This week begins my foray into serious Practice Ice. In the past, I've only bought practice ice when I've needed it for lessons and program practice. It was never on the regular schedule. As the repertoire of "tricks" grows, I've decided that it needs to be a normal thing. I'm changing up one hour of the six (on average) that Stitch spends on Public Ice for Practice Ice.
I love Public Ice, I really do. But it's stupid hard to get Stitch to practice on it. He has too many friends to race, too many Rink Guards to harass and too much interference from Baby Fallsalot. Stitch will often declare that he can't practice because there are "too many people." (I guess this is his way of stating, "I cannot work under these conditions!")
Stitch does show some degree of work ethic on Practice Ice. I set him off with the words, "This is Practice Ice. If you want to stay here, you have to Practice." I think the combination of fewer skaters, less intimidation from the girls his age knocking out doubles, no interference and the big threat of being kicked off if he doesn't do what he's supposed to makes for an actual practice session. I do my best to inform him of Rink Etiquette as I've gleaned from the 'nets; Only spin at center, go with the flow, don't linger in corners, and be super polite. And historically, it's worked.
So now I'm going to take it a step up, and make it part of the regular schedule. The Rink Across Town actually has convenient hours for PreStyle skaters, so I'll have to take the ice over there rather than at Home Rink. (Sorry, but I really don't want to get up a 4:30 if I don't have to. He's in fucking BETA. It's not that serious yet.)
I'm also going to give up The List in favor of The Egg Timer for these sessions. Egg Timers are indispensable tools for young children. If I tell Stitch, "Do ten crossovers in each direction," he will blow through them just to get done with them. If I make him spend ten minutes on them, he may actually take some time to get them right. We'll see if that theory works. I know it works for the Classroom, Homework Reading and Chores.
What if the experiment fails?
Well, I'll step it back before discontinuing completely. I'll make it every other week rather than weekly, but honestly I think there's a good chance of success on this one. I don't think I'm pushing here, because I've just casually noticed that he gets better results on Practice Ice. If I were pushing, we'd have started this long ago and I'd be skipping Public Ice entirely. That won't happen. I still want him to have his playtime.
As Coach said, "He loves the ice. He loves to skate. I don't want to lose this." Me neither, so let's just take the uptick one step at a time.