On Thursday night, Chelsea defeated Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties to reach the Europa League Final. During the shootout, Eintracht Frankfurt missed two spot-kicks allowing Chelsea to record the victory. It made us wonder if the average football players know how to take a penalty.
Penalties are high-pressure moments in football. Players can be put off taking penalties due to the soul-crushing feeling they experience afterwards.
So, how do you take a penalty and score from the spot like a professional? Here are some tips so you can put your next penalty kick past the goalkeeper.
How to take a penalty – Ignore the goalkeeper
A penalty is taken 12 yards from the goal, or 11 metres. On paper, it doesn’t seem difficult to record a goal from that distance, but that is far from true. Goalkeepers can move side to side and up and down prior to the ball being kicked.
According to research, penalties are more likely to be missed if the goalkeeper is moving around and waving his arms. Penalty takers need to remain focused on the spot they plan to put kick the ball into the goal and ignore the goalkeeper. Once you get distracted, there is no going back.
How to take a penalty – Which part of the foot should you use?
There are two methods two scoring a penalty. You can either use the inside of the foot for more control or the laces for power. The inside of the foot is the preferred way as it gives you the right amout of control and power.
A laces shot could put more power into the ball but you can sky it much like Robert Baggio in the penalty shootout of the 1994 World Cup.
How to take a penalty – The approach
A lot of players will approach the ball from anywhere between a 30- and 45-degree angle. Some players make little stutter steps, but this often throws off timing and can cause a player to change his/her mind before striking the ball.
The best example of a poor approach is Simeone Zaza’s penalty at the 2016 European Championships. His approach led to a poor penalty.
The sped of the approach can result in a penalty being made or missed. You should practice a few different speeds and approaches which will allow you to diversify your penalty taking.