ADVANCED THROW-IN – THE FLIP THROW
The “flip” throw-in, also known as the “handspring” throw-in, is the combination of a gymnastics front-handspring and a soccer throw-in. Designed to meet all of the requirements of Law 15, “The Throw-in,” the flip throw, when performed properly, is completely legal. A gymnastics front-handspring involves a short sprint run-up, a forward bend at the waist that allows the hands to contact the floor, forcing the legs up and over the body to continue a circular motion, finally bringing the feet back to contact the floor. Instead of using the hands to contact a floor, however, a soccer ball is held tightly in both hands and the ball is used to contact the ground.
To perform the flip throw-in:
- The player must first be able to effectively, consistently, and comfortably perform a front handspring. (See below.)
- The ball is to be gripped very tightly, equally with both hands, similar to the “Goalkeeper’s-W,” in a way that the wrist and thumbs will be able to absorb the shock of the ball contacting the ground without becoming dislodged.
- The sprint, or “run-up” to the throw must be measured to start far enough outside the touchline to allow for the full rotation of the body and for the feet to land close to – but still outside* – the sideline. Players should always calculate this distance so that they never have to be concerned that their feet will land inside the field of play.
- The ball may be moved from side-to-side as the run-up takes place, but this must be done with both arms so that the grip on the ball with both hands is not lost.
- The ball is taken to the ground and the front handspring performed.
- As both feet are then returned to the ground outside the sideline, the target is spotted as the rotation is ending.
- The momentum of the handspring is used to catapult the ball from behind and over the head, equally with both hands, into the center of the field.
- The momentum of the body usually takes the player to the ground inside the field of play, with the hands used to break the fall. This is a legal throw-in as long as, after delivering the ball, both feet continue to stay in contact with the ground at the point where the ball first went out of bounds.
*This allows for a margin of error in case the feet land on the touchline itself.
The Front Handspring
Start with a Handstand
A basic handstand can be performed indoors on mats, with a spotter or a wall, or outside using a spotter. A spotter standing to the side should simply provide an outstretched arm to meet the legs, just as a wall.
- Identify the desired location for the placement of the hands on the floor or ground.
- With the feet together, extend the arms overhead.
- Lift the “strong” or preferred leg off the floor or the ground.
- Step forward with the preferred leg and plant the foot solidly on the floor or ground.
- Bend forward from the waist, planting both palms, shoulder-width apart, on the floor or the ground approximately 24-inches in front of the preferred foot.
- Swing the other leg up into the air, locking the knee, moving into the reverse-vertical or handstand position.
- Draw the preferred leg up into the air, so that both legs are together.
- Control the angular momentum of the legs. Stop when the heels hit the wall or the calves hit the outstretched arm of the spotter.
- Hold the handstand position.
- Return the preferred leg, then the other leg, to the floor or the ground.
- Continue to practice the handstand until the inverted vertical position can be established and maintained without using the wall or the spotter.
Move to the full Handspring
Now using a spotter only in an open space:
- From the handstand position, press forcefully through your palms and propel both legs and the body forward to simulate a complete rotation.
- Land with your feet together on the ground and your arms fully extended over your head.
Add the Run-up
Include a running start to complete the full progression of the skill. Still using a spotter:
- Take at least three running steps.
- Plant the preferred foot as in the handstand.
- Lean your torso forward and plant your palms on the ground approximately a full torso and arm length in front of your plant foot, keeping your elbows straight.
- Swing the other leg up and over, going through the handstand position.
- Follow with the plant leg.
- Press off with your arms, completing the rotation.
- Land with both feet together, flat on the ground.
Soccer Coaching Tips:
- The flip throw is almost always performed deep toward the goalline at a 90-degree angle to the sideline. In accordance with the Law, the ball must be delivered from where it went out.
- This is a designed or set play. The play must be prepared in advance. This is often practiced similarly to a corner kick.
- The ball must be dry.
- The hands must be dry.
- The thrower must have good cleats (with a firm grip to the turf).
- The flip throw is best performed on dry, natural surfaces with good traction.
- The front handspring portion of the flip throw is best taught by a qualified gymnastics instructor.
- Fields are marked differently and some have fencing, running tracks, or ad (dasher) boards around the perimeter. Before performing a flip throw, the player and coach must ensure that there is sufficient space available from any obstructions to be able to safely perform the run-up.
- There is a modification to the flip throw where the ball is actually pre-positioned on the ground and, instead of running with the ball, the player picks it up as part of the handspring.
© Copyright, John C. Harves