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New research from the University of Portsmouth could help UK Premiership footballers ahead of the new season, which starts tonight.
The study, published in the journal Human Movement Science, has come up with the best way to practice penalty kicks if a player favours waiting for the goalkeeper to move rather than just deciding on a spot before taking their penalty.
Football - Players - Methods - Ball - Irrespective
Football players adopt two penalty-taking methods. One is deciding where to place the ball irrespective of the goalkeeper's actions, known as goalkeeper-independent. The second is to place the penalty to the other side of the goalkeeper's dive, or the goalkeeper-dependent strategy.
In this second method, the penalty taker must anticipate and decide where to kick the ball at the same as running up and taking the penalty. However, research has shown that when the time available to make the decision is reduced, for instance because the goalkeeper starts moving late, this adversely affects a kicker's ability to accurately direct the ball to the side opposite to the goalkeepers dive.
Player - Goalkeeper - Penalty - 'implicit - Practice
If a player waits for the goalkeeper to move before deciding where to place their penalty, they should use 'implicit' practice methods to improve their penalty-taking skills. Implicit learning methods encourage the player to develop their skills through independent decision-making, rather than explicit methods, which involve coaching-led development.
This means that players should practice taking penalties by gradually increasing the difficulty of the penalty kick. For instance, by initially kicking from shorter distances and by using relatively large targets.
Method - Amount - Thinking - Player - Run-up
Using this method, the amount of thinking required by the player during their run-up is reduced as their penalty taking skills are improved, therefore they can focus on the accuracy of their kick.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Martina Navarro, a lecturer in...
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