Well, not in figure skating. There is nothing more terrifying than a public skating session the Sunday after Christmas.
At some rinks, practice ice can be packed to the gills as well--even though you're paying a premium for restricted ice, this can still mean 20 to 30 skaters, plus their coaches, and they don't skate in a nice predictable circle like happens on public.
So how do you skate safe on a crowded session?
Follow the rules!
Don't skate against the flow. Don't cut across the coned section. Don't do knee slides, or crack the whip. Don't shoot pucks, or small children. Don't wear ear buds, or talk on the cell phone. In other words, use common sense.
This one's a little more complicated, but starts the same--follow the rules. Which means know the rules. Ask a coach what the rules are. This can also have the affect of making the coach remind herself what the rules are, since coaches are often the worst offenders (and frankly a coach that tells you, don't worry about it we make our own rules--giant waving red flag.) Pattern, right-of-way, and priority will vary somewhat from rink to rink, but here are some common sense rules to follow.
Right of way
In general, the person whose music is playing has the right of way. At a well-run session, this person will be wearing a bright pinney or belt. At a stupidly run session, you are somehow just supposed to know who is skating to their own music. Following that, a person in a lesson has the right of way over someone there for practice. The person doing the jump or spin in the proper place has the right of way over someone doing a non-music runthrough of their program (i.e. if your program has a jump or spiral choreographed in the center where everyone is spinning, you have to yield to the spin).
Don't stand still
The worst thing you can do on crowded ice--public or practice-- is stop and stand in the middle of the ice. If you have to stop, get over to the boards. Do not give me the excuse that you're "trying to see where the skater is going to go." Straight into you is where, because no one expects immovable objects in the middle of the rink.
Lefty jumpers get the right of way. Do not cut off their jump patterns.
The lutz corners are upstage right and downstage left. Never give a lesson, or practice small patterns in these corners, you will drive the people working on lutz, and their coaches, into a murderous rage. (Left jumpers use the other corners; if there are a lot of left jumpers on a session you also cannot use these corners, but with just a couple lefties on a session, just be aware and get out of the way--lutz setups telegraph a mile away.)
Round and round and round and....
Don't stay in one little circle practicing the same move over and over and over. If you have to practice some small pattern, move it around the rink. Better yet, start learning how to "use the ice," i.e. use at least half the ice on all jump set ups, do turns within moves patterns, etc. Adult skaters are particularly guilty of this one.
Lower level or upper level skaters?
Lower level skaters get the right of way. Period. I don't give a shit about your triple flip. If there's a skater working on waltz jumps they clearly do not have the tools you have at your disposal to pull a jump and not cause a crash. Do not role your eyes, or complain to the monitor, or your mother, or stamp your little foot. Lower level skaters are a fact of life unless you are in a serious training program. If you're not, then get over yourself and stop frightening the babies.
Friends, and coaching groups
When you're skating with a friend, or if your coach does group lessons on practice sessions, it is very easy to get tunnel vision, and to see only your own group. Don't let the group be an ice hog, pissing everyone else off. Understand that group activities, even when parsed out a skater at a time, have a tendency to command the ice. If 15 skaters are all skating the same set pattern, even if they're only going out one or 2 at a time, they are going to create a vortex that no one else can skate through. Be sensitive to this if you're part of a group.
If you fall, get up, even if you're hurt. Your prone body is the skating equivalent of a pothole--no one is expecting you, and you're hard to see down there.
Stick with it
Practice ice is terrifying the first few times out there. It looks like chaos. But a session has its own sense and pattern, which you will only start to understand when you are out there. Stay with it, and learn to go, as they say, with the flow.