Soccer coaching tips for penalties

What is the best tactic to coach players to try when taking a penalty? Should players wait for the goalkeeper to move or hit it low and hard into the bottom corner without looking at the goalkeeper?

Research carried out by Liverpool John Moores University in the UK suggests something different. According to Professor Tom Riley: “A well-placed ball, high to the corner, will not be stopped by the goalkeeper even if he anticipates it.”

Professor Riley states: “There is not enough time to react, so a kick placed in this area would have a 100% strike rate. Some players blast the ball straight down the middle, assuming that the goalkeeper will move, but it’s not always successful.”

If you're taking a penalty, try the top corner

The penalty tactic provides an interesting alternative to the conventional theory that you will often hear from professionals, managers and commentators, which is that: “Hitting the inside of the side netting, low down just inside either post, is often the target for a penalty taker.”

According to Professor Riley this conventional approach has a greater chance of being saved but it’s an easier one to execute. Get your young soccer players to try hitting the top corner in soccer training sessions – it may work.

Key soccer coaching tip: Get your players to practise all three approaches and use the tactic they feel most confident with.

Click here for a soccer coaching drill designed to identify the talented penalty-takers on your team.

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