Local high school kids received a chance to learn the finer points of curling at a novice and juvenile instructional camp at the Power Dodge Curling Centre on the weekend.
Nicole Thompson, an instructor with CurlSask who helped teach the 11 athletes who attended the two-day clinic on Friday and Saturday, said the camp is aimed towards assisting kids new to the sport gain an understanding of the game while also helping more experienced curlers fine-tune their play. She said each of the kids was given lessons on the fundamentals of the game such as brushing, throwing and a bit of strategy.
“We started with the balanced slide,” said Thompson about their Friday night opening lesson. “That’s always fun. They slide without a broom just to test out their balance because I know a lot of curlers, even people who have been curling (many) years, their balance sometimes isn’t where it’s supposed to be. They’ve got a lot of weight on their brooms, so we start right with the fundamentals even with the really experienced curlers because you can never get enough of that.”
Thompson said CurlSask, in partnership with Viterra, runs camps throughout the province during all parts of the curling season and they have paid an annual visit to Estevan in each of the past five years. She said these clinics are becoming increasingly popular in Saskatchewan with more kids wanting to know about the sport.
“They have had more clinics already this year than they’ve had all of last year,” she said. “It’s a growing thing. Lots of smaller towns are really getting into it just to give the kids more experience and some technical training.”
Trey McIntyre, 14, who has been curling for five years and is a member of the Estevan Comprehensive School curling team, said he attended the weekend clinic to gain a bit of practice and learn a few new techniques before the season heats up. He said after growing about three inches over the summer he was having difficulty with his body positioning on the hack and getting his draw weight under control, so the camp was a hopeful way to get things right.
“They help you with everything,” Trey said. “They help with your drawing, your sliding and the way you hold your body position. What I think of the camp is it’s actually really good.”
Thompson said this is her third year teaching at curling clinics and has noticed a rise in awareness and desire for the sport among her students. She said CurlSask’s approach to the lessons is to make the game fun for the kids and that appears to be working.
“I’ve noticed a real increase in the number of kids who are coming to these curling clinics, so I think that we must be doing something right,” said Thompson. “I think (they’re) really helpful. It’s been really good for the sport.”