Playing foosball requires something more than pure skills. It is a mental game, so you need to be able to size up your opponent and interpret his current and future moves.
If you want to master the game, then you need to know how to play foosball like a pro.
Knowing the Rules by Heart
You can’t completely understand foosball if you don’t know the rules of the game. Get the latest official copy of the World Table Soccer Association (WTSA) rules.
There are many foosball rules of play, but beginners can start focusing on these six:
- Flipping of Coin: To determine who will serve the foosball at the start of the game, a coin is flipped. After the first goal, the team that scored last will serve the next ball.
- No Spinning: Rotating the rod at 360 degrees without touching the ball is considered an illegal move.
- No Jarring: You can’t slam your rod against the foosball table’s wall to distract your opponent.
- Rule of Dead Balls: When the foosball stops in the middle of the table, it should be picked up and re-served. The team that scored last will serve.
- Out of Play: The ball is out of play if it hits the top rail and bounces back into the table or if it goes out of the table.
- 5 Bar Passing: After the initial serve, you have 15 seconds to make a pass from the 5 bar. You need to pass the ball within 10 seconds from your 5 bar rod towards your 3 bar rod right after the serve. Then, it must touch 2 men on the 5 bar before advancing.
Mastering the Art of Offensive Play
You need to create novelty marks in your shots. You can stick to one shot or do a series of shots. It does not matter which one you choose.
The most important thing is that you’ve mastered those shots. Here are the two most classic foosball shots:
- Mirror shot: This involves strategic shadowing technique, copying your opponent’s goalie and defenders.
- Bank shot: This shot is quick and sneaky. It can usually pass through the best kinds of defense. However, in order to perform it, you need to understand the laws of physics.
Mastering the Fundamentals of Defense
Your offense will get you scores. However, it is your defense that will ultimately win the game.
The best defense will help your offense. Thus, it is essential that you develop the most solid defensive strategy.
Many players will aim to shoot the ball straight and hard towards the goal. The smart defensive player will not allow this to happen.
If you’ve played the game long enough, you’ll know that the best way to block a hard shot is to flick your leading defensive man.
Never spin the rods. It looks cool and sometimes, it gets you to immediately make an offensive shot.
However, spinning is against the rules. Moreover, it relies too much on luck. The better option is to block the incoming shot with your men straight down.
Don’t directly go into offense. Stop the ball first before you shoot it. Otherwise, you will lose control of it.
Be sure to have a defensive strategy not only against straight shots but also against angle shots.
If you draw the ball to your goal, the shot is open. Don’t position two men behind each other.
If you do, you’re just blocking the same place. Ultimately, you can master your defense by experimenting.
Conditioning Oneself for Tournament Play
The game is not physically demanding. However, it does require aggressive play. If you want to have a competitive edge, you need to possess a high level of physical and mental stamina.
To achieve physical stamina, pros usually engage in regular types of exercise like running, swimming, and weight lifting.
To achieve mental stamina, they usually undergo an exercise program that take self-control and will power into practice.
Of course, it is not enough that you condition your physical and mental psyche. You need to actually practice playing the game.
Make a regular practice schedule a month or months before an important tournament.
The routine practice should involve offensive and defensive play.
It will take self-discipline to stick to your practice schedule. However, you need to commit to yourself. You’ll reap what you sow in the end.
Taking the Metal Pressure Head On
Foosball highly depends on your mental psyche. You can have the required skill to play the game, but if you can’t harness positive mental attitude, you are bound to lose.
But exactly how do you achieve good mental condition?
First, do not take tournaments seriously. If you do, it is easy to get depressed when you lose the match.
This does not mean you should not focus on the game though.
What this means is that you should know how to socialize and cruise around the room before, in-between, and after games.
Negative thoughts will not get you psychologically ready for the match.
Before your game, find out who your opponent is and learn about his strengths and weaknesses.
Only then will you be able to create the best strategy. You can’t build a good offense and defense if you don’t know what kind of gameplay your opponent likes to carry out.
During your game, concentrate. Do not let anyone disturb you. Professional players have the habit of increasing their focus when they are most pressured.
Do not chew gum, fidget, or follow other finicky habits. Learn how to calm yourself when the game is not going according to your plan. Taking a deep breath usually works.
Lastly, be confident with yourself. Believe in your ability. Use the pressure you feel during the game to fight and not flight.
Confident players are able to channel their energy towards a positive direction.
You don’t become a professional foosball player overnight. Knowing how to play foosball like a pro is not enough.
You also need to consistently work towards your goal. Learn the game, master the skill, and strengthen your physical and mental psyche.