Managing The Clock

Managing The Clock

Update: 2019-06-24
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Become a PatronWhen you're moving with the current, you can afford to relax. When the current is flowing opposite of the direction you want to go, you may have to paddle like crazy. A mental image of yourself in a canoe on a powerful river is useful for understanding how time can affect the outcome of a match - or even of a practice. Learning how to manage the clock is one of those things we learn from youth sports, and it's one of those things that really matters. Let's talk about it. The Many Clocks in SoccerI'm betting that you thought that I would be talking about managing the clock during game time. Of course, I'm going to talk about that in a minute or two, but I wouldn't be giving you the full picture without first showing you a few more of the clocks relevant to a youth soccer career or explaining how good clock management translates into real life. After all- we're not just about winning youth soccer games here are we?The first clock is the Development Clock. As a youth soccer expert, you know that the clock in the United States starts at age 3 and runs until age 18. Every season, different things are relevant to kids as a result of their physical, mental, and emotional maturity. I've spoken about this in many previous shows that you can find on this site, so I'll move on to the next clock. The second clock is the Registration Clock. It may not seem like it matters when you register, but as  Club President who's served as Director for programs, Registrar, and Treasurer, it does. Late registrations are a nightmare for clubs and they curb a club's ability to be creative about programmings. The sooner your club knows how many players of what ages they will have, the sooner they can start the search for qualified coaches, reserve the fields, make contracts with referees and order equipment - to name a few things. We all do our best to guess what we're going to be working with, but I can say with confidence that late registrations have definitely affected the quality of programming and additional support that players could have had, but didn't because the clock ran out of time. The third clock, I will call the Fuel Clock. By fuel, I have to combine food and water. Whether an athlete is leading up to a practice or a game, timing fuel and hydration is important. I've often talked about the raisin-in-a-shot-glass effect. Drop a raisin in a 5 gallon drum of water and pull it right back out again, and all you have is a wet raisin. Drop that same raisin in a shot glass of water and let it soak overnight, and it'll plump back up like a grape. The body's cells work in a similar way. Hydration needs to start slowly the day before a match or a practice. Taking in water slowly over time has a much more positive effect than slamming 32 ounces before running out onto the pitch. The slow method will properly hydrate our body's cells and give us plenty of temperature regulation and energy. The slam method will just slosh around in our stomachs, give us a tummy ache, and get dumped right back out again through our kidneys. Food timing is important too. Heavy proteins are great maybe after a match to help with recovery. But before a match, fast acting carbs are a better fit. Stop eating two hours before a match or a practice to ensure the intestines can finish their work and the blood your muscles need is available. The fourth clock I'll call the Recovery Clock. This is one of the most overlooked and least talked about clocks in youth sports, but it's super important. Practice and games cause fatigue and break down muscle and connective tissue. Rest gives the body a chance to rebuild - hopefully to an even strong state than before the event. Professional teams going on the road will often try to pick up some road matches before the big event. Coaches want players to get accustomed to the rigors of games stacke...
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Managing The Clock

Managing The Clock

David Dejewski