Set-pieces are one of the universal tools available to any team at all levels of the game. But more often than not, their effectiveness isn’t fully realised. When issued correctly, set-pieces can create additional outlets for scoring goals and add a whole new dimension to a team’s overall attacking prowess.

Throw-ins are the simplest way of returning the ball to the field of play both in design and execution. Teams have increasingly valued the importance of throw-ins at top levels of the game and the rewards are clear to see; with entire teams even being forged around their effectiveness.

Look no further than Tony Pulis’ tenure at Stoke City as a perfect example of their significance. Using Rory Delap’s long-throwing ability, Pulis was able to visibly rattle and subsequently exploit his opponents. By putting the opposition on the back foot during these set-pieces, it allowed his side to dictate a controlled passage of the game which was highly effective for accumulating points over the duration of a season – particularly against the league’s elite teams.


At grassroots level, defending is far less structured than preferred. Therefore, throw-ins pose a tantalising prospect for attackers to exploit the opposition’s disorganisation. If a player has a long throw, this can create an uncomfortable environment for defenders to carry out their roles. But the chances of a player possessing a throw long enough to warrant dedicating an entire set-piece to this tactic is highly unlikely.

Intentions should instead be focused towards gaining extra yards and/or opening up pockets of space, depending on where the throw-in is being taken from. This can be achieved through making headway down the channels. By doing this, not only are you clearly identifying to the rest of your teammates of where they should head – directly into the box – you are also nullifying the chances of a possible counterattack. This technique requires quick-thinking and fast reactions to catch defenders by surprise.

Defending throw-ins at grassroots should be done so in the more traditional manner. Zonal marking will only exacerbate any concerns that players may have in regards to defensive responsibilities – particularly those that are naturally positioned further upfield. Opting to man mark means that each individual knows exactly who they are responsible for taking care of and limits the potential for confusion.

To apply this strategy, we at Discount Football Kits offer a variety of accessories that can supplement your training and aid in your team’s development surrounding throw-ins. One way to practice the advice given for this particular set-piece is through the use of cones.

While typically serving to improve individual player skills and endurance, markers can also be used to outline a particular area that should either be utilised or avoided. In this case, the cones will be placed down to form a designated area.

Once the markers are set, one player will start further infield and look to move into the space, uninterrupted. This can even become an individual drill in itself where one team is assigned as defenders and the others attacking. Instead of relying on one player to complete the task, you open up the floor for all attackers to potentially move into the space and therefore increase the difficulty for both teams.


In 5 or 6-a-side football, throw-ins are the least important/effective set-piece. This is due to the nature of the game at that level and the limitations that are underlined by certain rules and facilities. But this isn’t to say that there aren’t ample opportunities to incorporate them effectively – it merely requires a more cunning approach.

Considering that throw-ins are rolled into play as opposed to traditionally being thrown in like the name suggests, quick responses become imperative. The way to do this is ensuring that your attackers are as alert as the throw-in taker is. By rolling the ball into the designated area without hesitation and with the right amount of pace behind it, you will likely catch opponents off-guard and thus, underprepared.

In order to enable your team to roll the ball in behind the back line, you must possess an attacker with both speed and a strong first touch. If these attributes are covered then your accuracy becomes the focal point. If you under roll the ball, the defender will cut out the attack with ease. Similarly, if you over roll it, you’ll give the goalkeeper enough of a chance to act upon his instincts and claim the ball before your attacker is able to bring it under control.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a player with speed or if your opponents eventually cotton on, playing it short can be just as beneficial. A lot of the same rules still apply – your players must be switched on and prepared to receive the ball as quickly as possible. The likely outcome is that the receiver will have a little more time on the ball and should use this to create space for teammates further forward.

Due to the speed and intensity that 5/6-a-side football brings, breaks are few and far between. If your team is winning, throw-ins can help provide some much-needed respite. Rolling the ball back towards your own goal allows players to drop deeper, giving them more time on the ball which supervises in retaining possession. In addition to this, these periods can aid in slowing down the tempo of the game, drawing opponents out of position to exploit gaps or gaining a stronger foothold in the game when your team are being dominated.

When it comes to defending throw-ins, there is a decreased risk involved at this level due to the lower numbers on either team. This affords players the freedom to be a little more audacious. Despite this, it still isn’t advised that you issue zonal marking to defend throw-ins. This will only open up the possibility of becoming outnumbered and as a result, conceding a goal. By deploying man marking, this problem is substantially minimised since each defender is responsible for containing an assigned opponent and that room for interpretation that zonal marking promotes is eliminated almost entirely.

As for how to implement these recommendations at 5/6-a-side level, Discount Football Kits suggests the use of speed and agility equipment. Considering that this level of football is played at such a break-neck speed, it’s crucial that you are able to maintain this intensity in the design and execution of your throw-ins.

Speed and agility equipment specifically focuses on increasing a player’s sharpness and reactions. These are two vital components that the set-piece simply cannot function without. A way to implemented the equipment in aiding your set-piece is to assign players a particular pattern that they must replicate inside a speed ladder before then moving into a designated space and receiving the ball from the throw-in taker.


To find the full range of products listed in the article as well as any others we deem suitable for the development of the outlined set-piece, here are the links:

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