Throw-In? Kick-In? Dribble-In?

by Erik Imler

In order to create a training session that flows with more positive soccer and provides plenty of opportunity for success, I repeatedly encourage our players to decide how they would like to re-start games after a ball has gone out of play.

  • Throw-In?
  • Kick-In?
  • Dribble-In?

Too often, a throw-in leads to another turnover. When I see this happen over and over again, I change the rule to either a kick-in or dribble-in.  Immediately, the player on the ball finds success and the game flows at a better pace and rhythm.

Video courtesy to Keep It On the Deck

Is the throw-in being introduced at too young an age?  Would youth soccer be better served to mandate the kick-in or dribble-in at the U9 and U10 levels?

Perhaps giving a player the option to make a decision…

  • Throw it in?
  • Kick it in?
  • Dribble it in?

Worth a discussion in my opinion.

About Erik Imler

A Retired Professional Player, NCAA Champion (1989,1991,1992), and 1992 U.S. Olympic Team (Barcelona, Spain)who is dis-satisfied with the status quo of youth soccer development in the United States and motivated to create a youth program that addresses the most prominent technical deficiencies in many youth players - passing & receiving.

  • to keep scrimmages and small games going we use two rules, 1, the player has the choice of throwing, kicking or dribbling each time the ball is played back in. 2, you only have four seconds to do so then the other team gets to play the ball in. the games move very quickly.

    with older kids (u12+) we use throw ins only add another rule that really speeds up the game. whichever team gets to the out of bounds ball first is the one that gets to play it back in. the 4 second rule still applies.

  • I think you have to balance the need for “keeping the game flowing” and teaching kids the mindset of being deliberate and wanting to keep the ball. If the goal is just to get the ball in play quickly you are going to get a never ending cycle if “playing it down the line” that may never end. At young ages throw ins can take forever because defenders are taught “mark up” but attackers rarely get any information other than the unspecific and undefined command to “get open”. But even as young as u8 many of players can start to grasp the idea of using space and “losing your man”. These concepts are much easier intrifuce, set up, and rehearse in a static restart situation. They will have hundreds of them over the corse of the season. Why not use this as an opportunity to teach/reinfurcecprinciples of play instead of just rushing the ball back into action?

  • I happen to be the lucky ref that is doing the new 7v7 format for the 7, 8 age group. the coaches and I realize this is instructional league and we will do our best to keep the game flowing.Since it is a restart,we treated it as such.On the bench side I let the coaches coach.Minor infractions we let it go and correct it on the next throw in, I will do a do over if it is really done improperly. The players learn to do it correctly in a short amount of time. Its all about touches,keep the game flowing.

  • Pass-in
    Instead of calling it a Kick-in, can we call it a Pass-in? I think that U9 and U10 should play with a Pass-in, not a throw-in. It is easy to learn a throw-in at a later age. A Pass-in will give a player to work on his technique in a less pressured situation than during the run of play.

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