Foosball looks like an easy game that can be played by all the family. Yes, to a certain extent that is quite true. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are two groups of foosball players. The recreational players who play at home and those that take the game seriously. Yes, there is also a competitive side to the game of foosball with players taking part in tournaments and earning rankings. What do you need to know to learn how to play foosball either for recreation or like a professional?

Foosball Table

When you are looking for a foosball table, you need something sturdy and reliable. You are going to play on it for hours during a week, so it needs to be up to the challenge. Don’t rush to buy the first one you find, but research the best models available. If you are looking for reviews and top recommendations then try Foosball Fanatic which also covers buying guides and tips on buying a foosball table.

The Basics

The table set up is simple. There is a total of 8 foosball rods which you use to allow the foosball men to kick the ball into your opponent’s goal.

The rods are named goalie, defence (2 man), midfield (5 man) and attacker (3 man). Part of the skill is knowing which ones to hold, and when, and how to hold them. Don’t try and whack the ball all over the place, but pass it under control between your men.

How you grip the rods is very important. Try not to do what most beginners do, and that is grip the handle too hard.  If you hold the handle quite loosely, this will enable you to move quickly and swap rods easily. There should be a small gap between the handle, and the skin connecting your thumb and index finger.


The aim whilst defending is to stop your opponent putting the ball in your goal. So, you are trying to use your men to block the ball. You need to be aware that your opponent can score by hitting the ball straight into your goal or hitting it in on the angle. If your opponent can see a straight line to your goal, they can score. When you are defending, make sure you follow the ball. So, your men should move left and right depending where your opponent puts the ball. As with any sporting game, defence wins games.

You need to be careful that you don’t have your men standing one behind the other, as that is just a waste. Ensure they are staggered but are all blocking the goal. Try to move both defence rods together.


It can be quite tricky to play an attacking game if you are right-handed. This is because the 5-man rod will be in your left hand. You will have an advantage if you can improve your play with the 5-man rod. Don’t rely on the 5-man bar, and ensure you can competently pass from the 5-man bar to the 3-man bar. It is easier for you to score from the 3-man bar, as there is one less of your opponent’s bars between your man with the ball and the goal.

A good technique to learn at the beginning is how to catch the ball. You need to tilt your man at an angle of around 40 degrees. This means that the ball will not bounce off or pass under your man but will be caught by him. Don’t leave your men standing straight up and down.

Although this game is a lot of fun, if you want to play it well then you do need to play consistently. Also, decide on how you are going to play the game tactically, and then stick with it. You will improve considerably if you play against people who are better than you and learn from them.Once you have learnt to play foosball well, you will be surprised at the strategy involved in the game. I am sure you will find it quite addictive too. If you really want to learn to play well, find a local tournament and sign yourself up. You will find yourself enjoying the more competitive side.