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How to Make a Penalty Kick

It’s just you and the goalkeeper—what could be easier? The penalty kick doesn’t have to be scary. Think of it as your golden opportunity to save the day and cover yourself in glory.


  • Step 1: Observe referee Observe the referee as he places the ball on the penalty mark, which is 12 yards from the center of the goal line. Use the opportunity to shake out your legs and clear your mind of distractions.
  • Step 2: Go to the ball As your teammates and the opposing team clear the penalty area, go to the ball to signal to the referee that you will be the one taking the shot.
  • Step 3: Line up for the kick Line up for the kick, taking a few backward steps diagonally behind the ball.
  • TIP: If you’re a right-footed kicker, step diagonally back to the left. Left-footed kickers should step back diagonally right.
  • Step 4: Aim Decide what part of the net you’re going to aim for. Once you’ve decided, do not change your mind.
  • TIP: Consider kicking the ball to one of the low corners. This is the hardest place for the goalkeeper to reach.
  • Step 5: Wait for the whistle Wait for the whistle signal from the referee that indicates you can proceed with your kick.
  • Step 6: Approach the ball Once the referee signals, approach the ball, planting your non-striking foot to the side of the ball.
  • Step 7: Kick the ball Kick the ball with the instep of your striking foot.
  • Step 8: Celebrate Watch the goalkeeper miss, then celebrate your heroism with your exultant teammates.
  • FACT: The 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup was decided on penalty kicks between the U.S. and China. The U.S. won.

You Will Need

  • A soccer game
  • A penalty kick opportunity
  • A soccer ball

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