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  1. #21

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    Tiffany - I am also an adult beginner (been skating a little over a year) and I skate at freestyle sessions. As you are starting to figure out, it's a matter of paying attention and discerning "today's patterns." I now know which freestyle sessions at my rink attract the very top level (we have some international competitors) and I don't skate on those - I try for the less popular, lower level times. I may spend a while when I get on the ice and start to warm up just standing near where a coach or coaches are standing (a safe place for sure - just not too close) and I observe who's doing what, what their patterns are and I can inevitably find a corner or a space that is either not in anyone's pattern or not being used - I go there. And if I need to adjust as other more advanced skaters change what they're doing, I do. I have never had a problem and never felt unwelcome. I think they all know that I defer to them (as I can see that you do) and given that I'm trying to learn quite sincerely, they're pleasant to me.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    Do you know if you can safely practice on relatively light public sessions? I used to practice on public sessions, where the middle ice is coned off for figure skating.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
    I may need to check out the public session again. I have stayed away from it because of the number of people who attend. The middle always seems to be packed with figure skaters and people taking lessons, and it is a very small space. I may be going at the wrong time though. I just prefer the freestyle session, because there is obviously more ice and the sessions are offered almost everyday. Public sessions are only on the weekends and I skate about 4 times a week.
    In general, public sessions on weekends at any time later than around 11am will be busy, but you should see the crowds lessen as summer approaches. If any rink near you offers public sessions on a weekday or early on a weekend, you could try them out and see what you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
    I didn't realize that freestyle sessions are mostly for the more advanced skaters. I don't believe my rink has a level requirement. I have seen other beginners practicing during this time without their coaches too (though not as much as me), and even some hockey players. I'm just now starting to wonder if its a bad idea for me to be practicing at these sessions. By the way, I am at about level basic 7.
    Does your rink designate certain freestyle sessions for different levels? If you are around Basic 7, you can go onto any "low" or "open" freestyle session, and it's completely appropriate for you to be there. If your rink splits sessions by level, though, then make sure you're not on a session too high for your level.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  3. #23

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    I think freestyle sessions should be levelled... at least there needs to be a separation from learn to skate and people doing jumps. My old rink in perth didn't have separate session times, and I was PETRIFIED as an aussie skater trying to do cross overs while someone was trying to land a triple toe... after a couple of collisions, they changed it, so there were separate sessions for learn to skates and people prelim +.

    I will admit that sometimes I do get annoyed now when I'm trying to jump and there are people learning cross overs, as the Ice House freestyle sessions are open. As a beginner skater, I preferred to skating in quiet public sessions (f you can get one at your rink).

    Otherwise, just learn where people jump, their programs, who is whose coach etc etc.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffany View Post
    It's a freestyle session. So it wouldn't be annoying for me to hope from one circle to the next? Thanks for the suggestions. I will try working on some elements outside of the circle. I just need to get out of my comfort zone I guess.
    The rule of thumb is to not "camp out" in any one place on the rink for an extended period of time, say 2-5 minutes. If you're spending the entire session on the same circle, that's inconsiderate. Camping out on the end circles is dangerous because of the backward Lutz entry - they can't see that you're there and if you don't look behind yourself when you skate backwards, you can see them, either. Really not a good idea.

    Using the center circle is more annoying to the spinners because they need more room, plus it interrupts moves/dance patterns more than the end circles. (Esp. the diagonal Moves patterns - they monopolize the center because the skater comes through twice.)

    Always look for a few minutes to see if someone else is practicing in a spot. It's hard to tell with some of the patterns.

    FWIW, Jimmie Santee from the PSA has produced several articles and blog posts about skating (and Freestyle session) etiquette.
    http://skatepsa.blogspot.com/2010/11...ttiquette.html

    Honestly, I don't think a beginner should be on a freestyle session without a coach, but you said you're around Basic 7? If you can't stop or turn quickly, a public session is more appropriate, however you should be able to do forward and backward stops at this point. Part of the problem is that rinks don't offer convenient public sessions or they're so crowded and unmanaged that they're even more dangerous. The industry really needs some "best practices" for public sessions to encourage and foster the growth of skating at the lower levels.

    Our rink doesn't have high/low freestyle sessions, but some sessions have more lower-level skaters than others.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 04-16-2012 at 05:54 PM.

  5. #25

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    I very much like Jimmie Santee's diagrams; thanks for that link.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  6. #26
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    You're welcome.

  7. #27
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    ........and for those rare left handed jumpers, everything would be reversed.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Fever View Post
    ........and for those rare left handed jumpers, everything would be reversed.
    This is what I was going to say. I skate on a session with three sometimes four clockwise jumpers so all corners are lutz corners.

    Also the toe-loop and flip diagrams don't fit in with my experience of skaters doing those jumps as doubles and higher. Nearly all the skaters at my rink (who jump anti-clockwise) do clockwise cross-overs around towards one end of the rink, then step forwards and place the jump down the rink.

