Goalkeeping in the soccer penalty kick: It is time we take affordance-based control seriously!

John van der Kamp*, Matt Dicks, Jose Antonio Navia, Benjamin Noël

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The goalkeeper’s difficulty in the soccer penalty kick originates from the extreme spatiotemporal constraints of the situation. The present review claims that the current understanding is biased toward attributing a goalkeeper’s success in saving a penalty kick to perceptual-cognitive skill. To investigate the goalkeeper’s skill, researchers have often adopted video tasks. In doing so, they studied perceptual skill in isolation from action. We use affordance-based control theory to propose an alternative understanding and research methodology. We argue that goalkeepers in the penalty kick situation should regulate their actions in ways that sustain the perception of stoppability. To capture this, we outline the building blocks for a required lateral velocity model, in which the goalkeepers’ required actions are scaled to their maximum capabilities. In doing so, we provide new directions for research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalGerman Journal of Exercise and Sport Research
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

German title: Torhüten beim Strafstoß im Fußball. Nehmen wir die affordanzbasierte Kontrolle endlich ernst!


  • Affordance
  • Anticipation
  • Goalkeeping
  • Penalty kick
  • Required velocity
  • Timing


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