Using perceptual home-training to improve anticipation skills of soccer goalkeepers


Objective: This study aims to test the effectiveness of a perceptual training concerning the anticipatory skills of soccer goalkeepers, by assessing their performances while engaged in predicting the direction of penalty kicks. Design: Forty-two skilled goalkeepers were randomly assigned to three training groups: Experimental, placebo, and control. All the groups were tested at the beginning of the experiment and re-tested after a period of eight weeks. Method: The pre-test consisted of the presentation of temporally occluded videos of penalties recorded from the goalkeeper's perspective, and participants had to predict the direction of the ball. The experimental group practiced with an interactive home-training, based on video analogous to those of the test, with the addition of both positive and negative feedback. The placebo group viewed television footage of penalty kick shoot-outs. Participants of both groups were free to schedule their own training/placebo sessions. Finally, the control group did not receive any treatment. Results: The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the home-training protocol, evidencing significant accuracy improvements between pre-test and post-test only for the experimental group. Conclusions: The outcomes indicate that skilled athletes can benefit from perceptual training, which was not investigated before among soccer goalkeepers. Indeed, all the previous training studies concerning soccer penalty predictions were run on participants with either recreational or no goalkeeping experience at all. Moreover, the present training protocol is innovative because learners can schedule training sessions on their own. Finally, its usability suggests numerous potential applications.



Perception, Action, Temporal occlusions, Video, Penalty kicks, Training


Murgia, M., Sors, F., Muroni, A.F., Santoro, I., Prpic, V., Galmonte, A. and Agostini, T. (2014) Using perceptual home-training to improve anticipation skills of soccer goalkeepers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(6), pp.642-648.


Research Institute

Institute for Psychological Science