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  1. #1

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    Basic Practice Question I Never Thought About Before

    A lot of times commentators will discuss how the skaters practice- whether they do partial or full runthroughs, and all of a sudden I wondered about partial runthroughs.

    When skaters do partial runthroughs, do they do it to the music? For example, if all they're working on that moment is the footwork, is the footwork music played? Or do they practice without any music at all, or the music of their program, or any music that happens to be playing at the rink at that time?

    I assume with full runthroughs they skate to the music. But what happens with the partial runthroughs?

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    They do them both with and without the program music. Depends on how busy the session is, of course, and who else needs the music. I am not elite (obviously ) but I prefer to do sections to the music if possible, unless I need to slow things down to work on a difficult part.

    When program music isn't on, there's often other music playing - usually whatever's popular at the moment.

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    Depends on how many little kids get their way.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I think when they talk about what skaters are doing at practice they are usually talking about the official practices at the event, not what they were doing last week at home.

    The event practices are designated as "Ladies SP practice" or "Free Dance Practice" etc. For these practices, the program music is played in turn for the skaters in that practice group. Whoever's music is playing has the right of way and the other skaters work on moves or parts of their programs elsewhere on the ice. Sometimes they skate large chunks of their own program while another skater's music is playing. They are used to it because this is what happens when skaters train together at home.

    When they say the skater did full run throughs, they are usually talking specifically about skating their entire program when his/her/their music was playing. Sometimes skaters will only do the footwork and spins, but skate through the jumps. Sometimes they will do the jumps at the appropriate points, but skate thru some of the footwork or spins. I don't think there is one universal right or wrong. Skaters who do a lot of jumping in event practices tend to get labelled as "hard workers" which is really pretty clueless. There is another school of thought that thinks the skater will be sharper in competition if they have practiced more lightly immediately before the event. (In swimming, this is called "tapering.")

    What they do in their home rinks kind of depends on how private their ice time is. North American coaches are usually big believers in full run-throughs. Some coaches even train double run-throughs leading into the event. (Skating the program twice back to back.) I don't know about today, but a decade or more ago, Russians tended to work on programs in fragments, getting each fragment letter perfect down to the fingertips. (Yes, they played the music, stopped and backed it up to play the same section again.) A lot of folks pointed to this difference as part of the explanation why Russian skaters used to have stamina issues while North Americans tended not to have such perfect fingertips.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    I think when they talk about what skaters are doing at practice they are usually talking about the official practices at the event, not what they were doing last week at home.
    I disagree. I think they are talking about the normal practices. Think of the criticism Weir took for not doing full run throughs in his normal practices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by missing View Post
    I assume with full runthroughs they skate to the music. But what happens with the partial runthroughs?
    Typically, when a skater refers to a "partial runthrough," that means with the music. It's common for different rinks to have slightly different terminology, but a "partial runthrough" tends to mean that the whole program was played, but only some of the elements were done. "Sections" tend to mean that only part of the music was played and skaters did every element in that section of the program. Skaters also practice sections of their program without the music playing, of course, but a "run-through" typically refers to a program done with music playing unless a skater specifically says "Yeah, we did a runthrough without the music when the !*&(! dancers wouldn't stop playing the !&*#^(! Yankee Polka."

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    I typically hear (and I use) "run-through" used as doing the program, whether it be in part or complete, with music. I use "blocking", a stage/drama/theater term as just doing parts of programs without music and without doing the jumps or spins or whatever.

    So for example, during my practices, I generally skate around to warm up, then block some connecting elements of my programs, then do a run-through of my footwork, then warm up jumps and spins, then do a complete run-through, then block some of my ice dance (meaning just doing the end pattern of compulsory dances or whatever), then do a double run-through, then run-through my compulsory dances. Hope all those terms aren't too confusing...

    Also, I think that normally when the commentators talk about practices, they're talking about competition practices.

    I talked to Brandon Mroz at Broadmoor Open this summer when we were both walking from one rink to another (I was freaking out inside, b/c he started the conversation with me!) at the World Arena. I specifically asked him about that, because I had remembered the commentators saying something at Nationals about him landing the quad toe clean in practices (and then he stepped out of it in his freeskate), and I was curious if Dick Button or Peggy Fleming or whoever is commentating comes to watch each skater train at their home rink to get those facts. Brandon told me that as far as he knew, "nobody comes all the way here to watch me practice" or something like that, and that he had been landing the quad in the official competition practices, so he thought they had probably been talking about those practices.

    So from what Brandon told me, it sounds like the commentators don't have time to go watch a bunch of skaters train in their cities all over the US, and their referrals to 'practice' are the official competition practices.

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