How to save a penalty

Penalties are a part of football and goalkeepers must train regularly to be adept at stopping spot-kicks. Penalties are the perfect time for a goalkeeper to shine. By stepping up to the moment, a goalkeeper can star for his team.

So, how do you save a penalty — or at least, have a better chance of saving a spot-kick?

Stand your ground

Research claims the best move goalkeepers may make is to stand their ground and not move. In a study which analysed 286 penalties, researchers discovered that 49.3% of goalies moved left, 44% went right, and just over 6% stayed in the centre of the net. The study found that just over 39% of penalties were shot down the middle, 32.1% went left, and 28.7% went right. Statistically speaking, the research tells goalies it is better to stay in the centre of the goal. Many professional goalkeepers will go left or right, however. This is because there is typically plenty of data on where a penalty taker plays the ball.

Stand slightly off centre

You can influence the way in which the penalty taker will shoot by standing off centre. By standing just to the left or right, the penalty taker will be influenced to shoot in the area that is slightly more open. Penalty takers will aim for the large space thinking they have an advantage. However, you know exactly where they are going to put the ball.

Watch the penalty taker’s eyes

By carefully watching the penalty taker’s eyes, you will see them glance to one side of the goal just before running up to the ball. For younger, less experienced, more naive players this often signals their intentions; they’ll look where they’re going to place it. Right-footed players typically shoot into the left side of the goal while left-footed players shoot to the right side. Knowing this can help you keep penalties out of the back of the net. At the grassroots level, players typically hit across the ball in a diagonal way. The higher you go up the football pyramid the more likely players are to mix it up.

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