Do not spin the rods!

Spinning is the worst thing you can do if you want to become a great player, it is really only done by beginners, and it is an illegal move. While to the beginner it seems like a powerful move, as you improve you will be able to aim and shoot far better when you do not spin the rods! When you have got out of this bad habit, you will realise that it was hurting your game far more than you understand. Spinning means that your men are not in the right rotation and position to stop a shot by your opponents. You are not learning to catch the ball and pass it to your other players, and the only way to improve your game is to learn how to spin faster!

When you first start to play correctly, you will get beaten sometimes by a “Spinner”, however as you begin to improve you will eventually be able to beat anyone who just spins the rods. They are counting too much on speed and luck to score, whereas you will ultimately be able to hit the ball harder and to control where the ball goes

Stance

A lot of players overlook the importance of stance in the game of Foosball. You need to feel relaxed and comfortable, and a proper posture can improve your shots and overall game. Below is a diagram showing roughly how you should be standing when playing a single or two player foosball game. You may need to shift these slightly depending on the size of the player, and whether they are left or right handed, however, this is pretty much how you should be standing

Practice your stance until it feels natural and comfortable. Standing correctly can help you increase the power of your shots. You need to angle your feet, so they are at a 45-degree angle relative to the Foosball Table. The most important thing about the stance is that it should allow you enough room to play without having to move back and forth when changing rods. If you change your position, then you will waste time trying to readjust. It will feel unnatural at first but keep working at it and eventually it will make you a better player. When you have the correct stance, you should be able to move all of the rods to their full extension without any discomfort or having to move your feet.

Grip

This is again something that is not thought about too much by the beginner, but is an essential part of improving your play. The most common mistake is to grip the handles too tight which can reduce your mobility, which in turn reduces the power that you can put into each shot. There are two main types of grip in Foosball which are used when making specific shots (see later)

Traditional Grip

Grip the handle with a small gap in the skin between the index finger and the thumb. If the skin is completely touching the handle, you are most likely gripping the handle too hard. But it will depend on how big your hands are. Your knuckles should not turn white from gripping the handle hard

Once you can put your hands in this position quickly – (when you swap handles with your hands, you will not have time to think about it), you will need to practice rotating the handles. You will need to be able to turn the handles half way around (180 degrees) to be able to take shots with full power.

Initially, you may be nearer 90 degrees, but with practice and possibly doing stretching exercises, you will eventually get there.

This type of grip tends to be used with push, pull and tic-tack shots

Open Handed Grip

Some beginners think that this is an illegal spin shot, as the player rotates the bar a lot using this grip. However the player makes contact with the ball before making a full rotation, so it is a fair shot.

The hand needs to be open with the bottom of the hand touching the handle. You can then slide your hand up so the player spins almost a full rotation before hitting the ball. Do not spin the grip when making this move! Nearly a full rotation, not a spin

You need to be able to quickly switch between Traditional and Open handed grips to be able to take the shots that you want!

Wrist Flick

The wrist flick is one of the more natural parts of the game for most people, a lightning fast flick of the wrist to set the ball rocketing down the table

As you become more adept at the game, you will realise that with a flick of the wrist, you can send the ball moving as fast as you did when spinning the player. But now with a lot more control. Control of where the ball goes and what angle your players are standing.

This skill is one where you can practice alone as you may want to keep trying it over and over again. Use the middle man on the central bar and put him parallel with the goal. Forget about everything else and concentrate only on the wrist.

Rotate your hand as quick as you can to hit the ball, trying to “snap” the player to get the most potent flick that you can

Rods

Each rod in the game is meant for different purposes, knowing and using each rod for its best purpose will help you achieve your goal of becoming a great player

Goalie and defense rod

These rods are to block your opponent’s shots and capture the ball. Once you have possession of the ball, you need to try to pass it up to the forward rods

Midfield

The midfield rod is usually used to pass to the attacking rod or to shoot at the goal. This rod is not as good at shooting from, there are still a lot of men in front of you, and so you should try to learn to pass to the attacking front row

Attacking

This rod is only used to shoot at our opponent’s goal, there are not a lot of men in front of you now, and this is the best place to try to score from

Ball control

This means basically getting the ball and keeping the ball by passing it to your other players. This is not so easy on damaged tables where the ball can change direction off any dents or obstacles. If you have a table like this, it may be worth considering getting the playing surface changed.

However you will not always have a perfect table, so if you can learn to play on an older type table with dings and dents in, it will be a skill that comes in useful.

Intercept ball

Gently taps the ball with the front of the player’s toe to trap the ball

Pin the ball

Similar to intercepting the ball, bring the player down by snapping the wrist to trap the ball with the player. This is more difficult than intercepting, especially when the ball is moving quickly

Moving the ball

This is the art of being able to move the ball from player to player on the same rod. As you get better at this, you will be able to do it quickly and pass the ball to mem who have a better shot at the goal.

