Thursday, August 11, 2011

About Practice Ice

For the first six months, I didn't even know about Practice Ice. When I learned about it, I thought it was tres cool but then learned of level divisions and felt shut out. I did Privates during Public Ice because that's all I thought I could get to. During the second six months, I was  buying coupons for those one-off days with Coach, because Coach made me familiar with what I really could get to, and the Practice Ice "open sesame" really happens with a Coach. Never having a real "set" schedule never bothered me, because as an Entertainment Family, we never really have a set schedule, either. I did have regular practice ice at Rink Across Town, and that was great.

Parents, I'm going to say a hard truth; After Beta, it's just not going to happen without regular practice. The ranks of PreStyle Skaters drop dramatically after Beta, with a Beta Class maybe at ten kids, and a Delta Class at two. Like Lucy (who spent two rounds in Gamma before quitting) and her mom (who blamed the two rounds on Lucy and the Coaches), people don't seem to get that there's two pieces of the skating pie that the Group Class Coach isn't responsible for; those are Practice and Individual Effort. Practice Ice has nothing to do with your "Competitiveness" or how much your kid is "into it," and doesn't mean you're gunning for a National Champion. Practice Ice is the simple notion that you can't learn to skate if you aren't on the ice. Do Public Ice, do Practice Ice, but Do Ice.

Now that I have that Rant out of me, I was debating which slot to buy for this session. I called Coach to ask her advice, but she only called me back when it was too late. Dad had deposited to forms which I left for him on the TV. I told her to go grab the form and pick the date she wanted. She told me that if I wanted to do ice on that other day, I didn't need to worry about registering for it, no one was on it anyway. I made a mental note for myself.

As I hung up, I realized that this was the first time she was heavily into my practice ice buying, which had been just "buy a coupon and figure it out later." She was also planning on making this our new lesson time. It had to be, Stitch was banished from Learn To Skate ice, which was why Saturday mornings fell out of the picture. That had never occurred to me. (I hated that old time anyway. Vehemently. Hated. I can say that now that it's over.)

I'm also remembering sitting in the stands, making small talk with Other Moms. It makes my skin crawl. Don't get me wrong, I like other people. I love to talk. But there's only so much talking about skating parents can do without edging into the Comparing Children territory which gets uncomfortable. Especially since Stitch will have dropped a level or two behind thanks to the Summer Hiatus. (I saw MiniFab grabbing her skate and bringing to her head level on Sunday and doing some weird Spin/jump thing. But then, MiniFab has the focus of a laser beam. I don't expect that from Gordon who has the attention span of a squirrel.) I don't know why we can't talk about something else. But, as it happens, I won't be in the stands this time. The Practice Ice session Coach wants falls smack during the Adult Class I want to take. HA!

I'm effectively gone tomorrow. I leave from work, on to my own Vacation. I'm reprinting the form and telling Dad to drop it off with a new Check. Instructions to Coach: Use if you need it, void and destroy if you don't. It's an act of trust, one of those acts I'm finding happen a lot at the rink.

If anyone has any thoughts as to any stretching or bodywork I can do while I'm gone, I'm all ears. Stitch and I can do it together on the beach. Primarily, Shoot the Duck. He needs to get his Shoot the Duck in order. It's the only directive I had from Coach over summer. Looks like I'm going to have to start listening to her.


  1. My practice ice strategy:

    1. Buy coupons for a session that is likely to fill up.

    2. Later on decide to use them for the session I signed up for, or a session that is not full.

    Nothing bad happens if you use coupons for the wrong session, so long as space is available.

  2. Your rink sounds confusing.
    My rink's system is this: look at schedule, show up to rink. Practice whatever you want on public ice if you can't make the freestyle sessions.

    How many people on the ice is considered full?

  3. This whole buying practice ice is so confusing! In roller we just pay a monthly fee to the club and go whenever we can make it to the available times. Of course, we have far fewer people to worry about scheduling around, so there is that.

    Although I am also debating my schedule for the coming year, as the inevitable finally happened and my coaches have left the rink we have been at for the past decade. Ironically, we are returning to the rink that I started at, which we had left 13 years ago. Of course, the coaches who have been there in the mean time have totally changed things from the way they were all those years ago, and since I am no longer living close to the area, getting practice will be a bit difficult. Luckily, I have had offers to practice at rinks 40 miles out of town, so perhaps I can get in time there. The whole mess is a bit confusing, since I don't really know when practices are being held at either rink, so it is very difficult to plan practice and lesson times.

    In any case, the whole ramble was trying to lead up to me agreeing that yes, practice time is critically important. For everyone, even new skaters. Perhaps more so for new skaters.

    As for shoot the duck... make it a game to see who can get up and down from squat position on both legs, then one leg. And compete to see how long you can stay in squat position. I have been skating over a decade, and I still can't really do shoot the ducks well. Maybe that is why I became a dance skater...

  4. How many people on the ice is considered full?

    26, not counting coaches. When it is full, it can be really bad, as the level restrictions are not enforced.

  5. 26 is a lot of skaters. Our sessions are definitely not that crowded except on rare occasions. We also do not have level restrictions.

  6. At our rink 26 is the limit for open FS, I believe high FS is 20. The "crowdedness" factor depends on 1) number of skaters 2) skating level 3) skater awareness and aggressiveness 4) age spread. A reckless skater has strong "presence" on the ice because you have to watch him/her constantly, add in high level jumps and there you have an ice bomb.

    ****** Any one wants to get rid of RC summer coupons? I need about 4 or 5? Thanks! *****

  7. Our rink is ridiculous with the levels. Too. Many. Levels.