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How To Play Foosball: Rules, Techniques And Scoring

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Foosball, also known as table soccer, is a beloved and competitive game enjoyed by people of all ages. It combines the excitement of soccer with the fast-paced action of table games.

If you had a chance to watch the popular English TV series, Friends, you would recall the two main characters, Joey and Chandler and their friends frequently engage in table soccer or foosball.

Foosball is a tabletop simulation of football that can be played by a minimum of two players and even four players. Most importantly, you do not need to run around. Just twist a few metallic bars and score that elusive goal. As the game has gained popularity, foosball tournaments have begun to be organised and foosball today finds takers even in India.

You can find foosball tables in most sports clubs and gymkhanas today. Those who can afford, even have it in their game rooms at home. As video games become more popular, foosball is losing fans who prefer less active and more visually appealing gaming.

But for traditional enthusiasts, foosball still holds its charm. In this blog, we will explore foosball and share tips to improve your skills, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player. Get ready to up your game in table soccer!

Also Read: English Football: All football vocabulary words you need to know

How to play foosball

Most standard foosball tables come with 9 balls. Players compete against each other trying to score and the player who scored the maximum wins. If your foosball has 9 balls, then the player who scores 5 goals wins the match. This is when none of the balls is reused. There are certain foosball tables which come with 1-2 balls. In such cases, the ball once pocketed (or scored) is brought back into the play and the game goes on.

Usually, the game starts with the toss of a coin. The player who wins the toss initiates the attack.

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Rules of the Game

  • No Spinning: At any point, no player must spin the rod a full 360 degrees. Not only is this against the rules of the game but can also be damaging to the rods of the foosball table.
  • No Jarring: The players must avoid physical contact with the table, apart from their hands holding the playing rods. Any physical contact that moves the table resulting in a possible diversion to the trajectory of the ball is an illegal play in the game.
  • Hands-off playing area: While the ball is in play, players need to keep their hands off the playing area. Any contact with the rods or ball inside the play area is an illegal move in the game.
  • Serve: The ball can be served towards your opponent from any of the holes on the table. The serving side cannot serve the ball towards themselves. The serve has to be towards the opposing side. On scoring a goal, the serve goes to the opposing team. In case the ball goes off the table, the team that scored last gets to serve again.


The only way to score in foosball is to net the ball in the opponent’s goal. The first team to score 5 goals wins. However, the winning score can be tweaked mutually by the playing teams.

  • Keep it moving: The ball cannot stay still for more than 15 seconds. The teams have to make sure the ball keeps moving during the game.
  • Master one shot at the goal: A tried and tested trick is to master one shot at the goal. With time, this shot will reap benefits for you and you will score a lot of goals.
  • Figure out angles: Goals can be scored from various angles, not just through straight shots. Shots from an angle are also more difficult to defend than straight shots.
  • Centre the goalie: It could be a tendency to keep the goalie moving as the ball moves. It is however advisable to keep the goalie centred in front of the goal. A centred goalie obstructs a large portion of the goal and reduces the possibility of scoring. A centred goalie is also conducive to left or right movement in case of a fast-paced attack.
  • Loosen the grip: Make sure you are not gripping the bars too hard. The game requires swift movement and flexibility. For this, keep the grip loose such that you can change grip and manoeuvre the bars at speed.
  • Defend: It is a common temptation to over-focus on attack and ignore the defence. Make sure you use your defensive pieces appropriately. Keep them in an upright position. Use the defence pieces to provide optimal cover for the goalie.
  • Stagger your players: To optimally use all your players, stagger them optimally. Do not over-focus on straight shots using only the central players. Use the side players to hit side shots which could prove to be more potent.
  • Take many shots: Take as many shots at the opponent’s goal as you can. The more shots you take, the higher your chances of scoring from one or more of those shots, thus taking you closer to victory.

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Foosball Techniques

  • Passing: Skilled players use a series of intricate, quick passes from the 5-bar men to the 3-bar men. The wall-pass and the lane-pass are the two most common approaches. The wall pass employs a swift sideways flick to ricochet the ball off the side wall of the table into your player’s control. The lane pass incorporates a forward motion of the ball parallel to the wall to beat your opponent’s defence.
  • Pull shot: The Pull shot involves moving the ball laterally across before striking it into the goal.
  • Snake shot: The snake shot exploits the wrist’s quick rotation to deliver powerful and surprising strikes, making it hard for the opponent to defend.
  • Two-man defence: It provides coverage for most of your goals. Here, the two defensive rods, often manipulated by one hand, work collaboratively to cover all areas of the goal.

Foosball is a fascinating combination of technical skill, strategy application, and mental athleticism. These techniques provide a basic framework for new players who aspire to perfect their foosball ability. However, it is crucial to remember that the beauty of foosball also lies in personalisation – each player can learn and adopt techniques that suit their style best.

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