Madhu Mohana's guide to the perfect long throw

Throw-ins take plenty of practice, says Singapore international and LionsXII defender Madhu Mohana. But get it right and it might just be a devastating weapon for your team...

"It takes experience and throwing hundreds of balls before you know what's going to happen by instinct. It doesn't come naturally; I spent most of my early career with the Young Lions perfecting my throw-ins. (Former Young Lions coach) Terry Pathmanathan asked me to give it a go because of my long arms."

1) It all starts in the gym

More after the break

"It goes without saying that you need upper body strength to execute a good throw-in. We do a lot of work on our shoulders and our chest in the gym. Bench presses help, as well as weights like dumbbells for the biceps and triceps. Doing it for two or three gym sessions a week doesn't sound like much and it won't be immediate. Give it some time and you'll notice the difference."

2) Get a good grip

"Both the ball and your hands cannot be wet. It's usually a problem with artificial turf when the ground is often damp. So first of all before you take a throw-in, try to make sure both the ball and your hands are dry. The grip and the way you hold the ball is important too. You have to make sure you wrap your hands around it, best if you arrange them in a sort of triangle at the back of the ball. A lot of people can't throw well because of their grip and the ball will often slip after the swinging motion."

3) Build up momentum

"A long run up is good, maybe around five metres would be excellent. You need to build up momentum before you fling the ball, small steps followed by larger strides. The last step is usually a huge stride, with my legs wide apart and my leading foot as close to the line as possible. Not over it though, or else it's a foul throw."

4) Find a balance

"You have to throw the ball evenly, which is harder than it sounds because most of us have a dominant arm. I try to make it as even as possible with my throwing action, so I know the ball will go more or less straight. The position where you stand is important too. My run up starts at the place where I want to throw. I don't like to come in at an angle so it's always straight on. You can see me cheating sometimes, moving a little here and there and trying to make sure I can throw it straight."

5) A matter of angles

"The swing is also an important part of a well-executed throw-in, for obvious reasons. You really need to get the ball all the way back before you fling it, so pull it as far back as you can go for the extra momentum and then swing it forward. Think of it like a catapult, you have to make it fast and smooth and let go at the correct instant. If you let go too early, it'll go high. If it's too late, it'll go straight down into the ground. The ideal release point is about a 45-degree angle up and in front of you.

6) Horses for courses

"There are two types of long throws I can execute. The first is a hard, flat one that goes fast, while the second is more of a lofted throw. If there are too many tall defenders in the box, I would sacrifice a bit of speed and throw it a bit higher so even if they get to the ball, they won't be able to clear it far and launch a counter-attack."

7) Have a target

"If you throw without any aim, there is no point. For example, if I have all the short strikers in the box, I can't just fling the ball in. On the other hand, a tall target man with good timing and aerial ability is something I can exploit with my throw-ins. Knowing the opposition is key too. Sometimes you'll know the goalkeeper likes to come off his line, so you can't throw it into the middle of the box where he can get to it easily. On the other hand, if you know he's not the kind to go for the ball, you try to aim it between your target man and the goalkeeper so he can run and jump. You'll have to watch the goalkeeper throughout the game and make mental notes about such things."

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