This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Foosball guide

If you are like most people, you’ve probably been at a party or bar where there’s been a foosball table. But many people don’t know what foosball is or how to play it correctly.

However, understanding the rules of foosball and the skills you need to develop to play it more competitively make it a far more enjoyable experience for you and those playing against you. 

What is Foosball?

Foosball, also known as table football, was invented in 1921 to replicate the great game of soccer. In foosball, players turn rods that are fixed to a foosball table to replicate the lines of attack and defense found in conventional soccer. This means that there’s a goalkeeper, defensive line, midfielders, and attackers for each team. 

The game’s objective is to get the ball into your opponent’s goal. The rule of foosball dictates that the first player or team to five goals wins the game. Foosball can be played in teams with one person in attack and the other in defense, making it the ultimate home soccer experience.

Foosball etiquette

Soccer (Football) Referee Flip / Toss Coin

Playing foosball requires skill, technique and patience. The first thing that makes you a lousy foosball player is just randomly spinning the sticks so that you cause the table to jump. Also, just like soccer, sportsmanship is super important. This means that a coin should be tossed to see who goes first or, in technical terms, who kicks off. A super important rule is also not to distract your opponent unfairly.

How to play foosball

Foosball includes four core elements that you need to master to win: 


AnapoliZ Table Soccer Foosballs

The rules of foosball state that you need to put the ball between the middlemen in the middle of the table. Next, you need to say “ready” and pass the ball between both midfielders three times by moving the rod left to right. Interestingly, the rules no longer allow the use of the serving holes on foosball tables. Next, you want to pass the ball to your attacker so they can score a goal.


The most potent pass from kickoff is the wall pass to send the ball from your midfielder to the attacker. This means that your central midfielder (the one in the middle of the middle row) should be moved, and the stick should be turned so that it’s aimed at the wall side of the table where your attacker is. 

You can also pull the ball across and kick it through. However, your opponent may get wise to this. To overcome this, you might need to do a lane pass. This is where the ball is moved into the space between your opponent and kicked by your player to the forward three attackers. It’s essential to note that you should never kick the ball too hard or too soft; touch is everything in both foosball and real-life soccer.


If your wide attackers get the ball, your objective is to move the ball to your middle attacker and flick your stick toward the goal. This is because a good goalkeeper will always protect the near post. 

However, there may not be a good route through the middle. This might mean that you need to pass it back to the wide man to shoot. Tactically, this is called a “pull.” A pull is where you move the ball back across the line to your wide man and pull him into a position of the center player while flicking the ball to the space your goalkeeper isn’t covering.


As any great defender will tell you, it’s more important to play the ball than the man. This means that when your opponent’s attackers have the ball, you need one hand on the goalkeeping stick, one hand on the defense stick and your eye on the ball. 

Your core aim is to block your opponent’s route to the goal. If the play is slow, focus on cutting off options by using the goalkeeper to protect the front post and the defenders from being across the open side, where the attacker will typically look to shoot past. If your opponent is playing fast, move your sticks so that you can respond more quickly.

What you need to buy for playing Foosball 

Steve Silver Co. Diletta Foosball Cocktail Table

Steve Silver Co. Diletta Foosball Cocktail Table

This table is great for foosball lovers who also like interior design. Not only do you have a cool foosball table, but you also get a trendy coffee table, too. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond 

Atomic Azure LED Light Up Foosball Table

Atomic Azure LED Light Up Foosball Table

For serious foosball players, this table works great. Not only can you play under competition rules with up to four people but you can stay focused with the LED lighting too. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods 

KICK Triumph 55″ Black Foosball Table

KICK Triumph 55″ Black Foosball Table

This durable foosball table is good for foosball players of all ability levels. It’s also easy to transport to any room in the house. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.