Mixed Doubles curling is an adaptation of the traditional game for teams of two players. Instead of teams of four throwing eight stones, here each team throws five stones with another being positioned on the ice before the start of each end.
The team without the hammer has their pre-placed stone positioned as a centre guard (position A in the diagram below). There are 3 different possible placements for this stone, based on how swingy or straight the ice is. The team with the hammer has their pre-placed stone positioned at the back of the 4-foot ring in the house (position B in the diagram below). Starting each end with two stones already in play is what makes Mixed Doubles faster paced, and higher scoring!
Additionally, teams are not allowed to remove any stones (even their own) until after the 3rd thrown stone of the end has been played. This means that there are less takeouts and more stones in play during each end than a traditional game of curling. Since there are only two players per team, there is also some flexibility in team composition.
One player must throw stones the first and last stones of the end, and the other must throw the middle three stones…however, this can be changed after each end during the game. Furthermore, teams can choose whether the non-throwing player stands in the house to hold the broom or if they start at the throwing end as a sweeper. Either way, the thrower is allowed to stand up and sweep their stone once they have released it.
Another variation in Mixed Doubles curling is the Powerplay. This is an option that can be used by each team just once during the game, and must be called before the start of an end when they have the hammer. A Powerplay means that the pre-placed stones are set up differently, creating a much more open end with play to the sides of the house rather than down the middle. The team without the hammer is given a corner guard (position A in the diagram below) while the team with the hammer that has called for the Powerplay has their stone placed behind the guard on the top of the tee line (position B in the diagram below).
While Mixed Doubles curling isn’t for everyone, its a fun adaptation of the traditional game that is worth trying! Many players enjoy the higher scoring and faster paced curling that this discipline offers. Throwing your own stone and then getting up quickly to sweep with your partner makes the experience much more dynamic and involved. Communication and teamwork are still incredibly important though, as you will need a dedicated and supportive partner who will compliment your playing style.
Another appeal of Mixed Doubles curling is that it is an Olympic discipline. This means that there is a lot of media coverage for those who want to watch Mixed Doubles curling, and for those who want to play it is another route to the world stage!
For more on curling terminology, visit our glossary page!
Hopefully you might like to come and give curling a try.
For a one-off session, visit our Try Curling page to book a two hour session for yourself, or bring friends and family.
Alternatively, you could book a place on one of our Learn To Curl courses which run over a series of 4 weekly two hour sessions.