Chris and Doris can probably provide some perspective on going to practices.
The practice groups for nationals are generally listed on the website or someone will post them.
At Worlds, AFAIR, the teams practice with the group of skaters who will be in their warmup group.
However, mostly, I only go to practice if there is a favorite of mine who is a great skater in practice, but not in performance, like Rohene Ward...usually people like Rohene are not at Worlds. Or if it's the very last chance I'm going to have to see a skater I really like...something that will be happening next year
Another reason to go to practice sessions, Miki Ando's 4Sal and Midori's 3A-3T.
A lot of them don't put their hardest tricks out, but do them in practice. Would be cool to see those.
Practices totally rock. Many of the skaters do complete run-throughs. The top skaters treat the practices like a performance, another chance to strut their stuff before the judges and whatever audience attends.
Michelle Kwan was the best. She performed the heck out of her practices, complete with applause-milking bows at the end.
The coolest one I saw was one year at Skate America Ann Patrice McDonough was the last one on the ice. She put on a solo show for about 15 minutes, practicing two difference versions of her program, trying to decide which to use. (Should Madame Butterfly slit her throat at the end or just do a scratch spin and let it go at that?)
A group of skaters practice on the ice at the same time. some are in costume. Some aren't. The music of each is played in turn. Some do their whole programme, some work on parts. For a five year old? Gee, i don't know.
Coolest thing I saw was Michelle do her short and long back to back and get a standing O.
And Rohene doing 2a inboth directions.
So the little number listed in the coloured sections tells me the warm up group, is group one "the top skaters'? When would the start orders or at least the warm up groups get listed?
They are being very late about practice groups, which is a PITA. Practice groups seem to be random, not the top skaters. Mathman is right. Practices are great but I dont know if a 5 year old is gonna appreciate what is going on.
Here is why I go to all the practices I can.
1. Let us say practice group 1 is Yu-Na, Ashley, Mao, and three other ladies. Usually one or so dont show up. There is a six minute warm up where they all skate around trying not to hit each other and then their music is played one time in the following order...or so the announcer says...if Yu-Na is a no show, then they still play her music or some music. The announcer will say, First is Yu-Na Kim skating her short program. Next will be Ashley Wagner.
2. The lady whose music is playing usually goes out, takes a set, and her music is started....but she doesnt have to skate her whole program or any part of it....she may not even jump till her music is over and someone else is skating. The lady whose music is playing has the right of way but everyone else is out there practicing at the same time. If you are lucky you are sitting near a coach like Mr. Nicks who likes to sit in the stands somewhere and talk with Ashley and work on things. You can hear the interaction sometimes. You can see who is on and who is not...if you can read faces and body language, it helps....some coaches like to stay in an area the fans cant get too...some dont mind being with the fans and talking with them before and after the practice. It is common for skaters to sign a few autographs after the practice is over, but before the next group. When the last skater's music is done, the announcer will say, Ladies, there are 8 minutes left in this warm-up. When a skater is done with the practice, they go to to center of the ice and take a bow. Some will then sign autographs till the announcer says, Ladies, this practice is over, will you please leave the ice. Then the announcer will launch the next group by saying, "This is the official practice for ladies group B (or 2). Will the following skaters please take the ice for a six minute warmup? Dorthy Hamill, Michelle Kwan, Peggy Flemming, Naomi Nary Nam, and Mirai Nagasu. And it starts again.
Here is the schedule for Monday and Tuesday - times for each group in practice.
Practice is fun to watch - lots of action. Just be prepared that everyone will not be in costume and they may not do the full run through of their program. If your little friend is watching on TV, I think they would find the live practice interesting.
Thanks for the info everyone! I have had a bunch of questions this week from Londoners who wanted to go to this event and didn't know what to expect, with your help I was was able to answer their questions and decide that yes my niece would enjoy this. Looks like Scott and Tessa are on the ice when we were planing on going! I think she will like it and we aren't planning the whole day just an hour or two.
Practices sound just heavenly. The thought of seeing someone like Rohene Ward when he's relaxed and can do all his best tricks is marvelous. Thanks for all the details, everyone. You're all sparkling reporters.