Four tips on how to save a penalty

Goalkeepers don't tend to get noticed a lot in football. Penalties and penalty shootouts are among the rare passages of play when the last line of defence can be the hero and where they are rarely singled out for a mistake.

Four tips on how to save a penalty
Four tips on how to save a penalty

Unsettle your opponent

Try to do something different. Follow your instinct. You can, for example, try to distract them by standing on your line and waving your arms or jumping around from side to side with arms outstretched. Sometimes, it doesn't take much to put the penalty-taker off and force them to make an error. Think back to the shootout antics of Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek at the end of the 2005 UEFA Champions League final. Older fans will remember Bruce Grobbelaar and his "spaghetti legs" in the shootout that Liverpool won to claim the European Cup in 1984. 

Portugal keeper Ricardo even took his gloves off during a shootout in the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2004.

Everyone has their own technique, but it is sometimes worth doing something out of the ordinary to knock your opponent off their stride.

Take a close look at how the penalty-taker is acting and their run-up

Look at your opponent straight in the eyes and try to assess how they're feeling and what they're thinking. Those few seconds before the spot kick are vital, so watch their body language, check if they look straight back at you, count the number of steps they take, and check the position their body is in. Once you've gauged all that, choose which side you're going and try to cover as much space as possible.  

Four tips on how to save a penalty
Four tips on how to save a penalty

Work on your instinct by doing this drill at the end of every training session

To build your confidence and develop an instinct for saving penalties you need to work on them regularly. At the end of every training session, ask your team's designated penalty taker to take a few against you. It won't take long. The more saves you make, the more confidence you'll have, the more grooved your movements, and the better your instincts, which can make all the difference. 

Keep one foot on the line so the referee doesn't order a retake

It's vital that you keep a foot on the goal-line. The new rules state that if the goalkeeper's feet are not on the goal line when the penalty is taken and they save it, it has to be retaken. If you've made your opponent miss or pulled off a wonder save, it would be a shame to give them a second chance.

Four tips on how to save a penalty

François-Xavier SWINIARSKI

KIPSTA footballs and goalkeeper kit product manager:

The Blood and Gold have played a big part in my football career. Having come through the youth set-up at RC Lens, I then played in France's lower leagues for four years. I still play every week with former RC Lens players.