Extract From - www.britfoos.com
The Britfoos Guide to Foosball Fundamentals
Before you embark on the life-long quest to master the gamut of foosball techniques, it is vital to give yourself as much help in your endeavours as you can:
Applying silicon lubricant allows your table's rods to move freely and helps you recreate the conditions of your home table when playing on others.
An overwrap can be used to make your table's handles easier and more comfortable to grip.
Turning the rods:
1) Using your wrist. Players new to the game will instinctively grasp the handle and use their wrist to move the rod, moving their wrist quickly downwards to rotate the rod.
2) The 'palm roll.' This technique is easily learnt and can give a lot of power to your shots. Place the palm of your open hand against the rod; move your palm upwards to move the rod.
Here follows a tremendously exciting video by way of illustration:
Before learning the various diferent passes and shots you are going to use to destroy your opponent, you need to learn some basic skills and ideas.
1). The best way to move the ball around the table.
The first thing you must learn is what you would normally do from each bar in a tournament match.
The goalie and defence rods - These are used to block shots by the opponent. Once you have possession of the ball within this area, the defender rod is usually used to shoot the ball up the table.
The midfield rod (The 5 bar) - This is used to pass or shoot. Primarily it is used to pass, because it is more effective to score from the attacker bar. You can happily shoot with this bar also.
The attacker rod (The 3 bar) - This is primarily where scoring is done in a tournament match. Once the ball is here, there is only 3 men in the way of the goal!
Control is so vitally important when first starting out. It allows you to be able to move the ball into a certain position to try and certain pass / shot. Practice moving the ball between the different men on the midfield untill you feel comfortable weaving the ball up and down for a minute or two. Pracice doing this same tic-tac style movement on the 2 bar, and 3 bar also.
Last thing - NO SPINNING!!! :)
There are three fundamental approaches to defence: reaction, anticipation and obfuscation. The best defenders know how to do all three effectively.
Reaction - Responding to your opponent's movements as quickly as you can. Here is a basic race defence against a pull shot.
This defence could quite easily be improved by 'staggering' the men, covering more of the goal whilst not leaving enough space to let the ball through. The attacker doesn't even have to 'square off' the shot to get it round the men.
Here the men are staggered and shuffled, leaving fewer obvious 'holes' in which to shoot. The defender's play is showing signs of anticipation, as he is now aware that his opponent's pull shot is reasonably quick and long.
Having seen two long, fast shots go past him, the defender has adapted his approach again. One of his men is placed quite near to the far post, angled forward so as to make it more difficult to get the ball round into the corner of the goal. The defence is successful and it is now the turn of the attacker to adjust.
The defender, pleased with his recent success, is now focusing too greatly on the far post, leaving an easy straight shot:
If you find that an attacker is shooting very quickly and does not appear to have a particular preference for any part of the goal, then it is wise to try some obfuscation. Using random or apparently-random movements can help put your opponent off and disguise where you plan to place your men at the time of the shot.
Here is some footage of a shuffling snake defence. One of the reasons for the snake's popularity is its flexibility - it can be equally easy to hit each of the holes in the goal. By presenting a seemingly random pattern to the attacker, while ensuring that no one hole is left clear for long enough to attract attention, the striker's job is made harder than it may otherwise be.
Shooting from the defensive area (the 2 bar) can be deadly in singles and doubles. The key is learning different shots that exploit different gaps left by your opponent. For example, a series of different pull shots.
The most attractive shot to learn, and one of the most effective is the long pull shot:
Defenders need to cover the other side of the goal if they want to stop this shot! This leaves the near side unguarded:
Or perhaps they are leaving a gap down the middle of the table:
The last shot actually has the same ending result as the first pull shot, with the ball going into the 'long' hole. However you shoot the ball from the middle of the table and 'spray' the ball into the long hole. The first long pull shot is shot from the far side of the table and 'squared off' creating a straight line to the back of the goal.
If you can't quite hit the long pull shot as well as Shovie (and lets face it, most players can't!) then the spray long pull shot is a good way of still exploiting the same hole.
Mix up squaring the ball, and spraying the ball to be completely unpredictable.
Brush passes are made with the man striking across the ball - 'brushing' the ball - to move it diagonally.
- The ball is moved almost far enough behind the rod to be pinned.
- Practise moving behind the ball without actually passing. Move the man up and down, behind the ball, ready to brush across it.
