Get Open for you Teammates During Throw-Ins

Good throw-in technique! - (Photo:

Throw-ins present a strange situation during soccer games.  A game played solely with the use of feet suddenly permits a player to toss he ball in-bounds from the sideline, but players on both teams must jostle for position and find the ball.  For many youth players throw-ins can be quite tricky situations.  For one, most players lack the upper-body strength to really get any power behind their throws.  For another, most players will often just stand around waiting for the ball to come to them.  If you want to organize a successful throw-in, here are some ideas for tactics to try out with your team:

First off, teach your players all the proper rules about throw-ins.  Nothing is more frustrating than turning the ball over to your opponent because you lifted your back-foot or didn’t properly throw the ball directly over your head.  Youth players should definitely be taught the proper throw-in etiquette before the team’s first game!

As for players finding space and giving the thrower an opportunity, try to promote good communication between the players.  The goal is for a player to find an inch of space and have the ball directly tossed to him or her right then.  Make sure players get on the same page.

For a teammate trying to get open, you actually have a huge advantage.  Your marker will have to watch both the thrower and the player they are defending at the same time.  Your job is simply to find the space.  Try to throw your marker off by faking like you are headed one way and then quickly head in the opposite direction.  If you’ve made eye contact with the thrower, this can be a valuable opening and will result in a successful throw-in to the teammate.

Another thing to consider is that you will want the person throwing in the ball to have multiple options at their disposal.  This will make marking much more difficult for the defense and will give you better chances of getting the ball to your team.  So if you happen to be in the area, run close to the thrower and provide another outlet for his throw.

These situations can be awkward and tricky, and there is a sense that you need to throw the ball in quickly, but take a moment to find the right person.  Take a breath and look for the best option.  Don’t get caught up in the pace of the game.  Instead, wait for the right moment to get that vital opening.

Once the ball is thrown in, there will be limited space and many defenders in the area.  Pinned in by the sideline, many players will lose possession of the ball.  A good way to find a pass outwards is sometimes to send the ball right back to whomever threw it in.  Chances are they won’t be marked and will have a bit of space to work with to help your team maintain possession.

Good throw-ins typically only come with experience, so I recommend occasionally orchestrating a throw-in drill with your team.  Players need to get used to jostling for position and finding open teammates, as well as defending throw-ins, so take some time of practice to get this tricky part of soccer down right.



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