Thursday, April 07, 2005

Skips not throwing skip stones

I have confessed that I do not play the sport so I look forward to some education.
Almost every rink has the property that the skip (the person who calls the sweeping from the house when not shooting, and is the nominal leader, and actually seems to set strategy) shoots the skip stones (the last two in each end).
Now I did find the cable channel for this evening's Canada-Australia match (see previous post) and it turns out we have two teams who violate this general principle. This is very odd. Skip stones for Canada are delivered by some other guy - Dave Nedohin - I don't think we can call him 'the third' as he does not deliver the third stones and that has no other meaning. Randy Ferbey, the skip, delivers the third stones. On the Australian team some guy from Canada delivers the skip stones but he is not the skip (well, the skip is also a sort of Canadian). This is statistically odd.
Why is it odd? Why should it not be the case that the best person at doing all the other stuff a 'skip' would do is other than the best shooter on the team? And as someone recently asked me - does it not make a lot of sense for the best strategist on the team to be in the house and directing activities on the last two shots the team has in an end?
This seems to suggest that the skip should not deliver the skip stones.
Help. Why is this not the case?


At 4/07/2005 10:04 p.m., Blogger sean incognito said...

I don't think it should be odd at all that the Skip not necessarily be the one playing final rocks. In the case of the Ferbey team they have determined each member's strengths and used that as the basis of deciding who does what, which has no doubt led to their success.

For most teams though, the skip is the best player of the group - strategy-wise and shot accuracy-wise, the two abilities tend to go hand in hand - and it's not the sort of sport where team members change positions very often.

At 4/08/2005 9:33 a.m., Blogger EclectEcon said...

I've seen some rinks for which the team members change fairly frequently, but for the most part Sean's point is correct that different players have different skills and the best teams are those that recognize and utilize those skills best. In that sense, I agree with Sean.

At the same time, I see no reason strategizing and rock-throwing should be perfectly correlated. I can imagine that many people are great rock-throwers but not good ice-readers. Others may not be quick enough to adjust to plan B when the rock is on the way down the ice but not going the way the skip planned. Still others may not be as good at anticipating the options three or four stones in the future.

So, in that sense, I think Alan is right. And if he is, we should see even more teams making these changes in the future. And why not have the lead rock-thrower also be the skip? I think that might actually work well for me at some point.

At 4/08/2005 4:01 p.m., Blogger Alan Adamson said...

I think it may be that the shooting skills and other skills are generally correlated in club level play - but international and professional level? That I doubt.
To step into major political incorrectness, my own guess is that this is pure ego, that few skips want to admit someone else is better than they are at shooting under pressure, and Ferbey and the Australian guy are special, in knowing which side their bread is buttered on. Now to dig deeper into this, this would at some level cause some people to think that if my 'macho' theory holds we would see women's teams with non-skips delivering skip stones.
Hmm - so I know two men's teams. I cannot think of a women's team that does this. Or are women curlers perhaps more macho?


Post a Comment

<< Home