Who does your rink allow to skate on Freestyle sessions?

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
It's been suggested to me that if I want to up my game and really give this skating thing a serious try, that I should start going to freestyle sessions. Right now, there's one rink near me that has Tuesday night public skate, and that is only until early August when hockey takes over again. All other public skate at the rinks in my area are Fri night, Sat afternoon and night, and Sunday afternoon.

My main rink has two sheets and lots and lots of freestyle time in the morning and early afternoon. Being a working adult, if I were to do this (can't believe I'm even considering it because the rink is in the opposite direction from my house from my office), I'd have to go early in the morning.

This past weekend, I spoke to a coach about who is allowed on Freestyle sessions. Seems like the norm in the US is to only allow anyone in Freeskate levels, with some rinks allowing skaters who've passed Basic 6 (and I found one rink who allows anyone who's passed Adult 4). The coach (long time, I think) didn't really think there were any hard or fast rules, unless it was a kid, who would need to have a coach with them. She said, it's different with adults, and as long as I can get up by myself, the sessions are pretty quiet and I should feel free to come.

I've been skating for 2 months and am still working on Basic 3 skills (by myself, I'm a returning skater and am comfortable with that so far). I've not been taking LTS classes but I am having my first private lesson next weekend on a freestyle session. This will be with a different coach, and I will ask her opinion as well, and maybe take a look at the log in sheet from previous weeks to see how many people are coming on weekday mornings.

I'm so surprised that I actually have this option at my level, but I did see a comment on Reddit recently about rinks needing any fees that adults are willing to pay. This particular rink is my main rink, another near me (that I've not been to) I know definitely restricts their freestyle to advance skaters, and they have to sign up in advance.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Our rink in general requires having passed ISI Delta. There are de facto separate high level and low level sessions in the early mornings, but only 1 session is dedicated FS6+ (including elite competitors, though mine is qualified and skates on it now), and trust me if you aren't at that level you won't survive that session. We have several adults with basic skills who skate on the low level sessions every day without issue.
 

Tavi...

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
It's been suggested to me that if I want to up my game and really give this skating thing a serious try, that I should start going to freestyle sessions. Right now, there's one rink near me that has Tuesday night public skate, and that is only until early August when hockey takes over again. All other public skate at the rinks in my area are Fri night, Sat afternoon and night, and Sunday afternoon.

My main rink has two sheets and lots and lots of freestyle time in the morning and early afternoon. Being a working adult, if I were to do this (can't believe I'm even considering it because the rink is in the opposite direction from my house from my office), I'd have to go early in the morning.

This past weekend, I spoke to a coach about who is allowed on Freestyle sessions. Seems like the norm in the US is to only allow anyone in Freeskate levels, with some rinks allowing skaters who've passed Basic 6 (and I found one rink who allows anyone who's passed Adult 4). The coach (long time, I think) didn't really think there were any hard or fast rules, unless it was a kid, who would need to have a coach with them. She said, it's different with adults, and as long as I can get up by myself, the sessions are pretty quiet and I should feel free to come.

I've been skating for 2 months and am still working on Basic 3 skills (by myself, I'm a returning skater and am comfortable with that so far). I've not been taking LTS classes but I am having my first private lesson next weekend on a freestyle session. This will be with a different coach, and I will ask her opinion as well, and maybe take a look at the log in sheet from previous weeks to see how many people are coming on weekday mornings.

I'm so surprised that I actually have this option at my level, but I did see a comment on Reddit recently about rinks needing any fees that adults are willing to pay. This particular rink is my main rink, another near me (that I've not been to) I know definitely restricts their freestyle to advance skaters, and they have to sign up in advance.

Don’t just ask random coaches. Ask the skating director at your rink, who would normally be the one to decide. Explain the situation and get approval. If the freestyle sessions aren’t crowded, it’s not a super competitive rink with mostly high level skaters, and you learn the safety / etiquette rules (who has right of way on the session, don’t hang out in the corners, etc), many rinks will permit lower level adult skaters on freestyle sessions. Some won’t.
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
Yeah, Coach 1 said something about they didn't have anyone doing triples right now, or else it would be a different story.

I still can't quite imagine doing a session without a coach, unless there's literally no one coming between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning. Probably I will wait until I'm ready to finish Adult Basic.
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
I know they've got at least one really high level skater, I've seen her at public (don't ask me how she gets anything done). I would be terrified to be on the ice with her alone.
 

