SAVING PENALTY KICKS
When faced with a penalty kick it can be quite daunting for goalkeepers. It can be over in a blink and you haven't had a chance to think what to do.
I find it splits opinion on methods on the best way to deal with a penalty kick, some will say they have a plan by watching the player how he approaches the ball while others will say they guess as got 50/50 chance to saving it.
I think it's what suits you as the goalkeeper as you have to feel comfortable and believe in what you do when in goal, any doubt gives the player the advantage in any situation.
To help you find what may be the best way for you, I've included a few tips below that could be useful in finding what suits you in saving those important kicks.
Important in any skill we perform as a goalkeeper. Regardless how much a situation is against you, you'll always have a better chance to perform if you relax. Remember the pressure is on the penalty kicker to score as the chances of him doing so is better to you saving it so the pressure is off yourself.
A must for keepers. Having that belief you can make the save can always give you a edge to doing it.
Take your time
Never be rushed to get into goal and face the penalty kick. One thing I used to do was as soon as the kick was awarded I would take a moment to calm myself and have a think about my approach and watch who was stepping up to take it. I would have a walk into my goal and have a drink then adjust my gloves, shin pads and socks to prepare but also give myself the chance to prepare. Referees will sometimes try to move you along to hurry the kick but take your time, but don't hold it up too long as you could face a card being shown your way. It's experience on knowing how far you can push it but remember never get wound up or panic, RELAX!
Those are the fundamentals to facing a penalty kick, next are some options on how you may decide to approach the kick as the player runs to strike the ball.
These aren't right or wrong options and may be trial and error in what suits your way.
Option #1: Stay Centred and Watch
Like mentioned earlier some like to watch the kicker and react to the
Take your place in centre of goal and prepare yourself, so get your position set and ready to make that dive.
The idea is to watch the kickers movements. Watch the eyes as the kicker may glance where they plan to place the ball first then look elsewhere to fool you, the first place they look will give best indication where the ball is going. Pay attention to the hips, see how the hips are placed when approaching the ball. If the kicker is right footed and opens the hips out the ball is going right (your left). If the hips are closed then its left (your right). Lastly watch the overall body, if they lean back the ball is going high. If the body is placed over the ball it's going low.
Don't start panicking now reading this as is a lot to take in and the
thought of thinking all this in a split second before the ball is kicked if hard.
It takes practice and time to learn how to read players actions so be
Option #2: Psych Them Out
The other option some goalkeepers prefer is to try and put the penalty
kicker off or load the pressure onto them as the kicker is expected more
to score than you are to save it. The more nervous you are the less likely
you will save a shot this also goes for the kicker so the more nervous
they get the more chance they could make a weak shot or miss the
I've seen many ways goalkeepers have tried to put the pressure on
- walking up to the kicker and handing the ball over, the more time
delayed the more time the kicker has to think and a chance may change
mind on where going to place ball and miss.
- saying things like 'good luck' and 'I know where your going' although I
think this can backfire on you as gives the kicker a chance to counter
back with a saying of his own.
- placing yourself in a different position in goal, stand one side more and
close the kickers view. If stronger diving on one side then close that side
up. For example if strong diving to your right then stand more to the left
in goal this opens the goal up for the shooter to your right as makes it
more appealing to them to shoot there. You can also try alternatives to
this method like jump back into the centre just before the kick is taken to
throw the kicker off course. (below is picture demo)
Option #3: Guess
You can learn all the tricks and tips in saving penalty kicks but there will be tricks and tips for the kicker aswell so you will try and learn how to pick up the hints where the kicker is placing the ball but they may have learnt how to disguise these hints so sometimes a simple guess is all you can do.