Foosball Tips for Beginners

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A foosball table is a great addition to any man cave or game room. It is a lot of fun to play with your mates and just mess around.

But after some time, you are going to want to get a little more serious about your game.  The question is how do you go from turning handles just trying to hit the ball to someone with game, strategy and a good winning streak?

To help you be the foosball king amongst friends we’ve come up with some foosball tips for beginners.

Knowing the Rules

First off,  make sure you know the basic foosball rules. Once you have them down, it’s time to skill-up to get you match ready with the skills to destroy the competition (well your friends and family anyway!).

Foosball Grip Technique

There are two main types of grip. Which one you use is up to you. There are a lot of forum questions and debate about ‘which grip is best?, Which shooting style is best? or Palm Grip v Wrist Grip?

The better players will use both styles to perform different types of shots. For now, I would recommend choosing and mastering one, before learning the other.

The Foosball Wrist Grip

This is the most common grip where you wrap your hand around the hand and turn the rod by rotating your wrist clockwise and anti-clockwise. Many beginner foosball players will begin by gripping the handle far too tightly.

If your knuckles are protruding and turning white, the grip is too tight. The grip should not be a firm grip, it should be a soft but controlled group.

You can perform many types of shot with this grip, however it may take you a week or three to develop power shots.

The Foosball Open Palm Grip

This is quick to learn and can generate a lot of power. The basic premise is to place your hand to the side of the handle with your fingers and thumb pointing towards the floor.

The handle should be touching the middle of the palm. You roll the handle and rod by simply moving your hand up or down.

Basic Foosball Defense Techniques Tips

Notice how I started with Defense rather than offense and shooting? That’s because knowing how to defend at foosball with a good defense strategy can be the difference between winning and losing.

I am now going to explain a simple technique that has two stages. The angle of the players vertically and how they are lined up to block a shot.

Vertical Alignment – Set-up your two defending rods so that the players are not vertical, but are slightly angled Towards each other. The first row (3 player goalie line) players feet will be at 7 o’clock and the second row (2 players) players feet will be at 5 o’clock so that the two rows of players form a V shape.

The V angle should not be so great that the ball can pass under the players feet.

Staggering – You will want to keep moving your players side to side, but staggering them in such a way that they are defending the maximum space. Never have players on both defensive rods in-line with each other covering the same space and always ensure a player from the 2 player rod never crosses the central goal line.

If you do you will have two players on one side leaving the side exposed for attack.

Foosball Offense Tips and Strategy

Once you know how to defend, it’s time to learn how to attack. To win a game you need to score goals and to score goals you needs to learn how to pass and how to shoot.

Foosball Passing Techniques

There are several foosball passing techniques to master – below are some really good passing moves to get you started.

Tic-Tac Passing

This is where you pass the ball from side to side between players on the same rod.

The Brush Pass

This is a diagonal pass where you brush the ball with the left or right side of the feet rather than hitting the ball head-on for it to go straight. You do this by having the ball slightly behind the player.

When you go to kick the ball you move the rod towards or away from you depending which way you want the ball to travel.

Foosball Shots Tips

There are numerous Foosball shooting techniques to learn and master – Don’t try to learn them all at once, pick one or two from the foosball shots tips below and become really good at them before moving on.

The Pull Shot

The Pull Shot is one of the more popular and powerful shots in foosball. The popularity stems from its simplicity, appealing to beginners and pros alike.

If properly executed, this shot can be a real nightmare to defend, even if you take it from the back.

Setting Up the Pull Shot

Having a comfortable stance and grip is of utmost importance for the Pull Shot, so try to find the one that fits you best.

Have the top of your hand positioned relatively flat with the rod handle.

Executing the Pull Shot

The execution of the Pull Shot is an exercise in simplicity – just pull the ball towards you and kick it towards the ball with a quick flick. It’s important to keep in mind, as you pull the ball, to simultaneously lift the men so that it’s on top of the wall at the point of impact.

Now, it may just happen that your opponent figures out your pull shot. In that case, you can try to shorten the pull shot, finding any gaps in your opponent’s defense. Of course, like with every shot, practice is the key, so you’ll want to do it slowly at first.

Get the flick right, and once you feel confident about it, start building up speed. The important thing is not to get discouraged if you can’t shoot very hard at first, because it’s very common. Just keep practicing and you’ll get them very fast very soon.

