Foosball is one of the less physically exhausting indoor games that’s very similar to darts. The game has its own rules and a specific playing strategy, which when not followed, can cause you to lose a match each time you play. Losing match after match is definitely not fun at all and that’s why you need to learn how to practice foosball by yourself.
Now, foosball is an exciting fast-paced game that demands a lot of speed and proper hand-eye coordination to play. If you don’t have the pace, then you’ll end up losing matches, especially if you’re playing against professional players.
So, in this guide, we’re going to learn how to play foosball alone. Although the game demands 2 to 4 players to play, there are lots of exciting ways you can practice alone. Among the things we’re going to discuss here include passing, defending, attacking, scoring, and positioning among others.
But First, Here are Some Foosball Rules You Should Know
Before you start practicing foosball, it’s good that you understand the rules of the game. Since you’re practicing to become a professional at one time, you need to be aware of the official rules that professionals follow. Failure to do that means you’ll end up being penalized.
Other than playing in the professional league, learning the rules of foosball will allow you to play a fair and balanced game with friends and other recreational players. So, with that said, here are some of the foosball rules as outlined by the ITSF and the USTSF.
- Flip a Coin: Before starting a foosball match, a coin must be tossed to determine who serves first. In case of a goal, the team that concedes a goal will get to serve the ball.
- No Spinning: A player is not allowed to spin the rod to a complete 360 degrees. If this happens, the opposing player is given a chance to reserve the ball.
- No Jarring: Jarring occurs when a player tilts or lifts the foosball table off the ground. This mostly happens when you bang the rods on the sides of the table or when you lift the rods aggressively. In case any of these effects play, then you can be penalized severely.
- No Cursing: When playing foosball, you’re not allowed to use foul or vulgar language. If this happens, your opponent is given a chance to serve from his three-man rod.
- Dead Balls: In case a dead ball occurs in the middle of the foosball table, then the team that conceded last should restart the game. In case it occurs in the 2-man defensive part of the table, then the defense should restart the game.
- Out of Play: In case the ball gets off the foosball table, then the team that conceded last should restart or reserve the ball.
- Time Limit: When it comes to the time limit, the goalie and the 3-man rod should not exceed 15 seconds before passing the ball. On the other hand, the 5-man rod should not exceed 10 seconds. Failure to do that means that you’ll lose possession of the ball to the opponent’s 5-man rod.
So, How Do You Practice Alone?
- Work on Your Posture
Foosball is a game that demands proper hand-eye coordination. For that reason, you need to stand in the right posture to improve your reflection and reaction time when playing. So, the first thing you have to do when playing is to keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
Next, bend your knees just a little bit, and don’t forget to lean forward. This posture is important as it helps to increase your reaction time in case you need to react fast. Lastly, keep your wrists loose when gripping the handles, and don’t forget to keep a close eye on your opponent’s hands to anticipate his/her next move.
- Work on the Grip
Other than working on your posture, proper gripping of the handles is another area you need to practice more frequently. When holding the handles, you don’t have to grip them too tightly but rather loosely. This way, you’ll manage to twist the rods at an angle of 180 degrees to give the players more power to hit or pass the ball. Remember, you’re not permitted to turn the players at an angle of 360 degrees.
Other than twisting the rods, you need to practice how to hold two defensive and two offensive rods at the same time. This is very important when playing solo against a single opponent (1 vs. 1 player game). Again, you need to have proper hand-eye coordination and most of all, learn how to switch between the defensive and the offensive rods.
- Perfect Your Defense
Your defense plays a vital role in blocking shots, protecting the goalie, and passing the ball to the midfielder rods. To do this, you need to master how to strategize and also how to position your defense to lock those holes that might be used by the opponent strikers.
You also need to practice speed, such as how to move your hands from the offensive rods to the defensive rods. The defensive rods should also be angled properly to maintain possession.
- Perfect Your Offense
Working on the offense is a little easier than practicing defense. According to most beginner players, offensive play simply means scoring. However, there are lots of factors that come to play here such as passing the ball and maintaining possession.
Otherwise, unless you pass, dribble and possess the ball, there’s no way you’re going to score. You have to master how to pass the ball between the 5-man midfield rod and the 3-man attacking rod. You also need to learn how to pin the ball against the wall. Lastly, you need to maintain a steady angle of around 30-40 degrees to ensure that the ball doesn’t bounce off the attacking rod.
- Practice Side-to-Side-Passing
While the previous practice drills were focused on the defense and offense, this one is specifically focused on the 5-man midfield row. You see, when playing foosball professionally, one trick to winning a match is maintaining possession. To do that, you must practice how to pass the ball between the 5-midfield players.
By mastering this skill, you’ll be able to predict when it’s the best time to pass the ball to the strikers and when to shoot directly to the opponent’s goal.
- Practice Shooting
Other than dribbling and passing the ball, you need to practice how to shoot the ball. Now, there are many types of shooting techniques you need to master here. There’s the pull shot, push shot, bank shot, and spray shot. To help you understand, let’s discuss each technique briefly.
- Pull/Push Shot: These two techniques are simply the opposite of each other. In a pull shot, you tend to pull the ball by twisting the player before making a shot or passing the ball. In push shot, you push the rod for the player to go around the ball before passing or shooting.
- Bank Shot: In this strategy, a player hits the ball at an angle to rebound off the side of the table as it goes straight to the goal. This strategy is used to surprise your opponent and make it hard for them to react.
- Spray Shot: This technique involves hitting the ball diagonally. To achieve such an angled shot, you have to hit the ball while pulling or pushing the rods.
- Practice Ball Control
Just as we discussed earlier, becoming a professional foosball player means practicing how to gain control of the ball. This way, you’ll maintain possession which is important for scoring goals. But, how do you gain control of the ball? Well, there are two ways you can achieve this.
First, you need to practice front and back pins. Here, all you need is to pin the ball back and forth using a player’s feet. Next, you need to practice the circles’ technique. In this strategy, what you actually do is to move a player around the ball in circles before passing it.
- Video Your Self
After you’ve done all the practice, the next step is to video yourself to compare your skills with those of professional players. You can also watch YouTube videos to see how professional players practice and play the game. Videos can also help you replicate some of the skills you see thus making you a better player with time.
- Pull Everything Together
Once you’ve practiced proper stance, grip, passing, shooting, footwork, defense, and offense, the last thing is to wrap up everything into one solo practice. Always start by stretching your waist, legs, and wrists before grabbing the rods.
When practicing, always make sure that you touch on all areas we’ve discussed, and most of all, make sure that you improve your hand-eye coordination. Practicing for 30 minutes to an hour daily is enough to help you climb up the ladder at a rapid pace.
Foosball has a lot of similarities with darts. While it’s impossible to practice tennis or chase alone, practicing foosball by yourself is one strategy that can help you improve your game immensely. In case you’re wondering how to practice alone, then this guide has offered you everything you need to know. In case you notice you’re improving, it’s not bad to invite a friend over for a game to access your skills.