    I think it just shows that spending a bit of time observing the sessions to see who is on and what they are doing is the best policy.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willowway View Post
    Tiffany - I am also an adult beginner (been skating a little over a year) and I skate at freestyle sessions. As you are starting to figure out, it's a matter of paying attention and discerning "today's patterns." I now know which freestyle sessions at my rink attract the very top level (we have some international competitors) and I don't skate on those - I try for the less popular, lower level times. I may spend a while when I get on the ice and start to warm up just standing near where a coach or coaches are standing (a safe place for sure - just not too close) and I observe who's doing what, what their patterns are and I can inevitably find a corner or a space that is either not in anyone's pattern or not being used - I go there. And if I need to adjust as other more advanced skaters change what they're doing, I do. I have never had a problem and never felt unwelcome. I think they all know that I defer to them (as I can see that you do) and given that I'm trying to learn quite sincerely, they're pleasant to me.
    Thanks Willowway! I'm glad to know I'm not the only beginner who skates on a freestyle session. For our rink, there isn't really a particular spot where the coaches stand, because a lot of our coaches follow their skaters, which makes things even more difficult for me. There are places on the ice that I could try standing to observe the skating patterns (near the sitting area of our rink). It makes things tricky though when people change up what they are doing a lot. I guess I just need to be constantly adjusting to the flow of things. It is just going to take some getting used.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    In general, public sessions on weekends at any time later than around 11am will be busy, but you should see the crowds lessen as summer approaches. If any rink near you offers public sessions on a weekday or early on a weekend, you could try them out and see what you think.



    Does your rink designate certain freestyle sessions for different levels? If you are around Basic 7, you can go onto any "low" or "open" freestyle session, and it's completely appropriate for you to be there. If your rink splits sessions by level, though, then make sure you're not on a session too high for your level.
    Yeah, I may give the public sessions another go during the summer. My rink doesn't have certain sessions for different levels unfortunately . I was thinking of how great that would be to have a lower level freestyle session for skaters who are still in the basics and early freestyle levels. I think the problem with my rink though is the lack of interest. I don't think there are enough intermediate skaters for them to feel we are worth the extra ice time. Thats just my guess, because I rarely ever see intermediate skaters practicing without a coach at my rink (so they practice maybe once a week). Even some of the advanced skaters are only there once a week. As a result, most of our ice time goes to hockey.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    I think freestyle sessions should be levelled... at least there needs to be a separation from learn to skate and people doing jumps. My old rink in perth didn't have separate session times, and I was PETRIFIED as an aussie skater trying to do cross overs while someone was trying to land a triple toe... after a couple of collisions, they changed it, so there were separate sessions for learn to skates and people prelim +.

    I will admit that sometimes I do get annoyed now when I'm trying to jump and there are people learning cross overs, as the Ice House freestyle sessions are open. As a beginner skater, I preferred to skating in quiet public sessions (f you can get one at your rink).

    Otherwise, just learn where people jump, their programs, who is whose coach etc etc.
    I agree completely. I really do wish they would set level requirements for our sessions, because it can be pretty scary at times!

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    The rule of thumb is to not "camp out" in any one place on the rink for an extended period of time, say 2-5 minutes. If you're spending the entire session on the same circle, that's inconsiderate. Camping out on the end circles is dangerous because of the backward Lutz entry - they can't see that you're there and if you don't look behind yourself when you skate backwards, you can see them, either. Really not a good idea.

    Using the center circle is more annoying to the spinners because they need more room, plus it interrupts moves/dance patterns more than the end circles. (Esp. the diagonal Moves patterns - they monopolize the center because the skater comes through twice.)

    Always look for a few minutes to see if someone else is practicing in a spot. It's hard to tell with some of the patterns.

    FWIW, Jimmie Santee from the PSA has produced several articles and blog posts about skating (and Freestyle session) etiquette.
    http://skatepsa.blogspot.com/2010/11...ttiquette.html

    Honestly, I don't think a beginner should be on a freestyle session without a coach, but you said you're around Basic 7? If you can't stop or turn quickly, a public session is more appropriate, however you should be able to do forward and backward stops at this point. Part of the problem is that rinks don't offer convenient public sessions or they're so crowded and unmanaged that they're even more dangerous. The industry really needs some "best practices" for public sessions to encourage and foster the growth of skating at the lower levels.

    Our rink doesn't have high/low freestyle sessions, but some sessions have more lower-level skaters than others.
    Thanks so much! I will check the article out. I am beginning to learn basic 7 elements. I can stop quickly when going forward, and turn at a decent speed. I think going backwards is the most scary thing for me, thus making backward crossovers a difficult thing to practice at the freestyle sessions. I can stop when going backward, but not very quickly.

