Soccer tactics for the throw-in

Throw-ins are a big part of soccer matches. It’s the only time outfield players can use their hands to put the ball where they want. So players need to make the most every opportunity they get to throw the ball.

In defending situations, I always like my teams to throw down the line looking for a headed flick-on. It keeps the ball away from goal and means any slip-ups can be covered. But, once my teams are over the halfway line then tactics become much more important.

The diagram below shows what your players can do if they play two or three simple passes to get behind the defence directly from a throw-in.

However, I must sound a note of caution here. While this kind of tactic can devastate a defence, it can also lead to wayward passing if your players are not confident in executing it.

You have to give your players time to get used to this sort of tactic and not shout at them when it goes wrong – after all, tactics can go wrong at every level of the game.


Take between seven and 10 of your players and use half the field and try out some variations on this practice plan. Tell the thrower to try a give-and-go when they throw to their team mate and then make a run behind the opposition full back to receive the return pass.

  • The throw-in taker throws the ball infield to a team mate (1) who plays it back to the thrower (2) with one touch.
  • The thrower controls and plays the ball back to another of his players who has come across from midfield (3).
  • The defending full back is drawn over to the thrower and attempts to close play down.
  • Meanwhile, the attacking full back starts his run behind the throw-in taker and beyond the defence.
  • The attacking midfielder (3) plays the ball into space behind the opposition for the full back to run on to.

This article is from Soccer Coach Weekly.

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