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No Lift Delivery

Rick Perron and his coaches from the Center of Curling Excellence asked me to write about how the no lift delivery has affected me. I have been curling for 42 years. I am 55 and was taught to curl by a very good competitive curler that curled on a top provincial  team. When I started curling there was no standard on how to deliver or sweep a rock. Wes Marks taught his son plus three juniors, my brother and I were part of the team. We were taught to deliver by swinging the rock and sliding flat footed and to only touch the broom to the ice for balance. As we improved we would practice our slide without a rock, we were encouraged to slide without a stone to the hog line avoiding putting our broom to the ice. Balance is the key to curling. Swinging the rock was to enhance its delivery. The push out of the hack was still the most important part in making the shot. It would determine the weight for your draw and hack weight, as in the no lift delivery. Ice conditions 40 years  ago where much heavier so swinging the rock made it easier to be more accurate on all shots, even more so on takeout shots. Over the years ice conditions got much faster (quicker) requiring less effort to make the shots. I altered my delivery by less swinging of the rock. It was getting increasingly hard on fast ice to get the feel for draw weight. I was consistently heavy on fast ice with the back swing delivery. In my  forties I noticed my balance was getting worse. Coming out of the hack I would take half of my delivery to stabilize, therefore being less effective with my shots. Playing more than a game a day , my legs would tire , I would get soreness in my groin and sliding knee. I have better that average fitness for my age – yoga cycling, and skiing plus curling, I am 6’2” , 200 pounds. I was losing my ability to curl at a competitive level. Looking to improve my game in 2016 I signed up for a week of instruction at the Center of Curling Excellence, in Moncton NB. The techniques taught the week of professional training on the Curl Canada no lift delivery greatly improved my balance and I also became a more efficient sweeper. My draw weight improved quickly and I became more accurate at the broom. I am still not where I need to be on my heavy takeouts, still a little unbalanced coming out of the hack. The no  lift delivery has made a huge difference  in my performance causing less stress on my  legs, sliding knee, groin and hips. At the end of the 2016.2017 season I was in a competitive event with my senior team  and  played  8 games in 5 days and was as sharp on  my last day as on the first. I think that the technical improvements were the main reasons we, the team (my brother and I) won the event.   To master the no lift delivery, I had to work on my flexibility – hips and hamstrings . Flexibly is the key to the no  lift delivery. With the no lift delivery my competitive curling career has been extended.   Ken Wilson

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