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  1. #1

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    Competition practice ice question

    Is it usual or considered appropriate to only offer early morning practice ice for a competition that goes until 8:00 PM at night?

    There are some high-level free skates going on between noon and 6:00 PM.

    Practice ice is between 6:00 AM and 7:20 AM.

    Or are competition holders even expected to offer practice ice? Maybe I'm starting from the wrong assumption.

    What is your expectation when you sign-up for a competition?

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    Yep, that is common, and keep in mind that many competitions run late so 8:00 pm, might turn into 9:30 p.m.



    For me personally (I skate adult bronze), I never sign up for practice ice at competitions. It is WAY too crowded, and at inconvenient times, and at way too high of a cost. It just isn't worth it for me. If the rink is nearby, I might try to go out for a session a few weeks before the competition, just to get the layout and a feel for the type of the ice, but otherwise, I use my warmup to get a feel for the ice. I've skated at enough rinks now I'm okay for anything.

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    It depends where the competition is. If it's in a big city with many rinks, I would expect less practice ice to be offered because skaters can find sessions at other rinks. The only reason I'd really need practice ice is to get myself oriented at an unfamiliar rink, so as long as I get enough time to do that, it's all good.

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    My thought is there should be practice ice the day before the comp begins if possible - if not, then open freestyle sessions are available and official ice offered the morning of the competition - usually beginning at 5-5:30am until 7 or 8am in 30 minute sessions. I buy practice ice at a totally unfamiliar rink when there is no way for us to go ahead of time.

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    Ah, okay. I think my skater is still in that mindset that she needs a session not just to get the feel of the rink, but to run through jumps thoroughly, etc.

    That sometimes seems to take a bit of time for some kids, and not sure that really early ice used in that way even effects what goes on in a competition 12 hours later, you know?

    Of course, I could be wrong here, too.


    As a side note, the crowded practice sessions are usually why I hesitate to buy ice at Liberty, but this time we lucked out. Two sessions mid afternoon with only two other skaters on the ice, and walked right over to compete a half hour later. I saw a few skaters doing this.

    But it sounds as if what we're aiming for is to be able to practice super early (if that's all that's available) and if we don't have later practice ice, that shouldn't have an effect one way or another on the competition program.

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    I never signed up for competition practice ice until this year exactly because they're not offered at a time that would work for adult events. This time around, there is an open session right before Adult bronze and silver (we have a shared warm-up), so I figured I'd give it a try. Course, we now have both senior men on our warm-up just for good measure.

    Would getting there a day early or even driving down the week before to get used to the ice be a option for you?

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    This competition is local and I did finally find other ice later in the morning at another rink. The competition is at our club rink, so we're used to the ice.

    Mostly, I was asking out of curiosity (and in case I somehow volunteered to be in charge of practice ice for our club competition next year. Which I think I did.)

    But also to find out whether this is something my skater should learn to do: compete well even not having practice ice within a few hours of competing.

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    Very true. It's nice to have, but doesn't always happen. You're never guaranteed a practice session, so it's good to learn to do a good enough off ice warm up so that the 5 minute warmup will suffice.

    BTW, I do feel better skating later in the day if I've had practice ice, even if it was very early. For me it does seem to make a difference, even 12 hours later (that has happened to me).

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    I think whether it's worth it depends on how the skater feels about skating on a rink that may or may not be familiar to them. I've been at competitions where I've signed up for practice ice not because I needed to practice, but because I hadn't skated at that rink before and I wanted to see how it felt to be on that ice, how the acoustics were, what the seating area looked like, etc. - just so I wouldn't be more nervous because of unfamiliar things when I actually competed.
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    On the other hand, if you're going to be in charge of practice ice for your club's competition... People seem to like mid-day practice sessions if they're available. If you offer them, you will sell them out. It also facilitates serving lunch to the judges, because they'll all be free at the same time. It would be worth it to consult with your referee to see whether an hour of mid-day practice ice can work with your competition schedule.

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    Thanks, Clarice. I'll suggest this for next year. Which, I'm sure *will* put me in charge of practice ice, lol.

