Foosball tables are becoming increasingly common in offices, sports bars and recreational joints. However, the game takes time to master. If you want to enjoy it to the full and play to the best of your abilities, you must take the time to learn how to play the game.
The Objective of the Game
Foosball is also known as table soccer. Therefore, it is similar to soccer, the object of which is getting the ball into your opponent’s goal. However, unlike field soccer, you do not win a match by merely having more goals than your opponent.
A foosball match is a race to be the first to reach the 5-goal mark. A game can be a set of five or three matches. Of course, you may prefer to play differently, such as a one-off game of first to 10 goals for example. Just make sure that everybody involved is clear before you begin to avoid arguments down the line!
Common Foosball Game Formats
Foosball can be played in three different formats, namely:
- Singles: In this format, one player controls all the four rods during the game.
- Doubles: One player controls the defensive rods, that is the goalie rod and the 2-bar rod, while their teammate controls the 3-bar and the 5-bar rods.
- Goalie War: Players control the two defensive rods without using the four middle rods.
The Foosball Table
The standard foosball table comes with four rods for each team. The name of each rod depends on the number of players on it. For example, the 2-bar rod holds two players. Other rods include the 5-bar in the middle and the 3-bar, which is closest to your opponent’s goal.
Depending on the configuration of your table, you can have a 1-player or a 3-player goalie. Therefore, the total number of players per team in foosball can be 11 or 13.
The important rules in foosball are:
- Starting: Players often start the game with a toss of the coin; whoever wins the toss takes the first serve. When the game has stopped due to the ball dropping off the table or when no player can kick reach it, the player that conceded the last goal takes the serve.
- Time Limits: You do not have much time to plan your next move. Often, you only have ten seconds to kick the ball when using the 5-bar rod. The goalie, 2-bar, and 3-bar rods have 15 seconds each. The countdown begins as soon as the player touches the ball.
- Scoring: Any player can score at any time. The only exception is scoring from the 5-bar immediately after kick-off before the ball touches any other player. If the ball hits the goal and bounces out, it is counted as a goal.
- No Spinning: It is common for kids to spin the rods 360 degrees. However, it is an offense to do so before or after hitting the ball.
- The Playing field: You should keep your hands off the playing field. If you do so when your team has the ball, your opponent gets a restart. When it is your opponent who had the ball, they get a goal. Only do so when you have agreed with the other players.
You can either use the open palm grip or the wrist grip technique. With the former, you do not actually grip the rods. With your fingers pointing the floor, you rotate the rods by moving your palm up and down.
While using the wrist grip, you wrap your hands around the rods then use your wrist to rotate the rods. It helps if you do not hold the rod too tightly, as this impairs your control and mobility.
Basic Defence Techniques
- Staggering: Ensure your men alternate, closing gaps through which your opponent might pass the ball.
- Angling Defenders: Do not leave your defenders standing vertically. Angle them towards the opposing goal, but ensure the space underneath is not so big that the ball can pass under the players.
Basic Offence Skills
Most goals in foosball are scored by deflecting your opponent’s shots rather than direct shots. Also, refrain from hitting the ball randomly as you may end up scoring an own goal.
Foosball is an enjoyable game once you learn the ropes. Just remember not to create a pattern in the way you play or move, as it can prove fatal if your opponent figures it out. If you need to learn fast, then you can get a foosball table for your own use.
Basics of Playing good Foosball
If you've ever seen foosball played well, you'll know it's more than just smashing balls about. It's a highly skilled game. You may want to play in the bar, or in the office games room, or even with the little ones on a kids' foosball table, but how can you get started when you want to hold your own at the foosball table?
The Foosball Table
First things first, what are you going to practice on? If you're serious then you want the best foosball table you can afford. Even if a professional foosball table is outside your budget, you'll still find it a whole lot more fun to play on a good quality table. The best foosball tables are precise and responsive, so you can focus on your play rather than random factors.
You may have some domestic disagreement over keeping a foosball table in your home, but bear in mind you can get:
Related Page: The Different Types of Foosball Tables Available.
Outdoor Foosball Table
With this variety, you needn't compromise your interiors. Outdoor foosball tables are designed to stand up to the elements and live outside. They will last much longer and stay in far better shape if protected with a cover when not in use, but they are able to cope if they happen to get wet for example, whereas an indoor table would quickly warp and ruin the gameplay.
Check out our page on outdoor foosball tables by clicking here for more information on these types of table.
Preparing your Squad
At the start of the game, and after each point, you'll want to get your men prepared. Think about the direction of play. Align your defenders vertically (with the little guys standing up) to give them the best chance of accidentally catching a stray ball even when you're not controlling them. Place your forwards horizontally so they won't impede you if you get a lucky shot with your midfielders. This middle row will be your main focus at the start, so get them feet down and ready to take control of the ball.
On most tables, the foosball ball comes in through a service hole at the side of the table. Small, kids or lower cost tables will likely not have this side-entry, and you will need to drop the ball in the middle each time.
Flip a coin or use another method to decide who serves first. It's OK to gain an advantage by spinning the ball as it goes in, but if you score a goal directly from this, it is disallowed. If for some reason, the ball gets stuck or rolls into a position inaccessible by any of the players, you may gently blow on it or touch it to get it moving again, but this is the only time that touching the ball is permitted during play.
What marks out a really skilled player is their ball control skills. It is worth spending time practicing controlling the ball and passing it between your players to keep control of play.
Try to stop the ball between one of your midfielder's feet and the table. Now you've got it static, try passing it horizontally between your midfielders. When you see your chance, pass it between your opponent's midfielders and up to your strikers. Pass it back and forth until you see an opening. You can try to trick the goalie with false starts, and then, when you see your space, strike! Now, this all sounds quite slow, but as you get better, you'll be able to do these moves with greater speed and style.
You might see a lot of it, but spinning is illegal. Try to control the game rather than simply smashing the ball about as fast as possible. Good control makes for a much more interesting game, but it takes a bit more practice.
You'll probably have noticed that there are more handles than you have hands. If it's just you and your opponent, you'll need to move up and down the table quickly as the game changes. However, you can also play two-a-side. In this case, one player takes on the defense duties (goalie and defenders) and the other, midfield and attack.
The principles are the same, but just remember to keep your eyes open and anticipate the game when your men are not in play.