Thursday, September 10, 2009
Many, including Team Canada, were puzzled when the Scots changed their delivery zone from "as close to the hogline as possible" to the near ring t-line. Though throwing from further back increases delivery angles, especially on straight ice, it was a radical change that many outside observers felt was a significant factor in Scotland's fall from their pre-Torino dominance as the World's best team.
Skip Michael McCreadie explained at the 2009 Worlds that the move had been fully discussed with the team and that everyone had bought into it. Coach Pendreigh appeared confident that given enough time, throwing closer to the hack would reap rewards in greater flexibility in shot making. It was noticeable, however, that some Scots were returning to the hogline when asked for up-weight hits. If nothing else, changing delivery positions complicated icing decisions for the skip.
Today I asked Tom Pendreigh whether his team would continue the experiment as they began the competition year at this weekend's Danish Open. He characterised the change as "a skill learning project" that would continue to be available to the team. He made it clear, though, that delivery position was a decision for the player, taking into account ice condition.
Here's his full statement: "The GB Squad embraced a skill learning project over 2 years ago which incorporated the ability to deliver stones from behind the T line. This is an option for any individual to consider whenever ice conditions are favourable, that has not stopped any player making the choice to deliver from anywhere between the T and the hog line as they see fit and we will continue with that theme."
It will be interesting to see whether and under what circumstances, Scottish players continue with a t-line delivery. My guess is that this was an idea with a plausible justification, now being sold as a skill-learning exercise, that will be unlikely to reap reward on Vancouver Paralympic ice that's sure to have curl.