Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sports Scientists May Hold Key To Solving England`s World Cup Penalty Nightmares

06.06.2002


Research designed to enable a goalkeeper to significantly improve his chance of saving a penalty may help England to banish the penalty shootout nightmares that have dogged the team in major competitions over the past decade.



University of Greenwich sports scientists, working with West Ham United football academy, have completed a study proving that penalty takers subconsciously give readable physical clues to the direction of their penalty kicks. These clues could be used by goalkeepers to improve their chances of saving a penalty, as demonstrated by the study`s goalkeeper guinea
pigs.

"Various angles of a striker`s body were measured when taking a penalty, and two body parts were identified as giving an indication of the direction of shot: shoulder angle and angle of the standing leg," says the report`s authors, Al-Amin Kassam and Dr Mark Goss-Sampson. "Variations in these two body angles revealed which of three areas of the goal (left, right and centre) the ball was being struck towards."



"It is possible to train goalkeepers to read these visual clues in order to improve their penalty saving success rate," continued Al-Amin, "and indeed this is what we did in this study."

A West Ham youth team striker took 46 penalty kicks at a full size empty goal. A video camera was set up behind the goal at a height of six feet (about eye level for the average goalkeeper), which was zoomed in on the striker to mimic what a goalkeeper actually sees. Each penalty kick was recorded and the area of the goal that it entered was noted (left, right and centre).

The film clips for each penalty were relayed to a PC and evaluated by motion analysis software to enable the body angles of the striker to be measured, both during his run-up and as he was about to strike the ball.

Ten goalkeepers were shown the penalty kick video clips, freeze-framed just as the striker was about to kick the ball, and asked to predict which of the three areas of the goal the ball would be struck into. They were then instructed on the best visual cues to look for to try and accurately predict the direction of the penalty. When the goalkeepers were asked to view the penalty kicks once more, their prediction rate improved by around 9%.

"Many goalkeepers rely too much on their gut instinct and non-informative visual clues such as the direction a striker is looking when taking a penalty (strikers frequently disguise the way they are looking in order to confuse a goalkeeper)," said Al-Amin. "This leads to relevant visual clues being obscured, resulting in a misreading of the direction of a penalty taker`s shot."

"If a goalkeeper intensively practises recognising the relevant visual clues given by the striker`s shoulder and standing leg angles, then his reaction to these clues becomes automatic. The goalkeeper`s speed of sensory processing thus increases and the time available to react to the penalty strike is greater, increasing his chances of saving the penalty," said Al-Amin.

"A goalkeeper can further improve his chances by increasing the psychological pressure on a penalty taker, who will already be feeling under pressure from expectant team-mates and the crowd," says Al-Amin. "This can be done by a goalkeeper employing time-wasting tactics, making himself look as large as possible, and moving around sideways on his line in order to confuse the striker as to where he is going to dive."

"Although more research needs to be done in this area, I believe that the results of studies such as this one could help to significantly increase a goalkeeper`s chances of saving a penalty," says Al-Amin. "And a piece of advice to England penalty takers. Hit your penalties as hard as possible, as research indicates that a penalty struck at more than 20 metres per
second stands a greater chance of hitting the back of the net than a slower one, as a goalkeeper has less time to analyse visual clues and react."

Carl Smith | alfa
Further information:
http://www.gre.ac.uk/pr/pressreleases/673.htm

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>