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Kicking & Netting Soccer Penalties

Spot kicking a penalty in a football game is an intense and pressured moment. Find out how nervous footballers conquer the penalty kick technique - and score!

PENALTY KICK STRATEGY: The referee blows the whistle and signals to the penalty spot. It’s your moment to score a perfect penalty – or is it?

Some penalty kickers relish the thought of scoring the match-winning goal. Being labeled as the hero of the game is special if it saves the day for the team.

Whereas others, especially fainthearted players, might fear missing the goal completely. Worse still, having it saved by the keeper.

It is not a pleasant journey home from match day feeling like the villain who missed a penalty.

There is a knack to be successful at scoring football penalties. You must decide whether it is best to pick a spot and gingerly place kick the ball. Or, do you pray to the great soccer guru in the sky and blast it at the middle of the goal.

Note: Hoping that the goalkeeper makes the wrong prediction is not the best method of taking penalties.

How to Score a Penalty Kick

A Liverpool University researched the scientific skills of striking perfect penalties. Shooting the ball high into the corner yields most success – according to a Professor. The penalty shooter should also aim to strike the ball so it travels fast at speeds of at least 90 kilometres per hour (56 miles per hour).

That’s only part of the story:

The penalty kick tutorial came from a Professor at John Moores University in Liverpool UK. He also gave another interesting angle for football managers and coaches to consider.

He suggested that even if the goalie anticipates or guesses the correct side of the goal to dive, the keeper would not have enough time to react. Thus, they would be incapable of stopping a precisely targeted shot.

Yes it is a tricky shot to make, unless you happen to take a penalty kick like Ronaldo. But, a striker should expect a 100% success rate if they kick the ball accurately high and close to the top corner of the crossbar.

But here’s the kicker…

The Professor also added that many strikers fire the ball using the conventional strategy for penalties. They shoot it straight towards the middle of the goal. Too many of them expect, or wait for, the keeper to move. But, this is not a reliable method to take penalties.

Instead, he suggests scoring football penalties is as much a mind game – as well as a physical achievement. Even so, you should avoid playing games of reverse psychology with a goalkeeper.

So, what if you need to choose between accuracy and a gamble?

He commented that low down and into the side netting would be a safer target to hit for most penalty kickers.

It pays not to be overconfident!

But, knowing your strengths in advance is a good soccer penalty tactic. At all costs, you should avoid giving the game away with your eyes and your body movements.

“Not an Easy Goal to Score”

A top sports psychologist suggests that scoring a proper penalty requires more than a short run and a blast at goal.

Using willpower to overcome physical problems – mind over matter – is more likely to produce success. Relying on lady luck, or hoping to fool the keeper into diving the wrong way, rarely works.

The Psychological Guide to Penalty Kicks

His guide to taking penalties emphasizes the need for penalty skills practice and physical automation. Because, when thinking fails, the body relies more on memory and autonomy.


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At the precise moment of running up to the ball during a penalty shot, the mind must overrule the nervousness of failure. This is the best way to carry out the will of the body.

How to Kick a Soccer Penalty Kick

The first rule of how to kick a soccer penalty kick is understanding what a kick from the penalty mark is all about. When it comes to goal scoring, and there are strategies and tactics that help to improve the outcome.

A Penalty Kick Ruling

A penalty kick occurs while the game is in normal play. As a rule, a penalty kick follows an infringement according to FIFA Law 14.

The awarded kick must take place 12 yards out from the goal. The goalkeeper of the defending team is the only player allowed between the penalty taker and the goal.

Penalty Shootout: Kicks from the Penalty Spot

Kicks from the penalty mark sometimes occur at the end of a game. Often, it happens as a knockout phase during a professional competitive tournament. For the most part, this is not considered a penalty kick – but ‘penalties’, instead.

Here’s the deal:

It is a method used to determine which team will proceed to the next stage of a particular event. It is a way to find a winner if a standard game finished in a draw.

The procedure is very similar for both types of penalty kicks. But, kicks from the penalty mark (penalties) do not follow the same guidelines as Penalty Kick Law 14.

Note: A penalty shootout is most often referred to as ‘penalties’. It has some differences to the standard penalty kick technique.

Penalty Kick Technique: Focus and Visualization

Penalty kickers should learn how to remain focused. They need to use self-composure techniques as part of their regular training and sports practice.

You can improve some techniques for keeping yourself calm under pressure. It starts even before you are in the unenviable position of having to score a penalty goal.

Think about this for a minute…

Visualization practice should always be of positive results. You should avoid thinking about the things that could go wrong, or what would be the consequences of failure. Try not to get emotionally upset and to stay attentively aware to the present moment.

Know your strengths as a penalty shooter. Train often for those specific moments that you expect to be under pressure.

Knowing your best penalty shooting strategies in advance will feel like second nature when you are doing it for real.

Penalty Kick Tactics and Tricks

The goalkeeper will be viewing your tactics by reading your body movements. They use it as a key part of success in preventing penalty goals.

It would not be unusual for them to already know what your playing style is and how you typically shoot penalty kicks. Thus, take care where you place your eyes and feet to avoid giving away all your tactics and signals.

The keeper might also try a trick to distract you by approaching and talking to you before the shot. Try to ignore this deliberate tactic aimed at unsettling you.

In case you were wondering:

Keepers also check feet angles for any signs that give away the direction of your intended shot. Take your position and decide on your tactics while the referee places the ball on the spot.

The Speed Tactic

The surprise tactic of a speedy penalty shot has received comprehensive research. It seems that a shot hit fast, with good strength and determination, allows you to take advantage of the ‘bombshell’ element.

Be swift when you get yourself together. Then, go ahead and make a good, fast, shot within three seconds of the referee blowing the whistle.

The Delay Tactic

Trying to psych out the keeper is another tactic used to great success by many spot kickers. Delaying the shot for more than 13 seconds can be very unsettling for a goalkeeper.

The Move Tactic

Waiting for a keeper to move first is best performed as a tactic only if you are ready to react with speed once they have moved. A further delay by you would result in a lost opportunity.

The Stutter Tactic

Approaching the ball with a stutter or a stumble is a ‘feinting’ penalty technique. Hence, your aim would be to confuse the keeper.

  • Choose the spot where you want to aim the ball before approaching the ball.
  • Avoid looking at the keeper; if it is easier, pretend the keeper is not present.
  • Stay focused on the ball.
  • Keep your eyes on the ball at all times and remain focused.
  • Losing focus increases the risk of losing your composure.

Caution: Feinting to kick the ball once you complete the run-up will almost certain to earn you a yellow card.

Kicking the Ball

You must wait for the referee signals and whistle before you kick the ball. At that point, you must decide whether you are kicking for accuracy or for power.

  • Accuracy – Precision over power is most successful with an inside-foot kick.
  • Power – Speed with power can be enough to take the ball past the keeper. A strong shooter may achieve speeds of 80 mph shooting the ball to the goal line in 500 milliseconds.
  • Keepers take 600 milliseconds to move from the center of the goal to one of the side posts.
  • Take a short straight run up and shoot hard with the instep (from the boot laces).
  • Kick the ball low and hard aiming for a slot 3 inches inside of each post.
  • Most goalkeepers will admit that the low and hard shot is impossible to stop!

Stay Alert

Take your time and don’t rush it. But, always stay alert after your kick. Be ready to react on any rebound if the ball hits the woodwork or the goalkeeper.

Tips on How to take a Penalty Kick in Football