Tech Corner: Practice Timers and Play Clocks Keep Your Team on Schedule

By Matt Starr, Founder of Sideline Power

Clock management is key in football. Whether it’s using a practice timer to keep drills on schedule or a play clock to keep a game moving, the data provided by these time-keepers is crucial to conditioning athletes in clock management.

I’m Matt Starr, Founder and CEO of Sideline Power. Sideline Power works to find and bring cutting edge technology to the football industry in order to help coaches win. Sideline Power has partnered with FNF Coaches to create an educational article each issue on different innovative products. It’s time to get #PoweredUP with this month’s featured product, practice timers and play clocks.

When looking for a practice timer or play clock, the basics are pretty straight-forward. It has to be visible from pretty much everywhere on the field, and it has to be easy to use. When it comes to practice timers and play clocks, it MUST be visible. Look for something with high contrast background and numbers. It should be large enough to easily see from 100 yards away. Anything under 13 inches per digit is really not going to cut it.

LED is always a good way to go because it is more visible in bright sunlight, but you have to be careful because not all LEDs illuminate with the same intensity. Unless your practice timer and play clock are mounted on a trailer, they are probably out in the elements all year round. Thus, a weatherproof design is critical. Once you have considered all of these characteristics you also have to look at user functionality.

No one wants to dig up their field to trench power and communications lines to a new timer or play clock, so look for a clock with wireless capabilities. Wireless frequencies are more and more dependable. Double-check the frequencies against your headsets and any other wireless equipment in the stadium to limit interference. When using a practice timer you should be able to script out the entire practice and then let the practice timer worry about it. But you don’t want to spend 30 minutes with a push button remote trying to program the clock segments.

Look for a system that incorporates a touch screen controller. Being able to quickly and easily set multiple segments with programmable time lengths for each segment lets you focus on coaching instead of watching the clock. Additional versatility would come with additional modes such as two-minute drill mode, operating play clock and game clock simultaneously, or automatically resetting the play clock to shorter intervals.

As for play clocks, ease of use from anywhere on the field is equally as important. Wireless capabilities are beneficial for cutting out the in-box time keeper. Using an on-field, wireless wrist- or belt-controller for the play clock is convenient and efficient.

As a coach you spend a lot of time prepping and pushing your program to victory. Instead of dealing with another variable in student clock managers, get the technology that lets YOU be in control.

Sideline Power

Sideline Power LLC is the No. 1 Choice in Coaching Communication providing a wide variety of coaching headsets, end zone cameras, sideline replay and other technology needs for all athletic programs.


Phone: 1-800-496-4290