Vicki7

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 27, 2018
At my rink, in the UK, the rule is anyone has to be on LTS level 5 or above. Which is quite a low level, but it seems to work just fine.
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
At all four rinks I skate at, there are no rules for the freestyle sessions. If a club has purchased the session, they are probably going to have more rules, and you should check with the club. If the rink is having open freestyle, just call that rink, but most likely it's not too strict ie know right of way rules and how to behave on freestyle sessions.
 

jf12

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
I've been skating for 2 months and am still working on Basic 3 skills (by myself, I'm a returning skater and am comfortable with that so far). I've not been taking LTS classes but I am having my first private lesson next weekend on a freestyle session. This will be with a different coach, and I will ask her opinion as well, and maybe take a look at the log in sheet from previous weeks to see how many people are coming on weekday mornings.

I'm so surprised that I actually have this option at my level, but I did see a comment on Reddit recently about rinks needing any fees that adults are willing to pay. This particular rink is my main rink, another near me (that I've not been to) I know definitely restricts their freestyle to advance skaters, and they have to sign up in advance.

If you're allowed by the skating director, do your first few freestyle sessions with your coach so you learn how to be safe for yourself and others, and don't be afraid to ask your coach plenty of questions about the rules. I've seen many well-meaning beginners get into scary situations where they are expected to yield the right of way, but they do not realize.
 

bunnybarista

If I risk it all, could you break my fall?~
On the Ice
Joined
May 27, 2018
Some rinks divide their Freestyle sessions into different levels, i.e. low FS and high FS. My rink used to have an all-levels session that technically you could skate on even if you weren't at Pre-Free or above. Now most of our sessions are open to anyone at Pre-Free or above, OR anyone in a lesson with a coach. (i.e. coach can be out on the ice with a Basic 2 student as long as they are in lesson.) Typically, no one will question an adult who tries to get onto a session just by virtue of your age/maturity. But if you are doing forward marching and scooter pushes whilst everyone else is doing double jumps, a monitor or a skater might start to ask questions / complain. Really depends on your rink.

Even though I'm a FS skater, I still get skittish on the really crowded sessions and prefer skating with a coach in lesson, but it gets better with time. You learn what or who to watch out for. Be sure to ask your coach or other knowledgeable official to go over the rules of traffic flow / etiquette with you. Additionally, consider sitting in the stands for a session or two just to observe the skaters. Learn to see who is setting up for a lutz, who is doing MITF, who is doing a pattern dance, etc.
 

hanyuufan5

❅*:・。.✨
Medalist
Joined
May 19, 2018
Ask the skating director.

There are no official rules at my rink, but it's rare that anyone still in basic skills shows up unless they're having a private lesson. I think that's more because they'd be scared of getting mowed down by someone practicing a program than because anyone would have a problem with them. You should probably watch a freestyle session or two before actually skating during one. If they're sleepy, you'll probably be fine, but the more crowded ones can be tough for anyone.

When I started skating again, I had never been to a freestyle session even though I had gotten to Freeskate 1~2 before quitting and gotten back there (minus a skill here or there) in about half an hour. It took a while before I could practice much without thinking I was going to crash into someone, but it got easier every time.

Also, don't make the same mistake I made: for my first 3 or 4 freestyle sessions, I kept feeling like people were looking at me a lot when I was practicing jumps on the circle, but I wasn't sure and didn't want to look too much and end up staring at them instead. They were not looking at me. I was practicing right under the clock. :laugh:
 

cl2

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
My rink has different kinds of sessions, some restricted to high or low level, and some with no restrictions at all, allowing dance and pairs on the same ice with No Test and Senior skaters. (On these sessions, I've had a pairs team zip by past me two feet close, one skater on either side of me. I freaked out, they were unfazed.)

I second the advice by an earlier poster to observe the flow of jumps, dance patterns and moves patterns to know how to predict where other skaters are going.

Another piece of advice I would add is, besides looking out for other skaters yourself, make it easy for other skaters to look out for you. As much as you need to predict where they are going, they also need to predict where you are going. A common behaviour I see from skaters who had only skated on public ice before and newly migrated to freestyle ice, is that they will just stand around or skate randomly with no purpose in mid ice when not actually practicing a jump/dance/move, or they will hog an area of the ice preventing anyone else from using or passing through that space.

