There is nothing quite like the feeling of taking a penalty, with your own team, the other team and a vast crowd of people watching you. All eyes are on you, and at this moment you are relying on your skill and ability to stay calm. While all penalties are somewhat down to chance – with the skills of the goalkeeper at the particular moment being unpredictable, here are some top tips that will increase your chances of hitting the back of the net.
Try and Keep the Anxiety at Bay
One of the factors that can impact the quality of your penalty shot is your anxiety level. It is no great secret that anxiety can negatively impact performance, so, therefore it is important to reduce these feelings as much as possible. This is partly to allow you to focus more, but also to put the goalkeeper off. Displaying confidence and positive body language can mean that your opponents will start to doubt their abilities and overthink their performance – leading to them making mistakes. If they are focused on how confident you appear, they are less likely to react quickly, and more likely to miss saving the shot.
Focus on Where You Want to Shoot
When you have lined up the ball and taken those few steps back to begin your run-up, it is important not to simply focus on scoring, or the goalie themselves. Many penalties that have been missed have been down to the player focusing on how they think the goalie will react, and then hitting the other way – when in reality, you cannot predict this. Instead, focus on where you want the ball to hit the back of the net, the power that you would like behind the ball and the angle you want to kick it at. This allows you to envision the shot that you want to take, calm your mind and focus on the task at hand.
Take Your Time
Penalties require some analysis and thought, so it is important that you do not simply fire in all guns blazing. If we look at major football matches from around the world, those footballers who take their time in the run-up to the penalty, have a higher chance of being successful. Spend some time carefully positioning the ball on the ground so that it is exactly where you want it to be and plan your run up in your head before starting.
Celebrate During the Penalty Shootout
And finally, last on our list is a tip that can only be used to your advantage if you are in the middle of a penalty shootout – and this is important, as it is at this stage where the stakes are highest. Studies have shown that if you score your penalty kick, but some of your teammates have still to play, it is beneficial that you celebrate. Celebrating loudly, with your arms in the air can not only boost the confidence of your team, but it can knock the confidence of the opposing kicker/goalkeeper, making them more likely to miss. This truly is a double bonus.