Soccer 101: Fundamentals of Penalty Kicks

Take advantage of the opportunity a penalty kick presents with tips from pro soccer player Calvin Rezende.

The crowd has been brought to a hush and all eyes are on you. You step up to the penalty mark and get the ball ready to take the kick. You think of the direction to shoot in, take a breath and get ready to bury the ball into the corner of the net.

A penalty kick (PK) is awarded when a player is fouled inside a defending team’s penalty box. A handball can also get you a PK. It is taken from the penalty mark, and the fouled player goes one-on-one against the goalkeeper.

Being able to connect on a penalty kick can help secure the big win for your team. So, what’s the key?

A successful PK starts before you even kick as you try to keep your composure. Stay calm, breathe and concentrate on the task at hand.

To get started, place the ball on the flattest spot on the grass that you can. Take a few steps back and get ready to kick. You want to try to deceive the keeper with the direction you’re going to kick. A little bit of convincing can go a long way. Think of the corner you want to go for before you shoot; overthinking it while running up could possibly work against you.

When you’re ready to kick, your plant foot should face in the direction you want the ball to go. For example, if you want to kick it to the left of the net, point your foot to the left. The same goes if you want to send the ball to the right, or if you want to drill a shot straight ahead.

Successful penalty kicks are a good combination of power and placement, so when you approach the ball, make contact with the inside of your foot.

If you’re ready for a penalty kick, you will raise your team’s chances of victory and leave the opposing goalkeeper dreading the next time they see you advancing down the field.

Looking to learn other soccer fundamental skills? Discover our tips on executing the free kick and corner kick as well.