Goalkeepers and Decision Making

During penalty kicks, goalkeepers have a choice to make. Frequently this is put in terms of whether they should dive to the left or the right. However, there is another option – stay in the center.  It turns out that staying put is a good option according to academic research. 28.7% of the time, kicks come to the middle area of the goal and these kicks are much easier to save. However, doing nothing is hard. As a result goalkeepers only stand in the center during  6% of penalty kicks.

It is a goalkeeper’s job to save goals. Yet, they behave in a way that makes them less effective. The reason being that it’s incredibly hard to simply do nothing, especially if something bad happens as a result.

The next time there’s a problem, and you feel the urge to “do something”, consider if it’s really necessary, or just something that will make you feel better.

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