Anyone remember this?
If you don’t, it’s a reminder that small clubs can do big things. FC Cincinnati of the USL toppled the Chicago Fire of the MLS (after beating the Columbus Crew) and now head to the semifinals where they'll face the New York Red Bulls. No one thought much of this team. But because they were effective in penalty kicks, they advanced.
Let’s take it to a bigger stage.
One of the most iconic images in sports history…all because someone practiced their penalty kicks.
Today, we’ll show you some drills to ace your penalty kicks when it matters most.
The first drill is all about finesse, and getting the ball outside of the keeper’s hands. To do this, you’ll have to go a little outside your shooting comfort zone. You’re going to place two cones one yard inside each goal post. For the first shot you take, you’re going to try and curl it, so it goes right outside the cone. The second shot you’ll kick at an angle, getting vertical movement. With each shot, the idea is you’re going to shoot quicker and quicker, maintaining accuracy. An addition to this drill is switching the cone that’s near the penalty marker to the other side and forcing yourself to kick with your weaker foot, which will only help your striking skills.
Around the Goal Post
In this drill, the net and your players will line up in a similar fashion to the finesse drill. They’ll take 20 shots- 10 with their right-hand side and ten with their left. From there, you’ll focus on the corners of the goals- one shot in the top corner, one at the bottom corner, then the same kind of shots on the other side of the goal. It’s all about repetition.
The Pressure Packer
At the end of the game, your players have dead legs and are emotionally exhausted. A player who has played 120 minutes probably won’t have the best accuracy in a penalty shootout…so what better way than to practice it?
Have your players run the length of the field 3-5 times at full strength. As they’re doing that, line up balls where they will take penalty kicks. As each one finishes, have them wait 5-10 seconds, and attempt to kick the ball into the net. They’ll find it’s a bit more difficult to score…. But it will only help them when it comes time in a real game. There will be less likelihood of an errant shot, and a better chance to seal the deal and put less pressure on your goalie.