In addition to making people aware that the club exists, it is important to provide opportunities to try the sport. Some of the most common ways to do this is through hosting open houses or introduction to curling classes. Before scheduling an event, organizers must consider a number of factors, such as available ice time, cost of ice, and number of people available/qualified to teach. To make full use of available ice and effectively staff such events, arena clubs typically run structured or semi-structured recruitment programs where participants pre-register and pay a small fee. If no club members have ever curled before, outside help will be needed.
While open houses and learn to curl classes can take many forms, they often range from half-hour lessons where attendees are taught the basics of delivering a stone to classes lasting several hours. In the latter case, attendees may be given the opportunity to play a few ends of a game during the session. Alternatively, some clubs set up a series of stations for attendees. Stations can include sliding with two stones, sliding with a stabilizer, throwing a stone, learning to sweep, etc. Stations are particularly effective when there is a limited amount of time available for a large number of people to try curling or when few experienced curlers are available to instruct. When organized well, several hundred people can learn to do a basic slide, sweep, and throw a stone during a two to three-hour timeframe. Various examples of how recruiting and training sessions are run by curling clubs can be found in the “Growing a Club” section of the USA Curling website.
Regardless of the type of event, it is important for clubs to be prepared to provide those interested in additional curling opportunities with sign-up options before they leave. More information about recruiting curlers can be found in the resources below.
Teams competing at the USA Curling first Arena Club National Championship (2013)