Sports are often seen as mental endeavors, just as much a battle of the mind as they are of physical ability.
Perhaps no event epitomizes this better than the ultimate soccer contest: penalty kicks. In an effort to find out how it's done from a goalie’s perspective, we turned to Northwestern's senior goalkeeper, Tyler Miller.
To literally see how Miller does it, he was gracious enough to let us strap a camera to him while he blocked some penalty kicks and other shot attempts made by other Northwestern soccer players.
Who better to ask for advice? Playing in his fourth season as the 'Cats goalie, Miller has amassed more than 6,500 minutes on the pitch and has allowed just 59 goals in 69 career games. He also has somewhat of a penchant for saving “PKs.”
Miller's freshman year was particularly memorable because of his performance in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, which Northwestern won thanks in large part to Miller's netminding during an intense penalty shootout.
"I was able to stop three out of six [penalty kicks]," Miller recalled. "I think it all started with the first one. After I saved that, it just built my confidence."
Indeed, when Northwestern faced Indiana in the first round of the tournament, regulation and a pair of overtime periods weren't enough to decide the winner. Miller saved each of IU's first two kicks in the shootout, then clinched the win with another save on Indiana's sixth and final attempt.
The then-freshman goalkeeper was named the defensive player of the tournament for his efforts – but how did he do it?
"It's kind of just a feeling I get," Miller said. "If you get a good feeling, you just go with it. You have to stick with your instincts."