Give players the chance to score from varying distances and using different kinds of shot. By MIKE VINCENT MORE
Manchester City beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on penalties. So how do you go about making sure you score? Derby County manager and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard gives his 6 tips
Coaches should only put forward those players who they feel can cope with the pressure of converting a spot-kick – they must be able to clear their minds of any distractions when walking up to take a kick. Missing a penalty, even in training, can have an adverse effect on a young player’s confidence, so it’s not something I’d want to rush a lad into. Composure and a cool head was always a must for me, and you could see the players who didn’t have that. Sometimes you just knew they were going to miss.
I know young players can struggle with accuracy, but getting them to vary where spot-kicks go is vital, and it has always been a feature of my penalty-taking. I never want a keeper to be able to guess where I’ll put the ball, and I am usually comfortable kicking it in any part of the goal. As a kid, a practice I loved was to fire shots clockwise around the angles of the goal. I’d recommend getting your players to try that one.
Following through on the ball is important because it keeps a kick true and ensures it retains its power. I push my foot through every shot and was taught to focus on the area behind the ball, and not let my foot stop moving until it was there. There’s no better feeling than scoring when really striking through the ball.
As a kid, I spent years staying behind after training to improve my accuracy. At times I would be teased about it, particularly because I was always with my dad [Frank Lampard Snr], and other players didn’t like the fact I did the extra stuff. But there’s still a lot of lumping it in youth soccer, and finding accuracy is a good reaction to that. It also means building the confidence of your players, and if you can get a group to stay voluntarily, that’s really encouraging.
It seems a strange thing to say but you always need to have respect for an opponent. There is no guarantee you’ll score a penalty and I was always brought up with the idea that success has to be earned. My dad was always telling me “not to get carried away” and to “keep a level head”. Football emotions can sometimes run away with us, and penalty kicks are almost a concentration of that.
It’s the oldest adage when stepping up to take a penalty, but tell players to never change their minds. From the moment I ground the ball, I know which way it’s going and whether I’m going to put it along the ground or in the air. Your run-up is conditioned to the direction you want the ball to go, so changing your mind means you’re not approaching the ball the right way, physically or mentally, and that’s often when things go wrong.