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How to Score or Save Penalty Kicks

Many students ask me how to shoot penalty kicks and, as a goalie, how to try to save it.

Through my experience and roaming the net, I've learned some basic principles that can be considered more than just personal opinion.

One of the most important aspects is that, if kicked properly, the ball takes a 1/2 second to reach the corner of the goal and the goalie needs 2 seconds to dive there, so there's no way for the goalie to catch it.

It's against the laws of dynamics, physics and gravity!

The only way for the goalie to save it is to anticipate the intentions of the shooter.

Hints for the Shooter

It's not about power, but only precision. There's no need to make a hole in the net. Just put the ball in the corner.

Don't improvise. Practice hundreds of times and when the occasion comes, just repeat what you've practiced mechanically.

Get away from the pressure of the game, mentally going back to the practice field and just execute what you've already done hundreds of times.

Don't look at the goalie. He is little and the goal is immense, just kick the ball on the ground a couple of feet from the post, with the inside of your foot.

In short, if you act correctly, there's no way for the goalie to save the goal.

Hints for the Goalie

You have only one possibility to save the goal and it is to anticipate the intentions of the shooter by going in the right direction, but not so early that you allow the shooter to change his mind.

Before talking about technique here are a few psychological hints.

Don't go into the goal before the shooter is ready to shoot. Make him wait. The more he waits the more he'll get nervous and the more likely he is to make a mistake.

When you go into the goal, move and act in such a way that gets his attention. Now the goal that was immense has become smaller, thanks to your presence. Look the shooter in the eyes and if he makes the mistake of looking at you, smile at him. "Where ever you shoot I'll get it!"

Now some technical advice.

It has been proven that 70% of the time, everyone shoots in the direction of the shooting foot. To be more clear, right foot shoots to YOUR right and vice-versa.

If the head of the shooter is down and the body leaning forward, he will shoot hard. If it is held high, almost looking at you, he will search precision and shoot to the corner.

More important is, at the moment of the shot (right foot), if you can see the inside of the knee, the shot will be to YOUR left and if you can't see it, the shot will be to your right.

To optimize this tendency look at the non kicking foot before the shot. Generally this foot will point in the direction of the shot and, put together with the hint of the knee, very likely your guess will be right.

Knowing this, don't dive until the last moment, almost when the ball is kicked.

One last recommendation; tell the defenders to run toward you immediately incase you save but don't catch the ball. To many times I've seen the shooter score by kicking the ball rebounded by the goalie.

Good luck, you need it. And remember, when they score a penalty kick, it's never your fault.

Coach Gianni
Posted on 05 Apr 2005 by coachgianni
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