Teaching Throw ins: Kids Learn by Doing, Not Watching

Kids don’t learn by watching. They learn by doing.

Coach demonstrates the throw in thinking explaining it will get the boys to do it right.

It was amazing to me that these 8 and 9 year old boys stood so politely watching their coach demonstrate and listening to their coach describe what they are to do with their throw ins. The coach was kind and pleasant and fun, but he went on and on. Like this, see? You see? Two hands over your head. See? Not like this. Not like this. Drag your back foot, like this. Okay? Watch again. Look at my foot. You have to have two feet on the ground. Okay?

Just let them try it!

The kids were standing. A few were making overhead throwing motions with their hands, but not a one was looking at the dragged foot. They needed to give it a try. They needed to move, use their bodies, see how it feels. For goodness sake, they can’t even see their back foot when they first execte the skill. Why would you say, look at this…

I wondered at the rows of parental chairs set up next to the practice session. They sat there quietly, watching politely, just like their sons. I can hardly contain myself and I don’t even have a kid on the team. I want to rush in and say, try it! See how far you can throw it, then run and chase it. Let’s see who can…

  • throw the furthest
  • hit the target
  • bean the coach

Let’s have some fun here!

Finally, Coach has them moving. But not throwing. They are pairing off. You throw to him. You throw to him.

I wait to see how many feet are lifted rather than dragged. The boys are poised to thrown and the coach stops them. Oh, one more thing (… I’m glad he didn’t hear my guffaw in the distance.) One more thing: don’t throw it like this, he says, and throws it into the ground. You don’t want to bounce it, you want to throw it high. This coupled with more arm-waving and motioning.

Coach has them organized in pairs, then tells them one more thing NOT to do when throwing it in. Notice where the only ball is in the picture.

Oh my. Finally, they throw. And of course it’s, “Ope. No. You lifted your foot. You too. Let me show you again.”

Of course. There are lots of things to learn about throwing the ball in. But the best teacher is the doing. Not too much instructing, at first. How many things can a kid think about at the same time? And, really, how many throw ins are there in a U8 game? When they have one, stop and ask them what went wrong. Give them another try. “This time, let’s see some mud on that toe after ward.”

Boys are good at mud. Not so much at putting words into play. Even worse at standing still. And what kind of players do you want out there? observers? or doers?

Short and sweet, coaches.

For more hints for fun, effective coaching, see Fit2Finish.com.


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