A penalty shootout or simply shootout is a method of determining a winner in sports matches that would have otherwise been drawn or tied. The rules for penalty shootouts vary between sports and even different competitions; however, the usual form is similar to penalty shots, with a single player taking one shot on goal from a specified spot, the only defender being the goalkeeper. Teams take turns, the winner being the one with the most number of successful goals after a specified number of attempts. If the result is still tied, the shootout usually continues on a "goal-for-goal" basis, with the teams taking shots alternately, the winner being the one to score a goal that is unmatched by the other team. This may continue until every player has taken a shot. If there is still no result the match may be declared a draw, or the winner may be declared by a random method such as flipping a coin, or sometimes decided by the home team.
A penalty shootout is usually used only in situations where a winner is needed (for example, a round where one team must be eliminated) and other methods such as extra time and sudden death have failed to determine a winner. It avoids the delays involved in staging a replayed match in order to produce a result. A common complaint of penalty shootouts is that they do not fairly determine the better team in overall play, but only the better team in the one, rather narrow, discipline of taking penalty shots.
Sports in which a penalty shootout may be used include:
- Association football
- Penalty shootouts, properly known as "kicks from the penalty mark" usually occur in knock-out tournaments or cup competitions. After 90 minutes or extra-time, when the two teams are level, each team will alternate five penalty kicks. If one team is not ahead on goals after these five kicks, the teams proceed to sudden death.
- Field hockey
- Conditions for breaking ties vary. Many associations will follow the procedure laid down in FIH tournament regulations that mandate 7.5 minutes each way of "golden goal" extra time during which the game ends as soon as one team scores. If scores are still level, then the game will be decided with penalty strokes, in much the same way that association football penalty shoot outs are conducted. Other competitions may use an extended period of golden goal extra time with a progressive reduction in the number of players each team can have on the field (usually termed "drop-offs"). If no goal is scored at the end of such extra time periods, again a result would be achieved using penalty strokes.
- Ice hockey
- If the score remains tied after an overtime period, the subsequent shootout consists of a set amount of players from each team (three in the NHL, five under IIHF rules and in most North American minor leagues, and one in some other leagues) taking penalty shots. After these shots, the team with the most goals is awarded the victory. If the score is still tied, the shootout then proceeds to a sudden death; the first team scoring a goal from a penalty shot and subsequently denying the opposing team's shot in the same sudden death round wins, and the winning team is awarded two points in the standings, while the losing team is awarded one point. Regardless of the number of goals scored during the shootout by either team, the final score awards the winning team one more goal than the score at the end of regulation time (or overtime). In the NHL, the player scoring the shootout-winning goal is not officially credited with a goal in his personal statistics. In many North American minor leagues, the player that scores the shootout-winning goal is credited with one shot on goal and one goal. The losing goaltender of the shootout is credited with one shot against, one goal against, and an overtime/shootout loss. North American professional hockey does not allow shootouts in postseason play, and instead will play as many twenty minute sudden death overtime periods are needed until a team scores. The official IIHF name of the procedure is game-winning shots (GWS).
- Water polo
- Five players and a goalkeeper are chosen by the coaches of each team. Players shoot from the 5 meter line alternately at either end of the pool in turn until all five have taken a shot. If the score is still tied, the same players shoot alternately until one team misses and the other scores.
- Team handball
- If a game is tied after regular time and a clear winner is necessary (like in knockout tournaments), it would proceed to two 5-minute periods of overtime with a 1-minute break before each. If the scores are still tied, a second overtime of 2x5 minutes is played. If the game is still tied after 2 overtimes, the game goes into a penalty shootout. Five players per side throw 7-meters-penalties, if still tied, one player per side take a penalty throw until a decision is found, which is the same procedure as in association football.
- Gaelic football
- A "45-metre kick shootout" is sometimes used.
- A bowl-out is sometimes used to decide tied matches. Five players from each side bowl two balls each at an unguarded wicket, with the team that takes most wickets winning. The difference in comparison to most other sports is the lack of any player from the opposing side to defend the wicket.
- It has been proposed that a "drop-goal shootout" could be used for other football codes such as rugby union or rugby league, with players taking kicks on goal as they would for penalties. As with cricket, there would be no goalkeeper to defend the goal.