Does Sweeping in Curling Slow it Down?

Sweeping in front of the stone in curling does not cause it to move more slowly. Instead:

  • Sweeping in curling causes the stone to slow down less.
  • When you sweep in front of a curling stone, it will glide farther across the ice.
  • Sweeping ice melts the top layer, which helps the stone slide more easily.
  • You can change the direction the curling stone travels by sweeping the ice.
  • Effective sweeping in curling requires considerable downward pressure.

By putting the correct amount of force into sweeping at the proper angle, sweepers in curling can help a stone carry further and slide into the perfect position to score more points.

Does sweeping in curling slow it down?

Sweeping and Friction: A Delicate Curling Balance

The primary reason for sweeping in curling is to manage the friction between the stone and the ice. As the stone travels along the ice, friction occurs, producing heat. This heat melts a thin layer of ice, turning it into water. The stone then glides on this thin water film, rather than on the ice itself.

Speeding Up or Slowing Down?

Contrary to what some might think, sweeping doesn’t slow down the stone – it actually speeds it up. By sweeping, players can temporarily decrease the friction between the stone and the ice. As a result, the stone travels further and straighter than it would without sweeping.

When players sweep in front of the stone, the heat generated by the broom bristles melts the ice more quickly, increasing the water layer’s thickness. This reduces the friction between the stone and the ice, allowing the stone to glide more smoothly and maintain its speed for a longer distance.

The Art of Controlling the Stone’s Path

Sweeping not only affects the stone’s speed, but also its curl – the way it curves as it moves down the sheet. When a player releases the stone, they apply a small amount of rotation to it, causing it to curl. By sweeping, teammates can influence the curl, helping to guide the stone to its intended target.

Sweeping on the side of the stone’s rotation can cause it to curl less, while sweeping on the opposite side can make it curl more. This is because the friction on the side being swept is reduced, making it easier for the stone to continue in its current direction.

Sweeping is a Team Effort

Sweeping in curling is a crucial aspect of the game and requires excellent teamwork and communication. The skip, who stands at the far end of the sheet, directs the sweepers on when to sweep and how hard to do so, based on the stone’s intended path and speed.

Sweepers must also pay close attention to the stone’s speed and curl, adjusting their sweeping accordingly. This requires precise timing, as sweeping too early or too late can lead to the stone stopping short of its target or overshooting it.

The Physics of Sweeping

The effectiveness of sweeping in curling has a strong foundation in physics. Research has shown that the angle and pressure of sweeping can significantly impact the stone’s speed and curl. Ideally, sweepers should apply a downward force of around 15 to 25 pounds while sweeping at an angle of about 45 degrees to the direction of the stone’s motion. This combination generates the optimal amount of heat to reduce friction and control the stone’s path.

Sweeping Doesn’t Slow it Down

Contrary to what one might expect, sweeping doesn’t slow down the curling stone. Instead, it speeds it up by reducing friction, allowing the stone to travel further and straighter. Additionally, sweeping helps control the stone’s curl, giving players more precision in guiding it toward their target.

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