First Rule Of All: Don't hang around in one place. This is called camping out, or hogging the circle. Yeah, this means you, you hockey adult learner practicing your back and forward crossovers on a hockey circle for 30 minutes.
Let me explain, just because your coach teaches you on a hockey circle there's no reason that you have to spend your entire practice time on one. Try alternating back and forward crossovers down the rink. That get's you moving. I can assure you, that once you pass the pre-Bronze adult test you will never skate crossovers in a circle again. Get your butt moving. That's how you'll learn to skate.
Second Rule of All: Don't hog a spot on the boards. Need some support on the boards for a new element? Sweetie, you don't own the boards. Move after you've done a few. And when you move check traffic by looking both ways!
Third Rule of All: Yes, even as a beginner you can skate in the center. But the law of survival demands you keep your eyes open when you do this. There will be people jumping into the center and wanting to spin there. Be respectful of the other skaters--go to the center to work, not to chat. Don't hog the line, the circle or the center. Leave that up to the teenagers. If you're a regular, or you look like you have power/skills/or are a serious skater, they'll generally give you room (but when you get to that point, you won't need this post. Just relax, that day will come when the teenagers will give you space.)
Fourth Rule of All: Don't swear in an ice rink. You can't say the D word, or the F word, or the S word around kids. It doesn't matter that the kid's parents are slack jawed yokels that can't string a sentence together without using the F word as a non-specific intensifier, you're not supposed to swear.
Corollary: If the F word slips out after a crash, no one will notice because the music is so loud. Your coach will look shocked though.Fifth Rule of All: Don't skate drunk. Yep, I've seen it. One woman was doing drunk baby toe loops during a holiday skate, then she came over and clutched at Dance Coach while babbling about not being drunk. "Old girlfriend?" I asked drily after she skated away. He shuddered, "Never saw her before."
Corrollary: If you say "I'm not drunk," you are. And the good looking coach is not your old boy friend.Sixth Rule of All: Enjoy your skate. It's easy to become obsessed or frustrated with some element, or lack of progress. Take some time off and do stuff you like. If you're reading this blog, you're not going to the Olympics, you're skating for fun. Have some.
Seventh Rule of All: Even if all you can do is skate and stop, you're in the top 50% of all the skaters on public. It's your job to look out for them. Be aware of your surroundings. Don't skate backwards unless you can look behind you, or have a spotter. When entering traffic, look both ways. Don't stare at the ice while you're skating, look ahead at the other skaters, so you can avoid them. It's a lot like driving. Drive Defensively. Skate Defensively.
Eighth Rule of All: Well, this isn't so much a rule, as a suggestion. If you're a regular at a rink, learn the rink guard's and desk staff's names. Be nice to them.
Public skate is for the public. Just about the only enforced rule is to follow the direction of traffic. For all the rest you're on your own!
Skate guards at my rink don't even enforce the direction of traffic rule! It is like the wild, wild West on busy public skates at my rink--little kids playing tag, people going the opposite direction, people going cross-ice, people texting while attempting to stay on their feet, people throwing snowballs, and sometimes, even people kicking a hockey puck back and forth. Heck, I 've even seen higher-level skaters on busy public sessions practicing double jumps and spins while the skate guard remains oblivious. The most the skate guards do is ask someone if they are okay when they fall. On sessions that are not busy, there is no skate guard-- and barely any lighting, either. It's management's way of " keeping costs down."ReplyDelete
It's like that at night publics around here, where the teens rule. During day publics the rinks have so many little kids on the ice, that they actually try to maintain some order. At least they maintain direction of travel.Delete
Wow! I didn't know Anonymous skated at my rink too! Heh, not to mention the kids on the hockey skates jumping over each other and the those annoying plastic bumper cars, I mean "walkers". As an added tip to point seven, I try to avoid collisions with skaters in front of me by watching their head. It's a good hint to the direction they intend to travel when I'm not sure.Delete
I keep telling myself if it wasn't for all the little kids with EZ-skaters plus the clueless teens, the rest of us wouldn't be able to afford ice time at all--I just look at them as an interesting challenge to skate around. If you skate with any confidence at all they'll stay out of your way in the same pecking-order manner that you stay out from under skaters who are better than you. Having said that, I also try to rig my work schedule to get in one public per week during the middle of the day on a work day. Most kids are in school and most ice-tourist adults are at work. It's like getting Free Style ice time at a huge discount. In fact I'm doing that this afternoon--Woo Hoo!ReplyDelete
*shudder* You could NOT pay me to skate on public ice. ick. Oh, unless a friend of mine wants me to take her skating. Then I'm nice and skate round and round with her. That doesn't happen often.ReplyDelete
But seriously, I shudder at public ice. The quality of the ice surface is usually shot. I only skate on freestyles.
