A throw in, also known as an inbound pass, is a method of putting the ball into play in a basketball game. During a throw in, the referee gives the ball to an offensive player who is standing out of bounds either on the sidelines or baselines. The referee blows his whistle and the ball becomes live. Then, the player taking the throw in has five seconds to pass the ball to a teammate who is inbounds or the ball will be turned-over to the other team.
Throw ins will always happen on a spot around the boundary lines either on the sidelines or baselines. Most throw ins have to occur in a specific spot, but some allow the player to run along the baseline to find the best angle and positioning.
There are three general places that the throw in will take place:
During a throw in, the game clock and shot clock stop ticking because the ball is dead and out of bounds. The game clock and shot clock will start ticking again immediately when the ball is thrown in and touched by any player that is inbounds.
PRO TIP: On a baseline throw in, you can move along the entire baseline and even pass the ball to a teammate behind the baseline for them to throw in. However, you still only have five seconds to make the throw in.
On throw ins, there is a great opportunity for the opposing team to steal the ball. Defending players will guard close to boundary lines to prevent the thrower from making the inbound pass. Typically, a player will stand directly in front of the in-bounding player to try to catch the ball and obtain an easy steal. You can learn more about steals in Basketball Steals.
Another defensive strategy is trapping. On a trap, defensive players will trap the player who catches the throw in in the corner of the court or near the boundary lines. You can learn more about traps in Basketball Traps.
In youth basketball and some college games, alternating possession is used to determine which team gets the ball and how the ball is put into play. With alternate possession, throw ins are used rather than jump balls. An alternate-possession arrow device shows which team starts with the ball and changes once the ball is thrown into play.