My favourite coaching cue
“Triple extension” might sound like a complicated gymnastics trick, but the mechanics of it are rather simple. The term refers to the timed extension (i.e., lengthening/straightening) of 3 lower body joints: the hips, then the knees, and the ankles. Timing is KEY.
A good majority of curling delivery faults can be corrected by reviewing 2 things:
1. The Setup
2. Timing out of the hack
This article is going to cover:
- The mechanical advantage of setting up in the hack hips first
- How hips first out of the hack can help improve your accuracy, balance, weight control, comfort and power
- Off ice exercises to learn the movement
- On ice drill to practice
Disclaimer: This is an educative experience that is not meant to replace the advice of your own personal regulated health care practitioner. Please seek out additional guidance if you have any questions or concerns.
Hips 1st into the hack
The importance of a good setup
1st: Stand in the hack and lower down focusing on bending at the knees -what parts of the lower body do you feel?
2nd: Stand in the hack and lower down focusing on pushing the hips back 1st & then bending the knees –what parts of the lower body do you feel?
Most people find with knees 1st they feel more top of the legs (quads) & knees, and with hips 1st they feel their glute (butt muscles) & hamstrings (back of the legs) in addition to the quads.
Hips 1st brings more muscles to the party for: balance, stability, comfort & weight control.
Hips 1st out of the hack
The importance of timing
It is more efficient to generate & transfer power from the big muscles in the hips through the smaller muscles around the knee & ankle. When kicking out of the hack try to focus on initiating the motion from the hip, before the knee, and lastly the ankle/foot. Many injuries of the kicker leg & issues with weight control & power stem from this poor timing out of the hack; when the focus is on straightening the knee.
- Make your first motion forward pushing the rock & broom ahead,
- bring slider foot forward & in place,
- & then kick starting from the hip
Full comparison between knee and hip driven setup & initiation of the slide HERE
Off ice exercises to practice
Option 1: Holding a wall/post keep weight heavy in your heels & push knees forward over mid-foot/toes. Keep knees forward & send hips back to feel stretch in back of hips. Hold & breath
Option 2: Step left foot back & send both hips back. You will feel the left hip more. Hold & breath
Hold the position for 5-10 breaths on each side
Option 1: Holding a weight in both hands feet hip distance apart. Think “hips 1st” as you send hips back & band your knees, then stand up by focusing on bringing the hips over the heels
Option 2: In the same start position without weights, sit down into a chair sending hips back 1st, & stand by feeling the muscles in the glutes push you up
Repeat 5-10 times
Lie on back with heels on a chair & both knees at 90 degrees of flexion. Bring 1 knee in towards your chest in a march position. Push down with the heel on the chair to lift your hips, & lower the hips slowly while relaxing the glute. Repeat 5-10 times on each leg
On ice drills to practice
1. Experiment with knees first vs hips first to see how both feel heading into the hack
2. Focus on getting the rock and broom moving forward, place your slider foot, and then kick
3. Try the Snapshot Drill
The goal of this drill is to slow down the setup & initial timing out of the hack so that you can feel where your limbs are & make adjustments in practice.
Pretend the paparazzi are watching you practice & ‘pose’ for 2 seconds at each of the following spots in the delivery:
- Sit down into the hack & pause for a ‘picture’
- Lift hips up (if applicable) & pause for a ‘picture’
- Pull back & pause for a ‘picture’
- Push rock forward & place slider foot & pause for a ‘picture’
- Kick out & slide with no goal of weight
Come hangout with me on social media:
Listen to Episode 5 of The Empowered Performance for Curlers Podcast for more about “hips first”
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A note from coach Steph
Thank you for putting some effort in to preparing for your upcoming curling season. My goal is to provide curling-specific health, fitness, coaching and rehab tips to curlers across the world. I am located in Markham Ontario, Canada & have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of athletes at all levels of curling both in-person and virtually so that they can move better, with less pain and improved performance. It means the world to be able to share information like this with you. I hope you have a wonderful season,
In Season Training & Coaching Menu HERE