A penalty kick (often abbreviated to penalty) is a method of restarting play in association football, taken from 11 meters (approximately 12 yards) out from the goal, on the penalty mark.
Penalty kicks are performed during normal play. They are awarded when a foul that is punishable by a direct free kick is committed within the offending player’s own penalty area. Similar kicks are made in a penalty shootout in some tournaments to determine which team is victorious after a drawn match; though similar in procedure, these are not penalty kicks and are governed by slightly different rules.
In practice, penalties are converted to goals more often than not, even against world class goalkeepers. This means that penalty awards are often decisive, especially in low-scoring games. Missed penalty kicks are often demoralizing to players because it is an easy opportunity to score.