Led by Lucozade Sport’s lead scientist, Nick Morgan, the researcher began by analysing penalties and highlighting the key variables behind a successful penalty kick.
Next, these variables were grouped into a two-part formula, one being ‘Player’ the other being ‘technique.’
Examples of a ‘Player’ variable included statistics like the fact that 71 per cent of right-footed players are successful from the spot compared to 52 per cent of left-footed players.
A ‘Technique’ variable would be that round 87 per cent of penalty kicks aimed at the top left-hand corner of the goal ended up scoring.
These variables were then fed into something called an indicator function (I). This turns real-world observations into the 0s and 1s needed to generate mathematical outcomes, or in his instance, point to overall likely penalty success (LPS).
LPS is scored between 0 and 2 with 0.25 scored for each of the four ‘Player’ attributes and 0.20 scored for each of the five ‘technique’ elements.
The “Penalty Spotlight” study highlighted a number of other statistics, included the fact that 78.5 per cent of teams that miss the first penalty in a shoot-out go on to lose. Others facts include the data that around 64 per cent of all shoot-outs go to a full five penalties for each team.
More interestingly still, in only 18 per cent of shootouts, all five penalties were scored.
Nick Morgan noted: “The formula really reaffirms the importance of practicing penalties. With ‘Technique’ elements accounting for half of a player’s final lps, having a mental image of your perfect penalty could prove decisive in such a pressure situation. It’s the small differences that can make a big difference.”