The perfect penalty kick
Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen many shocking penalty misses. Zaza's in the Euro's against Germany must be the worst. However, hitting a ball from 12 yards into a goal seems to be more than difficult.
When looking at it from a different point of view, taking a penalty kick in a football match is one of the most pressurised and intense things involved in the game. It's mind games between you and the goalkeeper. Whether you smash it straight down the middle or finesse it into the top left-hand corner, all penalties count and are a valuable asset if you want to win a game. The following are a few tips I have picked up when studying penalty misses. Hopefully, it will end our penalty missing crisis!
Take a proper run-up
This is really part of your practice however it is a point that is very important. Don't strike the ball from one step back, it can result in a lack of power and accuracy in the shot. Therefore, take a sufficient number of steps back, possibly seven or even eight. Control of direction and pace of shots are a vital component so it's much easier to rifle it into the back of the net by a purposeful run-up. You also don't want your run-up to be too long either. We saw that in the Euro's multiple players tend to do stutters or incredibly long run-ups. Yes, it may put off the goalkeeper but doing it excessively causes the opposite effect.
Confuse the keeper
When it comes to a real life situation the goalkeeper will try and do anything to put you off. From shaking the cross bar to coming up and naming the place you'll put the ball, it's all part of the mind games. Try looking in the opposite direction to where you are going to strike the ball to attempt to fool the goalkeeper or even stutter when you run-up to make the goalkeeper dive early giving you a clearer opportunity to tuck the ball away. You could even delay the shot if you'd rather worry the keeper, time can be on your side. A delay of more than 13 seconds can unsettle the man between the sticks.
Take your position and figure out your move
The important thing is to take the penalty shot in the way that fits best with your abilities. Of course, a lot of different styles can be used when striking a penalty but the best thing to use is the one you have practised many times before. I would normally strike the ball with the inside of my foot. I feel that it gives much more accuracy than hitting it with your laces which is something you definitely need when you are taking a penalty.
Stay aware: As soon as you strike the ball, do not switch off. Always get ready for a rebound if the keeper saves it, remember always take your time. Some teams have specific places to stand when a penalty is taken. If a player misses it means that their teammates are spread out across the box and are ready to pounce if the ball bounces back to them.
Practice makes perfect
Before and after you take penalties in real life situations, trying different techniques against goalkeepers in training helps. You can learn how to calm your nerves and find out which penalty styles work best for you.