A penalty kick in football is a daunting challenge that requires a combination of courage, skill, and practice. Most importantly, a good penalty shooter needs to be able to control their nerves.
How to cope with the nerves while taking a penalty kick in football?
It’s impossible to exactly replicate the feeling of shooting a penalty kick during an actual game because there are so many variables at play – the pressure of the situation, the size and energy of the crowd, etc.
However, one way to help ease your nerves is by practicing as much as possible so you can at least go into the situation with some confidence.
Many players go into a penalty shot undecided about where to shoot, but that indecisiveness often leads to them missing the shot entirely. If you can’t make up your mind about anything else in life, at least be sure of where you want your penalty kick to go before you step up to take it.
Where should I shoot?
Before taking a penalty shot, consider the following:
Shooting low and to the corners is a good strategy, as it is more difficult for the goalie to save.
However, if the goalie guesses correctly, they will likely be able to save your shot. So if you are shooting low, make sure to hit the ball with pace.
Shooting down the middle is an option as goalies usually decide to pick a side and dive.
Shooting high in the corners is ideal as the goalie will rarely reach that area of the net quickly enough due to how close the shot is. However, this shot is very dangerous and difficult, so accuracy is key.
How does a goalie decide what to do during a penalty kick?
When shooting on a goalie, it’s important to understand that they are making calculated guesses based on the tiniest of cues from the Shooter.
The most common giveaway is the planting foot – where the foot that is planted will point towards the corner of the net that the ball is anticipated to go. Another subtle clue is the hips; they will also point in the direction that the ball is most likely going.
There are a couple ways to avoid this: by approaching the ball with pace (so as not to telegraph your shot) and secondly, by practicing to minimize these slight tells.
Smashing a penalty shot
When it comes to finesse shots, many players feel that they are ineffective and often opt for a more powerful shot instead. Although this method may work sometimes, I would not suggest shooting this way as it takes away your control over the ball.
When you hit the ball with all your might, you lose accuracy and there is a bigger chance that you will miss the target completely.
However, if you do decide to go for power, make sure you know where you’re aiming. It’s important to have a clear idea of where you want the ball to go before you take your shot.
Many players believe that finesse won’t get the job done and opt for a more aggressive approach by hitting the ball past the goalkeeper with all their might.
However, this method is often inaccurate and may result in loss of control over the ball. If you’re going to go for this shot, make sure you know where you’re aiming for so you don’t just hit it blindly. Having a direction in mind will increase your chances of success.
Placing the ball
Most players choose this approach because it provides more command and control over the ball.
It is essential to know where you want the ball to go when using this shot, as the ball won’t be hit with much force.
This gives the goalie a little more time to get to the ball. Practice this shot and find out where you are most comfortable hitting it.
It’s important to remember that the most important factor in scoring a penalty shot is knowing where you’re going to shoot.
When you’re approaching a nerve-wracking situation, knowing what you’re going to do and having practiced it will help boost your confidence, even if it doesn’t completely settle your nerves.
The most important thing to remember when taking a penalty shot is to know where you’re going to shoot.
Having a plan and practicing it ahead of time will help you feel more confident when you’re under pressure.
When you’re at the penalty spot, the only unfamiliar things should be the crowd noise (if there is any) and the goalie in front of you.
Taking a penalty shot should be a process you can do with your eyes closed because you’ve practiced it so many times that it’s become routine, just like how successful free-throw shooters in basketball are often successful because they’ve had plenty of practice.
When you’re at the free-throw line, the only things that should be unfamiliar are the crowd noise and the goalie.
The process should be so routine to you that you could do it with your eyes closed. This is why so many basketball players are successful free-throw shooters; they have practiced so often that it’s become second nature to them.
In fact, many players create a routine for themselves so that they don’t even have to think when they’re in a high-pressure situation – they just do (e.g. dribble once, spin the ball in your hand, bounce on your knees twice then shoot). The best advice is to practice your penalty shot so often that it becomes second nature – if necessary, have a routine.