    The public sessions at my rink seem to be worse. I have so many people run into me when I'm just skating forward, and the middle is always crowded with skaters of all levels, as well as a few people who aren't even figure skaters. I may be going at the wrong times though. Our freestyle sessions also have times when less people are on the ice (I've been on the ice by myself before), so I'm going to try going during those times more and avoiding days like Saturday where around 15-20 skaters are on the ice at once.

  13. #33
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    One nice thing about being on a freestyle is that under fire you become faster and more observant. I did see big jumps in kid ability when she moved to freestyles. Have fun with skating!

  14. #34
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    Unfortunately, there is no "safe" or "unused" spot on the ice during a freestyle session. This is because most of the skaters have programs they are working on, and any well laid-out program has jumps, spins, spirals and step sequences spread out so that every area of the rink gets used. Since skaters tend to practice their elements in the same places they have them in their programs, each skater will need to use every spot on the ice at some point during the session.
    All you can do is to keep an eye out for skaters setting up an element that needs to happen right where you are, and to only spend a few minutes in each spot before moving somewhere else so that other skaters can use that spot.

  15. #35
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    I would say it depends entirely on the rink. You did say beginner.. and that term can mean many things to many people. I am an adult skater getting back on the ice after 32 years. At first I couldn't even stop abruptly at will. There is no way I wanted to be on club ice and not have enough control to mind the "skating etiquette" right-of-way rules. Secondly, I did not want to feel intimidated by young kids doing things I will never be able to do again... (or ever could!)

    Having said that.. I have been back on the ice since January 1 and have progressed to be able to have tested and passed Adult MIF and FS and I am now working on Adult Bronze. No great feat, but since it requires a program .. and programs don't mind a CCW skate-around-the-perimiter of the rink pattern ... I have to be mindful of everyone at the public sessions I skate at. (not the other way around)

    My rink has a morning session I am able to skate at from 11:15 to 12:45. When school is out I am really lucky to enjoy both clean ice and anywhere from 0-8 skaters most days. I thought this was exclusive to where I lived, but last week I was in California and skated at 3 different rinks in the Bay Area and found them all to be the same. Mid week morning public session were all very quiet. Granted, not everyone has the luxury to skate then. I just retired last year.

    As others have mentioned above.. it is undenyably helpful if you are a watch-and-learn person... to skate among better skaters and pick up on new things. Much of the skating I did as a young child relied heavily on this as we could not afford more than a 15 minute lesson every 2 weeks. (hmm maybe that's why I never landed that Axel!!) I remember once I finally was skating PATCH/FREESTYLE sessions (don't laugh... I am old) I did start making bigger strides of improvement watching other more advanced skaters.

    Keep skating. Happy Landings.

    www.waltzjump.com

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adultsk8r509 View Post
    Keep skating. Happy Landings.


    (And I totally agree regarding those morning / lunch time sessions So it also happens in Switzerland )

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adultsk8r509 View Post
    ..........I remember once I finally was skating PATCH/FREESTYLE sessions (don't laugh... I am old)...........
    What's a patch? You've got a hole in your jeans? Your software needs an upgrade?

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny_Fever View Post
    What's a patch? You've got a hole in your jeans? Your software needs an upgrade?
    (D) None of the Above


    "Patch" is the term used in the UK and other parts of the world to denote a figure skating session. In the US, this is commonly called a "freestyle" session.

    However, "Patch" in the US used to mean a specific portion of the ice surface that the skater used to practice their school/compulsory figures. (Figure 8's) The skating club would divide the ice up into small sections and you paid for your "patch" or "patches." The session was usually listed as a "Figures" or "Patch" session. You couldn't skate through/across someone else's patch; you have to stay within the boundaries of your patch.

    My skating club had marks and numbers on the rink walls to help skaters stay on their own patch.

    While I'm defining stuff, in the US, rinks have "General," "Public," or "Open" sessions on which anyone can skate. There are often restrictions on what can actually be done, such as "No jumps," "No suicide (hockey) drills," and "No spitting."
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 04-26-2012 at 02:25 AM.

  19. #39

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    Yes. The origination of the "patch" meant a patch of ice (marked off area of the ice) where you could practice your school figures. During patch time the ice was sectioned into many patches - the good news was that you had your own little space and could work without anyone going over your tracings so you really could see what you were doing in terms of edges and shapes. Imagine your rink ice divided (just by an edge traced in the ice most of the time) into let's say 6-10 rectangles - each rectangle is a patch and accommodates one skater working.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_figures
    Last edited by Willowway; 04-26-2012 at 01:54 AM.

  20. #40
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    I knew someone that had a fully enclosed and refrigerated patch sized ice rink in her back yard. I don't remember if it was long enough to do serpentines, but definitely all the two circled figures. I can't image she's getting much use out of it now. Its too small for curling. You could probably teach tots how to skate in there. Inside, it looked like meat locker.

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