Beginner skaters and those like me who can seldom get to freestyle envy you.Delete
But at my home rink the public ice is really nice. The rink upped its ice game, and I make sure to compliment the ice guy.
The morning (9 to 11 am) and early afternoon (noon to 2 pm) Public sessions at my rink are less crowded than most Free Style sessions and at $4.50 for 2 hours vs $15.00 for 45 minutes are also vastly cheaper. The last time I got to skate an early afternoon session there were a total of six skaters, all at various Free style levels, ranging from low (me) to mid-range. Granted, if you can only get to weekend Publics, then, yeah, things are "busy" and will only get busier as more and more ice-tourists come to the conclusion that it's "skating season". I skate a Sunday afternoon Public just to keep my chops up...ReplyDelete
I've done dance lessons on Christmas publics....shudder....Delete
I almost hesitate to type it for fear it will go away but the last 2 months our rink has had public session from 12-2 and 2-4 on weekdays. Those are empty-I often skate alone or with just 1-2 other skaters. There is freestyle ice at 6 a.m. so they've usually run the zamboni between that skate and the public skate so the ice is nice and much cheaper.ReplyDelete
Envy. Envy. Envy,Delete
And sure enough-I typed this and went to go skate and there was a couple skating then a family as well. I'll take it! It was a funny day though-first the woman of the couple wanted me to show her how to do a spin. My face must have looked funny because she said "Is it hard?" I said the one foot was harder and she said she just wanted two foot so I showed her, she tried then she panicked. A little later she says, "I admire you". Don't admire me-take lessons and work at it each week and then you can also spin!! Later on she asked the rink guard to play something on her Iphone-he agreed, Happy Birthday started and a bunch of people were at the rink entrance with balloons and cake. Interesting indeed.Delete
Excellent list of rules. I suggest two additions:ReplyDelete
1) Follow all rules posted at the rink. (One rink local to me has a rule that no more than two persons may hold hands together - very good courtesy rule for crowded sessions.)
2) Don't text or play around with the your phone on the ice - if you need to be looking at a screen, get off the ice and then do it. When on the ice, look at where you are going, not at a screen.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I gotta say that I adore my quiet noontime (11:30 - 12:50) public sessions at a nearby rink. I think we have been averaging a max of about 7 people on the ice at any given time, and I have had the ice entirely to myself for the final 10 minutes the last two times. Luxury!
Oooh, good points. I've seen both violated (including the non-US family of FIVE(!) who skated holding hands against the traffic.)Delete
Yeah, I hate people who can't stop looking at the phone while they're skating...even backwards.
We have a whole bunch of nice rules at our rink, such as no electronics (ie. no cellphone, no camera) on the ice, skate CCW direction, no snowball fights etc. They even announce this over the speaker as they announce the "session starts". But there is no-one to reinforce any of these rules. The rink guards are useless! The ONLY time I've seen them do anything is to check on people who've fallen badly. I even asked a guard once to disband a huge group of people just standing in the middle of everyone's way taking photos, he did go over to talk to them, they disbanded, but two minutes later they were back at their thing, and he didn't make another effort.ReplyDelete
I've honestly just given up on people behaving on publics. I just keep myself out of their way to protect myself and so I don't kill them after a jump.
