Football Throw-ins & When A Microskill Makes Macro Difference

Thomas Gronnemark is a man in demand. In his native Denmark he switched from his own athletic pursuits, turning to coaching in 2004. Specifically focussing on football’s throw-ins.

With demonstrable success at league sides.

Since joining Liverpool FC’s payroll this season much has been made of his niche.

For years I’ve bemoaned lack of attention to this area. I practised long throws myself. He goes way farther. Literally and figuratively.

Dinosaurs fill the airwaves with derision. It was similar when England cricket employed the Warwickshire-Zimbabwe fielding expertise of Trevor Penney. A coach for throwing? Pur-lease, the supposed purists wailed. Yet humble pie was slathered on their plates when many of his coachings finally and unexpectedly won us The Ashes back.

Not least of which was giving the squad archery lessons. Where the ideal stance is similar to optimum accuracy when throwing a ball. This led to more and crucial run-outs being made.

In similar vein, throw-in attention may well reap even greater footballing reward.

There are often fifty in a match. Hugely outnumbering set pieces. Yet go ignored. Thomas coaches “long, fast and clever” throws. Aimed at increasing the target area (he holds the world record, albeit with a “flip” throw-in), catching the opposition off-guard (the no offside rule isn’t made full use of) and not losing possession (stark stats suggests this happens over half the time when in defending areas).

Taking the most obvious one, he can add 15 yards on to a player’s ability. Addressing among his cues biomechanics, he looks at 25-30 components in total. Quite something.

What strikes me about this should be a clear Sales parallel.

There are so many selling microskills that are ignored it is beyond scary.

Such lack of detail emerge the discipline over.

To the extent that some which might be put to one side as micro are in fact macro.

Opening, Prospecting, Pitching, Presenting, Meeting-running, Objection Handling, Documentation, Proposals. And that’s before you get on to, say, the likes of Closing.

I know what it’s like to stand in front of a room full of highly paid salespeople and introduce a small improvement. I also know what happens once we all leave the room. As is usual, the winners engage. They rampage through their numbers and upstage the idle losers who thought it cleverer to disengage. Let yourself be the former, not the latter.

As the man himself states;

“It might sound like small things but it can make a big difference to any team”

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