Figure Skating Freestyle Session Etiquette

Guidelines for Free Skating Practice Sessions

Figure Skating
Figure Skating. David Madison / The Image Bank Collection / Getty Images

A freestyle session is an ice skating practice session for figure skaters only. Freestyles are different than public skating sessions. Usually they cost much more than public skating sessions and skaters must be able to skate at a freestyle level. This means that freestyle sessions usually don't have beginning ice skaters on them.

There are certain guidelines figure skaters must follow when they skate and practice on freestyle sessions.

This article lists some of those guidelines.

  • At most rinks, figure skaters must pay for a freestyle session before stepping on to the ice.
  • Most arenas limit how many skaters can skate on a freestyle session.
  • Advance sign-up or pre-registration may be required for a skater to reserve a spot on a freestyle session at some ice arenas.
  • No stopping, sitting, or standing on the ice is permitted. If a skater needs to rest, he or she must go as close to the rail as possible or step off the ice.
  • Parents are not allowed to coach students on the ice or from the boards during freestyle sessions; only coaches approved by an arena or club are allowed to teach on freestyle sessions.
  • Freestyle sessions are meant for serious figure skating training, so playing or socializing is not permitted on freestyle sessions. Only a limited amount of talking should take place among the skaters training on freestyle sessions.
  • Skating with electronic music devices and headphones is not permitted on freestyle sessions.
  • Everyone who skates on a freestyle usually has a program to practice that is set to music. Skaters put their music CDs or iPods in "line" and music is played on a rotational basis. Skaters are not allowed to stop in the middle of their program and start again. Usually after music is played once, a skater's music is put to the end of the line. The music will be played again only if time permits.
  • Everyone on the session must watch out for the skater who is skating his or her program since that skater has the right of way.
  • The corners of the rink are where figure skaters practice single, double, and triple Lutz jumps. For safety reasons, it is expected that skaters should not spend a lot of time practicing an element over and over, except for Lutz jumps, in "Lutz Corners." Spins should not be practiced in those corners, except when a skater is doing his or her program.
  • Think of a freestyle session as if it was a busy street with lots of traffic. Be aware of what is going on around you at all times when you practice on freestyles. Don't stand in the middle and talk. Before attempting a jump or spin, make sure the area is clear. Be courteous. Try to stay out of other skaters' way if possible.
  • Proper figure skating clothes must be worn on freestyle sessions.
  • Freestyle sessions are usually 45 to 60 minutes in length. Skaters must exit the ice immediately after a freestyle session ends.