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Monday, 30 June 2014

Brad Friedel - The art of saving penalties, but is he right?

Having watched another penalty shoot-out and wondered why goalkeepers still keep diving the wrong way, Brad Friedel coincidentally then talks about the psychology a goalkeeper goes through.

Brad Friedel - The art od saving penalties, but is he right?

There are two overriding factors for me, one the standing foot, look at it's angle and you'll have an idea of which way the penalty taker will kick the ball. If the foot is open with the toes pointing to the keepers right he has opened his body and could kick it both ways but it's more likely to go to the keepers right.

If the foot is closed, pointing at the centre of the goal it is difficult to place it to the keepers right, it could go left or central.

The second factor for me is pressure. What is the situation of the game. Is the penalty to put a side in the lead or is it a deciding penalty or a penalty shoot-out.

Players under pressure revert to a default and that means for a right footer playing the ball to the keepers right. That for me is the way the keeper should be diving most of the time, not going early to make it easy for the striker of course.

Look at the World Cup, look where all the penalties have gone. I sit and watch and say to myself it's going to the keepers right and sure enough, the keeper dives left, the ball goes right. The striker is in his comfort zone, under intense pressure he puts things in his favour so takes as much risk away as possible and is reverting to his strongest area, for a right footer that's curling a ball right.

OK they were my views, I'll stop there and watch the video of Brad Friedel and see what a professional keeper who has been there and done it has to say.

"You should not miss, you are 12 yards away, you should not miss. We saw Willian miss the target that is pressure."

He was then asked what the keeper is thinking, are they thinking there is no pressure on me?

"Those are two experienced goalkeepers (Brazil, Chile) so absolutely yes, they would have been thinking that way."

Next he was asked how you prepare for a penalty shoot-out and had his preperation changed over the years.

"Yes of course, now that technology has come into it, normally you'll have an ipad or something of that nature on the bench and you'll try to get all the data that you can possibly get. 

"Now in a shoot-out maybe you're not going to see anything from the maybe 2, 3 or even 4 of the penalty takers but you'll try to get as much data as possible."

So does data take over fro instinct or do you trust you gut.

"For me no. But again if I was younger probably but as I've gotten older there's little things you try to detect. The best one for me was always to try to detect the planting foot. Now it's more difficult at my age because I'm a little bit older and as you get older you get a little bit slower on the feet.

"If you are waiting to that last second before you move you have to be really quick. You have to be powerful, be really strong in order to do that but generally where the planting foot is facing is where the ball is going to be, that's not 100%, it's not a science, it is  just that it's instinct.

"There's other things you can detect, how longs the run-up, how shorts the run-up, the angle of the run-up, how big the game is. Mt instinct is that the bigger the game, if it's a right footed player and I saw a little fear in their eyes I would think they'll hit it to my left because it's easier to get it on target that way."

But where does second guessing come into into play though.

"Well second guessing comes into play when you've played with a player I think or against a player and had numerous penalties. Danny Murphy springs to mind for me, I played with him at Liverpool, he got a penalty when he was at Fulham I believe and he knows that I knew he wanted to go which way, right. So he be thinking I knew he wanted to go right so he's going to go left so it was just a thinking game going back and forth.

"He came out on top on that one to be fair but that's when it becomes one of those games. In a shoot-out I’ve also seen goalkeepers dive the same way five times in a row thinking at least one, the law of averages, at least one will go that way. Iv'e never done that."

So the standing foot at point of contact is the best indicator.

"For myself it was but that's not everyone.If you see somebody lining up with a real long run-up, generally he's going to smash it and generally it going to go somewhere in the centre of the goals unless you saw the lad there smash it into the bin with very little run-up.

"We're at a disadvantage, if you guys hit about a yard close to the post with pace, even if we leave early it's difficult for us to save."

So Brad and I disagree on where a default penalty will go but agree on the standing foot. He plumps for a player side-footing to the left because it's more accurate, I believe more power to the keepers right is more usual. Surely the World Cup penalties ave shown that, during the game they are all going to the right.

There is more in the full video below from when he appeared on RTE for the Brazil verses Chile game which Brazil won in a penalty shootout of course. He had having previously been out in Brazil and appearing on the BBC, nice work this punditry stuff..


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