Sweeping is a vital component in the game of curling. The ultimate outcome of any one shot is a function of three basics parameters: speed, direction and/or spin. Sweeping can help to improve an errant shot. A rock can be swept by the sweepers from teeline to teeline. The skip for either team may sweep a rock once it crosses the teeline. Sweeping consists of a rapid back and forth movement of the broom in front of the rock while applying considerable downward pressure. It is important to make sure that the sweepers do not touch or “foul” the rock while sweeping.
Sweeping can have the following effects on the rock:
- Straighten out a rock that is off course directionally
- Speed up a rock that is moving too slowly to reach its intended target.
Since each rock’s path is a function of speed, direction and spin, the skip ( or vice skip during the skip’s turn) uses their best judgment and experience as to when to sweep and how long to sweep to create the desired shot. This is an art form that usually takes many years of curling to perfect.