- It is essential that you are behind the ball at all times, making it seem as if you might pass at any moment.
- Note that the ball must be moving when the pass is made, so you can't let the ball come to a stop. However, this movement can be very slight.
Chip passing is not as fast as stick passing but can be more subtle and, importantly, less liable to fail under the pressure of competitive play.
- Move the ball down to the man nearest to you on the 5 bar. - Strike the ball with the corner of the man's foot, 'chipping' it through to your 3 bar. - Experiment with adjusting the angle of the chip. You might find that particular opponents find some angles rather difficult to defend, even if the speed of the pass is slow. - Use feints to provide opportunities for firmer passes to the wall.
Here are two basic passes: a chip and a wall pass, both following similar preambles.
Stick passing relies on speed and power to move the ball from the 5 bar (midfield) to the 3 bar (the attack). Here are basic instructions for a simple stick pass:
Passing the ball
- Place the ball next to the second figure up from the wall nearest to you. - When first learning the pass, it is best that the ball is stationary. - Move the ball quickly from the 2nd man, for the man nearest the wall to strike. The ball can be moved either to the wall, or just off of it (the 'lane'). It is important that you have at least two options for this pass to be effective. - The ball is normally struck straight forward, parallel to the near wall.
Here are a couple of stick passes - one to the wall and one to the lane.
Notice how they both have similar starting positions.
Receiving the ball
- Make sure that you are aware of the position of the receiving man on your forward bar - this man will need to catch the ball once it has been passed. - Angle the receiving man forward, as this will help take speed off of the ball. - Do not telegraph your intentions by anticipating the destination of the pass. The vast majority of players have their 3 bar pulled towards the near wall whilst beginning the pass, even if the pass will eventually require movement away from the wall.
If you find that your passes are getting blocked by a capable adversary or your technique suffering from tiredness or nerves, it may be time to try to score directly from the 5 bar.
Midfield shooting can involve a fair amount of creativity and guile although, admittedly, you may find it effective despite possessing neither of these qualities!
Like any other aspect of the game, varying your play will lead to success. Shooting from the 4th man once, then perhaps from the 3rd or 2nd man the next time, will leave opponents constantly guessing!
The centre forward drags the ball sideways and shoots.
- Place the ball to the side of the centre forward. - Make sure the ball is stationary and in a position you are comfortable with. - Pull or push the bar, making sure that the man stays in contact with the ball. - Catch up with the ball and, once your man is behind it, shoot. - Square off the shot to help it travel straight.
The near or far winger on the 3 bar passes the ball into the middle for the centre forward to shoot.
- Make sure that the ball is not spinning before passing - As soon as the ball is passed, lift the men up so that you are ready to shoot - To make the shot travel straight, you can 'square off' the shot – moving the rod back to its original position.
Here is an alternative shot, beginning from the same position. Having these options at your disposal - and keeping your opponent guessing as to which you are going to use next - is essential to becoming a good player.
The man traps the ball between his foot and the pitch before moving it sideways and shooting. The wrist is used to turn the rod.
- Trap the ball under the man's foot. - Make sure that the point of contact between the foot and the ball is at, or very near, the top of the ball. This will prevent the ball from squeezing out prematurely. - Once the ball is secure, place your wrist on the handle. - Pull or push the handle with your wrist to move the ball sideways. - Turn the handle with your wrist, making the man do a backward somersault before striking the ball.
Setting up the ball properly is important - use the technique shown below to nudge it forward into the right position. Pin the ball repeatedly until you are sure that it won't slip out.
This shows the position of the wrist for the shot. Bear in mind, however, that exact wrist placement can vary, depending on what you might find most comfortable or effective.
A good snake shot will be able to hit any part of the goal.
Once trapping and shooting has become second nature then you may learn to walk the ball. American player Tony Spredeman (on the right) shows his typically aggressive, exciting 'walking snake' shooting.
The man traps the ball between his foot and the pitch before moving it sideways and shooting.
- Pin the ball under the man's foot. - Make sure that the point of contact is at, or very near, the top of the ball. - This will prevent the ball from being squeezed out. - Pull or push the bar to move the ball sideways. - Lift the man very slightly at the start of this movement to ensure that the ball moves parallel to the end of the table. - Use a palm roll to hit the ball – this is generally the more accurate technique for this shot.