If a kick-in goes out of bounds without being touched by another player, the boundary umpire will signal out on the full and award a free kick to the opposition, whether or not the ball has bounced before going out. This is to prevent teams from getting their longest kicker to kick for touch.
A 50-metre penalty awarded during a kick-in is automatically spotted on the centre of the back edge of the centre square, regardless of how long this distance may be; at the Sydney Cricket Ground, this distance would be barely 40m, while at Subiaco Oval it would be closer to 55m.
Historically, kick-in strategy would be that the team's longest kicker would send the ball as far down the field as possible, resulting in a marking contest; this way, even if an opponent took a contested mark, they would be one long kick plus ten metres away from the goal line, and would be hence unlikely to score. The 1970s saw the birth of the huddle, which pioneered the act of pinpointing a shorter pass to a teammate.
In the modern game a quick kick-in exists when a behind is scored in a largely vacant forward-line; the rule change (see below) means that the opposition cannot man up, and the first couple of kicks generally come very easily. For non-quick kick-ins, huddles are sometimes used, which require man coverage. Otherwise, zone coverage is most common. Some teams will set their players up 25-50m out from goal, and these teams aim to take a couple of safe short passes to progress 30m down the field, at which stage the field is wider and the downfield options are more free. Other teams set up a longer kick-in, leaving the first 30m largely vacant. Teams who do this will seek to find a 40-50m pass on the lead; if no leads are available, then the player will kick to himself and begin to run into the empty space, forcing the downfield options into a wider area and potentially an easier pass.