Offensive strategies

Serve to yourself

The game starts with the serve, and if you are serving this is the first chance to get yourself an advantage. Some players think that it is sporting to put the ball in the hole and leave it to luck as to who gets the ball. If that’s the case why do you need to take it in turns to serve?

It is legal to serve the ball to yourself in Foosball, some people may think that it is cheating, but it is a good opening strategy.

To serve to yourself, you need to practice spinning the ball during the serve, so that when it lands, it is rolling in the direction of your players. Of course, you must be able to trap or hit the ball once it reaches the feet of your men. You need to spin the ball, trap and pass from the 5 bar (midfield 5 players) to the 3 bar (attack 3 players) then shoot!

Perfect one shot not all of them

There are a lot of shots that you can learn to improve your game of Foosball. Some people think that you should try to learn them all at the same time, so you can try to keep your opponent guessing as to what you are going to do next.

We have found however that learning to do one of these shots really well, will mean that you win games more often. Your opponent may have a good idea of what you are going to try to do, but unless he is equally as good in defence as you are at your “Specialty” shot, then he is going to be at a distinct disadvantage!

 

Shooting

You win foosball games by scoring more goals than your opponent, and you score goals by shooting. This means that shooting is one of the most critical things in Foosball. There are a lot of shot types, some have more than one name Below are most of them, with details on how to perform these shots. The descriptions are short as it is hard to imagine exactly how they work. Instead, I have linked some YouTube videos showing how the shots should be done

Pull Shot

This is the basic beginners shot, and can be done by a lot of players. You need to set the ball next to a player, pull the ball toward that player then quickly shoot at the goal. The ball needs to be level with, or slightly behind the rod to do this shot

Rollover Shot

Start with the ball under the toe of a player, place your wrist on the handle and you should be able to move the ball from side to side. Pull your wrist up, and the ball should go flying toward your opponents goal

Push shot

Start with the ball towards the centre of the 3 bar player. Push the ball then quickly hit it at your opponents goal. This is a beginner shot that is not used by a lot of professionals

Pull Kick Shot

Begin this shot near the far player on the 3rd bar. Pull the ball toward the middle player then fire at the goal. A hard to master shot that can be very powerful

Push Kick Shot

Similar to the Pull Kick Shot, shoot near the closest player on the 3rd bar. Push it to the middle player and then kick it into the goal. A tough shot!

Tic Tack Shot

Another shot for expert level players. Dribble back and forth between the players before shooting! Named after the noise the ball makes while performing this move

Push Kick

Another expert level shot that can be very difficult to perform.

Roundhouse Toe Shot

Fake out your opponent by switching directions by keeping one toe of the player on the ball. After the fake, look to see if any opens have occurred and take your shot. Again a move for the experts

Bank Shot

This is similar to how you may take a shot on a pool table, shooting the ball so that it goes into the goal via one of the table sides. Harder to do because of the angles involved but generally unexpected, so the opponent’s men are not in your way

Goalie Bank shot

Same as a bank shot but from the goalie. Much harder as there are a lot of men in the way.

Pin Shot

Pin the ball under a players foot with the contact being at the top of the ball. Push or pull the bar to give the ball allow the ball to start moving. Once it is in the required position, hit it into the goal

Aerial Shot

A trick shot usually done with the defenders. The ball is lifted between 2 players and caught on the back of one of them. The man is then flipped over firing the ball through the air towards the opponent’s goal

Defensive Strategies

Follow the ball

This should be one of the most basic and first things you learn when playing Foosball. Just doing this can save goals you a lot of times.

To follow the ball you need to watch where the ball is at all times and move your rods so that the player is always following and blocking the ball. Then if a shot is taken your men are preventing it, and you do not have to quickly try to position your men, which is almost impossible once the shot has been made.

You need to be watching and your men and always moving them to follow that foosball

Keep The Goal clear

As a beginner you will not be doing your play any good if you are trying to do fancy things like trying to score from the goalie. It is possible, but it is challenging, and there are much better moves you can be doing with the goalie.

The goalie is there to stop the ball then pass the ball back out to your other men

Don’t try to play worse players

We all like to win, playing players we know we can beat will make us feel better about ourselves. However, to improve your game, quickly, it can be helpful to play players that are better than us.

It is better to improve your defense by losing to a superior opponent than it is to enhance your attack by playing a worse player. You will make more significant gains.

Also as your defense get better, you will get more opportunities to attack this better player, and take shots at the opponent’s goal, improving your attacking skills

After you have played someone who is better than you, always ask for a few tips on how to improve your game. Most people are only too willing to show off their knowledge and tell you how they won. This may show you holes in your game that you were unaware of

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