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Author Topic: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?  (Read 1628 times)

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Offline VAsk8r

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what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« on: February 26, 2012, 03:08:12 PM »
We don't have many figure skaters at our rink, so to justify the rink giving us freestyle time, they're now letting Basic 4 or Alpha skaters on. The rule used to be you had to be at least Delta or in a lesson.

I'm OK with this, because I'd rather let them on than have the rink cut our freestyle time. Plus, the less-skilled skaters tend to attend the less crowded sessions that only have a few skaters on them. And I'm in the habit of always looking over my shoulder. But some higher-level skaters say it's dangerous, and one mom was telling me that it's actually against USFS rules (we're a USFS club) and if there's an accident our USFS insurance won't cover it. (I had no idea we had insurance, and I'm guessing any insurance that comes with a $60/year membership doesn't cover much anyway.)

One of the arguments against the lower-level skaters is they tend to be 5 years old and hard to see without looking down, but you'd have this issue even if it was a 5-year-old doing axels. I do wish the coaches would remind the kids they need to be aware of other skaters and they have to actually be skating, not playing or talking.

What does your rink do?

Offline Kim to the Max

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 03:12:40 PM »
Our rink doesn't have any level restrictions unless it is a designated low or high session. Otherwise, our skate school (learn to skate) kids can buy on to our club/freestyle ice 3 times before they need to purchase a membership to our club. Part of that is because of insurance (the basic skills ice is different from our club ice) and part of that is a hook to get kids to join the club.

Offline Harleyboy

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 04:10:02 PM »
No restrictions at our rink.

Heck, they even let me on the ice!

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 04:20:58 PM »
No restrictions, but the skate rental is not open during freeskate.

Offline hopskipjump

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 05:32:09 PM »
No skate rental available here either during freestyles.  Since cost almost double for a freestyle, any low level skaters are usually with their coach for lessons...not often though since they are probably in classes and have free public session and will have their lesson there as a first choice.

Offline jjane45

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 06:12:28 PM »
Pre FS: anyone
Open FS: fs1
High fs: fs6

Championship practice ice: anyone. this is the late morning ice home schooled skaters and adults attend, could be really wild with high level kids and lts adults.

Offline VAsk8r

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 06:49:31 PM »
No skate rental available here either during freestyles.
We have rental available during FS. The rink doesn't charge extra for use of rental skates, so it's just a matter of an employee getting them out. But most of these skaters are competing and taking private lessons, so they have their own skates.

I'm glad to hear we're not the only ones without too many restrictions.

Online taka

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 07:00:49 PM »
For patch (what practice ice is called in my bit of the UK) at my rink we have to have passed at least Skate UK Passport Gold level. For free this means people are doing at least beginner 3 jumps, salchows, toeloops, 1 foot spins and a simple program. For dance it means they have learnt assorted dance steps (F & B (progressive) runs, closed chasses, slip chasses, outside mohawks etc), various snippets of steps from a couple of dances and can do something resembling a prelim foxtrot. Passport is essentially a stepping stone to national NISA level tests where these things will be tested again but to a much higher standard. It means people on patch have the ability to move fast enough to get out of the way, particularly of fast high level skaters. It works reasonably well. :)

Occasionally the head coach will allow lower level skaters on but it is rare. We have 2 at the mo - sisters 6 and 8. The wee one is maybe grade 6/7 learning 2 foot slaloms and backwards crossovers, the eldest just starting 3 jumps and 1 foot spins! Their coach spent about 6 months training them to pay attention, and have enough awareness of others to be safe on patch. She is with them the entire time and they have been trained to go to straight to the barrier whenever anyone plays music and to stay out the way of everyones field moves and dances (which they call wiggly patterns! :laugh:) They are very cute! ;D

Offline karne

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 10:42:24 PM »
Any level. We have three freestyle sessions per day, but only high-levels go to the morning one (probably because the parents of those still in Aussie Skate aren't keen on the idea of going to the rink at 6:30am!). There's no hard-and-fast rules about MINIMUM levels, but there is a maximum level - no-one over Primary level on the afternoon freestyle. It's not very strictly enforced though. The idea is that more low-level skaters come to the afternoon freestyle, so they want to keep it to Primary as a maximum (because that's axel and some doubles, the first level you go to Nationals).

It's "understood" that the evening session is primarily for the higher-level skaters, but as long as you obey freestyle ettiquete and don't get in anyone's way they don't mind the lower-level skaters. (The Senior girl even let me go before her in the program queue once! and I'm all...er, you've got Nationals to prepare for...I don't!)
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Offline Orianna2000

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 09:47:53 AM »
According to our rink's website, Freestyle is for Basic 6 and above. But when I got aggravated with crowded public sessions, I went to the assistant director and asked if there were private skating times available. I had no idea how much it cost to rent the entire sheet of ice for an hour, but I was thinking of something like that, truly private, just me and my husband practicing our Adult 1 skills. Well, she didn't understand what I was asking (and a good thing, too, since I now know that to get the ice truly to yourself costs $200-$300!) so she told me, "Freestyle." She knows what level I'm at, but she told me to come to Freestyle, and gave me the days and times. So either the website is wrong, or she's making an exception for me, I don't know which.

