I was watching a game of Foosball the other night, being played by two players both of which were far better than me. I asked if I could play one of them saying that “Practicing against better players improves my game”. They told me that regularly practicing alone is the most important form of practice you can have!
I have never really put a lot of effort into practicing alone, so I thought that I would look into this aspect of improving my Foosball game
It is a great idea to practice Foosball by yourself, if you are serious about improving your game. When you are alone, you can practice the same move again and again, until you have the steps perfected! When playing someone else, you may set up a play a few times during a game, and try out a new play. When you are alone, you can practice the same play hundreds of times an hour.
But when you practice, you need to be sure that you are picking the right parts of your game which need improving. Also as you are alone, there is no one to show you how to do a particular play or to critique your style. You need to learn the routine before you practice, and what are the best ways to learn new moves?
Right, so you are alone, have a foosball table, and want to improve your game. How do you start? Well as an example, the wrist flick is an important skill, being able to shoot the ball incredibly quickly towards the opponent’s goal. To learn this skill:
Read about the wrist flick, the correct stance, how to position your hand on the rods, the technique involved. Then watch some YouTube videos of people making this move, look at their posture and how fast they can hit the ball.
Now it’s your turn, put the ball on the table, and see if you can repeat everything you have learnt. Shoot the foosball towards the opponent’s goal. Then repeat the move, again and again, over time you will improve!
The best methods to practice alone
Before you can start to practice any new skill, you need to know how to do it correctly. The best way to acquire this knowledge is for someone who is already skilled in this to show you how to make the new Foosball move, then you can try it, and they can tell you if you are doing it correctly. This way allows you to ask questions and know that you understand the move. You can then practice the skill when you are alone. It will only take a few minutes of the “Experts time.”
If there is no expert to show you a new skill, you can try reading a book or blog post on how to perform this latest move. Once you understand the theory, watch several videos on the skill being shown on YouTube. This reinforces what you have read, and should give you a pretty good idea of how the move should be completed. You then need to practice.
It is a good idea, to reread and watch the YouTube videos every now and again, when you are beginning a new skill. You may find as you practice you pick up bad habits, and are not repeating it correctly. Once you can make a move and are just trying to improve your speed and accuracy, this will not be necessary.
Remember to take a break every 15 minutes or so, as you are practicing the same move; you are using the same muscles and tendons. Taking a break allows them to recover, reducing the chances of a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), and also improves your concentration and focus.
What Foosball skills should you be practicing By Yourself?
Intermediate and advanced players know the game well, and will probably understand what is lacking in their game, or what they want to improve. So here we will concentrate on what the beginner to intermediate need to learn
Making sure you have the correct foosball posture when playing is critical. Beginners usually do not realize this is critical to the best speed and movement, when positioning your players and shooting. [LINK]
Gripping The Handles
You will need to learn how to grip the handles, not too tightly. There are two basic grips
The Foosball Wrist Grip and The Foosball Open Palm Grip
Being able to shoot the ball at high speeds towards the opponent’s goal is an essential skill, and always needs to be faster.
5 bar passes & 5 bar hacks
The 5 bar is one of the most important that you have, being able to pass the ball from man to man and take shots is another essential skill
Once you have the above skill mastered, you will be a better than average player. But there are a lot more things to learn and practice. There are some YouTube playlists later in this article, they have videos showing you how to practice individual skills, so I will not list them all here
Improve your Accuracy (Practice Plate)
When you are playing alone, it can be straightforward to score a goal, as there is no defence. To make it more challenging, you can use a Practice Plate. This a piece of wood or similar that you put in front of the goal. It makes the area that you have to shoot at much smaller requiring higher skill and accuracy. You can make several of these with smaller and smaller holes, as your skill improves.
How much practice do I need when playing by myself?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it really should be “As much as possible.” Everyone has different time constraints on their day, and are aiming at varying levels in the game. Not everyone expects that they can become a professional (For example, I know I will never reach the top levels in Foosball).
I know some ranked amateurs, they are practicing foosball alone for around 2 hours a day, 5 to 7 days a week
How to measure my progress in practiced skills
As you will be practicing moves hundreds of times over several weeks or even months, it may be hard to know if you are improving. Each time you practice a move, you will get a better by an imperceptible amount, which makes it difficult to notice yourself.
You can ask someone to watch you when you start practicing, and then again few weeks later, and ask them if you have improved. But you are likely to get the answers “Yes” or “I don’t know”, which are not a great help!
A much better solution is to video yourself practicing at the start for a few minutes, then again at regular intervals. This can be done by most people now, as they have access to a smartphone or digital camera.
When you video yourself, you can compare your skills with what they were like a week, or a month ago, so that you can see that you are getting better. This encourages you to keep trying as you can see the improvement. You can also compare what you are doing with experts on YouTube videos, checking that your stance, positioning, and play are correct, making adjustments to your game as necessary
What books/posts can help me improve my game
There are several books available that may help you learn foosball. We have an article on Foosball Books here Foosball Books
- How To Play And Win At Foosball
- The Complete Book of Foosball
- Anatomy of a Pull Shot: Advanced Foosball Techniques
- Zen and the Art of Foosball: A Beginner’s Guide to Table Soccer
There are also thousands of blog posts telling you how to do a particular shot. These are not always as in-depth as some of the books, but they are free. Just google to find them, for example, to learn the “Wrist Flick” google:
“learn foosball wrist flick.”
What is the best equipment for foosball training?
When practicing alone, the one thing that you must have is access to a Foosball table. Ideally, you need men that have an excellent quality foot, square with a cross hatch for greater ball control. Ideally, you want these men to be counterbalanced, but this is less important than the foot quality.
You also need a good quality ball, cork balls are the best for practicing ball control, but are slower than other balls. These do not seem to be used as much in America. The most popular ball here is the Textured Foosball, like those supplied by Dynamo. These are fast balls with reasonable control. This is the type of ball you will be using in real games, so it is the type you should practice with.
Do not waste your time playing with a cheap plastic ball. A good ball is only a few dollars and will last a long time
What videos can help me improve my game?
Again on YouTube, there is no shortage of videos instructing you on how to perform every move and every skill related to Foosball. Below are some of my favorites
Unreal Foos Tutorials
Simple tutorials showing you how to make a lot of moves of a Foosball table
Road To Pro
A guy is telling you his story as he attempts to go Pro as a Foosball player. Has tutorial videos as well
Foosball Pull Shot: Zero to Hero
A set of videos instructing you on how to perform the Pull Shot
Easy Foosball Tutorials
Another set of videos showing a beginner how to make a lot of the basic moves required for becoming a great foosball player. there is no playlist, just look in the publishers video list, they are easy to find