Skating randomly is dangerous because other skaters won't be able to predict where you're going in order to avoid collision. Instead, try to skate as predictably as possible. For example, if you're practicing a circular pattern move, place your pattern where skaters typically expect circular patterns to take place (e.g. on hockey circles), and make it so obvious
that other skaters can read what your trajectory and intentions are. Avoid randomly stopping, suddenly changing course, skating unusual patterns in unusual locations, bolting from standstill, etc., because these actions make you unpredictable.

Also, while standing around or hogging ice probably isn't unpredictable per se, you could well piss off other skaters who need to pass through that space.

You don't have to be high level to know how to predict and be predictable. These are skills that one needs to learn in order to co-exist harmoniously on the same piece of ice with other skaters. Moreover, with good predictive skills, and as you progress with skating skills, you start to be able to adjust your patterns based on predicting other skaters' trajectories. And when all skaters are able to adjust their patterns to one another, even crowded sessions can be productive for everyone!
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
Now I'm even more nervous. I'm Basic 3. I can't even do crossovers yet, for goodness' sake. Standing around or monopolizing a single bit of ice is pretty much what I would need to do to practice, unless I'm stroking or doing slaloms.

Going to email the director tonight and see what she says.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Depends on if it's low freestyle or high freestyle which are two totally different sessions. Some rinks I've trained with even had separate scheduled sessions for just ice dancers.
 

cl2

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Now I'm even more nervous. I'm Basic 3. I can't even do crossovers yet, for goodness' sake. Standing around or monopolizing a single bit of ice is pretty much what I would need to do to practice, unless I'm stroking or doing slaloms.

Going to email the director tonight and see what she says.

Sorry, I don't mean to make you nervous about it! It's fully expected that if you're practicing something on a circle, you'll obviously be on that circle for the duration that you're practicing it. But even so, skaters can still move through your circle while you go round and round, so that's not exactly monopolizing that area. But if you're not actively practicing anything, go to the boards and stand by the boards, not at highly trafficked parts of the ice. Also, you can switch circles from one end of the rink to the other, particularly don't try to hang out in the lutz corners for the entire session. :biggrin:

You coach should also be a prime source of information on rink etiquette. (Though, some coaches just aren't, unfortunately.)

Don't be nervous, it'll get more natural once you've done it a few times.
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
Ask the skating director.

I love it when we have these discussions because haha my club doesn't have a skating director and none of the rinks I skate at do either :scratch2: I realize I'm probably in a really weird location.
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
Now I'm even more nervous. I'm Basic 3. I can't even do crossovers yet, for goodness' sake. Standing around or monopolizing a single bit of ice is pretty much what I would need to do to practice, unless I'm stroking or doing slaloms.

Going to email the director tonight and see what she says.

At your level I wouldn't spend the money for freestyle sessions. Once you are working on jumps, even waltz, and are doing entries into spins other than a pivot, you might consider some freestyles. But frankly, it seems like a waste of your money when you can just go to a public session and monopolize the center or an end.
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
Considering I only tend to skate for 60-90 minutes at a time now, while I get into shape, it’s really not too much more expensive to do freestyle sessions ($9.50 vs $13). I’m a DINK, I can afford it. And this is only coming up because hockey starts again soon and the only public skate will be Friday Saturday and Sunday. Fri and sat are madhouses, I need more time to practice.
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
I love it when we have these discussions because haha my club doesn't have a skating director and none of the rinks I skate at do either :scratch2: I realize I'm probably in a really weird location.
Even if you don't have an official "skating director", don't you have a "general manager", "manager", "superintendent", or someone else who sets the rules?
 

tstop4me

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
At your level I wouldn't spend the money for freestyle sessions. Once you are working on jumps, even waltz, and are doing entries into spins other than a pivot, you might consider some freestyles. But frankly, it seems like a waste of your money when you can just go to a public session and monopolize the center or an end.
<<Emphasis added>> At rinks in my area, during weekend public sessions, you're contending with mucho other skaters trying to do the same ... as well as dealing with a zillion skaters cutting through those areas.
 

Nimyue

On the Ice
Joined
May 15, 2018
Even if you don't have an official "skating director", don't you have a "general manager", "manager", "superintendent", or someone else who sets the rules?

Nope. We don't buy any ice; we skate at four different rinks and use their open freeskate. We have to rely on them for rules, and really there aren't any. We've had kids in hockey skates not in a lesson, which is super annoying, but basically anyone who pays gets let on. There is no one from the rinks monitoring ice either. They don't do it at publics even. Coaches who are there generally try to keep things in line and club members have to follow basic freestyle flow and right of way, but anyone outside of our club who skates when we do is not under our purview.
 
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