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Law XV - Additional Information

The throw-in is probably the most common restart you will administer during a game. With a narrow field, you may have 50 to 60 throw-ins during a 90 minute game. As the field gains width and the players gain ball-handling skills, the number of throw-ins decreases.


The original Laws of the Game stated that when a ball went into touch (out-of-bounds over the touchline), "the first player who touches it shall kick or throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground. " While some elements have changed (the referee now designates which team is entitled to the throw-in and it must be thrown), some aspects of the throw-in remain constant, such as the location.

There are several tactical variations during the throw-in that you must sense. Does a team want to take a long throw-in for a scoring opportunity? Do they want a short throw-in to maintain team possession? Will they bleed as much time off the clock as possible with a one-goal margin of victory in the latter stages of a match? Be aware of those changing tactics and read play to gain the best position possible. Talk with a team captain to speed the ball into play before it becomes a problem. Caution as needed if the team continues its stalling tactics.

Just as the tactics change given the score, time remaining and players involved, the dynamics of the throw-in change as play moves up and down the line. Do you expect the ball to be thrown down the line, with the likely possibility of another throw-in direction decision? Will the ball be thrown to the goalkeeper? If so, remind yourself of what to do if the keeper handles the ball. Will the throw-in be thrown to a midfielder who may whack the ball long? Your awareness of that may allow you to clear the passing lane so you are not struck by the ball.

Because it is a difficult skill for players to master, judging short throw-ins tends to be more difficult than judging longer throw-in. Most often, players violate the provision, "The throwing movement must be continued to the point of release." When making a short throw-in, a high percentage of players deliver the ball from over and behind their head, move the ball in front of their body, stop all motion and then drop the ball to their teammate.

There are referees who love to spot and call illegal throw-ins. Some referees boast at association meetings they caught 12 to 15 illegal throws in their last game. Don't be one of those referees. Other referees contend that flip throw-ins present a danger to the thrower and whistle them as an infraction.


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