This site is about the game Foosball, as it is called in America, the name originally comes from the German word Fussball or fußball. Other common names for Foosball are Table Football (United Kingdom) or Table Soccer. It is sometimes also called Foos Ball, but this is far less common nowadays.
This site has been produced to try to help you find all the information that you may need about Foosball. What to look for in a table, the best tables you can buy – depending on your situation, table maintenance, and everything else.
This page gives an overview of a lot of the material that is on this site, with links to the more detailed articles. I hope that you find this information useful, and if you are considering making a purchase, that you will use our affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but gives me a small commission should you make a purchase, which helps to run this site, keeping it free
- 1 Brief History Of Foosball
- 2 The Types Of Foosball Tables
- 3 Foosball Equipment & Maintenance
- 4 Foosball Balls
- 5 Foosball Figures / Players
- 6 Number Of Goalies
- 7 Sweaty Hands
- 8 Foosball Table Rods
- 9 Foosball Table Surface
- 10 Foosball Table Covers
- 11 Foosball Competitions
- 12 Foosballs Ruling Body
- 13 Professional Foosball Players
- 14 Foosball World Championship
- 15 Playing Foosball
- 16 Foosball Books
- 17 General Foosball
Brief History Of Foosball
Foosball is generally credited with being invented in 1922, by Harold Searles Thorton in the United Kingdom. After watching a game of Football (Soccer), he wanted to create a game that could be played in the home, with a similar feel to Soccer.
The 1950s and 1960s were the golden days of Foosball, as there were no electronic games and video consoles that are so popular with people nowadays, but there are still a considerable number of Foosball players!
The Types Of Foosball Tables
One of the first things that you will need to understand, are the numerous types of Foosball table that are available. These vary a great deal, from the space required, price and quality.
The price of a foosball table can vary from approximately $20, for a cheap tabletop, to over $2000 for a full sized, professional table.
Space Required To Play Foosball
The space taken up by a foosball table ranges from, almost nothing for a tabletop, which can be stored under a bed, or on top of a wardrobe when not in use. A full sized standard table will need a space of about 9 foot by 9 foot, to permanently store the table, and for the area that is required for the players to stand around the table while playing.
The space required is based on full-sized men playing Foosball, should children be playing, the space needed may be a lot smaller, depending on the size of the child
Size Of A Foosball Table
A standard full-sized table has the following size – 56 Inches (Length) x 30 Inches (Width) x 36 Inches (Height).
There are several smaller tables, designed to be cheaper, and use less space. The only bigger table I can think of is the novelty eight-person table.
Standard Foosball Table
Standard Foosball tables are usually the best; these are the types that are used in bars and professional competitions. They contain the table top which is permanently fixed to a base or legs. Because of this, they tend to weigh more, which is an advantage when playing Foosball as it stops it moving around.
These tables are generally full sized, so will require a space of about 9-foot square to play a game with no space distractions.
This type of table tends to cost in the range of $100 to $2000.
Table Top Foosball Table
A Tabletop Foosball table is so called because you need something to put it on before you can play the game. It is a cheaper version of the standard table above, but without the base or legs.
These tables vary in size, but you can get full-sized tables. It requires no dedicated space when it is not being used; it can be stored away quickly, taking up no space. When playing you reuse some other area, for example placing it on your kitchen table. This will probably have enough space around it for you to play.
These tables tend to be lighter and can be prone to movement if they are not fixed to the table they are placed on top of.
