I used to love facing penalties
when I was a goalie. All the pressure is on the striker! Heís supposed to
score Ė so you can only be a hero!
In the proís the ball is pretty
much always going into the corner, and usually fairly hard. So goalies need
to guess early and launch themselves, hoping they have guessed right. But in
youth soccer, most PK takers are not that good, so you have other options:
Option A. Just react. If you are bouncing on your toes,
ready to react you have an excellent chance of reaching all but the very
best placed shots. Anything in the middle, and even within reach of the
middle, is savable.
Option B. Make an educated guess. There are several
Watch the hips. Most youth PK takers are not that good
at concealing where itís going. For a right footed kicker to place the ball
into the right side of the goal, he has to open his hips quite a long way.
From that position, itís hard to close them again to change corners without
missing altogether. If the hips are open, heís probably going right (from
the kickerís perspective).
Watch the run up. If he takes a straight run up, itís
almost certain to go left, even if thatís not what he wants. So if the
takerís run up is straighter than 45 degrees, heís probably going left.
Option A + B. You may decide that you will watch the
hips and run-up and make a guess if you get a good read. If
not, you go with Option A and just react to the shot.
Option C. Make them think. Sometimes, you know
you have a good PK taker against you. Maybe they are really really good. The
thing to do is to disrupt their normal pattern. I like to stand a foot or
two off-center: now the taker has to decide whether to go to the side with
more open space Ė which is where he assumes I am going to dive Ė or the
narrow side Ė which he assumes may be open. At a minimum, heís now thinking
about where to put it, rather than simply following his routine. I then
adopt Option A+B, with the idea that most likely I will just react.