How To Take A penalty ? – Tricks to get inside the goalkeepers head.


You have been given the task of taking a penalty, but the big question is how to take a penalty? 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 and try these to win the mind games.


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. Do these things automatically, this comes 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”.



The goalkeeper will do everything in his power to stop you from scoring.

It is easier for you to score, he knows this. Therefore, he 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 move the ball.

They complain to the referee that the ball  is not in the right spot. Keepers always try to slow the game down.

If it takes longer and you have to think more, there is more chance you will miss.

When they do go back on their line they jump about, use the jelly legs method, and so on.

Now that we know this, what can you do?

My method is, be the one playing the mind games. Throw him off his game. Get the keeper thinking what’s he 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.



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.

Practice this:

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.




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.




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






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9 thoughts on “How To Take A penalty ? – Tricks to get inside the goalkeepers head.

  1. GREAT post! As a fellow coach of youth soccer I find this information very useful. One point about the kick itself, is the player gives off cues on where they’re going to shoot – If you’re right footed, you naturally target the keeper’s right side; left foot naturally targets the left side. I like how you mention finding 4 spots on the ball to target, as you can CHANGE what sides you naturally target.

    Also, dropping your shoulders is a give away on which side you plan to target – if a player can target the opposite site and yet drop their shoulder as if they’re targeting as per normal, it pulls the keeper out of position and you can usually score.

    As you said – these are things you need to PRACTICE, not try during a game unless you’ve practiced.

  2. What a detailed and entertaining article you have in here for sure! Helps aspiring players! I will refer my brother and nephew to subscribe to your website!

    1. Hi thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the information. I look forward to seeing you on the website again.

  3. Very interesting article that shows the importance of mental control in sports. I strongly believe the top 1% players are just better mentally. With penalty you clearly showed that it’s a question of who wins the mind game. The goalie or the striker? Brilliant.

    1. Hi thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the information. I look forward to seeing you on the website again.

  4. This was incredible to read!! I didn’t even think there was a methodology to this. Very well written and explained, thanks for all the info

    1. Hi thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the information. I look forward to seeing you on the website again.

  5. Hey!

    I am very new to soccer and am looking for ways to improve.
    I didn’t realize penalty kicks was something I had to focus on outside of practice. I definitely will try this next time shoot with my friends,

    1. Hi thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the information. I look forward to seeing you on the website again.

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