The penalty kick is always a moment of great excitement, concentration and pressure.
There are many stories built around this famous kick, and some of the big soccer starts and “legends” have missed penalty kicks at decisive critical moments. There are also a lot of funny unique moments related to penalty kicks… (like these for example…)
Many of them are competing to be “The Worst Penalty Kick… Ever!” winner… but I think this one is very well positioned to win this prize.
Ok… now that we had some fun, lets get serious about…
Improving The Penalty Kick Skills Of Your Players
Once you have trained your players in dribbling and passing, it is time to work on their shooting skills. This means it is time to improve their penalty kick skills. A penalty kick can play a very important part in a soccer game as we see in many other games as well.
Your penalty kick may win a game. It may also go haywire and make you lose a game. Either way, it is one of the important skills that you need to work on with your players.
You should have specific practice sessions for penalty kicks only, after a good warm up, of course! What you need to do is set up a penalty kick. The ball must be placed 12 yards from the goal.
You must have a goalkeeper standing on the goal line who can only move from side to side. The other players cannot move until the shooter has kicked the ball. When you blow the whistle, the shooter must kick the ball.
You have to train the players to try to misguide the goalie. The goalie will try to guess where the ball will be kicked by looking at the body language of the shooter. You must make the shooter move back about 3 to 5 paces and then run up to the ball and kick it.
There are two basic ways that you have to train them in to kick the ball well. One is to kick it with the side of the foot and the other is the explosive instep kick. The players must practice both types of kicks to ensure they have more variations. This way they can try a new variation each time and keep the goalie guessing every time.
Sometimes, the goalie gives away the side he is planning to dive. The penalty shooter must be able to read the body language of the goalie and then kick the ball in the opposite direction.
Train your players to kick the ball high into the corner, as these areas are usually the hardest to block. If you want your players to improve their penalty kick skills, you must make them practice various shots into the goal to ensure they don’t miss at the crucial time.
A soccer ball, when firmly struck accurately from the soccer penalty kick line, will definitely make it impossible for the goalkeeper to save the ball. Coaching the right technique to your players for kicking soccer ball from the penalty line is very important. However, a coach should also consider the psychology of the player taking a football penalty kick.
Strategies To Coach Soccer Penalty Kick Effectively
- At the beginning, ask your player to aim the spot in the goal to shoot.
- Let your player place the soccer ball on the ground and tell him to take between six to eight steps backwards. Slightly bending his head down, ask him to run forward to strike it either with his shoelaces or from the side of his foot.
- Let your payer know that one of the best spots to aim to get a goal from soccer penalty kick line are one of the two bottom corners of the goalpost. It will be almost impossible for a goalkeeper to stop the crisp low shot in a tight corner.
- It’s important to kick the ball with power, this will reduce the chances of missing the goal. But it is not always necessary to blast the ball from the shoelaces but your player should remember to get a great pace on the ball.
- Let your players practice ‘run up’ to the ball using the same method every time and try practicing from smaller goals that are used by the u8 or u10 leagues. They should try until they make 9 out of 10 shots.
Drills To Practice The Penalty Kick
- Drill 1: Divide your players into pairs and provide one ball for each pair. Ask the partners to stand apart (about 20ms distance). Set up a goal between each partner nearly about 5 ms wide halfway. Now it’s time to make each one of them take a penalty through the other’s goal taking turns. To increase the level of this soccer drill, you can either increase the distance between players or decrease the size of the goal.
- Drill 2: Make a 25m x 25m grid and place practice cones across the centre of the grid. You can now divide the players into teams of 3 to 5 players. Provide one or two balls to each team . Ask the player in possession of the ball to use the penalty kick technique and strike one of the cones in the middle. To make it competitive, give points if the player strikes the cone successfully and additional points if he knocks out a cone. As a variation for this drill, ask them to kick through the gaps in the cones.
Finally, while kicking a soccer ball from a penalty kick line, and this is very important as the psychological factor is critical in these moments, always ask your players to keep calm and not to get distracted by the goalkeeper’s efforts to intimidate them. During my career as a soccer player I was always responsible to take the penalty’s responsability.
I never forget one thing that one of my coaches said to me once… “A good penalty kick is the one that ends up in the net”. The most important thing is that you score. It doesn’t matter how powerful it is, or even the style… the best player to take the penalty kicks in your team should always be the one that has the best percentages.
Here’s what I always do when taking a penalty kick… (and never missed at competition, not even once). You can use some of these tips and pass it to your “penalty man”:
1. I place the ball at the penalty mark (on a flat area – be careful because the mark is always full of “tricky ups and downs”). I never look at the goalkeeper’s eyes.
2. I look at the referee, and in my mind, I choose the side to where I’m going to kick the ball (I don’t care about the goalie – I already know where I’m going to kick the ball before I start running to the ball).
3. (As I already know the side I’m going to shoot) I run to the ball and try to give the impression that I will kick to the other side by positioning my body in that way (usually the goalkeeper will “fall” into this body bending “trap”) and then I kick the ball to my chosen side with accuracy, power and as closest to the post as possible (not too high to avoid mistakes). Even if the goalie goes for the chosen side, it’s difficult for him to get this ball.
Try to teach a few of these tricks and always measure by taking notes about the numbers and percentages of success.
That’s it for today, and I hope you find this information useful.
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