Once you're on the ice have an on-ice warm up pattern. This can be something your coach gives you, or your own plan. It can be as simple as stroking around for 2 or 4 laps, or it can be a combination of forward and backward skating and turning patterns. A great warm up pattern is the power moves from the last Moves test you passed (unless you haven't taken a Moves test. In which case, use the Pre-Bronze/ PrePreliminary test as a warm up). Don't worry too much about skating quality on the warm up.
A specific warm period is important for health and safety reasons, and to get your head in the game, as it were. You want to see who is on the ice, and if you're an adult, exactly what creaks and groans you're dealing with today.
Once this is complete, you're on to the actual "practice." So, how do you organize the actual practice?
A lot of coaches insist that their students carry little notebooks around. These contain teaching tips, suggestions on what needs work, and sometimes very specific practice plans. I mostly observe these being used as an excuse to hang around on the boards.
Move through the moves
This is my own method. I do my warm up, and then skate through all the Adult moves starting with Pre-Bronze and finshing with those skills at Adult Silver that I can actually do. For someone like me, who isn't trying to acquire new skills, this is a great way to fill practice time without clock watching, while making sure that you cover a range of skills and keep moving. I don't jump, but you could also use this method with freeskating skills...
Easy to hard
...in other words easy to hard. From simple stroking through Senior power moves. Waltz jump through your highest jump. Scratch spin to combination spin. Et cetera.
Hard to easy
I encourage my students, on the other hand, to start with the hard stuff. For one thing, this gets it out of the way, so you're not spending the whole practice worrying about screwing up the axel again. You screwed it up early on, now you can move on. Also, if you do the hard skills while you're still fresh, you're less likely to do them poorly, not to mention being less susceptible to injury. The other advantage of starting with the hard stuff is that it allows you to finish your practice session on an upnote, with skills that you're good at.
5 laps stroking. 5 crossover circles. 10 of each jump. Etc. This is also a good method for clock watchers, or for people who are bad at organizing their practices, like little kids. This sort of thing is also conducive to the notebook. Make a list, and check it off as you complete each item.
This one is for competitors and adults. Work out a practice that keeps your heart rate in the cardio range for a specified period (generally 20 minutes, and usually defined as 60 to 70% of MHR or maximum heart rate for an adult doing exercise, and 70 to 85% for a competitor). Here's a calculator). This basically means a strong warm up period and then continual movement to keep it there.
If you're a competitor, then you need to work run-throughs of your programs into some, though not necessarily all of your practices. Where in the sesseion the run-throughsgo, and the nature of those run-throughs, depends where you are in the competitive season. I'll talk about run-throughs in another post.
How do you (or your skater) organize your practice time?