|My precious! Image found here|
So how can you protect it? First of all, your team needs to know how important and expensive each and every hour can be. When I was in college, I decided that skipping classes was out of the question, because I did the math and broke down just how much each class was costing me. There was no way in the world I was going to waste that much money ditching one class! I went to them all! Skaters need to understand that every time they are late, or miss practice, they're throwing their money away! Skater dues pay for practice space, so if you pay monthly dues, wouldn't you want to get your money's worth? I know I do! Money is hard to come by, don't you want to get your best bang for your buck? Don't skip practices unless real life interferes.
Coaches and captains, make sure you're using the rink time to the best of its abilities. Keep practices moving along and engaging. When you have a lot of people standing around waiting for a turn at drills, then you're in danger of the whole group being distracted. If you have people standing around too long, they're not getting what they paid for. If a drill doesn't involve enough people, split the drills up, use half of the track, or run drills that can also be done on the side or involve more people. Another option you have if you don't have a drill you can split up on the track or have the extra room to do another drill on the outside of the track, try limiting the time each group of people do the drill. Standing around for two minutes at a time, with a possibility of several more minutes isn't the best use of track time.
Finally, and this one is going to piss off a lot of people, but I think off skates stuff should remain outside of track time. Just hear me out, I am a giant fan of cross training, but not when there is limited rink time to be had. Do off skates training at a park, or after practice, or at some other time, but please please please do not take up skating time with it. Just my two cents. Do offskates training! Do it! Just don't take up valuable rink time.
Of course, if you have a warehouse, none of this applies and I am totally jealous.