Dakota Curling – Lakeville, Minnesota USA

Mentoring New Curlers

As we move into our new dedicated ice facility in downtown Lakeville, we are going to see a huge influx of new members – many of them brand new to the game.

Remember when you were a new curler?  How everything seemed a foreign language and people all around you already seemed to have friends and know what they were doing?  This year it will be really important to help new members feel comfortable and integrate into our curling community.  We can all help them to experience curling as the friendly sport we all know it to be and a great place to start their curling careers.   Here are a few suggestion for how you can do your part as a club ambassador in mentoring new curlers.

Join the Mentor League

We’ve created a special league this year on Sunday evenings called the “Mentor League.” This league is designed to give novice curlers the opportunity to play with experienced curlers and help them expand upon what they learned in the instructional league. In this league we’ll match up two players with experience and two novices.  Players who join this league as mentors will receive a discount of $20 on the league fee.  This is a great way to meet new curlers and help them acclimate quickly.

Volunteer During the Instructional Leagues

Even if you’re not an official instructor, we need 4-6 experienced players to simply “hang out” on the ice during league play for the Instructional Leagues.  You’ll float behind the houses at either end and will be there to answer questions about strategy, make sure people know where to stand when, and help people throw the right handle.  This is especially important during the first few weeks of this league as literally everyone on the ice is a novice, including the skips!

Volunteer for Learn to Curl Classes

We’ll be holding a series of Learn to Curl classes during the upcoming Winter and Spring seasons.  This is generally a two hour commitment and you’ll work with a small group on the ice to teach them how to play.  If you are not an experienced curling instructor, you’ll be partnered up with someone who is the first few times so you can learn the ropes.  The experience people have during a Learn to Curl class highly influences their likelihood of going on to sign up for a league. You can make sure they learn a lot and have a great time!

Invite New Players to Join Your Team

One of the simplest things you can do to help us grow our membership is to invite your friends and family to join your existing team.  If you’ve got a long-standing team, consider splitting up on a second night of curling and each bring in a few new players.  They will all feel more welcome if they are explicitly invited to join a team.

Encourage Opponents to Broomstack

If you find yourself playing against a team of brand new curlers, they probably won’t have any idea about the tradition of broomstacking.  Its a good idea to ask at the beginning of the game to stick around for a drink with you afterward – that way you won’t have to catch them after the game when half have headed out the door already.  And if you’re buying a first round,  make sure they know they should at least show up for a free beer!

Mentor in the Moment, Gently!

In our first few months, you’ll probably see lots of bad curling and breaches of etiquette that will make you cringe.  When you see someone laying on the ice, or standing out of position, or playing too slowly, please remember to be gentle and remind yourself that they have no idea they’ve committed a faux pas.  Make sure you say something like “Hey, I’m sure you have no idea but if you kneel on the ice you’ll leave a flat spot that will damage the ice. Do you mind standing up quickly after you throw?”

We’ve always been a strong community and this year especially it is important that we pull together to make sure that the culture of friendliness and great quality curling is extended to our growing membership!

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