Monday, May 13, 2013

The Perfect Number of People on Freestyle

Saturday I was taking a lesson from Madam Mim and she was doing her usual act of being the sweetest person ever while still being 'tizloy' tough underneath. I can't get away with squat. Somehow she just makes me rise to the challenge of doing stuff that scare me witless.

So as we're working on the swing mohawk transition from forward to backwards crossovers, I notice that no one's jumping into the corners and giving us dirty looks because we're camping out on TWO end circles.  There's a competition somewhere and the only people on the ice are a guy working on gold moves, Madam Mim and me, and a smattering of skaters who weren't ready for the comp.

In fact, I realize, there's the perfect number of people for freestyle on the ice.

1 is scarey. What if you fall and no one sees it and comes to help out?

2-4 is worse. With 2 to 4 there's so few people on the ice that no one looks out for each other and inevitable crashes result. (I was once checking out my tracings when a girl skated backwards into me and whacked me in the face with her hand. Yep, we were the only two people on the ice.)

5 puts one person in each corner and the fifth one is working on some power pattern from silver or gold moves and expects everyone else to move out of the way--because there's plenty of space.

6 means theres at least one skater working on a program--over and over--with no one else  to break up the replays of the program music (although this irritates the coaches too. I've seen a coach tell a girl, "3 times in a row is the limit." I don't know if that's a local rule, or what.)

7  With seven there's one in each corner, one in the center and two working on a program.  Everyone seems to spread out like that, each has a patch (maybe it's instinctive) and the program skaters really really resent the person in the center (who for some reason always seems to be the skater who will.not.move)

But with EIGHT, now there's just enough people to override the instinctive need to camp out, there's enough skaters moving around to keep everyone on their toes, variety in the music, and enough space between the skaters to make it comfortable to do big things.

Eight, the perfect number on freestyle.

And, off topic, what's that little boy doing in the video? Mohawks? It goes so fast I can't make it out!


  1. 2-4 is my girls' and my favorite. Partially because they do like to play their musick a lot and it's nice if there is not a big competition for the music player. Plus, lots of space and so easy to move. They don't crush into people. But with 5 or more, someone is always in someone's way...

  2. Whatchoo talkin' bout? One is the ULTIMATE ideal. I love love love having the ice to myself. I don't have to look behind me when working on backward stuff. 2-4 is pretty ideal, as well. Anything more than that, I get twitchy. I was at a freestyle Sunday with 9, lots of kids. I wouldn't call variety in music listening to 3 different program music, 4 or 5 times on repeat. There's a "rule" about no more than 2x in one freestyle session. Nobody follows that rule or enforces it. I cannot stand when skaters play their music too much.

    I have an adults only freestyle on Wednesdays. It's heaven. There's usually 2-3 of us. It's perfect. Of course, ice to myself is the true perfection. It's quiet. Just me. I don't have to watch out for anyone.

    1. I have never heard any "rule" about playing music no more than twice in one freestyle session... Actually, I think this is a pretty stupid "rule". Freestyle sessions are for practice, and if a skater needs to practice the program more than twice, then they should do so however many times they need.

  3. First, I remember Multiplication Rock and #8 was my favorite. I agree with the number 8, having been on a session with 3 people and somehow we bumped into one another. 1 is just weird and makes you feel like you're on display. People passing by want to know where your triple jumps are and will yell things at you. 8 is just right...

    1. I'm just afraid of lying there on the ice and not being noticed til the zamboni comes out.

  4. Love the video; a skating friend played this song a while back. There's a TMBG version too :-)

    I'd rather have the ice to myself, or just a few. I'm pretty much okay with anything less than 10 though.