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What is Foosball?

D Frank
D Frank

Foosball is an amusement game typically pitting one player against another or played by teams of two. The game of foosball itself is quasi-soccer and quasi-football. The tabletop game field has two goals and the focus of the game is to be the first team to score five times on your opponent. Each team has four rods to which a number of offensive and defensive players are attached. The goalie is attached to the first rod directly in front of the goal and the next rod contains two defenders. The purpose of the men on the first two rods is essentially to protect the goal and play good defense, though these players can also be used to take long shots at the opponent's goal. On the third rod, at mid-court, five offensive players are attached. Their general focus is to push the ball forward in an attempt to score or to pass the ball to the three men on the fourth and final rod, closest to the opponent's goal. The ball is small and roughly the size of a ping pong ball, though it is much heavier to ensure the ball stays on the table surface and does not fly off into the air.

While foosball tables can have a variety of dimensions, the standard table has a playing field roughly 46 inches (1.17 meters) by 27 inches (0.68) and carries a height of 34 inches (0.86). Foosball players compete in the comfort of homes, pubs, schools, and arcades. Tournaments are held in a variety of countries and professional foosballers, sponsored by various businesses, compete in a number of big money tournaments.

Foosball takes elements from football.
Foosball takes elements from football.

While watching a foosball game, it is easy to tell if someone is an experienced player of a newbie to the game. Experienced players will move the ball from one point to the next point using a subtle flick of the wrist to pass or shoot. Inexperienced players spin the rod in continuous circles in an attempt to shoot the ball. While spinning is frowned upon and is against foosball rules, most players begin playing the game as "spinners." However, the quicker a player can learn to move the ball with a quick wrist flick, the faster that player will advance.

Discussion Comments


I remember my college dormitory had a foosball table in the rec room, and we had to abide by official rules, especially the rule against spinning. It took a while to get used to the idea of not spinning the handles, since that was the best way to score a goal. I got better at it, but there were some players who could really put some speed on the ball just with their wrists.

It seems like foosball and bumper pool were really popular during the 1970s and early 1980s, but both of them faded from the gaming scene by the 1990s. I've seen tabletop foosball sets in a few sporting goods stores, but I haven't seen the full size floor models in a while.


My church had a foosball table in the youth center, and I played it a lot when I was growing up. I discovered I preferred playing defense on a two-person team. It was always satisfying to block a shot from a hard "spinner". If I played one-on-one, I would keep one hand on the two defenders and one hand on the three forward players. I'd try to keep the goalie in the center and only go to the five center players to get the ball back into play.

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    • Foosball takes elements from football.
      By: Rick Sargeant
      Foosball takes elements from football.