What is a Throw-In in Soccer?

What is a Throw-In in Soccer?

What is a throw-in in soccer? A throw-in is awarded to a team when the opposing team touches the ball and it crosses over the touchline either on the ground or in the air.

throw-in soccerIf you watch soccer games frequently, you’ve probably noticed the players using different moves and techniques. Still, there are some set pieces in soccer that you may not pay too close attention to, and one of them is the throw-in.

The throw-in is perhaps one of the least considered set pieces, even though it’s quite common during a single match.

Let’s see what the throw-in involves and how you can perfect it during your games.

What is a Throw-In?

A throw-in is a unique circumstance when a field player is allowed to use their hands to return the ball to the playing field.

The opponents of the player who last touched the ball before it went outside the pitch will be the ones tossing the ball.

For a throw-in to be given to the opposing team, the ball has to completely cross a sideline in the air or along the ground.

Although it doesn’t seem like an important part of the game, it absolutely is. It provides a team to maintain possession and, in some cases, get the ball in bounds before the opponents are ready.

According to American Soccer Analysis, throw-ins made about 5% of a match’s total passes between the 2015 and 2018 MLS seasons. In total, there are around 44 throw-ins in a Major League Soccer game.

In any MLS or international match, you can expect between 40-60 throw-ins. About 50% of their throw-ins are completed by their own teammates.

Is a Throw-In the Same as a Corner Kick?

When you read about throw-ins for the first time, they may sound similar to corner kicks. But don’t get them mixed up – they have different rules.

As already mentioned, throw-ins take place whenever a ball manages to cross a pitch’s sideline completely.

Corner kicks work a bit differently. They happen when a ball crosses the goal line, then goes out of bounds either by ground or by air.

However, the player will not grab the soccer ball with his hands to throw it back into the pitch. Instead, they will do a direct free kick by foot at the corner of the sideline and goal line.

Is it Possible to Score Goals from a Throw-In?

Scoring a goal from a throw-in sounds like a strong arm, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately for all the cannon arms out there, a player cannot score a goal from the throw. The technique is just like an indirect free kick – therefore, it doesn’t allow the player to score any goal using their throw directly.

Another caveat is that the player who throws the ball is not allowed to touch the ball before another player touches it.

Otherwise, they would be able to simply toss it in front of them, get control of it, and try to score a goal.

When a player throws it in, the ball has to be tossed to a teammate or an opposing player, which will restart the game and allow you to join the fun once again.

The Proper Way to Do a Throw-In


Learning how to do throw-ins is fundamental if you are going to play soccer.

Don’t worry – it’s not complicated. You simply need some tips and a little bit of practice, and you’ll master them in no time.

Here are the steps you should go through to perform a throw-in:

  1. With both of your hands, pick up the ball, touching each side of it. Make sure you space your hands evenly on it.
  2. Put your feet on the area where the ball exited the pitch. One of your feet can be partially inside the playing field if part of it is behind the touchline or on it.
  3. Slightly arch your back. This will give you more leverage and power for the throw.
  4. Make sure you bring the ball up and over the top of your head.
  5. Arch your back forward while putting your arms up and forward. Then, fully extend your arm and, with a flick of your wrists, let the ball go.
  6. Go back onto the field and join the game again but refrain from touching the ball before another player does it first.

Tips for Better Throw-Ins

Knowing the steps above is necessary, but it’s not always enough to perform a good throw-in. So, if you want to be a great player, here are some tips that can help improve your throw-ins:

  • Consider a Quick Throw-In – A smart thing you can do is a quick throw-in. While running to pick up the ball, look for chances to quickly throw the soccer ball in. This will catch your opponents off-guard, giving your team an advantage.
  • Make Sure You’re There for a Return Pass – After throwing it back onto the field of play to help support your teammates if they need to bounce it back to you.
  • Consider Who Throws it in – Typically, you’ll want your back-line to take throw-ins as other field players (like a midfielder or striker) are ahead of you. And, this allows the defense to get back inbounds as a safety.


There’s not much more to say about throw-ins! It’s a basic but important part of the game of soccer.

At a young age, it is important to get the proper mechanics down. As players get older, practicing throw-ins will become obsolete. It then turns into moving in and out of space when you aren’t the player throwing it in.

Like always, practice, practice, practice!

If you enjoyed this article, please check out the rest of our posts for more actionable soccer advice.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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