Thoughts on Penalty Kicks…

Penalty kicks are funny beasts. By any measure, they should be as close to a “gimme” as there is in soccer. In the fifteen years that I played organized ball, I don’t recall taking more then about 6 or 7 PKs. And while I don’t want to compare the leagues I played in to the pros, PKs never seemed like a big deal. My dad (who was my first coach) always said that a PK was yours to miss and that no keeper in the world could stop a firm well positioned shot. Don’t worry about head games or fakes (hell, he said, be a sport: tell the keeper where you will hit it), just aim and shoot it hard.
That said, PKs seem to have the same psychological effect as free throws in basketball. Too much time to think makes a 90% shot, a 60% shot.
So I am seeing what funny, odd, frightening, experiences other may have had in their playing or watching days.
As a final comment, the only PK I vividly remember is the one I missed – hiiting the right post. So close…

5 comments on “Thoughts on Penalty Kicks…
  1. Tilam, I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment of PK’s. They are the closest thing to a free throw in football.
    As a goalkeeper who’s participating in many shootout’s, and who really enjoys them, it is certainly the job of the PK taker to make the PK. Step up to the stripe and finish it. As a keeper, I know it’s not my job to save every shot…if I can make 1 save a shootout, or if I can force any number of misses, I’ve done my job. I never felt under any pressure during shootouts…the players taking the kicks were the ones expected to finish. There is NO excuse for missing a penalty. None. As Germany showed us, a well placed, forceful strike can beat any keeper, even when he guesses correctly. An outstanding keeper who guesses correctly will never be quick enough to catch up to a driven, forceful, well placed strike.

  2. Seriously, my goal keeper twin is spot on. The keeper can ONLY be a hero, rarely the goat in PKs.
    One question though, I saw Lehmann’s feet moving like a tap dancer. I thought that the feet must be still at the time of the kick?

  3. Tilam,
    The keeper can move as much as he wants along the goal line, but can’t move forward off the line until the ball is struck. Keeper’s regularly push this rule, though. If you watch a slow-motion reply of most PK’s you’ll find that the keeper has moved off his line before the ball is struck.

  4. I think the goalkeeper rule of the feet being perfectly still is commonly flouted and is quite natural. Put a goalkeeper in a bodysuit and in front of motion capture cameras and you will see hundreds of anticipatory movements. It has to be very overt to be penalized.

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