This type of table tends to be the cheapest variety, and is especially suited for children, and tends to cost from between $20 to $150
Multigame Foosball Table
A multi-game foosball table is similar to the standard table above. However the tops of the table can be swapped, and you can play additional games. The foosball play tends to be of a lesser quality than the dedicated tables, but allows you to change the game should you get bored with foosball. Again this is very good for children with small attention spans
These tables tend to be smaller than the full sized tables, and usually used by children, so the space required will probably be about 6 foot by 6 foot, but this varies depending on the size of the table you buy, and the size of the people playing
Games included on these tables can consist of: Air-Hockey, Basketball, Foosball, Table Tennis, Archery, Air-Soccer, Dice, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, and Stick Hockey
Multi-game foosball tables usually costs between $100 and $300, depending on the quality of the table, and the number of interchangeable games that it comes with
Outdoor Foosball Tables
Unsurprisingly, Outdoor foosball tables are designed and built to be used outdoors. They are similar to standard tables, but all of the wood and other materials need to be treated to resist water. The table must be sealed against the elements, and need to be of a generally higher quality than a standard table
If you put a standard table outside it will warp and be unusable very quickly.
Generally, the space required for these tables is unimportant as they are outside, where there is a lot more space. But the minimum space needed for them is about 9 foot by 9 foot when adults are playing
Due to the required higher quality of these tables, there are not many lower-end cheaper tables available. The prices tend to be $500 and up
The Foosball Coffee table is a beautiful looking table, with a glass top that has a Foosball game built in. the table tends to be smaller than the full sized tables, as they are, well, coffee table sized
The table is designed so that it can be placed in any living room or den without looking out of place. To be able to play Foosball on these tables, you will need to be able to access both sides of it.
To be able to use these tables, you will need to have enough space for the coffee table, with two people kneeling on either side. So approximately 4 foot by 6 foot
These tables are of high quality and made of hardwoods woods, this leads to higher pricing, and these tables tend to be in the price range of $400 to $600
Foosball Equipment & Maintenance
Once you have a good foosball table, you are going to want to keep it in good working order, and maybe buy accessories for you, or the table to improve the quality of your play.
Also some of the things below, you may wish to consider before you buy your table
The easiest and most often purchased thing for foosball tables is the Foosball Ball. As these are continuously hit during the game, they will eventually wear out, if you do not lose them first. It is always better to keep a few spare balls.
If your table came with low quality hard plastic balls, I would recommend replacing it with a good quality ball. Balls are cheap, easy to change and make a big difference to the gameplay
There are four types of Foosball; you want to be using either a Textured or Cork Foosball
Textured Foosball Balls
These are the standard American balls and are perhaps the best one. There is a little give in the ball so that you can control the ball better. This ball is dense so that it can be hit at very high speeds.
Cork Foosball Ball
Cork foosballs are, made of cork rather than plastic. Associated with the European Style Foosball Tables. The ball is far lighter, quieter and softer than the other balls, which means the game has far more skill and strategy. Expert players can easily trap, grip, pin and pass this ball around to their foosball players.
Traditional Foosball Ball
These are probably the worse type of Foosball, novices may like them, but they are not the ball of choice for the skilled or professional player. They tend to have the hexagonal pattern of a real soccer ball printed on them
Smooth Foosball Ball
These balls are of slightly better quality from the traditional ball, somewhat superior for playing, but still not advised for professional players, or people playing a serious game
Foosball Figures / Players
The other important thing that will affect your game is the quality of the Foosball men or players that are attached to your table. A full set of new players can cost between $20 and $200, so they can be expensive! There are basically 3 styles of foosball men, what you should be looking for is a counterbalanced player (top half and bottom half weight the same, so that the men stay horizontal if you are not holding the bar) with a square shaped foot (Give more accuracy when shooting) and a cross-hatch pattern on the foot (Better for ball control)
The three styles of player are
Traditional Foosball Guys are players that have been built to look like real soccer players, rather than how easy it is to play with these men. A mistake of the beginner to Foosball is to pick Foosball Guys based on their appearance rather than how easy it is to play with them. Table manufacturers know that a lot of customers like tables based on how the players look. This is why there are so many of these still being produced
Tornado Players were the original Foosball Guys to be counter-balanced, with a lot of thought given to the design of the foot, permitting a more skilled level of play. This foot has a cross-hatch design that is a little tilted, allowing better control and precision. These players are considered by many people to be the best Foosball guys that you can purchase.
