Only goalkeepers are allowed to use their hands in the field of play. However when a ball is kicked out of bounds along the touchlines, a field player can throw the ball inbounds with certain rules. In this tutorial, we will learn about one of the ways to restart play after the ball has crossed the touchline - the throw-in.
The touchlines are the long lines on each side of a soccer pitch. When the ball completely crosses the touchline, either from a deflection or errant pass, the team that did not last touch the ball is awarded a throw-in to restart play. For this reason, the area just outside the touchline should remain clear of any equipment, signs or other players, because it can see a lot of action.
A throw-in is the act of throwing the ball back into play after it has been kicked out of bounds along the touchline. A throw-in is taken by the team who did not kick the ball out of bounds and must be done within two yards of the spot where the ball crossed the touchline. The player throwing the ball is not allowed to have their foot on the touchline before or during the throw, and must make a two-handed throw, with the ball starting behind the player's head. Once the throw is completed, the player is allowed back in the field of play.
Both feet must be touching the ground at the time that the ball leaves the players' hand. Some players are so skilled at generating power and distance on their throw-in that they can send the ball all the way into the penalty box from a parallel spot on the touchline. Even more remarkable are the players who can perform a flip throw-in!
On a throw-in, teammates on the field will make runs to get open and receive the ball either at their feet or in space. The player taking the throw-in can wait a few moments until there is a good opportunity to connect with an open teammate. However, if the thrower delays for an excessive amount of time just to avoid turning over the ball, they will be warned by the center official and told to hurry up play.
Hand and Feet Placement
As mentioned above, the ball must be held with two hands and first go behind the head before release. Both feet (or part of the foot) must be touching the ground and behind the touchline. If a player violates these rules, the ball will be awarded at the same spot with a throw-in for the opposing team.
Getting Extra Yardage
To gain an advantage, some players will turn their body as if to make a throw-in and then creep up the sideline closer to their own offensive goal, claiming a few extra yards. The center official will watch for this behavior and, if it is excessive, motion to the thrower to return to the spot where the ball left the field of play.
Scoring on Throw-ins
In addition, a goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in. The ball must touch another offensive or defensive player on the field before it is considered a live ball. If the ball goes directly into the offensive goal, a corner kick is awarded. If the ball goes directly into the player's own goal, their teammate (usually the goalkeeper) will take a goal kick.