Play Better Foosball with These Essential Rules

Only Foosball players will understand the fun behind playing football on a table with rods as players. Games can get as heated as an actual football match on a field. For seasoned players, there are essential rules that they may already know, but as a beginner, you may have a hard time knowing the meaning of a “dead” ball, or what to do when a ball is knocked off the table. These are rules that pro players may understand, but as a beginner, we’re compiling a list of important things to know as you play foosball.

How Many Players Per Team?


Strange as it may sound, there is often confusion over how many players can play in a team. You can have one or two players per team. So, it can be one against one or two against two. Teams with more than two players are not allowed. Also, the total number of players must be even, so you cannot have one against two players.

Tossing a Coin to Start the Game


After you’ve decided how many will play per team, one or two, a coin must be tossed to determine who will get to play first. If you’ve noticed, the same method is used to start actual football games on the field.


When the Ball Goes Out of Bounds


Needless to say, when the ball flies off the table or falls onto the sides of the table, it is considered to be out of bounds. What new or beginner players may not know is that if the ball is tossed into the air, then it is also considered to be out of bounds. This is unlike real football where the game continues depending on who gets the ball when it comes back to the ground. So, what happens to the foosball game when this happens? Whichever team tossed the ball out of bounds forfeits the game to their opponents. Watch this, for a quick example of an out of bound shot.


Ball Time


Almost similar to the real game, you are not allowed to have the ball for more than 10 to 15 seconds. Midfielders are allowed to have the ball for a maximum of 10 seconds, after which the team with the ball will be required to forfeit the ball. Strikers, defenders and the goalie are allowed to have the ball for a maximum of 15 seconds.


Dead Balls Exist


You may have heard the term “dead ball” being thrown around a foosball game. What exactly does it mean? When a ball is in the corners or the middle of the field where none of the players can access it, it is called a dead ball. This is different from an out of bounds ball because the dead ball is still on the playing field, but is out of reach. Watch this for a visual depiction of a dead ball.

In the event that a dead ball happens, the nearest rod with five players is served the ball, no matter which team it is. If the ball happens to be in the midfield of any of the teams, then the closest defense is served the ball. A dead ball in foosball can also happen when the actual foosball table is defective. That is why it is always important to choose the right foosball table.

Extra Tips


It is against foosball rules to spin your rods. This is a rule that every player, including beginners, should know. Spinning can cause damage to the rods and the table itself.

Relaxing your grip during foosball is very important. As the tension mounts, beginners may find themselves gripping the rods a little too tightly. As you begin to play regularly, and your prowess increases, you will naturally learn to loosen your grip.

Now that you have the basics down of foosball, it is recommended you read this as the best guide to help you determine which foosball tables you should buy, based on whether you are a beginner, an intermediate player or a pro player. The guide includes tips on the best foosball tables to buy for family games, and which tables to buy if you are looking for value for money.