Penalty. Plan. Psychology
professor in sport psychology at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. “One player told me that as he was in the centre circle, waiting to walk to the penalty spot, all he could think was, ‘ does it show on television that my knees are shaking so much, I’m so nervous?’”
Introduced nearly 123 years ago, a penalty attempt will result in a score between two- thirds and three- quarters of the time, according to data from top- flight European club football.
But this statistical advantage for the striker is a mental advantage for the keeper, says Jordet. If the keeper fails to save a penalty, he will get sympathy; if he succeeds, he will be covered in glory.
According to mathematicians at Liverpool’s John Moores University, the perfect penalty is a ball that is struck high and in the corner at between 90 and 104 kilometres per hour. Anything faster boosts the risk of inaccuracy and anything slower is easier for the goalkeeper to intercept.
Goalies love “look- at- me” tricks to distract the striker. For mental strength, strikers should be supported by team- mates — the group huddle is important — and coaches must be willing to talk about penalty dread.