A penalty kick (also known as penalty or spot kick) is a type of direct free kick in association football, taken from 12 yards (approximately 11 meters) out from the goal.
Penalty kicks are performed during normal play. They are awarded when a player commits a foul inside their 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.