Attention towards the goalkeeper and distraction during penalty shootouts in association football: a retrospective analysis of penalty shootouts from 1984 to 2012

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In the present study, we tested the consequences of attention towards goalkeepers in association football penalty shootouts that have exclusively been derived from laboratory experiments. We conducted a retrospective analysis of all penalty shootouts during FIFA World Cups (1986-2010) and UEFA European Football Championships (1984-2012). We linked key variables of previous laboratory research to observable behaviour in the field that was coded by two independent coders. The following hypotheses were tested: first, attention towards goalkeepers results in more saves/better goalkeeper performance; second, goalkeepers can deliberately distract penalty takers by drawing attention towards themselves which results in less accurate penalty kicks/better goalkeeper performance. Results were in line with previous laboratory analyses as they showed that attention towards goalkeepers resulted in more saves/better goalkeeping performance. Further, if goalkeepers distracted penalty takers this also resulted in better goalkeeping performance. The applied implications of these findings are discussed for both goalkeepers and penalty takers in association football.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of sports sciences
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)873-879
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 05.2017

ID: 3000325

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