Soccer drill to get players defending long throw ins

Long throw-ins have become fashionable in youth soccer, where they are about as effective as having free-kicks or corners, especially if they're near the goal. To defend against them, you need a basic set up with players aware of their responsibilities when the ball is played in. Use this soccer drill to get your players working on these skills.

Depending on the size and age of the players, you will normally see the long throw aimed at the near post – because the thrower cannot get it any further. Positioning starts with the goalkeeper who stays on their line at the near post.

Soccer drill to get players defending against long throw-ins

Drill set up

  • Each attacker in the drill must be marked goalside by a defender.

  • In first part of the drill diagram, an attacker makes a short run, so the defender goes with them to challenge for the header and prevent the flick on.
  • You need two spare defenders in the drill, one in the six yard box just ahead of the near goal post and the other midway between the thrower and the penalty area to block any pass back to the thrower.
  • Both should be on their toes ready to clear the ball if it drops into these areas.

Loading up the six-yard box

In the second diagram, the attackers have loaded the front of the six- yard box in the hope that one of them will get the nod down for the others to attack.

Get your players to man-mark again, but get another defender to move into the space in front of the attackers in case the throw lands short or for any defensive headers that come out that way.

Make sure your defenders are ready to run with the player they are marking, a loaded front leaves a lot of space behind to defend.

Click here for more soccer coaching throw-in tips.