Robotic Foosball Players get there name as they typically look like robots. This sort of player is similar to the Tornado foosball men in their style, but are made by other companies. Tend to have little detail on the foosball guys, typically counterbalanced, ABS Plastic, and have hatch, curved feet.
Number Of Goalies
One of the significant differences in Foosball tables is the number of goalies; originally all Foosball tables had one goalie, the same as in a game of Soccer. The corners of the table had slight banks on them so that if the ball went to an area the goalie could not reach; it would roll back out to the other players.
In the 1970s’ Tornado introduced the three player Goalie system, having three goalies meant that there were no areas that the goalies could not reach, so the slopes were no longer needed. This made the table simpler and cheaper to produce. Only the center goalie can cover the goal mouth, so it not such a big change.
The three goalie system is more prevalent in America, and the single goalie is used more in Europe and the rest of the world. However, there will be competitions that use either of the two goalie systems.
Some tables have conversion kits that allow you to use either a single or the three goalie system
When playing a lot of Foosball in hot rooms, your hand can become sweaty causing you to not have the best grip. This can stop you performing at your best. There are a few ways to overcome this
Foosball grips are a material that is wound around the handles of a table, once you learn they are quick and easy to apply. Some people use Tennis Grip, which is the material that is wound around the tennis racquet handle
Again very easy to apply, these are foam tubes that you slide over the tables plastic handles, and absorb any sweat. You may need several sets if you are going to be playing a lot of games
These are gloves that are tight and have good grips on the palms; this gives you an excellent grasp
This is not recommended as it causes a lot of mess, and make the handles covered in chalk, and this may annoy some players.
Foosball Table Rods
The Rods are the bars that the foosball players are attached to, and you move in and out of the table to position the men. They can be hollow or solid steel. These need to be kept clean, free from corrosion and need to be regularly lubricated to keep them running smoothly.
If too much weight is applied to the rods, they may bend, or if they are not taken care of properly, then they may need to be changed.
Foosball Table Surface
The foosball table surface must be kept clean; you should try not to get it wet or it may warp, and try not to dent the surface as if the surface is not entirely smooth then the game will not be very good. Replacing the foosball table surface is not an easy task
Surface tend to be of Hardboard, Plastic or sometimes glass.
Foosball Table Covers
Foosball table covers are not essential for an indoor table, but probably are for a if it is an outside table. If you have an expensive one or there is a lot of action around it, then you will probably want it covered so that there will be no damage or debris falling on to the surface
Once you become a great player, you may think about entering some competitions; these will be played using full-sized standard tables, following the ITSF Official Rules. There are many levels of competition, ranging from local ones in the Bar to the World Championships. Any anyone can enter these events, whatever their skill level.
You should consider how good a player you are before entering, as there usually is a fee to play that goes towards the prize money, and there are some outstanding players out there.
Foosballs Ruling Body
Foosballs Ruling body is the ITSF (International Table Soccer Federation). They are based in France. The role is to define the Official Foosball rules, run International Competitions, and endorse tables and equipment that meet the required standard to be used in these competitions.
The following countries are now member of the ITSF: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hong-Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic Of Korea, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA
More details of the ITSF can be found here at their official website: https://www.tablesoccer.org
Professional Foosball Players
Like in any sport, there are some Professional Players. These will be the best of the best, and usually, they start by going to Competitions, winning more than an average amount of games, then making a full time living from Foosball.
This type of life will not suit everyone, your income is not guaranteed, there is no job security, and you will be spending a lot of time on the road going from competition to competition. But if you love Foosball, and you are one of the best players, then this can be a fun way to make a living!
The average salary of a Professional Foosball Player is $74,000. The bottom 10% of the player makes about $40,000, and the top 10% earn $138,000 a year
Foosball World Championship
Three main events could be classified as the Foosball World Championships. These being
The Table Soccer World Cup
This competition is organized by the ITSF and is run on a similar basis to the FIFA (Soccer) World Cup (With less corruption). The tournament is run yearly (FIFA is every four years). However, the Competition in FIFA World Cup years is a little more celebrated.
