Wednesday, January 30, 2002

F.B.I. (For Beginners' Information)

Byline: Leo.

PROLOGUE: As I begin to write this article, voices of Jack asking me "Leo, when's your next article coming?" keep playing inside my mind. Well Jack, before I get dreams or worse still, nightmares of you whipping me with your push-kicks, here goes...

Ah... now that I've shoved Jack out of my head and into one corner of this article, I can finally concentrate on the intended purpose of this article. FBI is written specifically for those who are new, relatively new or intending to take on Foosball on a more serious note (hence which is why you are on this site?). So, you realise that there's more to spinning the rods and that Foosball can be taken more seriously? Perhaps you've even gotten your butt kicked a couple of times by somebody who's a better player and your male ego sent you in the quest for knowledge in hopes of seeking revenge. Whatever it is, I've summarised some fundamental things that a beginner should know to take foosball a step further.

The 2 most basic yet important things to learning foosball are adopting a stance and learning to use your wrist. A good stance is important as it can help the proper execution of a shot. If you have a chance to look at Pro players, watch how for example, the Pro pull shooters use their waist to shoot a square dead man pull. Jack has a pretty-one-of-a-kind unique stance himself ;) As for the wrist, most shots in foosball require the wrist for strength and proper execution. Even compulsive palm shooters need wrist action for passing, ball control etc.

Moving on further, I've summarised some of the things one can do to improve his/her game. And just like the 4 Ps of marketing (for those who are familiar), here are the 4 Ps of foosball:

(i) Practice
Good ball control is what the game is all about. If you can get the ball to where you want it to be without problems, then you basically are a Pro. Learn how to dribble the ball between the men on the same rod as well as pass the ball to men on different rods (Your own team that is!). Next, pick a shot to play with. Most beginners I know usually start with a pull or a push shot. Pick one and practice it until you're comfortable executing it.

(ii) Position
Pick a position to play in when you are just starting. It will help you focus on developing your shots. Striking is more exciting as you'll get to shoot and slam at the opponents goal while defending is more challenging as you'll get to learn the various ways of defending e.g. bait, race etc. and also figure out how to shoot/pass from the back.

(iii) Play
Practising without play is useless. You can only see whether what you've practiced works or not when you play against other players. Use players that are not as good as you as practice targets but also play with better players to gauge where you stand as well as learn the mistakes in your game. Playing with better players can help you improve tremendously.

(iv) Perfect
As you develop your game, pick shots to master. From the defense to the five men to the striker, there is no point knowing all the shots there is to the game if you're only average in them and your conversion rate is 50%. Rather, you win a game if you can master a few shots that can help you convert 70-80% of the time.

Here are a few other things to do...

Talk to other players about your game on how to improve it. Although some players might not be willing to disperse advice, there are players who are kind enough to share their knowledge with you. Knowing the rules of the game is also vital (What's the use of scoring if your goal isn't valid?).  Lastly, get to know some of the basic terms of foosball. To know how to play the game, one has to know the game.

So here you are, the basics of foosball. I hope it helps those of you who are interested to improve your game (at least theoretically!). Meanwhile, keep foosing and... I wonder if someone will buy me a chicken chop for this???
  • Further details on types of shots/passes, check out tactics.
  • Other details/clarification can be posted in the comments below.

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