Back of the net! Wolverhampton academic finds the probable perfect penalty plan

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It is the thing that every England football supporter dreads – the penalty shoot-out.

Now an academic from the University of Wolverhampton has come up with help for players wanting to perfect their spot kicks.

Andy Lane, professor of sports psychology at the university's Walsall-based Institute of Sport, has been giving advice to penalty takers in a series of videos created by sports brand Adidas, which is running a penalty shoot-out competition to win a trip to the tournament in Brazil.

He was joined by former England boss Glenn Hoddle, and player ex-Southampton player Matt Le Tissier, who missed only one from 48 career spot-kicks.

As part of the campaign four videos were made looking at the science of penalties, including how to take the perfect penalty, the psychology of penalties and the expert's guide.

Professor Lane gave an insight into how players can handle the pressure through practice and simulation and also what type of coping mechanisms they can use in order for them to be successful.

According to Professor Lane, simulating the pressure of a real penalty kick allows players to best prepare themselves for a shoot-out.

He said: "It was great to be involved with such a high profile project and here in England we need all the help we can get with mastering penalty kicks.

"Players taking a penalty in a big competition like a cup final or the World Cup are under extreme physical and emotional pressure – but they can prepare themselves by practicing in pressure situations in order for them to learn how to cope with all those emotions."

His advice might have been useful to his co-star Hoddle, during his international career the former manager only took one penalty, in a friendly against the United States, which he unfortunately missed.

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