When elites practice poorly


It was a heart sinking moment when I heard Luis Enrique instructed his players to practice 1,000 penalties before their knockout game against Morocco.  Penalties is such a huge part of the game, and of knockout competitions.  For years, under several managers, Celtic have underachieved in this dimension of the game.  I harboured hopes that sufficient practice would be the solution.

On first hearing, 1,000 kicks sounds about right, but surely this was not a serious instruction and was not observed.  As any elite sports person will tell you, it is too easy to practice wrong, and setting a target that sounds like an endurance achievement will surely produce negative outcomes.

Practising penalties for real requires preparation for each one, a goalkeeper who is also in the zone and ideally an observer who recording your outcomes.  Still, elite players miss.  At this World Cup, Lewandowski and Messi have missed from the spot during normal time.  When you have to select five from a team of 11, the average conversion rate is sure to fall.

Outcomes can be benchmarked, however.  If your conversion rate is below norm and significantly below elite level, you have practice to do.  If you want to progress in knockout football, you always have practice to do.  Luis Enrique will spend years wondering if he should have been more subtle with his instructions.

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  1. Fourstonecoppi



    Mone ain’t no Patsy imo


    Her and tag team(hub or ex hub) no what they are doing.up to her neck in it.




  2. I am considering SUBSCRIBING to CELTIC TV.



    The amount asked for is NOT unreasonable…at least .£50 per Year ?


    However, I have read several posters on here CRITICISING the POOR SERVICE from CELTIC TV.


    I will happily accept any advice on whether i should Subscribe or not ?


    Thank you in advance.



  3. Penalty shoot-outs in major tournaments are completely unique situations, try creating similar conditions to a last 16 knockout in the world cup, with a stadium full of fans going nuts, in front of hundreds of millions of people watching on tv after 120 minutes of the most intense football you’ll ever experience.



    The physical exhaustion which must affect you, the mental exhaustion scrambles your brain and the pressure will play havoc with your judgement. Some are able to cope better than others, some of the coolest footballers have made terrible decisions in shoot-outs



    Walking up and just hitting it is fine until you’re legs turn to jelly on the walk from the halfway line



    Try recreating all that in practice



    A strategy which takes all that into consideration is more important than just banging penalties in in practice.

  4. MONE is an UTTER RATBAG….and my opinion stems from my past 2 dealings” with her, and the shocking manner in which she treated my wife ( at that time), who was just one of her disgruntled Employees in her south side Office.


    I am NOT surprised at this latest scandal surrounding MONE….NOT in the LEAST.



  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    The real problem for Spain was how they played during the game. A masterclass in how not to break down a low block.


    Slow, one-paced football, sideways passing, no penetration, no movement. Could’ve been watching a re-run of their game v Russia in 2018. With the same outcome.


    Much to think about changing before they worry about how to convert penalties.




    Winning a penalty shoot-out should be part of their thinking about how to get through to the next round against a team employing the low block. They’re more likely to need it.



    Knockout football, you need to get through however you can

  7. BIG JIMMY on 7TH DECEMBER 2022 12:19 PM



    It depends what you want it for, if you’re after live football its not the place to go

  8. glendalystonsils on

    BIG JIMMY on 7TH DECEMBER 2022 12:19 PM



    Celtic40me is right , I subscribe because my blood pressure will not stand listening to the anto Celtic bias on Sportsound but my first port of call is always a stream .

  9. The penalty takers for Japan also failed at the WC stage.



    I doubt failure to plan or practice featured in it at all. Penalty taking has become a different game in the 21st century as keepers have become much taller while the goal size remains the same. Add to that the fact that stats are maintained and circulated to clubs on the habits of regular penalty takers, then you’ll know why the goalies have been saving more than usual.



    You get duff analysis from the likes of Alan Shearer- “Why does nobody just smash it anymore?” because they don’t get paid for insightful analysis but for echoing Mr. Angry and Mr. Shakes His Head in Disbelief”; it’s analysis for Gammons.



    You cannot have just one style of pen taking anymore. You have to vary sides and you have to do so in an inconsistent pattern. You can’t just choose a side as that makes it 50:50 for a goalkeeper who can dive low and reach the post. You can’t just place it in the corner with your side foot as it needs pace unless the keeper has already dived.



    There isn’t one elite player, far less anyone here bumping their gums, who could “guarantee” to score a pen against a modern professional keeper. It’s now harder than it looks. Just ask the Celtic penalty takers this season.



    I cannot see any way to reduce this issue in penalty shoot outs and I might not even want to. It makes for exciting viewing.



    However , we are long past the time where football should have redefined the penalty area and the penalty offence. You get an equal reward, of a spot kick when someone is tripped or collided with as they are taking the ball out of the area on the by-line, a position no-one can score from, as you do when someone is scythed down a yard from goal in the act of shooting into an empty net.



    Rugby has introduced the concept of “Try Awarded” when a certain try is illegally prevented and, loath as I am to give Scottish refs more discretion, we might have to consider this.



