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Foosball is a truly exciting game, what some would even call a sport. Whether you think it’s just a game or a real sport, the fact of the matter is that it’s super intense and competitive. This is to the point where there are professional foosball leagues and championships, with some pretty big prizes mind you.
If you are just getting into foosball, it might seem really hard, and no, it’s not easy. That said, today we have some really great tips for you that can help you learn to play foosball like a pro. Let’s get right to it and teach you all of them so that you can start winning.
Grip and Stance Tips
The first set of tips here is all about how you stand and how you grip the handles. Winning games starts with a solid foundation.
Tip #1: Keep an Open Stance
In terms of how you should stand, make sure to keep an open stance with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, as this will allow you to balance properly and to move from side to side without accidentally falling over. Do not stand perfectly straight or stiff either. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back loose, as this will allow for more speed on your part.
Tip #2: Stand at an Angle to the Table
You should stand at roughly a 45-degree angle from the table. Don’t face the table head-on with your body parallel to it, but rather face it so your stronger or dominant arm is slightly further away from the table, as this will allow your dominant arm to generate more force for those power shots.
Also, make sure that you have to reach forward a little to hold the handles. You don’t want to stand too close to the handles. Your toes should be no further in towards the table than the outer edge of the handles.
Tip #3: Keep a Loose Grip
A big mistake that newbie foosball players make is to hold the handles with an iron grip. People, if you grip those handles too hard, for one, it’s going to affect your longevity. If you over-grip those handles, your fingers and forearms are going to feel it, and you’ll end up wearing out your muscles in your arms.
Holding the handles with your knuckles on top and your thumbs loosely wrapped around the bottom is the way to go, tight enough for grip, but loose enough to generate both speed and power. There should be just a little bit of space in between the handles and your palms.
Once you have the right stance and grip on lockdown, you then need to learn how to serve the ball in an effective manner.
Tip #4: Try to Serve to Yourself
The opening serve is going to be a fair serve right down the middle, but after that, if you are the serving team, serving to yourself is quite important.
This really only works if the table has a serving cup, but if it does, you want to hold the ball in between your thumb and index finger, and release it in such a way that it spins towards your side.
The ball starts on the left side of the serving cup, spirals along the right side, and then moves in your direction. This way, when the ball enters the field from the serving cup, it should come right towards your offensive line.
Tip #5: Try the Backspin
If your foosball table does not have a serving cup, rather just that little hole to place the ball through, you can attempt to put a bit of backspin on it. This is similar to the tip discuss above, but slightly different.
Here, you want to hold the ball so that it sits between your thumb and the right side of the hole. When you go to release the ball, apply a bit of pressure with your thumb while simultaneously sliding your thumb back. This should put a backspin on the ball, thus resulting in the ball coming right towards your five-man line when it enters the playing field.
Strategy and Field Control Tips
Once you know how to serve properly, you then need to figure out both how to control the ball and to seize control of the ball from the opponent.
Tip #6: Keep an Eye on Your Opponent’s Men
A big mistake that football newbies make is to always just watch their own men in relation to the ball. If you want to seize control of the ball from your opponent, you need to keep an eye on your opponent’s players, particularly the offensive players.
This way, you can spot their mistakes, gaps in their formations, and you can try to judge what your opponent is going to do next based on the position of their players. A good player watches both sides of the field.
Tip #7: Keep Your Offensive Line at an Angle
Something else you should do is to always keep your offensive players at an angle. You want them to be angled forward, with their feet facing forward just a little bit. This angle will ensure that you can catch the ball, particularly passes from your defensive lines.
If your offensive players are facing forward and at a 90-degree angle, the ball will just bounce off them when you pass from behind, and you’ll lose control.
Having your offensive line angled forward will also help block shots that your opponent takes. That said, if you want to wrangle possession from your opponent, having your offensive line angled backward could help. It all depends if you are passing to yourself or not.
Tip #8: Pin the Ball
Related to the previous tip, something you need to master is how to pin the ball beneath your players. This involves having your players at an angle so that their feet are angled away from the ball. If you are in possession, angle the feet forward, and if your opponent is in possession, angle the player’s feet towards your own goal. Just don’t angle the feet so much that the ball can pass right under the players.
This way, when the ball comes towards your players, instead of simply deflecting the ball, it will get pinned neatly in between their feet and the field. Right when the ball is between the feet and the field, you can apply a bit of downward force to pin it in place, and then you can choose your next move.
Once you figure out how to wrangle control of the ball from the opponent and how to keep possession with the pinning technique, you need to learn how to pass the ball to yourself.
Tip #9: Use a Wall Pass
If you plan on being good at offense in foosball, learning how to pass to yourself is key, and one of the most common passes is the wall pass.
This is a little difficult, but in essence, what you want to do here is to get control of the ball with the inside edge of the second man on the five-man rod, place the three-man offensive rod so that the side player is against the wall, and then move the ball sideways and forward with the five-man rod, thus passing the ball forward to your offensive line.
Tip #10: Use a Lane Pass
This type of pass is much like the wall pass, but instead of using the wall to your advantage, you pass the ball through a lane, so more to the middle of the field.
The technique is more or less the same as with a wall pass, but just a bit more difficult because you don’t have the wall to help control the ball. Having the forward at about two ball widths from the wall should be fine for this type of pass.
Tip #11: Use a Wall Bounce Pass
This is one of the hardest types of passes to master, but also one of the trickiest for your opponent to deal with. Here, you want to use your rear or middle players to hit the ball in such a way that it moves forward at an angle, bounces off the wall, and goes directly to your offensive players.
