CoachUp Training Q&A

Ask a question about sports training.
Get answers from expert coaches in 30+ sports.

Soccer Q&A

Have your own Soccer question?

CoachUp Coaches, to answer questions


"Where should I look when I'm taking a penalty kick?"

hey Ryan!

I think being deceptive is important so if you look to your right and then shoot it left, the goalkeeper may be fooled, but sometimes he knows that may be what your doing.  Where you look can be important, but sometimes the body shape is even more important so right before you hit the ball, try not to give it away with where your hips/body is facing.  If you don't really look up and just focus on the ball, that helps too.  I think it can also help to use a different part of your foot maybe the outside or laces, not just the inside.  The angle of approach also makes a difference.  I know it's a long answer, but just try to make good contact and strike the ball well while having a good idea where you want to hit it before you shoot.  It's typically just a guessing game for the goalkeeper so just try not to give him any hints!

Coach Anthony
Missing profile photo

Anthony C.

Soccer | Shrewsbury, MA

May 26, 2016
Is this answer helpful? 2
Ryan -
I coach my athletes to not overthink taking a PK. As you approach the spot to place the ball, simply be certain in your mind where you want to place the ball when you strike it. Generally, the best choices will be the left post or right post, on the ground being better than in the air. You can expect the keeper to choose one side or the other to defend. Try not to show the direction of your kick as you place the ball and step back to take the PK. I wouldn't look at the keeper, as it could influence you to change your mind and that may cause hesitation or less than solid strike on the ball. Take a comfortable approach and on the referee's whistle strike through the ball sharply but without overpowering the ball. You don't want it to sail over the crossbar! Better power comes from laces and the outside of the foot, but better accuracy comes from the inside. It has to be your choice. Make it and stay committed to it. If you are certain that the keeper will move left or right, an interesting trick is to simply strike the ball straight forward, relying on the keeper to have moved and left this spot open.

Marvin M.

Soccer | Derby, CT

May 26, 2016
Is this answer helpful? 1
Penalties are nerve wrecking for some players due to being nervous and overthinking how to shoot, where to shoot, and ultimately the pressure on the player taking the penalty as most people expect them to score. In my opinion players should pick a side to shoot at and stick with it. Avoid kicking the ball at knee/hip height because the goalkeepers find these balls easiest to block. Shoot on the ground or upper 90, bellow the crossbar. Some players just blast the ball high and center, which works most of the time, unless the player misses the whole goal. Practicing penalties with intention of hitting the side netting that connects to the post is almost certain GOAL. I like to shoot with the inside of my foot, but I also add power to the inside kicks. Players can use laces, outside, inside, or simply scooping the ball with a light touch under the crossbar.
Smart penalty kick takers will also pay attention to the goalkeeper just as they approach the ball to kick it. Goalkeeper will usually pick a side and start moving earlier than the ball is kicked. If you use this method, you can get an idea of the side goalkeeper is going to, and shoot to the opposite side.

Practice makes better, so practicing PK's is the best way of building muscle memory that will come handy when found in a situation to take a penalty.

Armin S.

Soccer | Murray, UT

May 26, 2016
Is this answer helpful? 0
Before you place the ball on the spot take a step back and decide where you are placing the ball. See it in you mind. I try not to change my mind after that. I don't look at the goalie, goal or anything else other than the ball.
The real key is to practice your routine before hand. Just like with a foul shot, you need to have your routine down. Give yourself a couple of different options and decide which one works the best for you. Aiming low and to the corners are usually the hardest for a goalie to stop.

Vincent E.

Soccer | Machias, ME

June 28, 2016
Is this answer helpful? 0