The Push Shot

The Push Shot is the mirror image of the Pull Shot – instead of pulling the ball, you’re pushing it and then kicking with a flick of the wrist. This series is not the most popular on tourneys, and many players question its viability due to its being easier to defend.

That said, the goalie push shot series can be a very effective trick shot, provided you develop good lateral speed.

Tic-Tac Pull Shot

The Tic-Tac Pull Shot is another variety of the Pull Shot in which you pass the back and forth on the same rod. The main use is tricking the defense by making the opponent think you’re just passing the ball, and then surprising them with a quick shot.

If timed correctly, it can be used to devastating effects.

Bank Shot

The Bank Shot requires you to bounce the ball off either wall, making sure it’s at an appropriate angle to actually shoot at the opponent’s goal. It’s a great shot for those who like to turtle up, since it is primarily taken from the defensive part of the table.

That said, you can also take it from the 3-bar, where the element of surprise should compensate for the increased difficulty in finding the right angle.

Setting Up the Bank Shot

Setting up the Bank Shot is much easier on defense since you’ll have a better time hiding it. On the offense, the Bank Shot has a tendency of telegraphing your intentions to the opponent.

That said, if your opponent is not guarding their near post, you just might surprise them with a bank shot. The best spot to hit the ball from is from the outside edges of your goal, or towards the end of the goal.

Shooting from the middle is also fine, but the outside edges position makes it tougher on the opponent to read the bounce angle correctly.

Executing the Bank Shot

With the Bank Shot, you’re obviously hitting the ball at an angle. For you to be able to do this, there are several key things to keep in mind – don’t come at the ball with any amount of lateral movement (hit the ball straight down), keep your hand open and roll the handle on the palm of your hand, and, finally, practice hitting it on the top wall.

The Spray Shot – The spray shot is another variation of the push and pull shots. The only difference is you kick the ball diagonally on an angle instead of straight so the ball will ‘spray either left or right.

The Snake Shot

The snake shot is an open-handed shot that’s all in the wrist. It’s also called the Rollover shot, seeing as you need to roll your wrist up the rod handle to execute the shot.

Setting Up the Snake Shot

You set up and take the Snake Shot using the middle man on your 3-bar. What you need to do first is pass the ball from the push side (the far outer side) to the middle offensive man, pinning it under.

To do this, you need to tilt the man just a little bit to the back so that the ball strikes it on the toe. That way, you’ll make the ball go straight forward, allowing you to bring the man around and pin the centre of the ball so that there is just a little bit of downward push.

Note that if the man does not dip before coming out in the hit, then you’re not applying enough pressure and the ball won’t move.

Practice moving and practice rocking the ball – setting up the shot is much more important than execution. Once you’re confident about the basics, here’s what you need to do – if you’re, say, practicing the pull side, rock once to the push side, bring the ball back, let it move, and then spin and hit.

Naturally, once you start getting the drill into your head and getting the feel for the shot, you can pick up the speed until it’s all one big fluid motion.

Once you get the progression figured out and drilled into your muscle memory, it should be easier for you to hit the long-hauls. Don’t focus on spinning the man to hit the ball, but rather concentrate on moving the ball into shooting position.

Executing the Snake Shot

The Snake is probably the second most demanding shot (next to the Aerial shot) in foosball, but it largely depends on proper setup. The execution itself is simple enough – simply roll your wrist counter-clockwise up the rod handle, bringing the middle man around full force.

A quick word of advice – make sure the rod is always lubricated so that there’s hardly any friction to mess up your shot. Also, you might want to consider using a wrap to give a bit more grip on the handle.

How to get Better at Foosball

Just by mastering the above you can rally improve your foosball skill level. Then you can move onto more technical shots like the snake shot and start playing Foosball like a pro, but for now – the above will be more than enough to quickly beat your rookie friends and family.

With the above foosball tips for beginners you will quickly elevate your game and be on your way to becoming a Foosball Hero.

Wrap Up

Foosball can be a great game to play and we’ve only covered some of the most basic ideas and shots with the foosball tips for beginners. You’ll want to get plenty of practice in, as the game is fast paced at times and you don’t always have time to think about what shot you should take.

But as you play more and more you’ll find that these all become second nature to you and you’ll be looking for the next set of tips to master.  If you’re interested in a new foosball table, read our foosball table recommendations.

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