How To Play Foosball (Quick Beginner’s Guide)

Foosball, or table soccer, is a fun game for any level play to enjoy.  Many people also play it as a sport by professionals and foosball tournaments are an exciting experience if you’ve never attended one.  The popularity of foosball is growing in popularity all the time, so it’s a good time to learn how to play.  The game is based on soccer or football, and here’s how you play.

Game Objective

Your objective in the game is to put the ball in your opponent’s goal and to keep it out of your goal.  Each side has four rods that control 13 playing figures by pushing, pulling, and turning the rods.  It may sound easy enough, but it takes some practice to get the hang of managing all the rods and players.  The goal is a race to 5 points, or 5 goals, before your opponent.  If you want to play a match, then you can play 2 out of 3, or 3 out of 5 games.  The one with the most games won wins the match.

Game Rules

It’s good to flip a coin to determine who goes first.  If it isn’t the first game, the ball was out of play or stopped (called a dead ball), then the player that scored last would go first.  If the ball leaves the table or stops out of reach of either player’s men, it is considered a dead ball.  You can either move the ball to the nearest player or the player that last scored can give the ball a fresh serve.

Watch what the ball is hitting because the ball needs to hit the playing field before a player hits it.  You have a 10 second time limit to pass or shoot the ball.  All legal shots that go into the goal are counted, even when the ball comes about out after the score.  No spinning of the rods is allowed (meaning giving the rod a 360-degree spin).  No moving the table or banging against the sidewalls.  No distracting your opponent.  There is no unsportsmanlike conduct or language allowed.


Your goal here is to move the ball through our opponent’s 5-Bar to your offensive 3-Bar.  You want to make sure your 3-Bar is in the right position to catch the call, which means the players need to be angled forward, towards your goal to be able to hit the ball with the back of the player and will stop beneath the 3-Bar.  Then you can slow down and move the ball with your player’s feet, moving it in front of the goal, and shoot to score!


Your objective here is to keep the ball from your opponent’s striker row and try to block the ball from your opponent’s shot.  You want to take control of the ball after it’s stopped.  Work to always keep one of your players in front of the ball when playing defense.  Try to refrain from randomly striking the ball because it can backfire and you can make a goal for your opponent.

Game Play Tips

  • It’s recommended to serve the ball with your 5-Bar, but there are different ways to serve the ball.  You may want to practice different techniques to find which one works the best for you.  You want your serves to be consistent and to go to your players first.
  • Keep your players close to the ball instead of swinging the player up high; this will help keep more control of the ball.
  • Keeping your eyes on the ball movement more than rod action will keep you from being distracted by your opponent’s rod movements.  You will increase your ability to focus on your shots.
  • Practice wrist flicking because this is how most of your shots will be made.
  • Stagger the players so you can block more paths to the goal.  Use your rods wisely, because if you have two different players lined up perfectly, you will be blocking the same space twice.
  • Watch for sloppy shots from your opponent.  Many goals are made by deflecting, rather than purposeful shots.
  • Do not stop while your opponent is setting up their serve or shot.  Keep moving to keep ahead of the game.
  • Avoid having your two player rod cross the rear center goalie.  When you switch or cross this rod, you leave one player (goalie) blocking the goal.  Your opponent can watch for a switch and take advantage to score.
  • Try to avoid creating patterns to the way you move or play.
  • Practice moving the ball from player to player to gain more control of your game.

Spending time to learn how to play foosball and practicing your moves will improve your game.  You will have more fun.  Show good sportsmanship to your opponent and everyone will have a great time!

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