We do have skaters practicing their programs, but they don't wear a belt or armband or anything to identify themselves. The only way I can tell is to look around when the music begins and see who's standing in a pose. But then, I try and stay out of everyone's way as best I can. I tend to grab one of the hockey circles and use it to practice half-swizzle pumps, edges, and turns but I keep half an eye open and if I see anyone skating my direction, I quit what I'm doing and move toward the boards, to get out of their way. I don't stay doing the same thing for very long, either. I tend to take off-ice breaks every 5-10 minutes or so, and I'll switch from using the circle to practicing one-foot glides around the perimeter of the rink, or snowplow stops, or stroking.

We haven't asked whether hockey players are allowed at our Freestyle, but I do wish they were--provided they only practice basic skills and don't carry sticks or pucks. My husband is in Hockey 3 and he needs to be able to practice his backwards skating, hockey stops, and various drills that his teacher taught him. It would be great if we could attend Freestyle together and both encourage each other on the ice. But I know that other rinks don't allow hockey players on Freestyle, so I doubt he'll be allowed.

Offline hopskipjump

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 01:03:55 PM »
No hockey on our freestyles!  That would be a disaster to have them speeding around skaters getting ready to jump.   ;D

They have their own practice times.

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 01:31:13 PM »
We have had hockey players receive lessons on freestyle- no sticks or pucks.

And one Novice skater's dad does laps in his hockey skates.  When it is busy one of the coach's is sometimes passive aggressive nasty to him, but usually it is okay.  He is very good about staying out of skater's way- but it does prematurely eat up the ice.



Offline SK8N

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 02:43:21 PM »
Officially, being in any LTS FS level or higher is required to attend the freestyle sessions.  However, there are often lower level skaters that come for lessons.  These lower level skaters are only on the ice for the 1 FS session and are with a coach for most of it.  The only public sessions available at our rink that are accessible by school age children or working adults are 2 hours each on Saturday & Sunday.  That doesn't leave much time for private lessons, so many lessons end up being given on freestyle sessions.

Offline tazsk8s

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 03:54:41 PM »
How the freestyles are designated:  "Open" = FS 1 and above and comprises most of our sessions.  "Beginner" = Tot through Pre-Pre and there are a couple of them a week.

How they actually work:  "Open" = anything goes.  Usually a couple of kids on each session that are in the early to middle basic levels.  Once in awhile, a tot.  In fairness, they are usually working with a coach at the time and not in the way any more than some of the big kids.  Most of the coaches make a point to keep an eye out for other skaters, especially those doing programs that a basic skills kid isn't necessarily going to be able to avoid. 

The "beginner" ice ends before I can get there from work, so I never see what goes on on those sessions or how heavily utilized they even are.  They are at kind of a difficult time, where only a kid with a stay at home parent or a nanny could possibly get them there after school.

In the summer when we have the luxury of having both sheets of ice all day and the kids spend nearly fully days there, they usually designate a couple of sessions a day as "high", usually pre-juv or juv and up.

Offline Rachelsk8s

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 05:48:07 PM »
It depends upon which rink that I skate at, but the one that I usually skate at the most has the only rule of being a USFS member; Basic Skills does not count, oh and no hockey but that's a given.  Its truly a mix of low through high level skaters, but its always the same skaters so we get a feel for the flow of traffic :)  Another rink I sometimes skate at has designated low and high sessions, although these aren't offered everyday, only a few times a week.  It really depends upon the club; for example The Skating Club of Boston, has specific restrictions for each session, I love that rink, it has the best ice!!  But I sadly can only make it into town during the summer:(

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 09:23:00 PM »
USFSA Freestyle 1. All local rinks I've skated at.

When I show up at another rink where I'm not known, I guess the coaches eyeball me for a few minutes until they figure out I know what I"m doing. No one's ever challenged me for being on the ice.

Maybe I should carry my Basic 8 pass sheet around!  ;D
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Offline sarahspins

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 10:30:03 PM »
She knows what level I'm at, but she told me to come to Freestyle, and gave me the days and times. So either the website is wrong, or she's making an exception for me, I don't know which.

I'm going to presume this is because you're an adult, and you understand common sense and can read rules :)  You're not likely to pose a risk to yourself or others the same way a child at your level would.


