Importance of Throw Ins

It's well documented that set pieces are undervalued in terms of their potential for their goal creation, where a team has total control on delivery and execution. Could throw ins be the least appreciated of the lot?

Their importance has been brought to the world’s attention by Liverpool FC appointing the man with the world record for the longest throw in, Thomas Grønnemark who is an expert in the tactics and percentages around throw ins, and LFC see it as a way to take advantage of marginal gains.

To be honest, most clubs completely ignore this feature of the game. Unless you have someone with an exceptionally long throw, such as Rory Delap, it’s unlikely to be practised at all on the training pitch. For most clubs, throw ins are just a way of getting the ball back into play, and it is scary how often possession of the ball is just handed over to the opposition straight away.

So why practise or coach throw ins? As we have discussed previously, set pieces are an important part of the game [watch here]. Statistics show that, on average, there are 40 throw ins during a game, so that’s 20 times when you are attacking and 20 times that you have to defend them.

Grønnemark has helped a number of players and teams with throw ins. Working on players’ throw in technique can increase the distance of their throws as well as pace and direction, which can increase goalscoring opportunities from them.

One of the best known exponents of the long throw in was Rory Delap at Stoke City. During the 2008-09 season, Stoke created 53 efforts on goal from throw ins and scored eight goals, 15% of their total shots, which demonstrates just what a useful source of ammunition they can be.

And this is not just something which can be utilised at the top level. In a recent English National League fixture between Leyton Orient and Barrow, both teams found the back of the net as result of effective long throw in routines.

Technical staff can analyse and discuss but they will always have to implement for success.

With Globall Coach, clubs and coaches can create set piece programmes. Technical staff can create detailed ‘playbooks’ to visualise their routines to then communicate and present to players. 

And now, with the allowed use of technology on the touchline, they can even be updated in-game.

Paul Harper