WATCH OUT for Ice Etiquette

“WATCH OUT! MOOOOOOOOVE Get out of my way!” 

The screams and grunts to move and get of out of the way happen on a daily basis at the rink.  Some skaters think they own the ice and others are too scared to move away from the boards they end up wasting a lot of valuable ice time. Everyone has just as much right to be out on the ice, but having ice ettiquette makes it more enjoyable and respectful for everyone on the ice.  Unfortunately, many skaters don’t know the unwritten (and some actual written rules for the club) and some skaters don’t think that it applies to them.  Here is a list of some ice etiquette that all skaters should be aware of:

1. Know the patterns of the ice! For the majority and in most clubs, spins are done in the middle of the rink and jumps are done on the end.  In recent years many clubs have switched to open freeskate sessions combining moves, dance, and freestyle into the same session.  This makes it extremely hard for Junior and Senior diagonal patterns to complete an entire pattern.  Learn to watch the skaters patterns who share the ice.  If you see them setting up for a pattern in the corner and are starting to come down the middle, don’t step into a spin right in the middle. Be respectful and watch for other people because if you were the one doing the pattern you would want the same respect as well.  Spins and jumps are much easier and can be moved compared to a set MIF or dance pattern.

2. Look both ways before crossing the road.  When skaters come back to get a drink of water, blow their nose, or talk to their coach, they need to remember to look both ways before skating back out into the rink.  Its very easy to just swizzle or take a slight step away before looking around, but there are many dance patterns that come very close to the wall that skaters can step into.  It is also good to assess the ice traffic before going out into the ice to avoid taking five laps before finding a place to jump.  Watch the other skaters patterns and their direction to find the right timing of when and where to go.

3. Wear the right clothing! Wearing hoods or giant hats can block the periphial view.  All skaters should be looking where they are going and also where they just came from every now and then to make sure there isn’t someone trying to do a pattern that is coming right towards them.  Most higher level skaters know this rule, but the beginner skaters need to be aware of this as well.

4.  Be respectful! Everyone has just as much to be on ice as the next person.  Everyone paid the same amount for the session, so just because some skaters are at a higher level does not give them the right to be an ice princess and “own” the ice.  Higher level skaters need to set an example and be a role model.  If the higher skaters aren’t in a pattern, it is probably a lot easier for them to move than for the little ones.  In most rinks, higher level skaters take the outside path, and the beginner or lower level skaters take the inside path. Even knowing this can help immensly because many times the skater will start going to the outside and the lower level skaters panic and head for the boards and thats when the crash occors.  The biggest thing to remember is to be aware and watch for everyone no matter what level the other skaters and you are at.

This including all of the other rules need to be reinforced by the coaches.  At different clubs I work at, there have been coaches known to have students who don’t watch out for other skater.  Coincidence? I think not! How are the skaters supposed to know or to learn if it is not drilled into them and reinforced on a daily session?  Learn the rules, remember them, and practice them day in and day out.  It will make for a much better atmosphere in the rink if everyone is being respectful and watching out.

There is a handful that throw a fit if some gets in their way.  There is almost always at least one of these skaters at every club.  Its that skater who rolls their eyes, stomps, grunts, lets out the big sighs of disgust, throws their arms up, etc.  The best is when they do this because they think someone got in their way, but in reality they had more than enough room.  I still haven’t figured out why skaters  react in such big ways to something that in most cases is an accident.  Maybe its for attention or maybe its because they are short tempered but either way it is inexcusable.

The ice can get very crowded, but if everyone stays aware, alert, and is respectful it can avoid many collisions and overall it makes the session much more enjoyable.

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