Foosball, also commonly known as table soccer or table football, is a widely played game found in schools, pubs, workplaces, and bars that takes the sport of soccer and shrinks it into a table games played for fun. Perhaps you didn’t know what it was, but the chances of you walking past a table at some point in your life is very good. They are more often than not found in dark corners of pool halls, but until recently they have rarely been played in North America. Perhaps the entire sport of soccer is considered second place to sports like hockey, football, and basketball in North America, but in Europe, Foosball is almost as popular as real life soccer.
Perhaps the appeal to the game is its simplicity that allows virtually anyone of various ages to play the game and actually be good at it. The goal of the game is the same as soccer, which is to score the most goals against an opposing player or, if playing doubles, players. The game allows players to play a fast actions game as both offence and defense for a considerably low price. And just like and game of skill, the more you play the game, the better you will get, and if you get really good, you can compete in the World Championships or other tournaments for substantial cash prizes.
History of Foosball
The history of foosball is a bit tricky when you first set out to learn of its true origins. The game that is generally known as table soccer is believed to have originated Germany in the 1920`s. However, it was also discovered that the French were concocting the exact same game sometime in the early 1930`s. So the actual origins are for the most part are unknown and any information stating its true origins basically nothing more than speculations. IT is also rumored that the concept of table football was created parallel to the actual game of soccer, which is a romantic idea, but probably quite far from the truth.
For most people who play in pubs, schools, clubs, ect., the only necessity is a pocket full of change. Since Foosball tables are nearly always automated, you simply insert a predetermined amount of change, often between $1 and $2, and you play until all the balls are gone. For new players that have never played the game before, there is one other necessity for playing foosball, and that is patience. Chances are you will not instantly be as good as experienced players, but with time and practice, you can be.
For those people who need to purchase their own table for home use, there are a couple other items you will want to purchase. The first item is high quality balls from a specialty store that sells game tables, but in most cases the internet will have to be used to find good quality balls. There is nothing wrong with buying cheap plastic balls from Wal-Mart, but this type of ball has no grip on it and tends to break quite easily. Good quality balls are used because they can be gripped by the foosmen on the table, which can then be better manipulated by the player.
The other item that is almost a necessity is silicone oil that is used to lubricate the metal bars that the foosman are mounted on. Over time, dirt and grime builds up and regular cleaning is needed. TO ensure that the bars glide nicely all the time, small amounts of lubricating oil is added to prevent sticking. Constant sticking can lead to bent wobbly poles that make playing on the table a frustrating experience.
Purchasing a Table
If you have been considering purchasing a table after playing with friends in public places, then there are probably some basic information you will be needing. Foosball tables come in a wide range of prices based on the quality of table, starting around $150 and going on up to $2000 or more for professional tables. If you want a decent table, that will withstand the rigors of play and last for years to come, then you can settle in the $600 to $800 range and be quite happy with a very good table for recreational use. But what exactly makes a table a “good table”?
The first thing you want to look for is a heavy duty cabinet, one that can withstand harsh play from a large variety of beginner to experienced players. Most tables will come with levels for floors that are not level, which makes a huge difference on the play field. Without a level table, your balls will come to a stop in various spots, or your shots will take strange angles that are inhumanly possible. Good quality foosball men and rods are a must because there is noting more frustrating than replacing smashed foosmen or trying to straighten bend rods. And most importantly, a solid thick play surface with a good laminate will help keep the surface looking like new for many years. Supports under the play surface help to avoid warping and keep the surface flat.
With these tips in mind while purchasing your foosball table, you will ensure you purchase a foosball table that will last a life time. But always keep in mind that sometime you will find good deals, but for the most part, if a deal is too good then it probably is. And once you have your table, make sure you keep the surface clean, and always make sure to lubricate the rods to eliminate any risk of warping.
Tips and Tricks
Never Spin the Rods because you can hit the ball about as hard as your spin by practicing a wrist shot. There is no way to accurately aim the ball and score when you are just spinning the rods, and you cannot catch balls on defense if you constantly spin the rods. But the most important reason why not to spin the rods is because it actually damages the table by breaking men, loosening pins and screws, and causes the rods to warp. No chocolatear!
Practice the wrist shot to gain power, speed, and accuracy by placing the ball in front of your three-man attack bar. Lift the defense bar to allow your shots to go into an empty net, and practice hitting the ball as hard as you can straight into the goal. Practice throwing your wrist down in a snapping motion towards the floor past the rod handle, and since your hand is still gripping the handle, your wrist lock preventing a 360 spin of the attack rod.
Practice aiming your shots as often as you practice making you ball go fast and hard. Set the ball again in front of your three-man attack bar, but this time instead of concentrating on speed, concentrate on the direction you want the ball to move. Depending on where you hit the ball, the ball will travel in different directions. It is ideal to practice this will the defending foosmen all down so you can practice shooting around the players. A majority of players learn to play defense by defend goals straight on, but the simple variance of angles, throws most inexperienced players for a loop. Nothing is more embarrassing and impressive as a shot at ¼ of your normal shooting speed sneaking between a defender’s foosmen.
Alternate holding techniques like the open hand or fan technique can add substantial speed to any or your shots. These techniques are simple to use as the difference between these and a normal shot is that you keep your hand open. These shots are made by rolling the rod handle in the open palm of your hand. In a way, it is similar to making a 360 spin shot, but you stop the shot before it spins more than 180 degrees. The resulted shot is faster and more powerful than a wrist shot but it does take more time to gain accuracy.
Fundamentals of Defense begins with yet another reminder not to spin the rods. If the foosmen are not in an upright position, which they are not 80% of the time while spinning, you will not stop any shots. The basic rule of defense is that if you can draw a line from the ball into the goal, your net is considered open. Always stager your defensemen in such a way that the attacker must rely on ball movement or making you flinch to score. In these cases, it is best to loosely grip the rod handles to allow quicker movement when your opponent attempts to race around your defense. If you stack your goalie directly behind your defenseman, you are basically blocking your goalie and leaving all the angle shots wide open. With practice and experience, you will be able to anticipate your opponent’s moves and adjust your defense accordingly.
Foosball is a quickly growing table game of skill that has yet to reach its full potential thus far, but given enough time, foosball will eventually establish itself in North America as it has in Europe. It wasn’t long ago that people ignored the Foosball table to play pool or snooker instead, but younger people, like college students, are discovering foosball and growing its popularity. At one point, the chances of you finding a foosball table in someone’s house was unheard of, but more and more people are purchasing them instead of pool tables because of the considerably smaller size and cost. For those who choose to only play foosball in pubs, bars, ect., the only cost associated with playing the game ranges for $1 to $2 per game. In most places where lots of players are present, the general rule is that if you or a team of two people win a game, you play for free until you are beaten. But in the end, foosball is just like anything else, it takes a lot of practice to be great, but it is fun all the way from beginner to allstar.