The one time that Association football players are allowed to use their hands is during a throw in. It is one of the few rules that separates this outdoor soccer from other variations of the sport.
Throw-in is awarded to a team when a player from the opposite team was the last to touch the ball before it crossed the touchline.
In futsal when the ball goes out of play, play will resume through kick-in rather than throw-in. In beach soccer, play can resume via a throw-in or a kick-in.
In association football, throw-ins happen every now and then. While any player on the team can take the throw-in, most teams have dedicated players that take their throw-ins because they have perfected the act.
Interestingly, a goal cannot be scored via a direct throw-in. If this happens in a soccer game, the referee will award a goal kick.
While a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in in soccer, some players can create chances out of thin air from a perfect throw-in. Roy Delap, Abero Mathias, and Aina Ola are some of the soccer players that have captured the admiration of fans because of their long throws.
In the absence of a specialty throw-in taker, most teams will normally let their wing backs or fullbacks take the throw-in regardless of the position. This is to give the thrower more options on where to throw the ball.
Perhaps you are a soccer player or just an excited fan wondering if you can sharpen your throw-in skills in the game. Well, the simple answer is yes and we are going to tell you all about it in the next few minutes.
- What is a proper throw-in for soccer?
- What is a bad throw-in in soccer?
- How to improve your throw in soccer?
- Exercises to improve your throw-in in soccer
What is a proper throw-in for soccer?
There are certain rules that a soccer player must adhere to when delivering a throw-in. According to the law of the game, the player must;
- Hold the ball facing the field
- Have his or her feet on the touchline or on the ground beyond the touchline (what this means is that you are not allowed to jump while taking a throw-in)
- Use both hands to throw the ball in a motion that begins from behind and over the head
- Take the throw-in from the point the ball left the field.
If a player defaults in any of the laws listed above, the referee will award the throw-in to the other team. Also, for a throw-in to be valid, the ball must not touch the ground before entering the field of play.
In other words, you are not allowed to throw the ball such that it bounces on the ground before entering the field. If this happens, the referee will order the same player to retake the throw-in.
It is not only the throw-in taker that is bound by law. The rest of the players on both teams have to abide by a set of rules during a throw-in.
Firstly, the closest the opposing players can stand from the point where the throw-in will be taken is 2 m (2 yds). To complete a proper throw-in, the player who took the throw-in can only touch the ball again after it has been touched by another player.
What is a bad throw-in in soccer?
The term ‘foul throw’ is commonly used in soccer to describe a bad throw-in. There are many actions translated as a bad throw-in in soccer.
Knowing them will make it easy to overcome the pitfalls and possibly give your opponent a cheap advantage over your team. Some of the actions that can lead to a bad throw-in are as follows;
- Throwing the ball with one hand
- Throwing the ball from the front rather than the back overhead throw
- Taking the throw-in from a spot far away from where the ball left the field
- Standing in the field while taking the throw-in
- Jumping when taking a throw-in
Touching the ball after throw-in before any other player touches it will lead to an indirect free kick. If a player aims the throw-in at his or her goalkeeper, the goalkeeper is not expected to touch it.
A bad throw-in can also happen for other reasons that are not the fault of the thrower. For example, if a player from the opposing team happens to be within 2 m (2 yds) of the thrower, it is considered impeding the thrower and the referee will award an indirect free-kick against the opposing player.
However, in recent soccer history, it often seems as if the referee is overlooking several foul throws. Several times we see players moving over 2 m away from the point the ball left the field before taking a throw-in.
There are two main reasons that may explain why the majority of bad throws today are ignored. The first is that referees are trained to only call decisions that really matter.
Secondly, some of the laws are not well-defined. For example, the law that says a player taking the throw-in must face the field doesn’t clearly define what ‘face the field’ means.
The truth is that if a referee constantly whistles, it takes the fun away from the game or kills the tempo because there will be way too many stops. Therefore, referees are often advised to ignore fouls that are ‘doubtful’ or ‘trifling’.
How to improve your throw in soccer?
Soccer players can create incredible chances for their team with one good throw. From spearheading a counterattack to picking out a tall teammate within the 18-yard box, we have seen a couple of times where good goals emerge from a good throw-in.
One player in the history of soccer that had the reputation for delivering throw-ins that led to goals was Rory Delap. In the 2008-09 season when Stoke City played against Arsenal, two of Stoke’s goals in the 2 – 1 win over Arsenal came from Delap’s throw-ins.
There are many more soccer games where a good throw-in was all it took to break down the defensive barrier of the opponent. Therefore, it is not surprising that a lot of soccer players are working hard to improve their throw-in skills.
To start with, a good throw-in is not only a function of the ball thrower but the entire team. The on-field players need to position themselves strategically to create space for themselves and give the thrower a better sense of where to throw the ball.
Both from the individual and the team perspective, there are a number of drills that a soccer player and team can work on to improve throw-in in soccer. We are going to describe some of the techniques below.
It is frustrating to throw a ball and have it land on the opponent’s head or foot. Most times when a throw-in favors the opposing team it is because the team of the thrower failed to position properly during the throw.
