Foosball, as you probably already know, is a game designed to be played between 2 or 4 players. It’s an exciting, fast-paced game that is truly a blast to play, unfortunately, unless you have a partner a true foosball game is not exactly possible.
So how can you practice and get better at foosball if you are all by yourself? Believe it or not, there are many things you can do to improve your game even if you are all alone.
To illustrate this, in the article below we have listed several tips and strategies that will help you practice your foosball game when you are all by yourself.
Work on Your Posture
Although foosball is not exactly a sport by definition, many of its participants treat it as one and they are very competitive. Interestingly, the proper posture for foosball actually mirrors the recommended posture for many other popular sports, including tennis, volleyball and the posture of baseball player out in the field.
Once you learn this posture—and drill it until it becomes part of your muscle memory—your game will be that much sharper. To start, your feet should be about shoulder’s width apart, or however they feel most comfortable for you.
Next, bend your knees ever so slightly and lean forward just a bit. With this posture, it will minimize the time you need to react to a shot and allow you to be ready for sudden directional changes of the foosball.
You should also keep your wrists nice and loose and keep just a light touch on your handles (you do not need to squeeze them). Finally, train your eyes to the position on which your opponent’s hands will be, allowing you to anticipate his or her maneuvers.
Get Better Through Video
Believe it or not, you don’t exactly have to “play” foosball to get better at the game. You can also watch others play and learn from them.
While there are thousands of people around the country who play foosball, only a select few of them are truly experts at the game, and by watching these people play you can really improve your own game.
YouTube and other video sites are a great resource for checking out championship or tournament foosball tournaments, and by watching these videos you can learn to replicate some of the skills that have made these players so successful. Of course, we are not recommending that you practice or focus on the very difficult and flamboyant maneuvers right from the start.
Instead, focus on their posture and the manner in which they react to certain shots. Take a look at where they position their goalie and their feet on the floor. All of these techniques, when mirrored, can help you vastly improve your game.
Work on Your Grip
Along with drilling and re-drilling the proper posture into your muscle memory, you can also work on the proper grip for foosball when you’re flying solo. So what is the proper grip for the game?
As we mentioned briefly above, you are going to want to get into the habit of holding the handles loosely, which will better allow you to move the players during game action. By a “loose grip” we mean that there should be some space between the handles and the palms of your hands.
You should also keep your wrists nice and loose, and practice turning the handles very quickly. With a good grip and loose writs you should be able to turn the handle a full 180 degrees on every movement, giving your kickers maximum power when passing or shooting a shot (remember, 360 degree turns of the handle are not permitted in regulation foosball).
If you are training for matches in which you will be playing a single opponent—a one-on-one game—you should get accustomed to holding the two defensive rods and switching quickly to the two offensive rods. On the other hand, when practicing for two-on-two matches you can choose either the defensive or offensive side on which to practice. Learning to maneuver for both types of matches will make you a well-rounded player and an even better playing partner.
Working on Your Offense
Working on your offense in foosball when you are alone is a lot easier than working on your defense (which we will cover next). In foosball, possession of the ball is the number one priority and the ultimate concern.
If you go back to the videos you watched, odds are you saw much more than just shooting. You also saw passing, dribbling (moving the ball along the same line) and other offensive strategy patterns. All of these are things you can work on by yourself.
In terms of passing, pick out an area on the foosball table—a spot to which you want to pass the ball. Then, using one of the men you control with your offensive handles, continue practicing to pass the ball to that spot until you can do it consistently—at least 8 out of 10 times.
When finished mastering that spot, pick out another spot on the table and repeat this process. Most championship foosball players spend hours working on techniques such as this, which is what makes them some of the finest players on the globe.
Working on Your Defense
Working on your foosball defense when alone is not as easy as working on your offense, but it is not impossible either. One of the best things you can do in terms of defense is to work on your footwork around the table.
When playing singles matches in foosball, you will constantly be forced to move from the offensive to the defensive handles. This requires a lot of quickness and great footwork.
You should never step over your foot when moving from offense to defense. Instead you should shuffle quickly without taking your eye off the ball and the other player’s hands.
Continue practicing this quick shuffle until you can move effortlessly from offense to defense without having to look down and spot up the handles. This will save you a lot of time and put you in a great position to block shots.
Also, continue watching videos to come up with a defensive strategy you are comfortable with—one that is not too difficult that will also throw your opponent off-guard.
In the same way you worked on offensive passing and dribbling drills you can also practice shooting from different angles and with different men. This is the best way to improve your shooting speed and accuracy and the number one way to pile up the points on your opponent.
When working on your shooting skills, practice hitting the ball at an angle and making the laws of physics your friend. Through your offensive practice drills, specifically the dribble or the lateral pass, you can perfect catching the ball as it is passed to you.
Continue doing this until you get the ball as stationary and immobile as possible. From there, you can work on a variety of shot types, such as the straight-on shot, the oblique shot, in which you merely graze the ball to pick up the perfect spin, and bank shots off other players. By practicing in this way you can perfect all your shots and become a very dangerous opponent for anyone.
Put It All Together
Once you have practiced—and hopefully perfected—your posture, grip, footwork, passing, shooting and defense, you’ll be ready to put it all together into a single solo practice session.
Start the session by doing some stretches to limber up your legs and your wrists, and then move quickly into your posture and footwork drills, keeping your eyes fixed and your knees slightly bent.
Next, practice a few defensive setups and then move into your passing, dribbling and shooting. Doing this repeatedly for about 20-30 minutes each day will have you quickly climbing the ladder to foosball super stardom.
Whether you just want to get better for your next frat party foosball tournament or you’re competing at the highest level for cash and prizes, being alone should never preclude you from practicing your foosball skills.