You may have come across this popular table game, Foosball, in the past, or you are interested in getting into this classic pastime. Maybe you are just beginning to get into this fun and engaging game that is like soccer, but played on a table.
In either case, we will introduce you to the rules of foosball, and have you playing the game the best way…the right way! While the game looks simple, it still has a blueprint to be aware of.
As with all sports and games, foosball has a specific set of rules to follow. Playing by these will ensure you, your teammates, and your opponents will have a true blast as you try to dominate the table! There are many professional organizations that have set standards for the guidelines that follow, and they will help the game remain fun for everyone!
The table clearly resembles a soccer field, with a goal on either end. You will choose a color, either red or blue, and the opponent will pick the opposite. Your aim is to knock the ball into the opponent’s goal, passing his or her goalie and thus scoring a point.
The bars hold a handful of “men”- plastic teammates who are there to kick where you need them to. By sliding the bars, you have control over typically five men in the center, with a bar of three on the outer sides.
You will likely favor your right hand most, both in scoring points, and blocking your goal. Remember that to count a point, the ball must have been touched by a player before going into the goal area.
The game will start much like football, with a coin flip. One side will call either heads or tails, and whoever wins the coin toss will get to “serve” the ball at the game’s start. On the side of the table, there is a “serving hole” where you will push the ball through to begin the kickoff. By the way, it is perfectly acceptable to serve the ball to your immediate five-men to kick and start the game in control!
After the first serve, the ball goes to whoever scored last. Like any other team sport, this is where the battle continues. It is now the struggle to keep the ball going into the other person’s goal, while defending your own goal. The ball must touch a player before hitting a goal to be considered valid. If the ball floats into a goal by an issue with the board or another factor, it won’t count.
There is a term known as “spinning”, in which the player can spin the bar repeatedly, without touching the ball. This, in professional standards, is a no-no. For a simple fun game with your buddies, this would be missed, but it is still an important rule. A professional level player would only allow it to be valid if by spinning, you hit the ball. To reiterate, spin only to hit the ball, and not to constantly whirl your men while playing.
Slamming the bar against the wall to shake the board or distract your opponent is another important etiquette rule to follow. Don’t slam the bar to dislodge the ball from your opponent’s control. If you hit the wall while playing defensively, this could be overlooked. The game does get intense, and a defensive slam can likely happen. If this happens on accident, don’t fret! Just apologize and continue playing!
If the ball goes to an area where it can’t be touched, this is named a “dead ball”. The ball must be placed back into play by the player who scored last. At this point, that player should take the ball and serve again. There is one caveat, however. If the ball goes to a dead area on the defensive side after a bar of only two men, the defensive player must move the ball back into play.
This is to prevent a player from knocking balls into dead areas to swing the game in their favor.
When playing the game, the ball can leave the table completely. Should this happen, the ball is called “out of play”, and should be served again by the player who scored last, much like a dead ball scenario. If the ball doesn’t leave the table, but hits the top rack, it is still considered out of play and must be served again.
This one applies to an immediate post serve kick. The player who is serving must kick the ball from their five-man middle bar to the three-men bar within 10 seconds of the serve. Now, the ball can’t be fully stopped on the five-men bar, but must be “juggled” or passed to another man on the same bar and keep in action before being kicked to the three-man bar (think like a soccer pass, as one athlete kicks to his or her teammate sideways before a big play).
Also, after the initial serve, you have 15 seconds to pass from the five-man bar. If you choose to bounce the ball off the wall at this point, note that you can only do so twice in a row before touching a man on the five-bar. One exemption though, as you can hit the wall a third time as long as it is part of the pass after the fact. These few rules on five-bar passing are typically for professional players, but rookies may benefit from these as well, as they can add some balance and even a skill upgrade to common players.
This set of rules should help a new player get familiar with the game, or serve as a refresher for seasoned athletes, who are looking to polish their experience and knowledge of this treasured pastime.
I live in Pennsylvania with my wife and four children. Time with family is very important to me, so I started Gameroom Vault to help others find fun ways to spend time with their families at home.