Therefore, knowing your angles is important, because the angle at which the ball bounces off the wall and towards your players is determined by the angle at which you shoot it towards the wall. It’s a good type of passing because your opponent won’t know that it’s not a wall pass until the last second, until it’s too late.
Tip #12: Use a Redirect Pass
This is another great type of foosball pass to master, one that is even trickier for your opponent to deal with than a regular wall bounce pass. This pass is the same as a wall bounce pass, but instead of making it rather obvious in which direction you are going to bounce the ball off the wall, at the last second, you choose to bounce it in the other direction, off the opposite wall.
Due to the greater distance involved in this pass, it is quite difficult to master, but it’s also one of those passes that if done right, your opponent probably won’t be able to deal with it.
Tip #13: Pass from the Defense to the Offense
A big mistake that people often make is to try and hammer the ball towards the opponent’s net using their defense. People, the greater the distance the more difficult the shot.
So, using any one of the passes discussed above, as well as the pinning technique, close the gap between the ball and your opponent’s goal by passing from your defense to the offense. The closer you get the ball to the goal before you shoot, the easier it will be to make a clean shot.
Tip #14: Use the Goalie to Dribble
If there is no open lane to pass or shoot, something you can try doing is using the goalie to dribble.
As you get better at the pinning technique, passing, and ball control, you can increasingly dribble the ball back and forth between your goalie and your defensive lines. The faster you can do this, the more likely your opponent is to make a mistake, and the easier it will be for you to find a passing line to get the ball up to your offensive players.
This is a technique that can allow you to more easily pass the ball forward while keeping your opponent on their toes.
Shooting and Offensive Tips
Alright, so now that you know how to stand and how to hold the handles, how to control the ball, and how to pass it to yourself, the next step in the equation is to learn how to shoot.
After all, the main point of the game is to slam that ball into the back of your opponent’s net.
Tip #15: Use the Push Shot
The first type of shot that you want to master is the push shot, one of the easiest and most effective shots.
To execute a push shot, position the ball at the outer edge of one of your players. If you are using your three-man forward, make sure to position him to the near edge of the goal. Now, push the player to the other side, and when you see an opening, let loose.
Tip #16: Use the Pull Shot
The other main type of shot to master is the pull shot, which, as you can probably tell, is more or less the exact opposite of the push shot.
To execute a pull shot, line up one of your forwards at the far edge of the goal, making sure to have the ball on the inside edge of that player. You can now pull the player, and the ball if need be, towards yourself, and when you see an opening, let it rip.
Tip #17: Become a Pro at One Type of Shot
In terms of becoming good at scoring goals, what you need to do above all is to master a single type of shot and get really good at it. There’s no point in using multiple shooting techniques if you cannot do any of them properly.
Once you have mastered one type of shot, you can then move on to others. As a beginner, a type of shot like a bank shot, where you bounce it off the wall and into the goal is probably too difficult, but once you get good with the simpler shots, something like a bank or wall bounce shot is definitely something you can add to your repertoire.
Once you have everything else mastered, the last step is to improve your defensive game.
Tip #18: Sync Up the Goalie and Your Defence
One of the best defensive tips to follow is to make sure that your goalie and your defensive line play as a coherent unit, working in tandem.
If you make sure that there is less than a ball’s width between the goalie and the defensive players, then you effectively close off all shooting lanes. However, if your opponent is shooting from the side, separate the goalie and the defensive line a little bit, thus closing off angled shooting lanes.
Keeping the goalie’s and the defensive line’s feet pointed toward each other can also help close off shooting lanes.
Tip #19: Try Shooting from the Defense
Ok, so we did say that shooting from your offensive line is best, because the less space between the ball and the goal, the more likely you are to score.
However, if you are getting really good at foosball and you want to trick your opponent, if you see a shooting lane available, there is nothing stopping you from using your defensive players to hammer the ball into the goal from your own half of the field.
Using a bank shot is another option here.
Tip #20: Block Shots
Always try to keep your two-man defensive rod directly in front of the ball when your opponent has possession. The main purpose of this defensive line is to block shots, so you better get good at it.
Something to look into is the race method, a technique that pro players use to block as many shots as possible.
Tip #21: Use all of Your Players
Something that you also need to learn how to do is to use all of your players to play defense.
We aren’t going to go too deep into it here, but the point is that all of your players should occupy a different space and a different shooting lane. It’s all about cutting off as many shooting lanes with as many players as possible.
Some General Tips to Be a Better Foosball Player…
Now that we have all of that covered, let’s quickly cover some more general tips to help improve your game:
One of the best things that you can do to be successful in foosball is to be unpredictable. A big part of being unpredictable is always being on the move. Always be on the move no matter if you are in possession of the ball or not. It’s harder to predict your moves when you have the ball, and this way it’s also harder for your opponent to make a move.
Also, the bigger your biceps and forearms are, the harder you can shoot. No, you don’t need to start pumping huge amounts of iron to become a pro foosball player, but it wouldn’t hurt either.
Some more things you should be aware of:
- Just like in any other sport, keep at least one eye on the ball at all times.
- Pro players sometimes play two rods with one hand, a super difficult yet effective technique if you can master it, and yes, we mean two rods at once.
- What it all comes down to here is practice, practice, practice. The more you play, the better you will get.
Lastly, although this is not as much of a tip as it is a rule, the fact that you absolutely cannot spin the rods is something you need to adhere to. Spinning the rods is not a legal move and it will result in harsh penalties in competitive play.
There you have it folks, all of the tips you need to improve your foosball game and become a better player.
The more you practice and the more you pay attention to all of these tips, the more likely you are to score goals while preventing your opponent from scoring.