Thursday, 25 Apr 2024

Soccer Skills: The Throw-In (and How To Perform Them Effectively)

Modern football is all about finding those marginal gains that can give you the edge over your opponents. From meticulously planned set pieces to technical improvements, every aspect of the game is analyzed and optimized. One area that has gained attention in recent years is the humble throw-in. In this article, we will explore the rise of the long throw-in and provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to perform an effective throw-in.

What Is A Soccer Throw-In?

The throw-in is the most common set piece in soccer, with an average of 40-50 throw-ins occurring in a professional match. It is a method of formally re-entering the ball into the field of play when it has exited via the side of the pitch. A throw-in is awarded to the opponents of the player who last touched the ball before it went out of play. However, it is common for teams to lose possession immediately after a throw-in.

Soccer Throw-In Rules: Key Things To Remember

There are several rules and technical details that must be kept in mind when taking a throw-in:

  • Throw-ins must be taken from the point where the ball left the field of play.
  • The player must stand facing the field of play, with each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline.
  • The ball must be thrown with both hands from behind and over the head.
  • Opponents must stand at least 2 meters from the point on the touchline where the taker is stationed.
  • The ball is in play as soon as it enters the field of play.
  • The thrower cannot touch the ball again until it has touched another player.
  • If a throw-in is not taken correctly, it is deemed a “foul throw” and awarded to the opposing team.

How To Perform An Effective Soccer Throw-In

To perform an effective throw-in, follow these steps:

  1. Pick up the ball with both hands, placing one hand on each side of the ball.
  2. Position yourself on the touchline at the point where the ball exited the field of play.
  3. Arch your back and generate power from your back and shoulders.
  4. Bring the ball up from behind your head and release it when it’s over the top of your head.
  5. Use a simple forward flick of the wrists to release the ball.
  6. Join your teammate on the pitch and be prepared to play the ball if needed.

There are also various soccer throw-in drills that can help you improve your throwing technique and add versatility to your throw-ins.

The Rise Of The Long Throw-In

In recent years, the long throw-in has gained popularity as an effective attacking tactic. Teams have realized that a throw-in within the opposition’s final third presents a unique opportunity to launch the ball into the penalty area. This tactic has produced remarkable results, with players like Rory Delap and Andy Legg gaining recognition for their long throw-ins.

In the Premier League, Brentford has become known for their proficiency in long throw-ins. By employing set piece specialists and using a data-led approach, they have become one of England’s most effective teams from throw-ins. The data supports this trend, as long throw-ins into the box have a significantly higher Expected Goals (xG) compared to short throws in the final quarter of the pitch.

Frequently Asked Questions

(Q) How many throw-ins occur in a professional match?
(A) On average, there are 40-50 throw-ins in a professional match.

(Q) Can a goal be scored directly from a throw-in?
(A) No, a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in.

(Q) What are the common mistakes to avoid when taking a throw-in?
(A) Some common mistakes include not releasing the ball from behind the head, not using both hands, and not staying behind the touchline when throwing.


The throw-in is a fundamental aspect of soccer and deserves attention and practice. By understanding the rules and techniques, you can improve your throw-ins and make a significant impact on the game. Whether you choose to execute a short, controlled throw or a long, attacking throw, mastering this skill can give you an advantage on the field.

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