“Foosball is a game that requires precision and superior eye-hand coordination. It’s also a game best played inebriated.” – A. Smith
There’s almost no feeling in the world more exhilarating than when playing foosball with friends at a local watering hole, and having random college students walk up and lay quarters on the table looking for a match. Mind you, 99 percent of these folks have no idea how to play the game and will most likely spin the rods half the night in an attempt to score shots. Spinning the rods more than 360 degrees is illegal in foosball, and you should refuse to play with anyone who does so.
Actual foosball rules are rarely enforced at a bar, however, so the best defense is a strong offense. And while the key to dominating tournament games is a solid 5-bar passing game, dominating the bar scene on a Saturday night involves a calculated blitz attack from the 3 bar.
I’m no professional yet, but I have no problem dominating the competition at any dive bar on a random weekend thanks in part to mastering these 5 foosball shots.
Difficulty Level: 1/5
The pull kick shot is one of the most common foosball shots you’ll be tasked with defending at any random bar—especially those that reside near a college campus. The key (like anything during play) is how fast you are able to perform this shot.
The foosball pull kick shot is much like the pull shot I’ve listed below. Instead of shooting with the same player you pull the foosball with, you pull the ball laterally to another player and then shoot to score. This is typically performed by passing from the outside man to the inside, but, to throw off the competition, passing from the middle man to the outside man and taking an angled shot from the side can also prove to be a productive approach against less experienced players.
Difficulty Level: 2/5
The push kick is the exact same shot but in a different direction as the pull kick above. A bit more difficult but no less difficult to defend if performed quickly enough. Pushing is almost always more difficult than pulling on a foosball table, due to shoulder leverage and increasing your viewing distance of the ball in question.
Difficulty Level: 3/5
This is where we start getting into real foosball shots—the ones that will allow you to have an actual chance of scoring at competitive foosball games and start embarrassing random bar folk. If you’ve ever touched a foosball table before and plan on touching one again really soon, I recommend you skip the first two shots above, start with this one, and move down the list with practice.
Anytime a fellow bar goer’s first shot is a pull shot, you know you’ll likely have a game on your hands—that is, if they have somewhat mastered it. Essentially taking the pass (and the extra man) out of the pull kick shot mentioned above, the pull shot is meant to be executed in one fluid motion as fast as possible. The pull shot, along with the snake shot below, are the two most common shots you’ll notice among competitive foosball players—neither of which is easy at all to block on defense.
Difficulty Level: 4/5
Same shot as the pull above, but you’re pushing the ball before shooting. While a more difficult shot to execute than the pull shot, it’s also less effective. Less power is derived from a shot the shorter the rod becomes. Also, pushing takes more effort than pulling. I recommend learning this shot to keep the competition guessing, but no professional currently uses the push shot in competition.
Snake Shot (Rollover Shot)
Difficulty Level: 5/5
The snake shot is the gold standard of foosball shots. And while spinning the rods a full turn is illegal in the game of foosball, the snake shot performed correctly is perfectly legal as the rod never completes a full 360 degree rotation. Folks familiar with the no spinning rule may try to call it an illegal shot while playing at the bar, so you may have to switch back to another shot this weekend for the sake of harmony, but it is the most utilized shot played on the pro foosball tour, the most efficient, and the shot with the highest scoring percentage.
How To Shoot The Snake Shot
The snake shot (rollover shot) is taken by the middle man on your 3-bar. The set up takes more practice than the shot itself, which requires pinning the ball to the table. The shot is taken with an open hand as you pin the ball in the forward position with your wrist. In one smooth movement, pull (or push, depending on which side you want to shoot) the ball laterally while rolling your wrist up the handle to create a powerful shot. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at placing the shot. Just be sure to catch the rod handle at the end of the shot or else it becomes an illegal spin. While handle wraps make the snake shot much easier to execute, it can still be done without. Just be prepared for a sore wrist the next morning.
Since the height of its popularity in the 1970s, foosball (or table soccer, for those who are no fun at parties) has become one of America’s favorite pastimes. It’s also much better, in my opinion, than ping pong yet still is not an olympic sport. Hopefully this will change in the next decade after those who currently mismanage the American side of it step down and allow an actual regulating body to manage the growth and promotion of foosball.
Need a foosball table to practice on at home? I recommend the Tornado T-3000.