Secrets to taking a penalty kick

by Philip MacDonald | Last updated

There are many ways to take a penalty kick. You can approach the ball from different angles, distances, and strike the ball with a different part of the foot and with a different force. To each his own. However, there are a few universal tips to taking a penalty that must be followed in order to be successful. Below I have shared a couple…


Some players like to focus solely on the ball. The player has already decided where he will place the ball on net and now it is about striking the ball properly. The common mistake here is that player forgets to look where the goalie is on his goal line. I have made this mistake and had to learn the hard way.
What happened with me in the past was that the goalie had actually moved to his left a foot or two and even though I struck the ball well and placed it to the side, the goalie was able to reach the ball and make the save. I had to learn the hard way.

Instead, when you make your run up to the ball glance at the goalie to see where he placed on the goal line. Then in the last few steps look at the ball to make sure you strike it properly. This way if you see that the goalie has moved to one side you can fool him by shooting elsewhere.

Now here is where a lot of players make things more difficult for themselves. If player sees that the goalie has cheated to the side they would shoot, they often try to aim all the way to the other side (at the last moment) by twisting their body. This is very difficult to do and often results in poorly striking the ball and possibly missing the entire net. In fact, this is where you can shoot down the middle and still be successful. Remember: only shoot down the middle if you see at the last moment (in your run) that the goalie has cheated to the side you will be shooting on.

Watch video of Chelsea player Frank Lampard. He is excellent at taking penalties. Notice how he glances where the goalie is positioned in his run up and then places the ball. Lampard rarely shoots to the same spot on net making his shots unpredictable. You will often see him place the ball middle as well.

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