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With the World Cup entering the knockout stage, Gabriel J Diaz of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has recently released work on the science of saving penalties.

Diaz evaluated 27 possible indicators of the direction of shot – 12 from sports literature and 15 from computer analysis of real penalty kicks.

He found 2 of the sports literature indicators and 3 from the computer analysis reliably predicted the direction of the penalty.

4 of these 5 indicators seem to be used by some goal-keepers to to get a short head-start on the penalty taker.

However, other studies have found that professional Dutch goalkeepers are no better at using these indicators than novices.

The 2 predictors from sports literature are the angle at which the non-kicking foot is planted in the ground and the angle of the hips as the kicking foot swings forward.


June 26, 2010 - Posted by | Gabriel J Diaz, News, Science, Success

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