Properly Taken Throw-in


img_8839Question:

This is a question related to the throw-in. I have seen this called, and called it myself many times, but as I now look over the LOTG again, as well as advice, I find no backing for it. It could be that this is one of those that has historical significance and is no longer written, or I may have just been doing it wrong.

The LOTG states that a player must throw the ball with two hands, starting from behind the head. I have seen an addition, in practice, in which the thrower must throw the ball straight in the direction they are facing. For example, a red player taking a throw against blue team. Red player is facing towards blue team’s goal, but angles his arms during the throw to send the ball towards his own defensive player, the opposite direction that he is facing. I have also heard that it is illegal to throw the ball in a way that causes it to spin sideways. What is the correct ruling on this? I look forward to your answer before spring season starts in a couple of weeks.

USSF answer (March 11, 2009):
The USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” 2008-2009 edition, lifts the veil from the mystery of the throw-in. Read the first sentence of Advice 15.3:

15.3 PROPERLY TAKEN THROW-IN
A throw-in must be performed while the thrower is facing the field, but the ball may be thrown into the field in any direction. Law 15 states that the thrower “delivers the ball from behind and over his head.” This phrase does not mean that the ball must leave the hands from an overhead position. A natural throwing movement starting from behind and over the head will usually result in the ball leaving the hands when they are in front of the vertical plane of the body. The throwing movement must be continued to the point of release. A throw-in directed straight downward (often referred to as a “spike”) has traditionally been regarded as not correctly performed; if, in the opinion of the referee such a throw-in was incorrectly performed, the restart should be awarded to the opposing team.  There is no requirement in Law 15 prohibiting spin or rotational movement. Referees must judge the correctness of the throw-in solely on the basis of Law 15.

The acrobatic or “flip” throw-in is not by itself an infringement so long as it is performed in a manner which meets the requirements of Law 15.

A player who lacks the normal use of one or both hands may nevertheless perform a legal throw-in provided the ball is delivered over the head and provided all other requirements of Law 15 are observed.