    As I have said before, I would also change the shape of the penalty area from its current rectangle to a mushroom shape with a thinner rectangular shape (the mushroom stalk from the goalie to the current boundary with the addition of a Mushroom Cap, much like the current penalty arc, perhaps a little bigger, from wherein penalty awards could be made. Any player breaking into this area who is fouled when there are fewer than two opposition players in the box , not immediately blocking him, should get a pen. Of course someone fouled there when the box is full of defenders would only get a traditional free kick.



    The advantage is that the penalty award would better reflect the jeopardy of fouling someone with a goal scoring chance, than current rules do.



    The disadvantage, apart from playing into the discretionary hands of masonic refs, is the fact that groundsmen would have to draw two giant penis shaped Penalty areas on our sacred pitch.

  10. fergusslayedtheblues on



    Re CELTIC TV .


    I have been a subscriber for quite a few years now and I find it really good watching the games back through the week .


    I think watching the game again knowing the outcome and minus the nervous tention ,gives you a better perspective of player performance ,build up to goals and a chance to see any controversial decisions that end up on the sportscene cutting room floor .


    You also get content from the bhoys n ghirls games .


    At under a quid a week ,I think it’s good value for money .


    I think there are issues with the live games at times but as the games are not shown live in uk that should not effect you .


    Think you should go for it as you are sometimes laid low and the archive of old games could help you pass a few hours and bring back some good memories .



  11. fergusslayedtheblues on

    The only time Michelle disnea Mone is when shes making love .


    I’ll get get ma coat



  12. Re penalties-i thought that the logical place to aim for in the goals is up highish in the corner of the crossbar and stantion,( not to be confused with staunchyin).





  13. You can’t replicate a World Cup pen shot out. That said, the actual contact in a lot of the pens for Japan and Spain was very poor. You’d have thought that the basics of striking a ball is something that could and should be worked on.



    Japan’s pens were especially poor. As my dad is fond of saying, the keeper could have thrown his cap to stop them.

  14. Given Busquets previous pass-backs to the goalkeeper from the penalty spot, he appeared to be a peculiar choice to take one on this occasion.

  15. The returnof weeron on




    Overseas Celts have been using CTV for a great many years. It is our lifeblood, and is used by virtually every North American CSC.



    I would say that the vast majority of complaints (that I have seen) have been from occasional users, often in Scotland. Point is, we use it all the time. Every single domestic game. There are the odd glitches, but in the vast majority of games, it is perfect.



    Once in a while, if we have a problem, we will quickly check with other CSC’s. If they don’t have a problem, then chances are we need to reboot our internet.



    If you are going to be listening ‘live’, or watching after the fact, your chances of glitches will be very low.



    All the best,



  16. I see Baroness Mone is backing England for the World Cup. She does at least have something in common with Gareth Southgate – they both manage to make average tits look good.



    I’ll get my brassiere.

  17. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Someone must have told our first team players to practice 2,000 penalties then?




    I agree, if a penalty gives you an 80% chance of a goal then the foul that leads to it should stop a chance with a similar likelihood of scoring.



    It must come soon, the idea that any foul committed in the area leads to an almost certain goal is like something out of the 19th century. Its already making the handball rule almost unworkable.



    I like the new penalty areas and fouls idea. It’ll blow the minds of the traditionalists but it would make for a far better game. I’d even go so far as removing the boxes as a true “penalty area” and let the ref decide if the foul warranted a penalty



    Do you know why its a box and not a crescent?

  19. it must have been so theres equal amounts of space on either side of the 6 yard box for goal kicks

  20. I would also change the shape of the penalty area from its current rectangle to a mushroom shape with a thinner rectangular shape (the mushroom stalk from the goalie to the current boundary with the addition of a Mushroom Cap,



    hhhhmmm, would it not just look like a mans appendage ?



    2 more knobs on the park

  21. An Dun





    You can practice penalties to the cows come home,


    But you can’t simulate taking a pen that will put you thro to a world cup quarter final in front of billions



    It’s a pressure.



    Well done Morocco,its great for arab and african football.Spain you had your possession but I get the impression they would still be trying to score.



    Final at mo is Brazil Portugal hopefully.flairtastic.




  22. Paul67 et al



    I haven’t read this much flannel Paul since I last read Pa Broon’s latest Commission.


    And ah didnae read that either. To witness everything you hold so dear Paul come crashing down around you, well schadenfreude does not even come close. And don’t start me on the mushrooms, well not the magic ones at any rate. Ask yourself, what have football players been doing all their sporting lives if not kicking a ball? If they need 1000 goes to prepare them for the one, trust me they are in the wrong game. Maybe we should abandon that philosophy and go, once again to Malcolm Gladwell, (remember him) and devote ten thousand hours to practising taking penalties and see if that helps, if you are still in the team that is. Nine hundred and ninety nine of those penalties are a complete waste of time, a complete and utter waste. Uri Geller could tell you that.

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