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Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Ontario
Posts: 38

Ideas for Little Rocker Program

There is a changing of the guard at our club with the organizers of our little rock program (ages 7-13, or Grade 2-8).
A few of us are taking over the program this upcoming season and are looking for ideas on how to better the program. We would like to be to have fun drills & games that keep the kids interested at the same time as learning and honing their skills.

We have the Literock Junior Stones (composites) and curly ice. This has seem to be problematic for the kids as they need to slide out to the 12' or more to keep the rocks from curling off the sheet.

In the past the kids have had a short warm up drill (5-10 minutes), then they have gone directly into a 4 to 5 end game (as time permitted). We have found that it is hard to work with the kids while they are playing a game to correct any delivery issues (especially since they are only throwing 8-10 rocks a day).
The teams are made up new each week and points are awarded individually if you win, lose or tie, as well for showing up to the game. At the end of the season there are awards for most points, perfect attendance etc.

Obviously the kids like playing games the entire time they are out there and like to watch their point totals grow. How do we revamp the program to allow more instruction (which would mean less ends being played each week) while still keeping the kids interested?

What drills/games do you do for your program that you have found to work well?

Our goal is to give the kids more instruction, without ticking off the kids and parents since we are playing less of a game each week. There is a large percentage of children whose parents do not curl, so those parents like to watch their kids play games (and win them).


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Hitting Paint

Registered: May 2014
Posts: 131

USA Curling piloted a program for younger kids this past year. Maybe somebody could share the curriculum/program notes for that effort?

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New Post 06-23-17 08:27AM
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Marc Bernard
Hitting Paint

Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Elmira
Posts: 166

The OCA has a skills awards program that can be used to keep kids working towards a measurable goal.

We've had an awards presentation at the end of the year where the badges and certificates are presented. I've even seen some clubs with a plaque on the wall where the kids are recognized for these achievements. Kids that don't meet the requirements can carry forward the points they've earned to the next season, so they don't have to start over.

You can also make a game out of practice. If you're working on throwing hits, for example, after some time for instruction and practice kids can throw hits for points, like a Hot Shots thing. Hit and stick = 5 points, roll away = 3 points, roll out = 1 point. Or whatever scoring system you can come up with.

Every now and then throw in a 4 end game so they can see how the skills are translating to a "real" game. If you have an odd number of kids you can swap some in and out of the games for some one-on-one instruction on an empty sheet. Parents like to see that attention paid to the kids.

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New Post 06-24-17 12:11AM
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Registered: Mar 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 7

For our program, our youth spend a minimum of 30 minutes working on a particular skill each week. I have at least 2 instructors per group on the ice @ all times. I also found that we can keep the kids attention for 90 minutes MAXIMUM. A 2 hour program is too long, especially for some of the younger kids.

We don't get into playing a full ends or more until around Christmas. We start off by playing 1 end only & we build from there. By the end of the year, the kids are playing a full 6 ends...

I also found breaking the kids up into 3 groups helped to keep things organized a lot better out on the ice.

Tickers (6-8) use a 1/2 sheet of ice
Biters (8-10) use a full sheet & lite rocks
Peelers (10-12) us a full sheet & full rocks

For the Tickers, I use a 3 part delivery we teach to the kids: Get Ready, Get Set & Go.

For the older kids, I use the Curl Canada teaching approach.

For the most part, a lot of the drills used for teaching adults work well for the kids.
Backwards slides
airplane slides
broom slides
I find that a lot of the skill development revolves around balance, balance, balance, even for the older kids...

I've also used many of the drills from the Royal Caledonian Club to great success: http://www.royalcaledoniancurlingcl...-coaching-aids/

Just keep the program fun & don't get discouraged when kids wander off...

Our motto is: "Have Fun, Be Safe & Try your Best."

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