Clock Wrestling

by Matthew Wernikoff

After deciding not to return as Woodlands High School’s Head Wrestling Coach I began working with my best friend and mentor, Tod Giles, at his club Wrestling Dynamics.  Togther we grew the club and I was privledged to have learned many things from him.  He had an intellectual approach to the sport of wrestling the was uncanny.

Many of my wrestlers often ask me why I emphasize creating angle so much and why I insist they learn to attack from these angles.  Below is a copy of an article Tod published shortly before his death on a system he called “clock wrestling” and why angles are so important:

Clock Wrestling 


“For years I have always heard coaches tell the athletes to create angles and attack their opponent. In my own competitive years I thought… wow, I wonder what angle I need to be at?

Shortly into my career as a wrestler I moved into coaching by working at camps and clinics in the summer and year round. In juggling helping others while helping myself, I determined that time was of the essence in preparing athletes for competition. And if it was all about TIME, then so too must the attack angle be about TIME. I developed the concept of “Clock Work Wrestling.” Clock Work Wrestling states that “wrestling exists in the face of a clock,” and each athlete should view that face of the clock with your opponent always in the center and you always at 6 o’clock. This clock is dynamic and always moving so, inevitably, the opponent is trying to keep you at 6 as he is strong and balanced when he has you there.

Attacking straight on, while it is a tough and admirable trait, will ultimately tire us out and leave us with few points to speak of. Moving to our left or right and attacking almost immediately (if not sooner) with a powerful attack, on the other hand, will show its benefits almost immediately.

What has become increasingly easier for me to convey is the fact that, after I examined countless hours of video of both myself and my athletes while coaching at West Point years ago, I found that attacking between 5 and 7 o’clock garnered less than a 15% success rate. Not very efficient. Attacking from 4-5 o’clock and from 7-8 o’clock more than doubled the scoring proficiency to about 40%. As you would imagine the rate of effectiveness when attacking from 3-4 and 8-9 o’clock was markedly higher and exceeded 85%.

So, to this I say, the angles are the way to go… don’t try to get to any degrees…or break out your old dusty protractor… that’s way too complicated. Get yourself inside of 5 and outside of 7 for starters and when you get there… go for what you know! DO NOT HESITATE! For in the smallest fraction of a second, your opponent will have you back at 6 o’clock and unable to attack with the vigor of a champion.” –Tod Giles

Tod Giles Biography Brief:

Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee – 1999 Rockland County Hall of Fame Inductee – 2000 SILVER CERTIFIED – USAW Wrestling National Coaches Education Program Coaching Experience Varsity Coach Clarkstown South HS – 2002 – 2004 Head Coach USMA – West Point 1998 -2000 Assistant Coach USMA – West Point 1996 -1998 Volunteer Assistant Coach Georgia State University – 1994 -1995 Assistant Boston University – 1984 – 1985, 1991 – 1994 10 years experience coaching youth clubs 23 year instructor for Carl Adams World Class Wrestling School International Wrestling Experience National Team Member 1989, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96 & 97 Two Time Olympic Team Alternate, 1988 & 1996 Freestyle Military World Champion – 1988 Collegiate Wrestling Experience – Boston University All-American (1st Ever at BU) – 105-13–1 Record 4 time New England Conference Champion – 4 time NCAA Qualifier

About Matthew Wernikoff

Sports Performance Coach | Wrestling Coach | Personal Trainer
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