Offline PinkLaces

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2012, 10:52:16 PM »
We have all open freestyle sessions.  The littles - below Delta - usually have a lesson on that session and not a practice.  They can be a bit dangerous when not in a lesson (not looking etc). 

The rink tried to do high sessions, but they could never make any money on them.

Offline rinkrat

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 03:49:33 PM »
With a coach anyone can go.

Without a coach it's Gamma and Basic 6 and up, but you have to be 6.

We have 3 adult ones a week, and you can be any level, but you have to be 16.

It's hard because the only public sessions are at 11 AM or on the weekend. I'm lucky because I'm homeschooled, but a lot of my adult skater friends can't go because they have to work.

Also there are no hockey skates allowed technically, but the one freestyle session during the day allows them.

That's at an ISI rink.

At the USFS rink I go to they have the same rules, but they have some where you can only be on the ice with a coach. It makes lessons easier.

Offline FigureSpins

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 03:50:32 PM »
All of our freestyles are open.  They tried separate Low/High freestyle, Moves and Ice Dance sessions, but they didn't attract enough skaters to make the special sessions as profitable, so everything reverted to open freestyle. 

Technically, the skaters have to be Basic 4 or above, but if they're in a lesson, beginners are allowed.  Since most beginner lessons are half as long as the session, they're usually left to toddle around for the remainder of the freestyle, unescorted. 

Hockey players can skate or take lessons on freestyles, but pucks and sticks aren't allowed.


I do think that high/low freestyles are important to encourage productive practice for each demographic.  Unfortunately, short-term profit will always override long-term: lower-level skaters are often intimidated by being on the same ice as the higher-level skaters.  By having their own time slot, they develop self-confidence, practice more often, and develop (hopefully) into the higher-level skaters.  The same thing is true for Power Skating classes - it's scary for kids to be there for the first time.  One bad experience and it takes a lot of coaxing to get them back out there, even if they need the workout.
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Offline sk8tegirl06

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2012, 07:22:06 PM »
lower-level skaters are often intimidated by being on the same ice as the higher-level skaters.  By having their own time slot, they develop self-confidence, practice more often, and develop (hopefully) into the higher-level skaters.

LOL, had reply to this as at my last lesson coach and I messed up the session times, so my lesson overlapped two sessions, the first one being a general/adult session, the second one being a competitive high session, I'm talking senior men getting ready for Worlds...they let me and another adult stay on because we were in lessons. Me with my rinky dinky little loops and flip attempts surrounded by triple lutzes and axels... :o

I definitely agree that having designated levels helps the lower levels not be as intimidated as the upper levels. Of the five different rinks I've skated at, two split sessions by level/age (low, medium, high, dance, pairs, adult, and possibly a moves only session?), two are open sessions all the time, and one has splits by level/age occasionally but most sessions are open (depends on how much ice they get after hockey if they can do it or not).

Though apparently being on a high level pushed me to go faster and stronger on everything, coach said she would put me highs more often, meanwhile inside I'm hyperventilating just a wee bit...  :o

Offline VAsk8r

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 08:30:50 PM »
Forgot to mention we also have hockey lessons during our freestyles, no puck. There's usually only one going on, so they're not too bad.

We also have freestyles where figure skaters got 2/3 of the ice and a kiddie hockey class gets 1/3. For awhile, they used cones to divide the ice, so every now and again a puck would go flying onto our side of the rink and one of the coaches or higher level skaters would kick it back over to their side. Definitely keeps you alert! Recently, they've been using a solid barrier so that doesn't happen.

Offline SK8N

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #22 on: February 29, 2012, 11:14:15 AM »
By having their own time slot, they develop self-confidence, practice more often, and develop (hopefully) into the higher-level skaters.
And practice more during that session.  At my rink were we don't have any separartion, many of the low level skaters (including low level freestylers) often spend too much time at the boards just watching the higher freestylers.

Offline techskater

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #23 on: February 29, 2012, 07:41:11 PM »
Not at my rink!  I have to dodge the "Tiger Cubs" at the end of the session I am on since their coach hasn't taught them etiquette or how to adjust their pattern based on where others are.  I almost took out Tiger Cub #1 during a program run through...

Offline sk8lady

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Re: what's the lowest level allowed on your freestyle sessions?
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2012, 07:48:32 AM »
Our rink has "figure skating"--anyone wearing figure skates. Since it's during school hours it's usually sparse enough that we can watch out for each other. Once in a while someone figures out that there are fewer people on the figure skating ice than the public skating ice and puts their tiny, unable to skate child on the ice with a walker and then I go over and explain to the parent that 1. Walkers are not allowed on figure skating ice, too dangerous and 2. their child needs to be able to skate well enough to get out of the way if someone is coming at them backwards at a hundred miles an hour, and old enough to reason out that they will get their eye poked out if they skate directly into someone doing a camel spin.