You have been given the task of taking a penalty, but the big question is how to take a penalty? Have you ever thought about if you can you find some tricks to get inside the goalkeepers head?
Taking a penalty is said to be one of the most stressful situations in football.
Will you score and celebrate the goal or will you miss and wonder how did you manage to do that?
My strategy lies not in the taking of the pen but in an alternative way of trying to get inside the keepers head so you are in charge of the situation
The edge is now with you and not the goalkeeper.
Use your head, think and try these small tips to win the mind games.
WALK WITH CONFIDENCE
First impressions count in everything, especially when stepping up to take a spot kick.
By walking with confidence I mean use your body language to control the situation.
As you now know you will be given the task of taking the penalty. On the inside you may be as nervous as never before, but on the outside show the keeper nothing.
As soon as the refs whistle blows and you are given the spot kick. It’s time for you to switch on and do these things automatically, this will only come to you with practice.
Put your shoulders back and straight, and lift your head, hold it high.
Then make your smile as wide as you have ever made it.
Say to yourself ” I must walk around full of positive energy and with total confidence”.
Make everyone look at you and say “he has got this, he is in control” and will score.
Have you ever watched a penalty shoot out in a match and before the player taking the spot kick even gets to the penalty spot, you say ” he doesn’t look confident I bet he misses”,
You know this because you have seen his body language and it’s that of a player who looks beaten before he starts.
In your head, pick your spot where you are going to hit it, and be confident that’s what you will do.
When the keeper looks at who is taking the penalty, he will see a player full of belief, who looks really confident.
He will then be thinking “he looks like he knows what he is doing”.
PLAY MIND GAMES
Be ready and aware that the goalkeeper will do everything in his power to stop you from scoring.
It is easier for you to score, and the goalkeeper knows this. Therefore the number one will try by whatever means to put you off.
Go and watch some clips of old penalty shoot-outs, and observe what they do.
They will come off their line stand right in front of you. I have seen them walk up to the penalty spot and move the ball, or hold it for a few seconds.
They will complain to the referee that the ball is not in the right spot. Watch out for those keepers who always try to slow the game down.
If it takes longer and you have to think more, there is more chance you will miss, and that is what they are counting on.
When they do go back on their line they jump about, use the jelly legs method, and so on, to try to put you off and change your mind where you are going to place your shot from the spot kick.
Now that we know this, what can you do to get the upper hand?
My method is, be the one playing the mind games. Throw him off his game. Get the keeper thinking what is the penalty taker doing?
The ball is on the spot. Walk towards the ball with confidence but don’t pick it up. Walk right past the ball and the keeper who has probably come forward to greet you. Go and stand on the goal line, then turn around and look back at all the players. Stand there for a few seconds.
Don’t do this for too long you wouldn’t want to annoy the referee.
When you go back to the penalty spot. Wait for the keeper to be ready, then you kneel down on one knee and adjust your sock, pretend to tie a boot lace whatever, just make the keeper wait a few more seconds.
You are now saying to him “I am in charge ”
If I was watching you do this or something similar I would be thinking, he will definitely score a goal.
PICKING YOUR SPOT
This is done at practice at training, and not last minute when you are in a game and stepping up to take the penalty.
If you have your spot picked out and you have practiced scoring, over and over again. Then when it comes to the game and the spot kick is awarded you will have confidence as you know where the ball is going.
Then you can straight away work on getting your body language right and playing mind games with the keeper.
Pick 4 spots within the goal to hit.
Top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right.
Set up these targets on a wall or fence at home, with a blank post it note.
The drill is to hit the post it note every time in each of the 4 spots.
It takes practice but it can be done.
Knowing you have picked your spot and can hit it, will give you a huge confidence boost.
STRIKE THE BALL CLEAN
This is the best feeling ever. Especially when learning how to take a penalty.
Always take a run up when taking a penalty. You have forward momentum.
Never stand next to the ball and try to be clever, unless you are Neymar or Ronaldo etc..
Before you set of running towards the ball. Look at the goal one more time, pick your spot that you have practiced many times. Look down at the ball. Start your run up.
Keep your eye on the ball at all times.
Use the front of your foot to strike the ball. This will give you more power.
Go for as much power as possible. Make sure after you strike the ball you let your striking leg follow through. Don’t just stop the motion as soon as you hit the ball.
The follow through keeps the pace on the ball and prevents you from pulling a muscle in your leg.
BACK OF THE NET
That’s the name of the game when you are the penalty taker – hit the back of the net every time.
Use your body language in a very positive way, confidence is everything.
Take control of the situation be the first to play the mind games with the opposition goalkeeper.
Strike the ball clean and with loads of power.
Watch it hit the back of the net. Then you celebrate.
I would love to hear from you, so please leave me any comments below or feedback on this topic .
Yours football madly