Simple And Effective Tactics And Drills To Improve Soccer Throw-Ins

With the game of soccer increasingly decided by fine margins, no coach is leaving any rock unturned when it comes to finding anything that will give their team the advantage. With that being said many soccer teams are turning to throw-ins to help give them the edge in soccer games. This post is going to go over the throw-in technique, throw-in tactics, and different drills to improve soccer throw-ins.

Download these drills to improve soccer throw-ins as a free PDF at the bottom of the page.

Before I introduce you to the drills it is important to ensure that your players know the throw-in technique as well as a few rules to ensure that they do not get called upon a foul throw.

Here is a quick instructional video on how to perform a soccer throw-in to avoid giving away any unnecessary foul throws:

Throw-in tactics in soccer

When taking a throw-in it is important to give the player throwing the ball in as many easy options on the ball as possible.

This means that the players on the field have to be organized and know how they can create space for themselves and other players to receive the ball from the soccer throw-in.

Here, we are going to go over some simple and easy throw-in tactics that you can use to help your team retain possession from throw-ins.

Who should take the throw-ins?

The fullbacks or wingbacks should take the throw-ins, on both sides and the whole length of the pitch. This allows the team to have as many options on the ball as possible.

The only exception would be if you have a player whose specialty is taking long throw-ins when in more advanced positions up the pitch.

A great example of this type of player would be Rory Delap:

How players should set up for a throw-in

When a fullback (number 2) is taking the throw-in they should have a least 3 options on the ball:

  • A player down the line in an advanced position (number 7)
  • A player who has dropped off so there is an option to playback (number 5)
  • A player that can receive the ball in the middle (number 6)
  • A player that is in a more position but more central (number9)

The player who has the most responsibility for creating space is the number 5 (center back).

If the number 5 pushes up they are taking away space from the number 6, not only making it harder receive to receive the ball but also limiting the options they have on the ball.

If the fullback decides to throw the ball down the line there should be a player, looking to be in a more advanced position behind the number 7.

This is because the number 7 may try to flick the ball further down the line, over a defender’s head.

The number 7 or striker (number 9) may want to swap roles depending on who is more likely to win the ‘flick-on’.

How players can create space to receive the ball from a throw-in

If your players are standing still from the throw-ins, the chances of them receiving a pass and retaining possession are incredibly low.

To be able to be in a position to receive the ball they must first create space for themselves and their teammates. This can be achieved through different types of movement.

how a player can create space for themselves from a throw-in
  • Identify where the player wants to receive the ball
  • The first movement should be away from that space (taking a defender with them)
  • The second movemen should be back towards the intial space with a sharp change of pace and direction (hopefully losing the defender)
  • Plays may have to make more than 1 movment to receive the ball

This way of creating space requires 2 teammates rotating in and out of each other’s space, which drags the defender out of position.

For this example, the full-back will be taking a throw-in down the line that involves the numbers 7 and 9.

The number 9 is in a more advanced position, with the 7 number being closer. The goal is to throw the ball in front of the 7 so he can attack the space down the line.

  • The number 7 starts in front of the number 9, with the number 9 further up the pitch
  • The 9 then moves towards the same space as the number 7, bringing their defender with them.
  • Simultaneously the 7 spins and rotates into the space that has been vacated by the 9 and the defender marking them
  • The ball can then be thrown in front of the 7 to run onto.

However, this requires good communication from the players involved.

Soccer drills to help improve throw-ins

Below are my recommended drills to improve soccer throw-ins.

These soccer throw-in drills are competitive, allow players to get a lot of repetition, and explore different routes to success.

Control and pass soccer throw-in drill

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to be more accurate when throwing a ball to a teammate, this will also work on the players passing and receiving skills

Set up:

  • 2 cones
  • 1 soccer ball per pair

How the drill works:

Set up your cones 10 yards apart (or relative distance to the age and strength of your players). Player 1 will be receiving the throw-in, while player 2 is taking the throw-in.

Player 2 will throw the ball to player 1’s feet 10 times alternating feet, with the player receiving the ball passing back to the thrower.

The players will swap around after every 10 throws.

Next will be throwing to the thighs (10 throws each, alternating thighs).

Players will then throw the ball 10 times to the player’s chest and finally 10 times to the player’s head where they will head it back to the thrower.

Encourage the players to take 2 touches (1 to control and the other to pass).

Coaching points:

  • When players are receiving the throw-in they should be receving in a side-on body position and on the front foot.
  • Players receiving the throw should check out and then check back to create space for themselves.
  • Both players should communicate as to when they want the throw-in to be played

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What body position should you be in to receive the ball? Why?
  • How can you create space for yourself?
  • How do you know when a player is ready to receive/ throw the ball?

1v1 Soccer drill to improve throw-ins

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to help the player receive the ball under pressure and create opportunities to score/ retain possession.

Set up:

  • 20 x 15 yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 goals
  • 3 players (defender, attacker and thrower)

How the drill works:

Set up your area with 2 goals opposite each other in the middle of the 20-yard lines.

The ball starts with the thrower who will throw the ball to the attacker from the sidelines (like a throw in a regular game).

If the attacker can score a goal against the defender they will get 3 points, if the attacker feels they cannot score they can pass the ball back to the thrower for 1 point.

As soon as the ball is thrown the defender is live and can step in to win the ball.

If the defender can step in and win the ball from a throw-in and score a goal, they will get 1 point.

After 5 throws the players will rotate round to a different role.

The player with the most points by the end of the timer will be the winner.

