the importance placed on passing and shooting, coaches rarely emphasize
the technique of the throw-in in practice. Yet, it is a basic method
utilized in the game of soccer. This is especially true in the youth game,
where because of the technical deficiency of the players, the ball
frequently goes out of play resulting in a throw-in. And, 99 percent of
the time, the throw-in ends up going to the opponent.
I strongly feel that the throw-in is not necessary
for U6-U8 game play.
On any given weekend, I have
watched numerous games where feeble attempts are made by U6-U8 coaches to
"mold" the bodies of their players, hold down their feet, demonstrate, and
explain their version of a proper throw-in. Incidentally, it is done
incorrectly as the player either drops the football in front of them, or
in an effort to bring it back over their head, they drop it, throw it to
the other team, or fire at the face of the nearest victim-sometimes this
just happens to be the coach. And worst of all, when patience has run out,
the game is allowed to continue and the player is allowed to re-enter the
field with a "slight nudge" by the coach, having learned an improper
All this should indicate to the
coach that something needs to be fixed. It indicates to me that too much
time is spent in the games trying to deal with this phenomenon, when this
is something that needs to be practiced outside the game first. So much
time is spent, that I have estimated over 25 percent of the game time is
wasted trying to deal with this. That's 15-20 minutes less the players are
in contact with the ball. Less contact with the ball means downtime,
downtime results in boredom and disinterest.
to this problem would require modifying the rules of U6 and U8 play.
Coaches should emphasize the importance on the technical application of
the throw-in in practice.
For U6 and
U8 play, I strongly recommend that when the ball goes "into touch" or
outside the sidelines, the ball is put back into play by the player
choosing to either dribble or pass. Also several balls should be
placed around the outside of the field, so that when a ball goes out of
bounds, time is not spent trying to chase it down. The nearest ball is
played in, being careful that no stray balls roll onto the field.
Since the hands of a U6-U8 player
are not properly developed for the proper execution of the throw-in, more
emphasis needs to be placed on providing the players with more
opportunities to manipulate the ball with the foot. Not to mention, throws
that result in someone getting a ball to the face can also be avoided -
the pass or the dribble - is a safer alternative while maximizing chances
to play the ball with the foot.
To learn the proper technique, and
technical application, the following should be stressed. First, coaches at
any level should teach their players how to correctly hold the ball. For
U6-U8 coaches, this can be done to teach the habit of securing the ball
which later on can be used to teach proper technique for catching in goal
keeping as well.
1. Secure the ball with both
hands, ensure that the index fingers and thumbs are as close as possible
(almost forming a "W" or "u" shape with fingers on the ball).
2. Bring the ball over the head
just behind the ears with your arms loose and elbows bent and flared out.
3. Stand with your feet a little
than shoulder-width apart with one foot in front of the other (start at a
standstill first, then add 1 step, then 2, and so on).
4. Face the field.
5. Bring your head, neck,
shoulders and trunk back, bending at the knees. 6. Thrust the ball forward
resulting in your entire body going forward.
7. Release the ball as it just
goes past the head.
The throw-in is a pass; so
therefore, it should have all the characteristics of a pass, i.e. played
to a teammate with the proper pace so that it can be controlled easily and
possession can be maintained.