The first secret to an improved throw-in in soccer has to do with the formation since the thrower is not allowed to touch the ball until another player on the field has. Therefore, the on-field players need to create spaces for the thrower to drop the ball such that the entire team can take advantage of it.
For this reason, a ball thrower needs to have a minimum of three options to throw the ball. The available players to receive the ball (when the fullback or center back is taking the throw) need to strategically position themselves in the following order;
- A player down the line on either side of the thrower (usually a midfielder)
- Another player down the middle (usually another midfielder)
- A drop off player that creates the option to play back (midfielder or defender)
- A central player that moves around and draws away from the attention of the opponent (a winger or a striker)
- Better formation increases the thrower’s option on there to throw the ball
- Makes it easier to find space amidst the pushing and pulling
- The opposing team can easily read this move if it is done repeatedly
Know where the player wants to receive the ball
Another important technique for improving throw-in in soccer is knowing where the receiver wants the ball. This is an important technique that can be used to fool the opposition defenders and create goal-scoring opportunities.
In this technique, the receiving player can use a hand sign or facial expression to signal to the thrower that he or she wants to receive the ball in a certain direction. However, they will use their body language to deceive the attacking opponent to make them think that the ball will be going in another direction.
Once the thrower releases the ball in the direction that the receiving player wanted, the receiving player will quickly change direction and pace leaving the attacking player behind.
- It is an effective strategy for beating man-marking in soccer
- A good strategy for creating a quick counterattack
- Helps players receive the ball while under pressure
- There can be miscommunication between the thrower and the receiver
- The opposing team may read your communication and intercept
Introduce runs into throws
Long throws can help a team to break down their opposition’s defensive formation. Some soccer players have mastered this act and are usually called upon by their team any time the ball crosses the touchline close to the opposition’s goal area.
These specialist throw-in takers will fling the ball into the 18-yard box making it feel almost like a corner kick. One of the ways you can improve on your long throws is to introduce sprint into your throw-ins.
More than once we have seen soccer players step back a few meters behind then run towards the touchline and launch the throw. Adding sprint to your throw-ins will help you to add more distance to the shot. To do this,
- Wipe off the ball with your jersey or a towel
- Take 4 or 5 yards backward from the point where the throw-in is to be taken
- Run towards the touchline holding the ball close to your chest
- After running 2 or three steps you lift the ball behind your head.
- In the final step, you need to arch your back and channel the momentum you have built to your hands
- Flick the ball forward in a dome trajectory—not be too high or too low. This allows it to go further when you throw it with the least air resistance.
- Helps a team to create a dead ball situation from a throw-in
- Creates scoring chance for a team
- The referee may judge the run-up as time-wasting if not done properly
Exercises to improve your throw-in in soccer
In case you have been wondering if there was a way to improve your throw-in ability, we are glad to tell you that there are a couple of exercises that you can routinely engage in to help you build your throw-in skills.
Kneeling fitness ball throw
Begins by kneeling about ten meters away from a wall but facing the wall. Then, raise the ball behind your back, arch your back and throw the ball on the wall in a downward plane.
The ball should come back to you and you should repeat the process 10 or 20 times. Make sure you don’t sit on your legs while throwing the ball because maintaining good posture is paramount to a good throw.
Fitness ball slam
Medicine or fitness balls are used for fitness training. Stand with your legs a few inches apart (in an athletic position).
Raise the medicine ball as high above your head as you can and slam it on the ground in front of your feet. Pick it up and repeat the process 10 or 20 times.
Fitness ball crusher
Stand in an athletic position about 30 cm close to the wall facing the wall. Grab a fitness ball firmly with both hands and slam it against the wall as hard as you can.
Your arms should bend each time so that the ball goes behind your back. Make sure you maintain a straight posture throughout the duration of the exercise.
Triceps extension using a dumbbell
Start by standing in an athletic position and holding the dumbbell high above your head. Then, bend your elbow and bring the dumbbell behind your head before taking it back up.
In this exercise, you need to make sure that you do not slouch or let your body rock back and forth. You need to maintain a steady upright position.
Lie down on a bench with your head extending from the edge of the bench. Hold the fitness plate with both hands and raise it up so that your hands are perpendicular to your body.
Slowly bring down your arms until the plate is straight above your head and your arms are parallel to your body before raising it back up. Repeat this 10 to 20 times or as much as required by your trainer.
Many times, you will see soccer players stand with the ball and fake several throws in different directions while scanning the entire field before finally throwing the ball. This is an effective strategy that can be used to confuse and frustrate the attacking players.
When taking a throw-in, it is always best to aim for a teammate that is already on the run rather than the one that is standing straight. When you throw the ball to a teammate standing straight, the best they can do is either to head or kick it back to you depending on how low or high the throw was.
As we mentioned earlier, the entire team has to contribute to delivering a good throw. When the on-field players move around, it makes the work of the defenders more difficult as well as opens up spaces where the thrower can aim the ball.
Soccer players have a limited amount of time to decide where to throw the ball. If you find yourself in a position where you don’t know where to throw the ball, just throw it towards the opponent’s half.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!