soccer coaching tips to goalies in a penalty shoot-out

I had an email from an under-8s coach whose goalkeeper wanted some tips to cope with penalty shoot-outs.

These are my suggestions to help. I really hate penalty shoot-outs! It seems so unfair to put so much pressure on individual children like that. They are bound to feel responsible for their team losing if they miss a penalty or fail to save one.

But I'm not sure how else to finish a tied cup match. You can't play on forever!

So here's a few tips that should help your goalkeeper save more penalties in future:

1. Watch the penalty takerís eyes.
Before young players start their run-up to shoot, they often give the game away by looking where they are going to hit the ball.

2. As the ball is struck, she should try to spot which way the penalty taker's plant foot is pointing as the ball will go in the same direction.

So tell your goalkeeper to watch the penalty taker's eyes before they start their run up. As the kicker reaches the ball, the goalkeeper's attention should be on the non-kicking foot.

Also tell your goalkeeper not to move until the ball is struck. The two clues help to predict where the ball might go but it's best to wait for a split second to be sure it really is going there.

And remember, many penalties at the youth level are poorly taken. They are often hit with little power or hit straight at the goalkeeper. Sometimes all your goalkeeper has to do is to wait and react to the shot.