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  1. #1
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    Skate Detroit or Liberty for pairs

    Curious which is better and where most pair teams are going? I realize both are close to Indy (Skate Detroit is the week before and Liberty is two weeks before). Are any teams going to either or just Indy?

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    I have been to all three. Indy is definitely the best. If you like pairs, it's really the best competition of the year because it's only pairs and most of the best teams from both the US and Canada come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yfbg722 View Post
    I have been to all three. Indy is definitely the best. If you like pairs, it's really the best competition of the year because it's only pairs and most of the best teams from both the US and Canada come.
    Agreed on Indy. I was wondering, of the other two, Liberty or Detroit, which would be better for pairs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8mom1970 View Post
    Agreed on Indy. I was wondering, of the other two, Liberty or Detroit, which would be better for pairs?
    Well, looking at last year, there were certainly more teams at Liberty. I've only been to it once and didn't really enjoy the experience but it was a bad year. There were problems with the condensers and the ice melted. I found the area difficult to navigate and spent a lot of time lost and then to top it all off the hotel billed us twice for our stay so definitely not a positive experience.

    Detroit was fine - just not a lot of teams so not a lot of competition. I guess both have their pros and cons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8mom1970 View Post
    Agreed on Indy. I was wondering, of the other two, Liberty or Detroit, which would be better for pairs?
    IMHO, there's not a single response to which is "better" for pairs; it depends on the needs and desires of your team.

    - What is their goal for the pre-Indy competition? If their goal is to be evaluated by high-level tech panel officials and judges, you'll get that at either competition. If their goal is to compete against other pairs, the numbers at both competitions seem to depend on the year. Delilah sometimes splits her teams, sometimes it seems like more go to Liberty, sometimes Detroit. It seems like there are usually more Juvenile and Intermediate teams at Detroit, and often more Jr/Sr teams at Detroit, with Novice a toss-up; it really varies from year to year. If their goal is to put their elements out, placement and feedback aside, you can do that closer to home.

    At some point, there will be a list of 2011-2012 teams and their levels, which might give some idea of who will go where. DSC/Canton/Chicago/Indy/L.A. teams seem to go to Detroit, while Delaware/Florida teams seem to go to Liberty, with Colorado doing different things every year.

    - Where are you coming from, are you a plane ride away from Detroit/Indy/Liberty, and how do the finances balance? A number of the teams who travel to Detroit to compete stay at DSC and train for a couple of days before driving down to Indy; it's an easy drive (five hours?) and would allow you to buy only one plane ticket in/out of Detroit, but would require a rental car and hotel for several days. With Liberty being two weeks before Indy, most teams go home: two plane tickets, less car/hotel expenses. If either competition is within driving distance of you, that would reduce expenses significantly - but how much expenses matter depends on the team. (In addition, sometimes it's a valuable experience to compete farther from home and "rehearse" what it will be like to travel to Sectionals/Nationals. I once managed to go two whole seasons without needing to fly to compete, and it made the third season a very, very, very painful one.)

    - How does your team react to competing? Some teams would prefer to compete back-to-back weeks (less overall time away from hard-core summer training), while other teams have a harder time competing back-to-back weeks because of the emotional/psychological highs and lows of competition. How much this matters depends on your team, their level, and their overall competition schedule. If you have an international at the end of August, the extra lost week of training is bigger deal (maybe) than if you don't compete again until Sectionals. If you're training throw triples, then it might be a bigger deal than if you have a Juvie team who owns their elements.

    - What kind of feedback will you get at the first competition? Obviously, you can't predict this one, but if your feedback is on the level of, "You're a revolution short on the camel spin, which would move the spin from a level 1 to a level 4," then 2-3 days of practice is enough. If the feedback is, "You have the wrong elements in your short program and your lift is illegal," then you'd want more time.

    - Does your team also compete singles? On the girls' side, Detroit is smaller and seems to have a more predictable schedule than Liberty; Detroit runs qualifying rounds of short+long, with final rounds being only long program (three programs max), while Liberty seems to run the events separately with final rounds for both (four programs max). Liberty offers a "Juvenile Girls skate Intermediate Short" event that Detroit does not. For the boys, Liberty sometimes seems to have qualifying rounds for Juv/Int/Nov boys, which I can't recall Detroit having, so Liberty would be more programs for lower-level boys if they make the final round. (For some skaters, more chances to compete would be welcome; for some, fewer programs would be better, especially if competing S+P.) There tend to be larger groups of Jr/Sr men at Liberty than Detroit. (I am not sure if either competition offers events at the Prelim/Pre-Juv levels.) At both competitions, if you skate singles and pairs, there's a good chance that you'll have more than one event on the same day.

    - What does your coach want you to do? This is probably the most important question.

    I don't think there is a single right answer; my comments are intended to help a team organize their thoughts and to demonstrate to non-skaters on FSU what sorts of factors a team might consider when deciding where to compete. I certainly was not trying to endorse/suggest/favor either competition and I hope my remarks reflect that.

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