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    I agree with those who said the early morning practice ice time was typical and that the main purpose was just to get used to the ice surface, not to have a real practice/warmup for the competition itself. If the skater has not competed on that ice surface before, it's worthwhile to do the session just to familiarize herself with the visual cues, where the judges will be sitting, etc. More than once, I've discovered on practice ice that certain rinks just get me turned around and I'd start skating the wrong direction if I didn't figure out some visual cues and memorize them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doubletoe View Post
    More than once, I've discovered on practice ice that certain rinks just get me turned around and I'd start skating the wrong direction if I didn't figure out some visual cues and memorize them!
    Yup! My daughter has monovision/no depth perception, so she really uses visual cues around the rink.

    I think one of the most challenging rinks to skate on is a rink we visit that is figure skating only, so no lines on the ice, no boards. Last year, the ice looked light brown like a roller skating rink. It's a really beautiful old facility, but you can just see visiting competitors get lost at times, my daughter included, heh. That rink is definitely worth one or two sessions before competing.

    We also skate at an old arena, and the facility is huge, cavernous. Kids get freaked out if they aren't used to looking up and seeing miles of open air until the vaulted ceiling. :-)

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    Competitions can't always offer practice ice, and if they can offer it, it's not always at a convenient time. Most of the competitions my daughter has done, the practice ice has been before the competition day starts. Myself, I've only done one competition (I test, but don't compete), and I don't recall there being any practice ice. To get a feel for the rink, I went there a few weeks earlier and skated on a freestyle.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Competitions can't always offer practice ice, and if they can offer it, it's not always at a convenient time. Most of the competitions my daughter has done, the practice ice has been before the competition day starts. Myself, I've only done one competition (I test, but don't compete), and I don't recall there being any practice ice. To get a feel for the rink, I went there a few weeks earlier and skated on a freestyle.
    Of course that's not always possible for someone traveling a long distance to compete.

    And if the facility has two or more ice surfaces, you can't always know in advance which one your competition will be held on, or the freestyle session weeks in advance might not be on the same rink. For that matter, a practice the same day might not be either.

    Still, it's better than going in completely cold, whenever checking out the rink and/or warming the same day is possible.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozet View Post
    Thanks, Clarice. I'll suggest this for next year. Which, I'm sure *will* put me in charge of practice ice, lol.
    I chaired my first local event not to long ago and the chief referee was actually the one who scheduled the events and practice times. I was the one who assigned the "levels". I don't know if this is how it's commonly done in all areas though.

  17. #17

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    I chaired my first local event not to long ago and the chief referee was actually the one who scheduled the events and practice times. I was the one who assigned the "levels". I don't know if this is how it's commonly done in all areas though.
    Ah...I'm not sure how it works. I know there was some practice ice at our rink (early AM and late PM) and then purchased some sessions at another local rink sold through the club. Other rinks just opened more freestyle sessions in the afternoon when skaters started asking for them.

    Is that how it usually happens, though? All through the ref?

  18. #18

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    The LOC is responsible for offering practice ice, but the ref builds the schedule. Before you can set how much practice ice to offer and when it should be, you have to have some idea of when the competition is going to begin and end each day. If you want practice ice in the middle of the day, the ref has to know that before they make the competition schedule. You might not be able to offer practice ice at certain times, or at all, depending on how much total ice is available and how many entries there are.

  19. #19

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    Thanks, Clarice.

    This competition only has one ice surface, so it's probably impossible to offer mid-day ice.

    Do competitions organizers usually communicate other rinks' open freestyle sessions to competitors? Or is it just "find it yourself"? Usually, I just search it out, but it seems like often, other nearby rinks are surprised to hear that there is local competition and that skaters are looking for ice.

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    It's always been "find it yourself" for every competition I've been in. Also, at least in Canada, once you've officially signed in at the competition rink, you're not allowed to practice anywhere but official competition practice ice. Under that policy, I think the organizers don't want to get into any kind of problems by indicating where buy-on sessions at other rinks are available, in case that gets interpreted as "But you TOLD us we could go on that session!!!"
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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