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Throw-Ins and Transitions

This is an excerpt from Lesson Planning for Middle School PE With Web Resource by Robert Doan,Lynn Couturier MacDonald & Stevie Chepko.


Grade-Level Outcomes

Primary Outcomes

  • Creates open space with offensive tactics: Executes at least one of the following offensive tactics to create open space: moves to open space without the ball; uses a variety of passes, pivotsand fakes; give and go. (S2.M2.6)
  • Transitions: Transitions from offense to defense or defense to offense by recovering quickly. (S2.M6.6)

Embedded Outcome

  • Working with others: Accepts differences among classmates in physical development, maturation and varying skill levels by providing encouragement and positive feedback. (S4.M4.6)

Lesson Objectives

The learner will:

  • know how and when to perform a throw-in.
  • create open space by applying the skills learned during pin soccer.
  • transition from offense to defense and defense to offense quickly.

Equipment and Materials

  • 1 soccer ball for every 2 students
  • 2 pins and 1 soccer ball for every field


Keep studying the rules of soccer. Today, we will learn how to perform throw-ins and when they occur.

Explain and then have students model how to perform throw-ins. Discuss with students how they will apply the skills they have learned thus far in a modified game. Explain how they will play pin soccer, including the rules. Review the skills and answer any questions.

Instructional Task: Throw-Ins

Practice Task

Students learn how to throw the ball into play and how to collect the throw-in. Group students in partners about 5 yards or meters apart:

  • One partner throws the ball in and the other uses his body and feet to trap the ball.
  • Once the receiver gains possession of the ball, he switches roles and performs a throw-in.


Collect the throw-in when the ball is not thrown at the feet. (Players use the body, chest, torso, and legs to drop the ball to the ground to collect it.)


Remind students to drag the foot and keep it on the ground.

Guiding questions for students:

  • Why is it important to step while throwing in?
  • When collecting the throw-in, what part of your body can you use?
  • When performing throw-ins, where are you aiming and why?

Embedded outcome: S4.M4.6.Discuss with students the differences in skill level that classmates might have in physical development, maturation, and varying skill levels. Provide opportunities in this task for students to offer classmates encouragement and positive feedback.

Student Choices/Differentiation

  • If students are struggling with stepping, have them work on throwing the ball with their arms only.
  • For lower-skilled students, have them focus on stepping and dragging the foot without the ball.

What to Look For

  • Are students using correct technique and making legal throw-ins?
  • How are they collecting the throw-ins?

Instructional Task: Creating Open Space

Practice Task

In grids, four students move throughout the grid, finding open areas to pass and receive passes.

Using the traditional pass with the inside of the foot, students pass to open areas or lead the person they are passing to toward an open area.

Students also practice long passes. Using the laces of the shoe as the contact point, they swing with power to move the ball a greater distance to open up space or get the ball away from close defenders.

Students use the heel or sole of the shoe to pass the ball backward, away from defenders.


One or two students in the grid become defenders trying to get the ball away, as the other three make passes to create space.

Guiding questions for students:

  • How does each pass help create space?
  • What changes does adding defenders make?

Student Choices/Differentiation

  • Extend the grid size when adding the defensive person.
  • Focus on one type of pass if a student is struggling to perform one or more.

What to Look For

  • Are students using correct technique for the passes they are intending?
  • Are they able to create open space with their passes?
  • Is there a pass that needs to be practiced more or retaught?

Instructional Task: Pin Soccer

Practice Task

Put one pin on each side of the field about a quarter way up the field, with a 15 x 15-foot (4.5 x 4.5 m) area around the pin that no one may enter. In teams of four or five, students try to knock over the other team's pin by kicking the ball. If the ball goes out of bounds, students put it back into play by throw-in.

When a pin is knocked down, the scoring team immediately drops back on defense, and the defensive team goes on attack. Emphasize transitioning from offense to defense and back again.

Games are played for 4 to 5 minutes, and then teams rotate to a new field.


Limit the number of dribbles players may take after receiving the ball. That forces them to pass, creating a challenge for the ball handler and creating greater need for effective offensive transitioning.


  • When on offense, continue to move around and into areas where defenders are not.
  • While passing, position the pass to an area that helps a teammate find an open area to continue to move the ball down the field, or take an open shot using the passing techniques from the previous practice task.

Guiding questions for students:

  • Why is it important to find or create open space?
  • How can this be done?
  • What are some key points for transitioning from offense to defense and defense to offense?
  • How does the defender need to be positioned to cover more than one offensive play?
  • Where are you aiming when throwing in and why?

Student Choices/Differentiation

  • Reduce or increase the size of the playing zone where the pin is located, based on students' ability to knock the pin over.
  • Make team size smaller to increase the number of touches for each student.

What to Look For

  • Are students using the correct throw-in techniques? (See following evaluation sheet.)
  • Are students using the skills that they have learned to move into or create open space?
  • Are students switching from offense to defense and knowing what to do?

Formal and Informal Assessments

  • Informal assessment
  • Exit slip: List two or three critical elements of transitions from offense to defense or defense to offense.


  • Review with students how to perform the throw-in and when it occurs.
  • Discuss with students how they applied the skills and how they worked together as a team.


  • Do students understand how to throw the ball in and when to do so?
  • How did the teams work together on offense and on defense?
  • What can you take away from this to discuss with students in the next lessons?


Review the rules of soccer.

At home or during recess, continue to work on the skills and critical elements that we have learned (especially the different kicks and transitions).


Internet keyword search: "types of kicks," "transitions in invasion sports"

Throw-In Evaluation




Learn more about Lesson Planning for Middle School Physical Education.

More Excerpts From Lesson Planning for Middle School PE With Web Resource