In this event players represent their home Countries, trying to bring the cup back to that country
Foosball World Championship
This competition is held three times a year, each on a different make of the table. These tables are Leonhart, Garlando, and Bonzini.
Tornado World Championship
The Tornado World Championship is mostly an all American competition. Sponsored by Tornado, the only tables that are used are Tornado Tables. Primarily hosted in the USA.
Players from other countries do attend. However, players from the USA have won it every year since 2012!
If you are on this site then, we can probably assume that you know how to play Foosball, however, for completeness, we will include a very brief overview here if you are new to the game, we have several articles about teaching you how to play and improve your game.
Foosball is a tabletop version of the game soccer. The players are attached to bars, and the game aims to move the players with your handles and hit the ball into the opposing sides goal
A coin is flip to see who has the first serve; this person put the ball into play via a hole. After a goal is scored, the team who lost the point is the next to serve the ball
Once you start to get the feel of the game, you can begin to learn some real offensive moves, rather than just hitting the ball towards your opponent’s goal and hoping that it goes in. Some of the typical offensive moves are: Pull Shot, Push Shot, Tic-Tac, Bank Shot, Spray Shot, and Snake Shot
Also, hand-in-hand with improving your offensive play comes the art of defending and passing the ball around the table from player to player. Some of the more common moves here are: Tic-Tac Passing, The Brush Pass, Basic Defence, Player Vertical Alignment and Staggering
Practicing By Yourself
As well as reading blogs on Foosball like this one, and watching YouTube videos to learn how to make all the fancy moves, you should also be practicing. You need to practice against opponents that are better than you, to improve your game, and also to practice alone.
The advantage of practicing alone is that you can keep making the same technical moves until you can do it correctly every time. During a game, you will be able to try these move a few times, but when you are alone, you can repeat the same move hundreds of times until you have it perfectly learnt.
There are of course several books on the topic of Foosball. While these are not the best way to learn how to play Foosball, they can be useful to teach you the technical details, which may help your game.
Obviously, they can be read anywhere when it is impractical to practice, like on a bus or train.
The following are details and links to some of the other things that I have learnt producing this site, with links to the full articles
Reducing Noise When Playing Foosball
If you live in an apartment or share a house with other people, the noise from a game of Foosball can become surprisingly loud. To stop you disturbing your family and neighbors, there are the following eight things that you can try: Using a quieter ball, padding the goal, padding the legs, the rods, and the table position, soundproofing the room and not cheering
Foosball, is a very safe game to play, the most common injuries are to the wrist, as you have to keep making the same twisting movement all the time. Resting the wrist if you start feeling and pain in the wrist is a must. Doing so will stop any problems later on
Should you start feeling pain in your wrist, there are several things that you can do to help relieve, it and to make your wrist begin to feel better; this includes Physiotherapy, Wrist Supports, and Ice Packs
Over the last decade or so, Human Foosball has also started to become popular. This is a game of foosball that has real people as the foosball players, they are attached to poles, or ropes, or similar and act as the Foosball Men. This needs to be played in an enclosed area, unlike Soccer, as the ball does not want to go out of play
This can be played in sports halls, in home-made pitches and you can also hire Human Foosball Kits
Lighting Your Foosball Table
Another factor that needs to be considered, and is reasonably easy to set up is the lighting of the table. If you have a decent table, you do not want the game to be spoiled by the simple fact that you cannot see the Foosball correctly.
This can be fixed best by hanging a better-fixed light over the table; however, if this is not an option, then you can use a couple of standing lamps to improve the lighting as well
Foosball Apps & Games
Pretty much everyone now has a smartphone. There are several Foosball type games that you can get for them, and there are also some beneficial applications like table levellers, and tournament score tracking