Everything You Wanna Know About Human Foosball

Human foosball is the life-sized version of everybody’s favorite table-top sports game. It has been growing in popularity as a great way for corporate teams, church groups, and other groups to have fun and build teamwork. It’s also just a fun game to play with your family and friends!

It’s even become a favorite (or at least favored) pastime of some families and groups of friends. It can be a really fun way to spend an afternoon—especially with the right people. But what is it, and how can you possibly take a table-top game and play it “life size”?

What the Heck is Human Foosball?

Human foosball simply the life-sized version of a foosball table. Then, you grab on to the poles and paly like your life depended on it!

This guide will tell you how to play human foosball, what to look for in a playing field, and how to build your own human foosball “table” for very little money. You’ll also learn what kind of occasions the sport is good for, and how to keep it interesting for everybody. READ ON TO FIND OUT!

Where Can I play Human Foosball?

Depending on where you live, there a couple of options for a life-size foosball playing surface. The sport is popular enough in some places that you can find facilities or rentals to play on.

You can find indoor facilities, outdoor facilities, and even, in some places, an inflatable human foosball arena! We’ll discuss that later on in this guide. We’ll also discuss how to build a human foosball field for $150 or less.

Why Should I Play Human Foosball?

That’s a great question! Some people wonder what it’s all about. Well:

Because of the cooperation required by players—and the laughs the game generates—human foosball is a great team-building even for corporate team-building, college orientation groups, church groups, tour groups, pub crawlers, therapy groups, and yes, even families!

Human foosball is the kind of game where everybody can have a fun. Since it’s not exactly a common sport, no one will be at a disadvantage against more experienced players. The nature of the game also helps level the playing field between those who are athletic, and the not-so-athletically inclined.

It’s just as great for kids as it is for adults. One foosball facility in Kansas has received plenty of testimonials to the fact that kids love the experience just as much as the adults.

How to Play Human Foosball–Playing Field & Rules

While there is no standard regulation field for human foosball, 32’x16’, or something close to it, is the norm. There are various ways to make a field or court for playing, which we’ll discuss in a minute.

How many people do you need in order to play human foosball? While you could hypothetically play with 6 people (three per team), you’ll have the most fun with 5-9 people per team (10 to 18 people overall).

Scoring works the same as the table-top game: just like with soccer (“football” to the rest of the world), your team scores a goal when you knock the ball into the other team’s net, and they score a point when they knock it into yours.

The critical different between human foosball and every other game you have ever played, is that you can’t let go of the rod! As you might figure, this can make for some interesting playing—especially your first few rounds.

You may be surprised by how quickly you and your teammates pick up on each other’s movements. Soon you’ll be able to anticipate and feel your teammates movements, which is one reason human foosball is such a great team building exercise for businesses, church groups, scouting groups, nonprofits, and all kinds of other groups (including families).

And that leads us to the next important consideration: the human foosball playing area!

All the Different Ways to Make a Human Foosball Field, AKA, Human Foosball Field Construction

“There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
“And every single one of them is right!”
–Rudyard Kipling

There are a number of ways to MAKE YOUR HUMAN FOOSBALL FIELD.

The “Open” Field

The easiest human foosball field to make is ironically the most difficult to play. But it’s not too difficult. It’s also the least expensive way to get started.

All you do here is acquire some lengths of PVC pipe. Then, each row of players holds the pipe behind their backs in the crooks of their elbows. It might help to imagine 2-5 people standing side by side with their hands in their pockets and their elbows angled back. The pipe would go in the place between their elbows and their backs.

For goals, any good marker will do. Cones are a favorite—one for each end of the goal. In a pinch you can use chairs, cinder blocks, trash cans, or anything else that can mark the goal space.

How to Build an Enclosed Foosball Playing Area

A “proper” life-size foosball field is an enclosed or at least semi-enclosed. There are several different ways to enclose a field.

One of the easiest, quickest, least expensive ways is with metal posts and outdoor plastic netting. Construction netting or something similar can work quite well for an enclosure. It’s not a good material to set the foosball poles into, but it works just fine to delineate the playing area.

You can find relatively inexpensive options such as Abba Patio Guardian Safety Netting, which has an affordable cost for 100 feet. (You’ll have to make your playing field slightly smaller than the “standard” 36’x16’—but only by four feet overall.)

Yardguard and other types of temporary fencing work well, too. Even if you use something sturdier for the perimeter, this type of netting works great for the goal area.

More permanent enclosures can be made out of plywood, 2x4s, etc. Some players have even used square hay bales, which actually work great for setting the poles on top of.

Speaking of the poles, you can go with anything from plain PVC pipe, to round beams of wood. Of course, you don’t want to have to move a beam of wood every time you move to the left or the right. The most popular thing to do is fit a length of pipe over the wood, and have players grab on to that.

Most players that go with this option glue rope or other handholds onto the pipe. This is especially popular with facilities that offer wooden-perimeter foosball fields.

Of course, in a pinch, you can get creative with all kinds of items. One school group made a foosball “field” with wooden library chairs. The backs of the chairs faced the playing area. Then, they ran rope through PVC pipe, and tied the rope to table legs! It was a totally workable solution and the kids had a blast.

Human foosball has gotten so popular in some areas that you can rent a ready-made space to play. And if you’re all about silliness and laughs, see if anyone in your area offers an inflatable foosball field. These can be a lot of fun to play both for kids, and for adults who don’t feel like the bar scene, but still like to party a little (just make sure nobody has too much).

How to Keep Your Foosball Game from Getting Stale

Even though human foosball provides enough fun exercise and laughs to keep most anybody entertained, it never hurts to switch things up a little. You can use multiple balls to keep things interesting, for example. It can be especially fun if you can find two or more balls of different bright colors.

Some people have used blindfolds. Apparently, this is good for a whole lot of laughs, when everybody is kicking in thin air. Some people might think it’s funnier to watch than to participate in. In any case, it can be a fun idea when you have multiple teams and are playing as part of a company event, retreat, or party.

Costume Party Foosball is also a fun option. The fun, not-too-serious attitude of this game actually works pretty well with costumes. This is a natural for Halloween-themed group events or birthday parties. Some options include:

  • Halloween: Angels vs Devils
  • Zombies vs Vampires
  • Rebels vs Empire
  • Just plain Halloween costumes.
  • Ninja Turtles vs Regular Ninjas

Christmas and Halloween lights can really brighten up your human foosball “field”. Little flags, pinwheels, helium balloons—whatever you can think of!

Well, What Are You Waiting For?

Now that you know how to play human foosball (and why you would ever want to do such a crazy-sounding thing!), and how to construct or look for the right facility, what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun!

top image credit: hurlburt.af.mil