By the end of this post, you will have the skills and knowledge to increase the number of penalties you convert in soccer drastically. You will be able to implement these different skills and techniques immediately and see instant results that will ensure you score more penalty kicks in soccer. This post will also give you an insight into the goalkeepers’ mindset so you to use their strengths against them.
This is how you score more penalty kicks in soccer
To quickly summarise the post, the easiest way to score more penalty kicks in soccer is to:
- Aim your penalty kicks into the central and upper areas of the goal
- Use the inside of your foot to shoot the ball
- Practice a slower kicking technique to help disguise where you are shooting your penalty
- Point your non-kicking away from the direction you want to shoot your penalty
It is important to note that although these penalties will see higher success rate, they are also require more skill to consistently score.
Below, I go into the reasoning why because it’s not as straightforward as it seems.
- The best place to shoot your penalty kick in soccer
- The best shooting technique to score more penalty kicks in soccer
- This is the best way to trick the goalkeeper to make them dive the wrong way
This is the best place to shoot your penalty kick in soccer
As a player, you may think that aiming low and into the corners is the best place to shoot your penalty kick in soccer.
However, that isn’t the case.
Although it is the most frequent area where players shoot their penalty kicks, it is not the most successful.
If you want to score more penalty kicks in soccer you need to start shooting your penalties into the center of the goal or anywhere across the upper vertical third of the goal.
Although these to a certain extent carry a higher risk, especially towards the upper left and right side of the goal, if you hit the target you are most likely to score.
Below, are the studies that I used
Study 1 | Penalty placement
This study looks at 286 penalty kicks in soccer in the hope of finding the best place to shoot your penalty kick in soccer.
It showed that penalty kicks that reached the upper third of the goal, across the middle, left, and right was scored 100% of the time.
While on the other hand, the soccer players who shot their penalty to the middle section had their penalty saved 12.6% of the time.
Players shooting their penalty to the lower section saw 19.8% of their penalty saved.
Study 2 | Penalty placement
This study looked at all the penalties taken in the 26 World Cup shootouts and 18 European Championship shootouts and similarly to study one found that there was a higher success rate with penalties that were aimed centrally.
However, these types of penalties carry a higher risk of missing the target altogether.
Whether you are left or right-footed, the greatest success came from shooting the penalty down the middle section of the goal.
Study 3 | Penalty Placement
The table shows that overall players preferred placing their penalty kicks in the bottom left and right-hand corners, with the goalkeepers making the most saves on the bottom right-hand corners.
The majority of the penalty kicks placed in the upper sections of the goal saw the most success.
However, these attempts were a lot less frequent.
Most of the goalkeepers’ penalty saves came from penalties that were placed in the lower half of the goal.
11 penalty kicks were saved and 10 of those were aimed at the lower half of the goal.
The best shooting technique to score more penalty kicks in soccer
From the information gathered, it is recommended that you use a placement shooting technique (inside of the foot) to score more penalty kicks goals in soccer.
This is because the power penalty is saved more frequently and considered less accurate.
Here are the studies I used to get this answer
Study 1 | Power vs placement penalty kick
The study found that players who used the power technique were more likely to shoot the penalty in a central position of the goal.
Players that used the placement technique would try to place the ball in the corners of the goal.
Players taking the power penalty would also spend more time focusing on the ball and the goalkeeper.
However, the placement penalty taker would spend a greater amount of time looking at the edges of the goal and the goal in general.
Study 2 | Power vs placement penalty kick
This study also looked at the same percentage of goalkeepers when comparing the 2 kicking techniques.
The goalkeepers were able to save 28% of the instep (power kicks), however only managed to save 12% of the inside (placement) kicks.
When comparing the speed of the kicks the instep (93km/h) was quicker than the inside kick (76km/h).
This study suggests that using an instep (power) kicking technique may be less successful than using an inside (placement) kicking technique.
Study 3 | Power vs placement penalty kick
This study looked at 37 penalties from the 2002 World Cup and 38 penalties from club matches from 2000 – 2002.
It found that the club matches scored 82% (31/38) of their penalties compared to 70% (26/37).
The study suggests that 2 main differences could of made an impact on success rates of the penalties:
- Difference 1
Players in the club matches placed their penalty within 1 yard of the post more frequently (15/38) than penalties taken in the World Cup (7/37).
All the penalties from the club matches also hit the target, with 3 of the World Cup penalties missing altogether.
- Difference 2
Penalties taken in the World Cup were significantly faster than penalties taken in the club matches. This shows that players were deliberating trying to use great force when striking the ball, which is often associated with a decrease in accuracy.
This is how you trick the goalkeeper and make them dive the wrong way on a penalty
Tricking the goalkeeper and making them divide the wrong way seems like a fairly simple thing to do, however, there are a lot of factors that go into what makes the keeper divide in the first place.
The best way to trick a goalkeeper to score more penalty kicks in soccer is to use a slower kicking technique using the inside of your foot.
You should also actively try to point your non-kicking away from the direction you want to shoot your penalty.
This helps hide some of the body cues from the goalkeeper, forcing them to dive later or guess a side to dive.
This is what I found in the studies
Study 1 | Goalkeeper dive
The keeper will mostly likely dive to either left or right, with hardly any keepers staying in a central position.
This make shooting down the middle a great option to shoot a penalty
Study 2 | How to trick the goalkeeper
The study found was that more successful penalty-saving goalkeepers spent a longer viewing time on the non-kicking leg of the penalty taker.
This is because the non-kicking foot usually points to the direction that the ball is going to travel, it has occurred roughly in 80% of penalty kicks.
The biggest clue for goalkeepers to anticipate where to dive for a penalty kick
So if a penalty taker wants to better disguise the direction of their penalty they must consider the direction their non-kicking foot is facing before striking the ball.
Study 2 | How to trick the goalkeeper
This study looked at how the speed and technique of the penalty kickers affect the decision of the goalkeeper when they attempt to save the shot.
The study found that typically faster the shots with the inside of the foot were easiest to guess, with the medium to slower with the inside of the foot the hardest to guess.
This was largely attributed to how the body shape and technique of the kicker would change as the speed of the kick would increase using the inside of the foot.
As a whole penalties taken with the inside of the foot were harder to predict than those with the instep.
When a player is using a fast technique their left arm, hips, and torso give the shot direction away earlier in the kicking action.
When you compare this with a slower kicking technique using the inside of the foot, the run-up reveals very little about the direction of the shot.
Scoring a penalty in soccer seems a lot easier than people think!
The pressure of the penalty kicks also play a huge role in execution of them too.
The higher the stakes, the higher the nerves, causing a player to miss.
However, if you practice and work on the tips outlined in the post you should start scoring more penalty kicks in soccer.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post on how to score more penalty kicks in soccer.
Please share this post with players and coaches who would find this post helpful.
If you know any other tactics or strategies that have worked when taking penalty kicks in soccer please share them below in the comments
Thank you for reading,
More player tips:
Penalty kicks in soccer: an empirical analysis of shooting strategies and goalkeepers’ preferences
The effect of fixation transitions on quiet eye duration and performance in the soccer penalty kick: Instep versus inside kicks
Anticipation and visual search behavior in expert soccer goalkeepers