Penalties, free kicks and runs

Practice your penalties, experiment with direct free kicks, and learn to make the keeper look a fool. 

It’s all here in this practice game.


  • A ball *
  • A goal (this can be anything from a wall, between trees, or an actual goal) *Tip use tape to mark your goal on a wall
  • 2+ players any age 

* Any ball can be used, any size and made from any material.  If there is limited space or breakables, try using a sponge ball or a tennis ball. Using different types of balls will improve your skills.


  • Check that the playing area is cleared and safe. *Please do not play by windows, or roads. Stay away from sharp items. If something could pop the ball, it could also hurt you.
  • Decide an order of play. e.g. Marie is Player 1, her brother, Darren, is Player 2, and their friend, Jacob, is Player 3.
  • Decide the minimum distance for free kicks and the start of the run. (We would suggest 18 steps from goal.)
  • Mark the penalty spot. (We suggest 12 steps from goal.)

How to Play:


Taking turns, with the last player starting as goalkeeper, Player 1 starts the game by taking the first penalty. After taking a penalty, the player then proceeds to take their turn as goalkeeper.

Each player has a total of 3 attempts, both taking and trying to save a penalty.

  • The goalkeeper must start on his line, or as close to it as possible.
  • The penalty taker can not stop their forward movement once it has started, until kick is taken.
Free kicks

Keeping with the same order of play, each player now takes 3 free kicks, in turn.

The first free kick should be taken from the left hand side (looking at the goal).

The second free kick should be taken from a central position.

The third free kick should be taken from from right hand side.


Once again keep to the same order of play. Each player now has 3 attempts to run on goal, one-on-one with the keeper. This drill was formerly used in the MLS instead of penalty shootouts.

Each player, in turn, should start around the half way line (maximum), or as far out as possible. 

The player then runs at keeper with the ball. (Or if more than 2 players, another player plays a through pass to run on to).

The player can only score while in the penalty box. Either by dribbling the ball around the goalkeeper, or by shooting once in the strike zone.

The Winner 

The player with the most successful attempts is the winner.

If a draw is called the top scoring players enter a play-off. 

Play-offs consist of one penalty, one free kick (from anywhere outside the box), and one run.

If there are players still tied, a sudden death round begins. 

If a player scores they are through to the next attempt, last player standing wins.