Hardest Feat in Sports: The Science of a Penalty Kick

The Science of a Penalty Kick

What's harder than returning Nadal's serve, hitting a Clemens fastball or tossing a Manning bros. level touchdown pass?

The scientist prove, no matter how you slice it, saving a penalty kick save in soccer may be the most improbable feat in all of sports. The numbers don't allow a goalkeeper any margin for error.

FIFA rules state that the World Cup finals could be determined in penalty kick shoot-outs, if a 90 minute game and two extra 15 minute periods end in a tie. Like yesterday's Japan-Paraguay game that ended in shoot-outs, it is most likely that almost every shot will go in. Japan was the only team to miss a PK.... and it wasn't saved by the keeper, but instead the crossbar. So, after 10 shots, neither keeper made a save.

As a goalkeeper that spent most of my young life training for these moments, it is a bit of an impossible task, but that's what makes a save that much sweeter.

Science Proves Keepers That Block PKs are Otherworldly

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.


I always thought the fear of getting hit in the balls by a penalty kick is the hardest thing in sports. In the soccer shots that you see where there is a line of players between the kicker and the goalie, you always see them protecting their most important valuables above anything else.

If it helps, your balls can probably take it.
Also, unless the person taking the shot hates you or is a total amateur, they will probably aim (that's if they can aim) at one of the sides.

Is this show made for hard or hearing, or hard of understanding people? What's with this guy's speech? It's almost as if he TALKED ENTIRELY IN CAPS.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest