As reported by the Independent, scientists have been busy researching the best way England Footballers can score a perfect penalty shoot out during the World Cup.
Researchers have found that one of the main hurdles facing footballers in a penalty shoot-out scenario is the high-stress situation. Scientists found that the tense atmosphere may result in the footballer to focus more on the goalkeeper- thus unwittingly aiming the football at them. Therefore scientists advice footballers to make a point of focusing on a spot in the goal where they want the ball to go and then kick accordingly – simple really.
Speaking of the research, Greg Wood, a Sports Psychologist at the University of Exeter stated, “During a highly stressful situation, we are more likely to be distracted by any threatening stimuli and focus on them, rather than the task in hand.
“In a stressful situation, a footballer’s attention is likely to be directed towards the goalkeeper, as opposed to the optimal scoring zones just inside the post. This disrupts the aiming of the shot and increases the likelihood of subsequently hitting the shot towards the goalkeeper, making it easier to save.”
The study investigated the eye movements of 14 footballers whilst they took penalties in both stressful and relaxing situations. The stressful sitation was emulated by offering a financial reward for the best penalty taker and by competitively ranking each of the footballers by their scores.
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