In curling, the skip (also called a "skipper") is the captain of the team. The skip is responsible for determining strategy, and holds the broom in the house (target area) to indicate where a teammate at the other end of the curling sheet (playing area) should aim the stone. The skip usually throws the last two stones in the fourth position, but the skip can play in any other position.
Overall, the skip is responsible for leading the team and giving it strategic direction. The skip calls shots for his or her teammates to play through verbal direction and/or physical gestures. In many cases, the skip communicates the planned trajectory of the shot by tapping his or her broom on the ice, and will motion to other stones in the playing area if they are involved in the planned shot. The skip will usually determine the required weight, turn and line of the stone, and hold the broom for the throwing player to aim at. As each stone is delivered, the skip calls the line of the shot and communicates with the sweepers as the stone travels down the sheet. The skip will gauge the stone's path and call to the sweepers to sweep in order to maintain the stone's path. In most cases, the skip, playing the fourth stones, must be able to deliver these last stones comfortably, a difficult task in that the last stones are usually the most crucial to the end. As the person throwing last stones, the skip must also have a good repertoire of shots and the ability to execute many types of shots at will.
As the game progresses, the skip must assess different aspects of the game, such as the timing of the rocks and the characteristics of the curling sheet, and use them to decisively create the most optimal shot choices and tactics. The skip should be able to read the ice and call the game accordingly, taking into consideration the ice conditions. Moreover, the skip must understand the playing style and strengths of each player on his or her team. As the captain of the team, the skip's knowledge of his or her teammates will allow the skip to call shots according to the their abilities and orient the team's strategy towards its strengths. The skip must also observe the opposition's gameplay and pinpoint their strengths and weakness in order to shape his or her own team's strategy into one which places the opposition at the least advantage.
|This section requires expansion. (February 2012)|