|Here are some tips and tricks that give your
goalkeeper a good chance of saving at least some of the penalties in a shoot-out... and
help her to get through the whole experience without being emotionally scarred!
What to tell your goalkeeper
- Make yourself big - standing tall and stretching your arms
out wide will make the goal look a lot smaller to a nervous penalty taker.
- Look confident - try to make eye contact with the kicker as
she prepares to take her run up. Show her that you confident. Smile at her!
- Stay mobile - bouncing on the balls of your feet as the
penalty taker runs up allows you to move quickly to the left or right.
- Sidestep - make a small, quick step to one side and back to
the middle of the goal as the penalty taker is approaching the ball. This is often enough
to make her take her eye off the ball and lose focus.
- Don't dive before the ball is kicked - in junior football a
lot of penalties are directed straight at the goalkeeper. You might just have to stand
still and wait for the ball to be kicked into your hands.
- Dive forwards - if you have to dive, try to dive forwards.
This cuts down the angle and makes it easier to reach the ball.
Keeping a careful eye on the penalty taker will often give a keeper some useful clues as
to which way they are going to shoot.
- Do they keep glancing in one direction?
- Are they left or right footed? Most right-footed players
shoot to the goalkeeper's right and left-footed players shoot to the keeper's left.
- Watch the plant foot. In youth football, the ball will
nearly always go where the plant foot is pointing.
The law relating to penalty kicks states that the goalkeeper must be on the goal line and
may not forwards until the shot is struck.
But the keeper does not have to stand in the middle of the goal.
In fact, it has been shown that by standing slightly off centre, the keeper will encourage
the kicker to shoot at the wider half of the goal.
Standing just a few inches to the left or right often does the trick - even if the shooter
hasn't consciously noticed that the keeper is not standing in the middle of the goal, they
will usually aim for the wider side.
To catch or not to catch?
The pressure of trying to save a penalty in a shoot-out is enough, don't make it worse by
trying to catch the ball.
Remember that the penalty taker in a shoot-out can't touch the ball again after she's
kicked it. So if the shot is saved, that's it.
If you're about to play a cup match that could end in a penalty shoot-out or you're
entering a tournament, devote one coaching session to penalty taking and saving.
Discuss a few of the key points with your players then play a small-sided game (SSG) where
all restarts, even throw-ins, are penalty kicks.
But don't get overly concerned with penalties. Try to win the game in normal time instead!
 Cunning play helps goalkeepers save penalties, New Scientist, 2 March 2007
For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.