Managing time isn’t just your bench coach’s job, and it’s not just an issue for the end of the game. Over and over again, I see derby skaters make mistakes that could be prevented by taking a quick glance at the jam clock.
The clock is your friend! Look at it!
(This post is geared toward flat track rules. Not everything/much will apply to banked.)
One last hit is not worth a minute in the box
Scenario one: It’s the end of the jam, and everyone’s getting tired. Imagine both jammers have just exited the pack after a scoring pass. There are ten seconds left. What should do you do?
How about nothing?
If the pack is going at a decent speed, they’re not going to catch up again to score. For the love of points, don’t touch anyone! Hitting someone, especially when you’re tired, brings the risk of a penalty. Don’t get a penalty.
Scenario two: You’ve owned the opposing jammer for a minute and 40 seconds. Yay, you guys rule! She’s still up on her feet, but the fight’s gone out of her. Your jammer is coming around to score. Should you stay on defense or go to offense?
Let the poor jammer go!
Just let her go on her merry way. There’s no way this poor tired jammer is going to complete a scoring pass in the time left. Get yourselves some points and get out. Conversely: if you’re this jammer and there’s under 30 seconds or so left in the jam and you’re dying, just go to defense. Ain’t no shame in it, especially if your pivot is in the box.
Play smart. Learn when to just let go, and make sure you tell your friends to follow suit.
When a jammer gets called to the penalty box, glance at the clock if you have the time. This goes if you’re on the track or the bench. If you’re getting ready to go in, you might make a different choice lining up knowing the opposing jammer has 20 seconds left to serve or 40. If you’re on the track, you won’t be surprised when that jammer comes back in.
How else can you use the jam clock and game clock to your advantage?