With a new mixed league in place this year and an enticing offer to attract new members, the number of participants in Saturday’s novice curling clinic tripled from last year.
Some 30 curlers took part in this year’s one-day clinic, which taught beginning curlers the basics, such as the delivery, grips, turns, and sweeping.
“Most of the people [at the clinic] were middle-aged like in most years but this year we had a lot more men take part,” noted Geri Fry, one of the three instructors. “In the past, males haven’t taken up the clinic like the women had so it’s good to see.”
Fry said even though many of the curlers were struggling with such things as balance on the ice after their delivery in the beginning, she noted everyone improved a great deal by the end of the day.
“We taught them the flat-foot delivery, which is a basic one, and they all did pretty good, especially the ones in my group. I was really impressed with them,” enthused Fry, who has Level I certification.
“With balance, it looks so easy, but there’s really a lot to it,” she said.
In fact, she stressed novice clinics like this one go a long way in improving young curlers—and helping ensure a solid core of members for the future.
“They all said they learned a lot and that the clinic really helped them,” said Fry. “Everyone said they were so happy that they took the clinic.”
“It was a well-done course led by Tom and Geri Fry. I used to curl in high school but I was never shown the proper techniques to deliver a rock or sweep,” noted Paul Bradley, a first-time curler in the men’s social league Wednesday nights.
“Curling is a lot harder sport than it looks like on TV, and you find you have muscles that you didn’t have before even two days later,” he joked.
Jim Hudson, also making a return to curling since his high school days, said the clinic allowed him the chance to fine-tune his game early in the season.
“The clinic covered all the basics and I thought I needed a refresher and some practice,” said Hudson, who’s also curling in the men’s social league. “The biggest thing I picked up from the clinic was how to interpret the skip’s hand signals as to where he wants you to throw it.
“[The clinic is] a great idea because our skip asked me to curl with him, and I decided it would be good to get out once a week during the winter to give me something to do,” he added.
And while the clinic won’t be offered again until next year, the three instructors (the Frys and John McLeod) are always available during the season to help people work out any kinks or flaws in their game.
“The clinic carries right through the rest of the year in that if anyone has any problems that they want to work out they can call, which has been done in the past, and I help them free of charge,” Geri Fry said, adding they also teach grade six-eight students during the season.
There also are plans to help out with the Special Olympic curlers, she noted.
Ironically, while the novice clinic was so successful this year, the intermediate clinic scheduled for Sunday had to be cancelled for the third year in a row due to lack of interest.
But Fry said they will still try to run it again next year.