The sport of Wheelchair curling is an adaptation of the game of curling for people who have a disability affecting their lower limbs or gait. Wheelchair curling can be played by people with a wide range of disabilities. All that is needed is the co-ordination to hold a delivery stick and strength to push it with a stone attached to the other end, and a tolerance for cold. It is not an aerobic activity.
Watch more Discover Wheelchair Curling videos.
Wheelchair curling is played with the same 20kg granite stones and on the same ice as regular curling, though the stones are thrown from a stationary wheelchair and there is no sweeping. It is a relatively new discipline (1990’s) within a sport that has been played in Scotland since 1500’s. Each player delivers or pushes their stones, in turn, down a sheet of ice towards a circular target in the ice and hope they end up closer to the centre than those thrown by your opponent. Unlike regular curling, there is no sweeping.
The great thing about wheelchair curling is that just about anyone with access to a wheelchair can play. Age is not a barrier, with players aged from 8 to 80 enjoying the game. Teams of four are made up of male and female players. You may want to take someone with you when you go out on the ice, to move the stones. You will probably need someone to hold your chair steady when you throw your stones.
No special equipment is required to get started. You can use a regular wheelchair, though need to make sure wheels are clean before going on the ice. Clubs will have delivery sticks or cues, so you just need warm clothes.
There are 22 curling rinks in Scotland and they all have access for wheelchair curling with ramps onto the ice. The Royal Caledonian Curling Club promotes the TryCurling initiative (www.trycurling.com) as a national scheme to introduce people to the sport.
When you start, the coach will take the time to introduce the game to you slowly and let you learn to throw the stones and practice before starting to play games.
Curling is played at every level of ability. Fun leagues have complete beginners and people playing for the social side of the game. That’s a great place to learn how to curl. As you improve, you may want to play in leagues that will test your skills. You don’t need other wheelchair users to play with, but if you start playing, others will follow.
We hope that you come and try curling, have fun and keep coming back.
To find out where to have a go, see: www.trycurling.com