The hacks are the black bits of rubber at the ends of each sheet of curling ice. When delivering a stone, players slide out from one hack and throw towards another hack at the other end of the rink.
Sometimes these hacks are sunk down into the ice, but often they are fixed on top of the ice as shown in the image above. Either way, it is really important not to let the stones hit the hacks, as if these are hit the ice is very likely to suffer serious damage and play may have to be stopped.
Curlers who are going to throw with their right hand should start their slide with their right foot in the left side of the hack. Therefore, left-handed curlers should begin their slide with their left foot in the right side of the hack. This is because the foot placed in the hack will be used to “push-off” and then trail behind the thrower’s body, while the other foot slides forward behind the stone and under the player’s body.
The image above shows the ideal way to load your foot into a hack. It is important to line your toe up towards the target (the skip’s broom) and not to start with your foot too low. Being higher up in the hack means you are less likely to catch your foot on the ice during delivery, and generates more power. Developing a routine for setting yourself up in the hack is essential, as it is important to be consistent.
Additionally, “hack” is also a type of weight and shot that might be called by a skip. Hack weight refers to a stone that has just enough momentum to stop by the hack at the far end of the ice. Clearly, this means the thrown stone has enough weight to go through the house, but because it is lighter than heavier takeout weights, it has the ability to curl more and get behind some tricky guards.
For more on curling terminology, visit our glossary page!
Hopefully you might like to come and give curling a try.
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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.