Burly GorMahia forward Enock Agwanda made the headlines this past weekend, with a massive throw in that helped GorMahia get past City Stars in closely contested encounter.
When the match seemed destined for a 1 all draw, Enock Agwanda rose to send in a terrific throw in, close to the flag, for Collins Okoth to notch home the match winner. He joins a list of other players led by Rory Delap, all of whom have special abilities when it comes to throw-ins.
The long throw-in is an important set play in football. The farther a player can throw the ball the larger the area in which their team mates may receive the ball and the greater the scoring opportunities. But is it all about physical strength? Certainly not. Besides the physical strength, there comes lots of physics and mathematics with it.
Scientists at the University of Brunel in a past research, estimated that a player should throw the ball at an optimal angle of 30 degrees to the horizontal. Using a video simulation of a player who throws the ball at between 10 and 60 degrees, the scientists used bio-mechanical software to establish the speed and motion of the ball at all these different angles. By using mathematical equations which express the flight of a spherical object, the scientists established that the optimum angle for a throw in should be 30 degrees.
It was hence established that if the ball is thrown at this angle, then it gives the ball chance to fly all the way to the box.
To produce a long throw the player must project the ball at high speed and at an appropriate angle.
This is a special talent, and at times, the throw-ins are more accurate that an ordinary free kick. In a report published by Nicholas Linthorne and David Everett, the following are the steps taken in the approach of this special throw-ins;
• Approach – Such players with this special ability have a special initial approach. First, the few steps they take back helps them gain strong momentum. This momentum is transferred to the ball as they throw it in.
• Throwing Technique- The shoulder and lower back muscles are involved here. Momentum on the ball is maximized by a whip-like action when the ball is released. This makes it move forward faster.
• Release- The ball is released at an angle of between 25-35 degrees. The arm muscles apply maximum force, giving the ball speed and distance forward.
• Trajectory- To enable the ball reach the target faster, it is thrown on a flat trajectory, releasing it with a lot of backspin. At most times, the ball tends to defy gravity, as in spite of being released at a low angle, the backspin creates a lift on the ball and it travels straight. Such a ball on flat trajectory is often more accurate than a corner, as it comes with an increased pace and gives defenders lots of problems in clearing it.
Therefore, when taking a long throw, it is advisable that the player should deliberately launch the ball a few degrees below the optimum release angle. This helps reduce the flight time of the throw without substantially reducing the throw distance, and hence provide the attacking team with a greater element of surprise. The player taking the throw-in should also launch the ball with a high backspin. This increases the distance of the throw.