4 Tips for Defending a Long Throw-In
At some point in your team's season, your going to come across opponents that have one or two players that can throw the ball from the touchline into the heart of the penalty area.
These long throw-ins are very hard to defend, and your team has to be prepared to deal with them.
Here are four tips for defending against long-throw-ins.
1. Acknowledge and Identify Early
When you face a team that has a player that can launch the ball into the heart of the penalty area, it is essentially like defending a corner. Your players have to be able to acknowledge and identify a team with a long-thrower early in the match, before too much damage can be done.
It is critical to figure out who the key targets are for the long-thrower, assign someone to track them, and make sure that your back-four and covering midfielders are working in unison under the guidance of the goalkeeper to ensure that you don't concede too often from long throw-ins.
2. Organize And Lockdown Marks
There will most likely be one player that is good in the air who the long thrower is looking for, a big, barrel chested player that is large in physical stature and wants to go up, climb the ladder, and wreak havoc in the 18-yard box by winning the ariel duels.
Zero-in on who that player is, and chose one of your team's best players in the air to mark them out of the game and ensure that things don't get ugly early on.
Matching up your best ariel enforcer verse their big target will help negate some of the danger from a long throw-in.
3. Over Communicate
Your goalkeeper has to be the on-field general who directs traffic when you defend against a long throw-in. Shout, yell, and howl directions, do whatever it takes to make sure everyone knows, and is on top of, their assignments for defending against the long throw-in.
Far too many teams aren't verbal enough, aren't organized enough, and aren't comfortable yelling at their teammates to mark-up. This is not an option if your team is going to be successful.
It is absolutely critical that your players trust each other enough to give loud, direct, verbal feedback to one another during a match.
4. Defend Touch-Tight
There has to be some very clear parameters established for your team as to how tight-marking is defined.
Marking a player has to be a very up close and personal experience, you've got to defend long throw-ins touch-tight, where you are always close enough to your opponent so that you can reach out and touch them: challenge shoulder to shoulder, get an arm on them to slow their progress, jockey for position, or even sneak the occasional tug of the jersey as the situation dictates.
There is no room for loose defending if your up against a team that has a big throw-in, so get touch tight and minimize the chance of conceding.