Different goalies look for different tells when trying to stop a penalty shot. Some watch the ball, some watch the player and others just guess. Although, in the end, every time you try to stop a penalty shot you are guessing which way to dive (or not dive), there are certain things to look for that can help you make an educated guess.
Watch the players planting foot
- When a player plants his/her foot before shooting, the direction in which the toes are pointing is the direction the ball is going to travel.
- Some players are able to change the direction on their kick with a curve shot, but that takes great amount of skill and is very risky.
Watch the angle of the shooters body
- If right before shooting the player is leaning back, the ball is most likely going to leave the ground. This will help you decide how low/high you need to dive.
- When the shooter is taking his/her last stride to the ball, if it is a short stride, the player is most likely trying to push the ball along the ground into one corner or another; if the last stride is a long stride, he/she is looking to put force into the shot and have it leave the ground.
Watch the shooters waist
- This is a dead giveaway. If the shooters waist is facing left, he/she will shoot left; if the shooters waist is facing right, he/she will shoot right.
- If the player is skilled enough to disprove this theory and shoot across their body, then you accept this as an impressive shot.
- Even though you are studying the player, keep your eye on the ball. If you have no idea what the player is about to do, just follow the ball.
- Make sure that your defenders come flying in after a shot is taken. There is nothing worst than to save a shot or have it hit the post then the player is wide open to score because no one is marking a man.
- Lastly, the more confident you look and the more confidence you instill in yourself, the more the opponent will get nervous – its human nature.