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improve your young players' throw-in technique

Your youth soccer team could get as many as twenty throw-ins during the course of a football match. That's twenty opportunities to launch an attack.

But often all that happens is that the ball is thrown straight to an opponent or the receiver can't control it and your team loses possession that way.

So it's important that all your players know what to do when you get a throw in.

The basic technique:

1. Hold the ball behind your head. Your hands should be behind the ball and the fingers spread so that your hands look like the letter 'W'.

2. Stand a few inches behind the sideline with your feet together and about a shoulder width apart - I advise against taking a run up or having one foot behind the other. If your players do this they will almost certainly lift their back foot off the ground. If that happens the ref will call a foul and give the throw to the opposition.

3. Scan the field - where are your players? If you throw the ball to them will they have time to control it before an opposing team player closes them down?

4. If you need to throw the ball a long way it helps if you bend your back as the ball is released.

5. A throw in is a pass the same as any other - so be accurate and don't throw it too hard.

6. Immediately look to support the receiving player.

7. Be decisive. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to find someone to throw to. Try to throw the ball back into play as quickly you can.

If you want your team to take quick, effective throw-ins you have to practise them. They won't happen otherwise!

The easiest way to do this is to demonstrate the right technique, then play a small-sided match. Every time the ball goes out (even for goal kicks and corners) the game is restarted with a throw-in.

Make sure there's a lot of movement from the players on the pitch and the throw is taken as quickly as possible; if the throw isn't taken in X number of seconds give it to the opposition.

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