Foosball is a game that looks kind of easy, and can be played casually whether you know what you are doing or not. Just keep taking shots, turning the bars as fast as you can and hope for the best, is an ok strategy when you are just passing the time at the foosball table. But if you want to get a little better, or even be able to compete with good players, you need some strategy and practice. Foosball like every other sport in this sense, you have to work at strategy by practice and general learning, to get better.
Learning a few good shots, or shots are you an become good at, is a good idea. Whether it is better to be decent at a few, or several shots, or to be really good at one shot is a question to debate. If you are just ok at several shots, you will still be mediocre overall, but you might get enough lucky shots to go against equal opponents. However, if you have one shot you are nearly unstoppable at, you will be able to compete with anyone. The secret is to not always use the shot. Just pull it out when you really need it, so your opponent won’t have a chance to adjust to it. If you always try the same shot, people will figure out how to stop it, no matter how good you are at it. The best tip then, is to have on signature shot that is nearly unstoppable, and use it sparingly, and develop the rest of your strategy from there.
When you are playing with a partner, or more than one partner, it is good to have one playing offense and one playing defense. This is something you can decide as the game starts, the important thing is to know what each other is doing. One piece of strategy is to switch up to throw your opponent off balance. If you are starting to fall behind, for example, you might switch just to try to change the overall flow of the game.
The shot you choose to perfect, which will become your best shot, is one you shoot from the three-rod. Once you have that down, you need to learn to pass the ball from the five rod to the three rod. Perfecting this pass will separate you from beginners and will give you a great advantage over less skilled players. Against really good players it will level the playing field. If your pass is better than even a more skilled player, you will get more shots and that works in your favor.
Once you get a shot down, you need to learn how to pass. Passing from the five bar to the three bar, which takes the most shots, is essential. There are many kinds of passes, but learn one first. Pass from the five bar to the three. You “catch” the pass by angling the three bar forward, head back and toes forward, and that helps you pin the ball. From there you may shoot that shot you have been perfecting. Timing is everything. To slow of a pass will be intercepted, and too fast of a pass will ricochet out of reach. After a lot of practice you will get the timing down, and once you do, your game will improve drastically.
There are wall passes, and off the wall passes which involves getting the ball to lanes for shooting. A combination of those two is called the brush pass, which allows you to do either without letting your opponent know what your intent is, and that is an advantage. There are many kinds of passes, as well as many kinds of shots, with all kinds of names. You may check with a website to find different kinds of shots and learn how to do them. It takes practice. Usually it is best to see which one is best for you and use that one to become your main shot.
Another key point foosball players know, is how to serve themselves the ball. Usually when you serve the ball, by implication, that is sending it to your opponent. Serving the ball to yourself is legal under the rules, so utilize that to send it to your five bar. The five bar is then used to pass to the three bar to take the shot. The key is to add some spin to the ball when you drop it on the table during the serve, and that will roll it to your five bar instead of to your opponent. Realize too, if you are playing against an experienced player, they may be using this same strategy. At least you can be expecting it and defend against it, assuming your opponent will be doing the same thing. Once you develop some passing skill, you will be able to use this trick more effectively.
Always keep your men moving on defense. Follow the ball, keep your eyes on the ball. That sounds simple enough, but many beginners get caught up in watching what the pieces are doing and what the opponent is doing. Whatever your opponent is doing is something you need to be aware of, but it is more important to keep watching the ball. You should always be moving your men to position for defense whenever your opponent has control of the ball. It is easier to adjust if you are already moving where the ball is.
Just like in most sports. Offense is fun, but it is defense that wins games. As you develop defensive skills you will learn moves and formations that will limit what your opponent can do. Like in basketball, use your defense to create offense. Getting a turnover is an opportunity to score. This brings up another point, which is to maintain control of the ball as much as possible, even if it means slowing the game down a little. If you have control, you have a chance to shoot and score, and your opponent does not. Defense and ball control then, are essential strategies that should be mastered.
The biggest thing you can do to improve your game is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. Of course you need to practice correct technique and correct shots. If you are doing it wrong to start with, practice will just get you better at doing it wrong, so make sure your technique is correct. You can learn passing and shooting by yourself, and you need someone else to help in order to practice defense.
To improve you must keep perfecting your shots, but to get better overall, eventually you have to take it on the road. Play a lot. Play against people who are better than you. You will not improve by playing against people at or below your own level. Learn to lose gracefully at first, and learn all you can from watching your opponents. Over time you will get better, and eventually you will get to their level if you keep working on improvement.
No matter what though, keep enjoying the game. Try new things. It is good to improve and to win, but remember it is a game and you are there to have fun.