If the ball goes over the side, the game will be restarted by throwing the ball back into play. This way of resuming play is known as the throw-in, and is done only when the ball goes out of bounds on the touchline.
Your opponents will do the throw-in if you were the last one to touch the ball before it went out. Conversely, if your opponents touched the ball last, your team will be the one to throw the ball back in.
For you to make a good and valid throw-in, you must know the rules (A), violations (B), and steps in doing it (C). It is also interesting to know about players who are famous for their throw-in abilities (D) and the longest throw-in ever made (E).
A. Throw-in rules
When the ball goes over the side of the playing field, the area known as touchline, the assistant referee immediately raises his flag to signal that a throw-in must be made. Most leagues follow the FIFA rules for a throw-in:
- The ball must be thrown with both hands.
- It must be thrown from behind the head.
- The player making a throw-in must have both feet on the ground when throwing the ball.
- He may run to gain momentum for the throw-in but both his feet should be on the ground when the ball is released.
- He must stay off the field of play, though he may step on the line when making the throw.
- He can only touch the ball again after it has been played by another player.
- Players must be at least two meters away from the thrower before the ball is released.
- A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in. It must be touched first by another player.
- If a player throws the ball into the opponents’ goal, play will be restarted by a goal kick from the opposing team’s end.
- If the throwing player puts the ball into his own team’s goal, play will be restarted with a corner kick for the opposing team.
- A player cannot be offside in football when receiving a throw-in.
B. Soccer throw-in violations
A player must make the throw-in on the spot where the ball went out of bounds. If he does it elsewhere, the throw-in will be awarded to the opposing team.
If the thrower raises one foot off the ground or throws the ball with one hand, the game will be restarted with a throw-in for the opposing team.
If the thrower touches the ball before it is played by anyone else, the game will be stopped and an indirect free kick is awarded to the opponents. If he touches the ball with his hands, the penalty would be a direct free kick.
An opponent who stays too close to the thrower or distracts the thrower in inappropriate manners will be cautioned with a soccer yellow card.
C. How to do a throw-in
There are two common ways of doing a throw-in. The first one is done standing or stationary. Here are the steps:
- Stand with both feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the ball on the sides firmly with both hands. Point your elbows sidewards for greater power. Do not bring the elbows too close together or two far apart.
- Spot a teammate to pass the ball to but do not look at him directly.
- Throw the ball from behind your head: aside from being required by the rules, it helps in adding this distance to your throw.
- Follow through to make your throw-in more accurate.
- You may raise your heel to maintain balance but be sure to maintain contact on the ground with both feet.
For longer throw-ins, many professional footballers do a short run before releasing the ball. The momentum gained from running increases the throw-in power. This is how a running throw is done:
- Take three or four steps back from the touchline.
- Run towards the sideline with the ball held behind your head.
- Make your stop by planting your right foot (or left, whichever is more comfortable) just outside the sideline.
- Release the ball the moment you stop. Drag your other foot to preserve momentum but be sure to keep it in contact with the ground.
Aside from standing and running throw-in, there is another type of throw that involves a somersault. It is called a handspring throw-in and is rarely used because of the difficulty of performing it.
To do a handspring throw-in, a player runs towards the sideline, performs a front flip with both hands holding the ball, and launches the ball the moment both feet touch the ground. The thrower must make sure that he stays outside the field after doing the somersault.
D. Players famous for their throw-ins
There are two footballers who stand out among others because of their throw-in skills: Rory Delap and Leah Lynn Gabriela Fortune. Delap plays as midfielder in the Premier League and is known to make throw-ins that go over 40 meters.
Fortune is famous for her handspring throw-ins. The spring she gets from her front flips allows her to throw the ball for 28 meters or more. Fortune is a former gymnast while Delap was a javelin champion in his youth.
E. Longest throw-in ever
The longer throw-in in football was done in January 2010 by a PE teacher in West Yorkshire, England. Danny Brooks set the record by throwing the ball for a total distance of 49.78 meters, which is nearly half the length of a soccer pitch.