Oh, I share your pain about the big groups. There was one at my rink of 15, just standing in a group at the boards. They weren't strung out along the boards, they were standing in a circle blocking the flow of traffic. After the 3 little kid fell trying to get around them, I complained to the guard. His answer, "They're German."Delete
I'm a skate guard for Saturday night publics....oh the horror. -.- Mind you, I'm a 21 yr old female, 5' tall and I look at maximum, 16, if even. Im a pretty lax person and Im nice, but when I tell you NOT to do something and you dont listen, there's going to be a problem.ReplyDelete
i get the same 5-10 teen boys making mad racing dashes across the dead center of the rink and they get mad when i stand in the middle(right in their path plan) and blow my nice, shiny, LOUD whistle at them. They stopped and started racing in the direction of traffic which I didnt mind too much. They were hockey skaters and they did have good control even though they were reckless. It wasn't crowded so it wasnt a big deal.
They also like to throw snowballs, and I have kicked them off for that after giving them a warning.
I've removed hockey pucks and balls. I also have to prevent them from climbing over the boards. Smh.
I've had one fight break out between them over a misinterpreted shove and a kid went down hard, but he was okay.
There are always teens who SWT....skate while texting. There's also the groups of 8 teens who hold impromptu photo sessions either by the boards or near the middle. Picture this: 3 about age 15-17 yr old girls in the center. One girl faces camera. Other two on each side of her facing away. They're bent over, butts in the air with the girl in the middle doing some sort of pose. WTH. I didnt even bother. When did butts become socially acceptable forms of teenage photography?!
Keep up the good work! I've seen a teenage girl rink guard of about your height break up an actual fight on the ice between two grown me who had come to blows. I was amazed.Delete
Man--I gotta start getting out more! Y'alls rinks sound MUCH livelier than mine! The Hockey Boyz are still messin' around outdoors and the teeny-boppers are fewer and much better behaved 'round here. I suspect that will change when the girlz come in from the cold--the boyz won't be far behind.ReplyDelete
Now, one Public session that I do studiously avoid is the Friday nite skate, complete with DJ. Don't know if our rink has a Disco ball and I don't want to find out!
How I wish skaters would just obey the rules of common courtesy and ASK for what they want! Don't they realize that 99% of the world has no idea that they are "hogging" a circle or doing anything else that is considered rude in the exclusive world of figure skating? I've been skating for only 4 months and have been thinking how rude all the better skaters are when they buzz through "my" circle (obviously trying to tell me something, but not choosing to do it with actual words - don't they teach that in preschool??). This was very helpful, but I think there are still a lot of "rules" I can't figure out. I mean, where on earth does one skate when one is not at freestyle level? You can't skate around the ice, because you get in the way of the freestylers trying to run through their routines, and you can't stay in one place because you're still in their way, and it's completely unclear what part of the ice one is actually allowed to use. And I'm talking about public ice, not freeskate, which I would never dare to enter.ReplyDelete
Well, you've given me an idea for a blog post, "How to practice on Public" But there's no reason to skate on the circle. Take a look at this post. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/2012/11/getting-off-hockey-circle.htmlDelete
You don't say what level you're at or if you have a coach or are in a group class. You should ask your coach (private or group) questions about skating etiquette.
One of the reasons the skaters buzz you is two fold: first they are used to skating close to each other and have high tolerance for moving fast near other people and don't think anything about it, secondly, a small percentage will buzz you. The small percentage is really small.
I love your blog! About hogging though, sometimes I found it easier that someone only takes off at a certain spot, or always goes down the line so I know every 2 minutes or so I need to let them through. If they keep jumping at different spots, it could be hard to manage. Thank you for your advice, they are helpful.ReplyDelete