“No hands” is the rule of soccer, unless you are the goalie. However, there is one time when any player may use their hands. That is during the throw in.
Throw ins are extremely quick and only take up a few seconds of play time, but they are extremely important to the game. They can change the momentum of the game and help create scoring opportunities.
Continue reading to learn the correct technique for taking a throw-in in soccer.
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Why Throw Ins are So Important
Performing a successful throw in can lead to a wonderful scoring opportunity. Not only does the team gain possession of the ball, but they can move it up the field and even send the ball to a chosen player who is in a good position to score.
However, the opposite can happen if you fail to perform a proper throw in. An unsuccessful throw in will not only result in a missed scoring opportunity, but it could give the opposing team possession of the ball.
The Rules of Throw Ins in Soccer
There are very specific rules that players must follow when taking a throw in. We have a detailed guide to the specific rules of throw in.
For the purpose of this article, we have provided a brief overview of the rules. When taking a throw in you must remember to do the following:
- Both feet must remain on the ground
- Must not cross the side line – players can stand at the line or behind it but not cross over it
- Ball must go over the head
- Both hands must be used equally
How to Perform a Basic Throw In
Beginner soccer players should focus on learning the proper technique for a throw in. They should also focus on moving the ball up the playing field. As players advance in skill, they can start incorporating throwing the ball in different directions, such as towards their own goal, in order to get it to a preferred player.
To perform a basic throw in during the game of soccer, you should do the following:
- Face the field – either directly forward or in the direction of the opposing team’s goal
- Stand with both feet wide apart – make sure the feet aren’t too far apart, but you don’t want them too close together. Try to aim for approximately shoulder width apart.
- Hold the ball in both hands – if you were holding the ball directly in front of you, you would have both hands on the sides of the ball with your thumbs facing up
- Lift the ball over your head – the ball should go so far back that it almost touches your neck or upper back
- Throw the ball onto the field – make sure you are throwing the ball forward and not directly into the ground in front of you
Practice Exercise to Help Improve Throw In Technique
It may sound a bit odd, but practicing performing a throw in without a ball is the best way to improve your technique. By practicing the motions of a throw in without a ball, you can focus on making sure that your feet stay on the ground, your hands move backwards and you remain upright.
To perform this practice exercise, you will stand near the side line or a designated area that you are using as a side line. You will then act as if you are throwing in the ball during a game.
Some things to pay attention to while performing this practice exercise include:
- Dragging the foot during a throw in – as players advance in skill, they will start to move when doing a throw in. It is important when moving during a throw in that both feet remain on the ground. Dragging the foot on the ground allows the player to move while still following the rules.
- Hands go all the way over the head – not pull the hands back over the head will prevent you from being able to throw the ball long distances
- Remaining upright when performing a throw in – you don’t want to sway, lean backwards or appear unsteady
- Watch that both hands follow through during the throw in – stopping too soon during a throw in can shorten the distance the ball moves when throwing it.
Practicing Throw Ins with a Ball
Once you have perfected the motions and movements you will perform during a throw in, it is time to add a ball. You may need to make some adjustments to account for the extra weight and size of the soccer ball during a throw in.
Practicing a throw in with a ball is very similar to the invisible ball exercise. You will do all the same things, except you are holding a soccer ball and not an imaginary one.
You will still want to pay attention to the same things that you did when practicing with the imaginary ball. However, there are some new things to pay attention to while practicing. You will want to pay attention to the following:
- Spin on the ball – you need to use both hands equally during a throw in. If the ball has too much spin, the referee may determine that both hands were not used equally and the ball will be given to the other team
- Keeping both elbows pointed outwards
- Dragging the foot while moving forward
- Releasing the ball at just the right time so it moves in the direction you want it to move
- Slightly swaying the back when throwing the ball – this adds additional power to your throw
How to Throw the Soccer Ball Further During a Throw In
Want to throw the ball further when performing a throw in? Do the following:
- Keep your elbows pointed outwards – when throwing the ball, your body instinctively wants to pull your elbows in. Try to keep the elbows outwards. This allows you to use additional muscles, such as the chest and back muscles, that will help give the ball more power to move forward.
- Bend the back a little – you don’t want to bend too far backwards when throwing the ball, but you do want to add a little bend backwards as this adds additional power to your throw
- Snap your wrists when throwing the ball – this adds power to the ball
- Follow all the way through with the throw in – throwing the ball too soon prevents you from building up the power and strength you want and need to get the ball moving further
- Add additional strength when moving forwards – just make sure to keep your foot on the ground and don’t lift it up or the ball will be given to your opponent
In a typical game of soccer, a team may need to perform over 25 throw ins. Given how many times throw ins occur during a game, it is important that you learn how to take one. The tips and tricks outlined above should help you learn how to complete a successful throw in.