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Santiago Diaz
Santiago Diaz

Penalty Shooters: How to Score and Save in Every Round

Penalty Shooters: The Ultimate Test of Nerves and Skills in Soccer

One of the most thrilling and dramatic moments in soccer is the penalty shootout. It is a tie-breaking method that decides the winner of a match that cannot end in a draw, such as in a knockout tournament or a cup final. It involves two teams taking turns to shoot at the goal from the penalty mark, with only the goalkeeper to beat. It is a test of nerves, skills, and luck, as each shot can make or break the fate of a team.

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In this article, we will explore what a penalty shootout is, how it works, and how it has changed over time. We will also look at some statistics and trends of penalty shootouts, such as the success rates, patterns, and factors that influence the outcome. Finally, we will share some tips and tricks on how to score or save a penalty, whether you are a player or a goalkeeper.

What is a penalty shootout and when is it used?

A penalty shootout is one of the three methods of breaking a draw that are approved by the Laws of the Game; the others are extra time and, for two-legged ties, the away goals rule. A shootout is usually used only after one or more of the other methods fail to produce a winner.

The method of breaking a draw for a specific match is determined beforehand by the match organizing body. In most professional level competitions, two 15-minute extra time periods are played if the score is tied at the end of regulation time, and a shootout is held if the score is still tied after the extra time periods.

The rules and procedures of a penalty shootout

The rules and procedures of a penalty shootout are as follows :

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  • Each team selects five players to take the kicks, which must be different from each other. The players must be on the field at the end of extra time.

  • The referee tosses a coin to decide which team kicks first. The team that wins the toss chooses whether to kick first or second.

  • The referee chooses which goal to use for the shootout, unless there are safety or security reasons to use only one goal.

  • The kicks are taken alternately by each team from the penalty mark, which is 11 meters (12 yards) from the goal line.

  • The goalkeeper must remain on the goal line between the goalposts until the ball is kicked. The kicker must kick the ball forward and may not play it again once it has been kicked.

  • The team that scores more goals from their five kicks is declared the winner. If both teams score the same number of goals, or no goals are scored, the shootout progresses into additional \"sudden-death\" rounds.

  • In each round, both teams take one kick each. The team that scores while their opponent misses is declared the winner. If both teams score or miss, another round is taken until one team has an advantage.

  • Each kick must be taken by a different player until all eligible players have taken a kick. If one team has fewer players than their opponent, either because of red cards or injuries, then both teams reduce their numbers accordingly.

  • If both teams have taken five kicks each and all eligible players have taken a kick, then both teams start again from their first kickers in the same order.

The history and evolution of the penalty shootout

The penalty shootout was introduced to soccer in 1970 by the International Football Association Board (IFAB What are the statistics and trends of penalty shootouts?

Penalty shootouts are often unpredictable and exciting, as they involve a mix of skill, luck, and psychology. However, there are some statistics and trends that can reveal some patterns and insights into the phenomenon of penalty shootouts. Let's take a look at some of them.

The success rates and patterns of penalty takers and goalkeepers

According to statistics from Gracenote, the overall success rate from shootouts in the World Cup from 1982 to 2018 is 69% (294 penalties in total with 203 scored and 91 missed). However, this rate varies depending on the position of the penalty taker and the goalkeeper.

For instance, forwards have a higher success rate (75%) than midfielders (68%) and defenders (63%). This makes sense, as forwards are usually more skilled and confident in shooting than other players. However, there are some exceptions, such as Roberto Baggio, who famously missed the decisive penalty for Italy in the 1994 final against Brazil.

Similarly, goalkeepers have a lower success rate (50%) than outfield players (70%) when taking penalties. This is because goalkeepers are less experienced and practiced in shooting than outfield players. However, there are some notable examples of goalkeepers who scored or saved crucial penalties, such as Ricardo for Portugal in 2006, who saved three penalties against England and then scored the winning one himself.

Another interesting pattern is that penalty takers tend to favor the left side of the goal more than the right side. This is because most players are right-footed and find it easier to aim for the left side. However, this also means that goalkeepers have a higher chance of saving penalties on their right side than on their left side.

The factors that influence the outcome of a penalty shootout

Besides the skill and luck of the penalty takers and goalkeepers, there are other factors that can influence the outcome of a penalty shootout. Some of these factors are:

Psychological pressure and coping strategies

Penalty shootouts are stressful situations that require high levels of concentration, confidence, and composure. Penalty takers and goalkeepers face different types of pressure: penalty takers have to deal with the expectation to score, while goalkeepers have to deal with the uncertainty of where the ball will go.

To cope with this pressure, some players use various strategies, such as focusing on their breathing, visualizing their shot, or using positive self-talk. Some players also try to intimidate or distract their opponents by staring them down, making gestures, or talking trash. However, these tactics can backfire if they are perceived as disrespectful or arrogant by their opponents or the referee.

Physical fatigue and performance

Penalty shootouts usually take place after 120 minutes of intense physical activity, which can affect the performance of both penalty takers and goalkeepers. Fatigue can impair the accuracy, power, and speed of the shots, as well as the reaction time and agility of the saves.

To prevent fatigue from affecting their performance, some players try to conserve their energy during extra time by avoiding unnecessary sprints or tackles. Some players also take advantage of the breaks between penalties to hydrate themselves, stretch their muscles, or massage their legs.

Team order and sequence effects

The order in which each team takes their penalties can also have an impact on the outcome of a penalty shootout. Generally speaking, it is better to go first than second in a shootout, as this gives an advantage in terms of momentum, confidence, and pressure. According to statistics from Gracenote, teams that go first in a World Cup shootout win 60% of the time.

The sequence in which each player takes their penalty can also matter, as this can affect their motivation, emotion, and self-efficacy. Usually, teams select their best or most experienced players to take the first and last penalties, as these are considered the most important ones. However, this can also depend on the preference and personality of each player. Some players may volunteer to take a penalty early or late in the shootout, while others may avoid taking one altogether. What are the tips and tricks to score or save a penalty?

Penalty shootouts are not only about statistics and trends, but also about skills and techniques. Whet


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