Coaching points:

  • Create space for yourself by moving away from the space with your first movement and back towards that space with your second movement
  • Receive the ball on your front foot to protect the ball from the defender
  • Communicate with the thrower so they know where you want to recevie the ball.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you create space for yourself under pressure?
  • What can you do to help protect the ball from the defender?
  • How will the thrower know when and where to throw the ball to you?

Throw-ins for attacking headers soccer drill

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to help players score more goals from throw-ins

Set up:

  • 1 soccer ball per pair
  • 1 goal
  • 2 cones
  • 20 x 10 yard area

How the drill works:

Set up your area with the goal in the center of the 20-yard line and place 2 cones a yard inside of each post.

1 player in the pair will be the thrower with the other player being the one that is heading.

The thrower will start with the ball and take a long throw to the player who is in the middle, the player in the middle will then attempt to score a goal with a header.

If the player can score a goal between the cone and the post they will get 3 points if they score a goal in the center of the goal they will get 1 point.

After 10 throw-ins the players will swap round.

The player with the most points is the winner

If the player cannot score a goal using their head they may finish the throw-in with which part of the body it falls to.

Coaching points:

  • Encourage players to start introducing a run-up to their throw-ins (5-6 steps) as well as arching their back to try and get more distance on the throw
  • Keep your eye on the ball when heading the ball and try to make contact with the ball using your forehead
  • Start your run 5 yards back from the space where the throw-in is being delivered to. This will help you jumper higher and get more power behind the header

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What can you do to increase the distance of your throw-ins?
  • What part of your head should you try to make contact with the ball?
  • Why should you start your run 5 yards back from the throw-in being delivered?

Throw-in square soccer drill

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to help players create space for each other to receive a throw-in.

Set up:

  • 20 x 20 yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 6 players

How the drill works:

Set up your area place 2 players opposite each other on the outside of the area. These will be the 2 endzone/ target players and they will be neutral (whoever has possession of the ball they’ll be on their team).

Instead of passing the ball, the players on the outside will be taking throw-ins to the players in the middle.

This will leave a 2v2 in the middle.

The goal is for one team in the middle to work the ball from one target player to another, if they do this they will get 1 point.

Players may pass the ball back to the thrower, where they can pick the ball up and throw it back to the team (if you want more throw-in repetition). If you want a more match realistic the outside player can control and pass the ball with their feet.

Coaching points:

  • Create space for yourself by checking away from the space you want to receive the ball in then check back towards the space
  • Create space for your teammate by vacating your space dragging a defender with you for them to move into.
  • Communicate with the player taking the throw-in so they know when and where to throw the ball.

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you create space for yourself?
  • How can you create space for your teammates?
  • What can you do to help the player take the throw-ins?

Into the box soccer throw-in drill

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to create more chances from throw-ins in more advanced positions.

Set up:

  • 25 x 15 yard area
  • 2 goals
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 8 players (3 defenders, 5 attackers)

How the drill works:

This will be a more game-realistic throw-in soccer drill that allows the players to discover different ways to get success.

This will be a 5 v 3 scenario where the aim for the attacking team is to score a goal from the throw-in.

If the team can successfully score a goal from the throw-in they will get 3 points however if they can create a chance that nearly leads to a goal they will get 1 point.

If the defending team is able to take possession of the ball and score they will get 2 points.

For your attackers, you should recommend to the players they have a fullback, (who takes the throw-in).

A defensive midfielder (who gives the thrower an option to go back).

A wide player (who gives the player an option down the line).

The striker (who is an option for a long throw) and the other fullback who isn’t taking the throw-in the team can switch the play to change the point of attack.

Coaching points:

  • The player on the ball should have a minimum 3 options on the ball
  • Check in and out of spaces and rotate positions to help create space for yourself and your teammates
  • Communicate with your teammates

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How many options should the thrower on the ball have when taking the throw-in?
  • How can you create space for yourself and your teammates?
  • What can you do to improve team cohesion?

Throw-in scrimmage Soccer drill

Purpose:

The purpose of this drill is to reward teams that are able to successfully score a goal from a throw-in.

Set up:

  • 20 x 25 yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 teams of 3
  • 2 goals

How the drills work:

This will be a regular 3v3 game, however, if a phase of play that started with a throw-in ends with a goal then the team will receive 3 goals instead of 1.

This soccer drill with this point scoring system is a great way to encourage certain behavior, also by keeping it as a small sied game players with getting lots of repetition of practicing a wide variety of skills not just their throw-ins!

Coaching points:

  • Receive the ball in a side on position to help protect the ball from the oppostion
  • Check in and out from space to create space for yourself
  • Be-aware of spaces that have been created by your teammates movement that you could move into

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What position should your body in when receiving a throw-in to help protect it from the opposition?
  • How can you create sapce for yourself?
  • Why should you be conscious of your teammates movement? How can it help you?

Drills to improve soccer throw-ins conclusion

Working on your teams’ soccer throw-ins is another dimension you can add to your team that will help you score more goals and retain possession.

The drills and tactics above are fairly simple but can be incredibly effective when taught consistently to your team!

If you know any more drills to improve soccer throw-ins then leave a comment in the section below or if you know someone who would find these drills to improve soccer throw-ins helpful then please share it with them using the social media buttons.

Thank you,

Toby.

My recommended eBook that can help create space from throw-ins

Use code AFL-PHGD at the checkout for 5% off this eBook!

Soccer drills to improve throw-ins PDF

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