Soccer Ball Throw Ins (Oct 2021)

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      I wanted to do this two years ago but opted instead for the full planche. That’s taking forever so I’m giving myself a break to do this one. The long throw in used to be a Rory Delap trademark but more recently attention has been brought to it by Liverpool, who employed a throw in specialist (Thomas Grønnemark).

      I plan to test my throw in for maximum distance, then spend a few weeks seeing how much I can improve it.

      There’s a lower league club on YouTube who tested each player with one throw, and that’s a nice benchmark for what a decent throw is. Rory Delap was probably approaching 40m based on his position on the sideline and where it landed.


        WEEK 0

        6 Oct

        Practice Throw Ins – 5m, 10m, 15m, 10 x ~20m

        This was a quick check to see if my garden was long enough, but even before training I’m able to throw it the full length. I have a park about 5 minutes walk from me so that’s fine to use.

        WEEK 1

        11 Oct

        Throw Ins (1) – 15.5,16.3,17.0,15.0,15.5 (foul), 15.8, 18.2, 15.3, 16.7, 16.1m

        Median Throw: 15.95m
        Best Throw: 18.20m

        I’m limiting myself to a 2.5m run up, because depending on the stadium the advertising boards can be quite close to the pitch so it’s not always possible to take a big long run up. I was quite pleased with these until I saw the Hashtag United video after and I’d come dead last for distance. This was also shorter than my garden, but that was measured quite roughly. I am on a slight incline here which I wouldn’t expect to make more than 1m difference but I could be wrong.

        13 Oct

        Throw Ins (2) – 16.7,18.1,17.0,16.9,17.1,18.6,18.8,18.3,17.6,15.0m

        Median Throw: 17.35m
        Best Throw: 18.8m

        The only change here was a proper upper body warm up (in session 1 it was the standard arm swings that footballers do) and some activation exercises. Link here.

        Throw Ins (3) – 17.6,18.2,18.6,19.0,19.1,19.4,17.7,18.5,18.6,18.0m

        Median Throw: 18.55m
        Best Throw: 19.40m

        I had 10 minutes rest, in which time I watched a video I bookmarked from none other than the Liverpool throw in coach. The two things I changed was a slightly narrower hand position, so thumbs are 3-4cm apart, and some attempt at releasing the ball with backspin. I was pleased to have such consistency but also expected more. He has a YouTube channel and afterwards I watched a few more, generally players improve by 5-15m once all his training is complete so 1.2m on my median throw is okay for a first session.

        16 Oct

        Throw Ins (4) – not measured

        These were in my garden, I feel training three times a week will be optimal.

        Drawing on my experience of vertical jump I’m not going to rush into skull crushers or med ball throws, instead I will repeat the same week, possibly multiple times, to improve through technique alone.

        Beyond that I plan to draw on the throwing events (mainly javelin) as I feel they have more to teach about long throwing than going to soccer resources.


          WEEK 2

          18 Oct

          Throw Ins (Session 4.1) – 10 throws, median 17.5m
          Throw Ins (Session 4.2) – 10 throws, median 17.6m

          20 Oct

          Throw Ins (Session 5.1) – 10 throws, median 17.6m
          Throw Ins (Session 5.2) – 10 throws, median 18.2m

          I’m starting to get consistency, the problem before was I was trying a flat throw so it was never going much above head height to begin with which is obviously not the optimal release angle. Now I pretend I’m throwing it for someone to head in the box and I don’t try to be too clever with an aggressive run up or quick release.

          22 Oct

          Throw Ins (Session 6.1) – 10 throws, median 19.0m
          Throw Ins (Session 6.2) – 10 throws, median 17.9m

          I should note that the pitch I go to is a slight incline, while this was in my garden which is flat. That being said, I did feel really good and I got a new max effort of 19.6m and several others around that distance. I was questioning whether I will gain anything from another week of purely practicing throw ins without changing anything else but I want to stick with it and see where it takes me.


            WEEK 3

            25 Oct

            Throw Ins (Session 7) – 10 throws, median 17.7m

            27 Oct

            Throw Ins (Session 8.1) – 10 throws, median 17.6m
            Throw Ins (Session 8.2) – 10 throws, median 17.5m

            If I’m making progress in technique it’s very slow. Next week I plan to introduce some core exercises.


              WEEK 4

              1 Nov

              Off – I had laser tattoo removal on the Friday and so skipped sessions on the 30th and 1st.

              3 Nov

              Med Ball Slams – 3 x 5 x 5kg
              Throw Ins (Session 9) – 10 throws, median 16.5m
              Med Ball Slams – 1 x 5 x 5kg
              Swiss Ball Crunch – 3 x 12 x 15kg
              Swiss Ball Stir the pot (ABC) – 3 x 30 secs

              These were dire, I barely got over 17m the whole session. I did two things differently, the first was that I did these at 10am with only a banana for fuel, and secondly I added 3 sets of med ball slams in the warm up. It’s likely a mixture of both so I’ll avoid anything intense prior to my throws from now on.

              6 Nov

              Throw Ins (Session 10) – 10 throws, median 19.8m
              Med Ball Slams – 4 x 5 x 5kg
              Swiss Ball Crunch – 3 x 15 x 15kg
              Swiss Ball Stir the pot (ABC) – 3 x 30 secs

              Much better. This included a new personal best of 20.3m. Now the one thing I changed here was that I had a coffee this morning so it’s possible caffeine has boosted my throws, but they felt great. I’ve got to a level of consistency where I don’t expect my median throw to be much different in the second set of throws, so I’m stopping after 10. There’s an argument that 20 throws is better for practicing technique but other than adding backspin I can’t see any big jumps in my technique from here.

              The med ball slams are with a Mirafit slam ball, then the swiss ball stir the pot (ABC) means I write out the alphabet with my elbows, instead of the traditional circular motion while holding a plank. I really like these three and don’t expect to change them, the next step is to add direct shoulder/arm work but that can be in a few weeks time.

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