Getting used to a thicker slider:
Whether you are a relatively inexperienced curler who has just purchased shoes with a substantial slider or a player with more experience who has moved up to a thicker slider, you owe it to yourself and your teammates to take some time to become acquainted with and confident in your new equipment before using it in a game situation. Following are some exercises that will help.
The purpose of all these exercises is to train your brain to keep your sliding foot under your center of gravity thus maintaining your balance and achieving stability. Standing on one foot or, more challenging, gliding on one skate are examples of keeping the supporting foot under the center of gravity and achieving balance.
Using two brooms as if they were cross-country ski poles, or with the support of a friend to hold on to, travel up and down a sheet of ice in a standing position. Become accustomed to moving on ice while having a slippery surface under your supporting foot. Concentrate on keeping your sliding foot under your hips, that is, your center of gravity.
80 lbs of Ballast
Assume your normal position in the hack and take a rock in each hand. Holding on to both rocks (don’t release either one), push from the hack as you normally would and continue your slide until you stop. The rocks will provide ballast and keep your weight from shifting too much to one side. You may find as you’re sliding that you have to adjust your slider foot position to keep it under your center of gravity (which for most people is under the lower part of the chest or upper part of the abdomen) – that’s good and part of training your brain and your muscles. Repeat this exercise until you are feeling secure and stable.
Assume your normal position in the hack and with both hands on the handle of a broom, place the broom horizontally in front of you on the ice. Push from the hack as you normally would and, allowing the broom on the ice to act like training wheels on a child’s bicycle, continue your slide until you stop. Again you may find that you need to adjust your foot position either while you are sliding or before you push from the hack. Placing the broom perpendicular to your anticipated line of travel and aiming your body toward a target at the far end of the sheet will help you develop a straight slide. Repeat this exercise until you are feeling secure and stable.
Hit The Broom
Assume your normal position in the hack and with your broom or a “crutch” in normal delivery position, push from the hack without a rock. Again, your concentration should be on keeping your sliding foot under your center of gravity to achieve balance and stability. Aiming your body at a target at the far end of the sheet is good practice for developing a straight slide and “hitting the broom” in game situations.
Assuming all has gone well up to this point, you should now be acquainted with your new slider and ready to slide with a rock and release it as you would in a game. Practice as much as you need to develop a straight, balanced, stable and confident delivery.