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You have probably played a little in college, or maybe you are a proud new owner of your very own foosball table. Welcome to the foosball community! As with most bar games, there are a variety of different rules and regulations that people adhere to. Listed below you will find the most common version of the game that we all love.
First timers, pay attention. If you read nothing else at least know this: Foosball is like soccer, in that the goal is to put the ball in the back of the net. The more goals scored, the better. Similar to soccer, the better teams focus on defense and ball control. Beginners generally just try to whack the ball as hard as possible, but you will develop more as a player if you put some thought into your foosball play. Lastly, it’s against the rules to touch the other players’ rods, and spinning the rods around super fast is for rookies!
• The point of the game is to score more goals than the other team.
• A goal is officially scored when the ball moves past the goalie and drops into the goal box.
• Play to 7, 11, or 21 points. Some bars are limited to the number of balls provided, and some home foosball tables come with a little scoreboard, so feel free to play to whatever score you like.
• Only control the rods you are assigned to; do not touch your opponents’ rods.
• Never bump the table.
• If a ball has completely stopped moving in an area of play where neither team can touch it, simply tap the ball with your finger to the nearest player. If the ball is in between two players, re-insert the ball via the ball drop on the side of the table.
• Do not spin your rods! A “spin” is when you grab the handle and whirl the rod around so that the players make consecutive revolutions around and around and around (360 degrees or more is a no-no).
• Have fun. Yes, there are people who are incredibly good at this game, but 99.9% of us are just trying to enjoy a friendly game with some friends.
Before the Game:
The first thing to decide is whether the game will be played One vs. One or Two vs. Two. The strategy and techniques vary greatly between the two versions, but it is recommended to start playing the game with a partner (Two vs. Two). Playing with teams will allow you to focus on either your offense or your defense, and it’s a more social event, which is simply more enjoyable. Playing one-on-one is a more competitive version of the game.
Understanding the Table Formation:
Most foosball tables are created to resemble a soccer formation that would be described as “4-5-3”. There are three forwards, five midfielders, four defensemen, and one goalie. The goalie and the rear two defenders are located on the back rod; the front defenders are located on rod No. 2. Rod No. 3 has all of the midfielders, and rod No. 4 contains the forwards. The little men stuck on those rods are called your “players”. A goal is located behind each goalie. There is also a hole in which to insert the ball into play. The hole is located at the midway point of the table.
Preparing for Play:
Playing the game Two vs. Two is the best way to begin playing foosball. As you play more and more games, try to alternate between playing offense and defense. The offense is comprised of the midfielders and the forwards; it’s this person’s job to focus on scoring goals. The defense is comprised of the goalie and the defenders, and this person needs to stop the shots coming from the other team, clear the ball to the opposite side of the table, or pass the ball to the midfielders. In order to become a well rounded player, it’s good practice to switch between offense and defense as much as possible.
First Ball in Play:
A coin can be flipped in order to determine who gets to drop in the first ball. It is against the rules to intentionally direct the ball closer to your players. Always keep in mind that foosball is generally a social game, so try not to be too competitive. Applying spin to the ball is a way of intentionally curving the ball a specific direction, so try to fling the ball straight down the mid-line.
More advanced players can actually pass the ball around the game table. The ball can be passed forward, backward, and even side to side.
There are a few techniques to being a good passer:
• Remain calm: Unlike real soccer, the opponents players can never detach from their rod and come slide tackle the ball away from you. Once you have the ball, keep your composure, and make a decision what your next move will be.
• Side passing: Scoring goals in foosball can be harder than it looks. It can take five, sometimes ten or more shots from your forwards to actually get a ball past the goalkeeper. Try using the side of the players’ feet to pass the ball back and forth between your forwards. It is very tricky for the goalie to effectively remain in front of a ball that is moving back and forth.
• Wall passes: This is a soccer term that refers to a player passing the ball to a teammate who “acts as a wall” in order to return the ball to the player, who has moved down the field. In foosball, you can accomplish a wall pass by literally passing the ball against the wall. Use the corner of the players’ feet to pass the ball in a diagonal direction down the playing field.