A Learn to Curl Session, In a Nutshell
"Well...I don't know. Curling sounds like fun, and I'd like to give it a try, but I don't really know what a Learn to Curl is all about. What goes on at a Learn to Curl, exactly?"
Since you asked...it goes something like this:
1) Sign-in! The most boring part of the whole evening. But to make up for making you sign that waiver, we give everyone a raffle ticket, possibly redeemable for prizes the end of the evening.
2) Introductory speech! All prospective curlers gather in a room called the "warm room", adjacent to the ice rink, where one or two of our club's more capable public speakers - or perhaps just the ones with the thickest Canadian accents; you decide - will give a little introductory talk. The talk mostly focuses on the basics of curling, some background on our humble club, a few safety pointers (e.g. "don't run on the ice"), that sort of thing. It is expected that by the end of the Learn to Curl, you will have forgotten most everything that was said during the introductory speech, but that's okay. We'll remind everyone about that whole "don't run on the ice" thing.
3) Let's get on the ice! ... As soon as our volunteers finish help setting everything up, that is. Hurry up, slackers! (Usually, we have everything ready to go on ice well before the introductory speech wraps up, but...not always.)
4) At this point, we split everyone up into groups of 4 to 6 people, give or take, depending on how many prospective curlers we have. Each group gets their very own trained instructor, at which point we...
5) Start actually "learning to curl"! After the obligatory introductory handshake - and I'm not joking when I say "obligatory"; it's a curling tradition - the instructor does his or her thing. Each instructor does things a little bit differently, but we all spend a good amount of time practicing the "delivery"; a.k.a, the act of throwing a curling rock. We'll usually spend a good 30 minutes on the delivery. (I'd go into more detail here, but the details wouldn't mean much to someone who's never curled before.)
6) After all that, and after each person has thrown a few practice rocks, we move on to sweeping. We don't need to spend near as much time on sweeping as we do on the delivery.
7) You know, throwing the rock and sweeping, that about covers it, no? That's really all you need to know how to do in order to curl. The other aspects of curling - strategy, etiquette, and so on - we talk about those things with our newer curlers as they come up during pick-up and league games. Because, you're all coming back to see us again, right? Right??
8) Well, anyway, by the time we're done teaching the basics of throwing and sweeping, we have about 30-45 minutes left to play a quick game of actual, for real, curling. The highlight of the evening! This is the time to get that new Facebook profile photo you've been looking for, by the way.
9) Then, finally, it's back to the warm room for the raffle drawing! Triangle Curling Club-branded items (t-shirts, beer glasses, etc) are most often the prizes we have to give away. After that, we're still not done done; in another curling tradition (although not an obligatory one), many of us head down to the bar afterwards to socialize.
That's basically how a Learn to Curl session goes. After you go through a Learn to Curl, you'll be league-ready.
Hope to see you out there!