Visual Search Strategies of Soccer Players Executing a Power vs. Placement Penalty Kick

Timmis, Matthew A., Turner, Kieran and van Paridon, Kjell N. (2014) Visual Search Strategies of Soccer Players Executing a Power vs. Placement Penalty Kick. PLOS ONE, 9 (12). e115179. ISSN 1932-6203

Published Version
Available under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (251kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Introduction: When taking a soccer penalty kick, there are two distinct kicking techniques that can be adopted; a ‘power’ penalty or a ‘placement’ penalty. The current study investigated how the type of penalty kick being taken affected the kicker’s visual search strategy and where the ball hit the goal (end ball location). Method: Wearing a portable eye tracker, 12 university footballers executed 2 power and placement penalty kicks, indoors, both with and without the presence of a goalkeeper. Video cameras were used to determine initial ball velocity and end ball location. Results: When taking the power penalty, the football was kicked significantly harder and more centrally in the goal compared to the placement penalty. During the power penalty, players fixated on the football for longer and more often at the goalkeeper (and by implication the middle of the goal), whereas in the placement penalty, fixated longer at the goal, specifically the edges. Findings remained consistent irrespective of goalkeeper presence. Discussion/conclusion: Findings indicate differences in visual search strategy and end ball location as a function of type of penalty kick. When taking the placement penalty, players fixated and kicked the football to the edges of the goal in an attempt to direct the ball to an area that the goalkeeper would have difficulty reaching and saving. Fixating significantly longer on the football when taking the power compared to placement penalty indicates a greater importance of obtaining visual information from the football. This can be attributed to ensuring accurate foot-to-ball contact and subsequent generation of ball velocity. Aligning gaze and kicking the football centrally in the goal when executing the power compared to placement penalty may have been a strategy to reduce the risk of kicking wide of the goal altogether.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sports, Eye movements, Cameras, Eyes, Information processing, Research monitoring, Decision making, Games, Soccer, Football
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 15:15
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item