly used signals. Unlike baseball, there is no benefit to creative or secret signs. In fact, the more complicated the sign the more likely the shooter will be confused about how to throw the stone. Clear simple signs work best, and even if the other team can read your signals it does nothing to compromise your strategy.
Skips will often have at least two parts to their calls. The broom signal usually begins the call and indicates what type of shot to throw. When the skip taps the ice it points out where he or she wants the rock to come to rest. When he or she taps a rock, that means the rock is to be removed from play. These signals can be combined or repeated for a wide variety of shots, for example a hit and roll or a double takeout.
The second part of the call can be a bit trickier to decipher, and that is the hand signal. An outstretched arm indicates which direction the stone should curl. Lets assume that the shooter is right-handed and we are looking down the ice from the shooters perspective. If the stone is a clock face, an arm to the right should begin with the rock at 2 o'clock with a release at 12 o'clock resulting in a counterclockwise rotation. Conversely, an arm outstretched to the left should begin at 10 o'clock with a release at 12 o'clock resulting in a clockwise delivery. For a right-hander, a counterclockwise turn used to be referred to as an out-turn because it was taught that the elbow should turn out from the body during release. The opposite was called an in-turn. These terms are no longer used by instructors as the elbow should be kept straight during the delivery. Using the clock face to describe curl also makes it easier to teach beginners because it describes the same curl for both left handed and right handed curlers.
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Have you seen any different hand signals at the GFCC? Maybe you are a skip that likes to use a little style in calling your shots. Feel free to comment below!