Posted on May 09 2018
And a penalty kick has been awarded! Nothing strikes fear into a defense more then hearing those words. As a goalkeeper; there are many different emotions that may come into play. Some are paralyzed, some are angry, and others are ecstatic to prove their worth to the world.
Just as there are many different types of reactions. There are many different types of theories on how best to handle a penalty kick situation. Some coaches tell you to guess on direction; others to react, others to stay in place, others to do a somersault and touch a tire on string and then do a jumping jack…the list goes on and on.
Regardless of what you choose to do; you should take these variables into consideration.
- The Goalkeeper’s physical attributes - Again I sound like a broken record, but you need to understand what your natural gifts are. Quick and explosive; long and rangy, strong and powerful etc. For example ; if you’re 6’7 with a wing span of 8 feet; you can stand down the middle and throw yourself in the air and can still cover much of the goal. If your 5’6 with arms the size of a t-rex; you prob need to make decision and move in some sort of a direction.
2. The body shape of the striker- How are they approaching the ball. Are they upright, shoulder down, leaning one way etc. These little cues; will assist you in making a more educated decision than just guessing.
3. Strikers run up to the ball - Are they coming at an angle; straight on, fast; slow? Understanding the run up can also give you a sense of where they may go.
4. Striker’s past history- This is especially important in a shootout. Has your team scouted these players? Have you seen them take PK’s before? Did a pattern ever develop? Again this can help you.
5. The strikers emotional state - Do the strikers look nervous, confident, angry, happy, neutral? Did they look a certain direction to make sure they hit the target? Are they looking at you?
Finally my best is advice (and it sounds cliche ) just enjoy the experience. The best PK stoppers I’ve seen; really look like they enjoy getting on that line. Remember that no-one expects you to make the save; so all the pressure is on the shooter. If you can grasp that; you’ll be making big time stops in no time :)