Want to get better at foosball? Model how the pros practice.

It takes time, practice and patience to become a good foosball player.

But you can spend countless hours just hammering the ball on the table or playing games with your buddies without making real progress.

The trick is to adopt a focused and structured foosball practice strategy.

Here are several foosball practice tips based on the advice of the pros and serious players.

Just looking for some basic tips to get better at foosball? Check out these 21 foosball tips that will improve your game.

1. Practice 5-bar Passes

The 5-bar is where the real magic happens. You should spend as much time as possible learning how to keep possession of the ball by passing among your 5-bar players.

The best foosball players can pass back and forth, skipping over players and keeping horizontal control of the ball until they decide to advance the ball via a shot or forward pass to their 3-men.

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When you practice the side to side passes with your 5-bar, imagine that you’re are trying to confuse the defense. Take your time and be patient, even when practicing alone.

These delays and extended periods of possession are when defensive gaps are exposed.

You can pass back and forth, skipping over two or three players horizontally, until you slip it forward to your offensive players via a lane pass or wall pass.

Also work on passes back to your defensive players from the 5-bar. This opens up the field and can give you more options for long shots or passes forward.

You can also practice the various wall passes that are very effective in games. These are things the pros work on to make sure they can keep possession and advance the ball smoothly when necessary.

Check out some of these 5-bar moves for inspiration:

2. Master 5-bar hacks

Once you have the passing and possession under control, try to work on combinations where you pass side-to-side and then shoot towards goal from the 5-bar with a snap of the wrist.

Shooting from the 5-bar is called a “hack”.

These 5-bar hacks can be very effective and hard to defend against if done smoothly and quickly.

With this type of advanced maneuver, it’s all about passing, control and repetition during practice.

Check out this video for a demonstration on how to hack from the 5-bar:

3. Keep the opposing players in position

Whether you’re working on 5-bar wall passes or lane passes, you should try to keep the opposing players in realistic defensive positions.

When practicing your shots or forward passes, keep the players on the opposite side angled down and rearrange their positions periodically.

Don’t just leave the bottoms elevated so you can pass and shoot with ease. Try to make it as difficult as possible when practicing.

For example, play as if the defender is anticipating your wall pass. This way you can practice quick changes in direction from a wall to a lane pass.

Try this on both sides of the table and work around the defenders.

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4. Practice Long Pull Shots with Your 2-Man

Some of the best foosball players can dominate games by scoring with their 2-man. These backfield shots can be very hard to defend against because there is so much space to monitor between the shot and the goal.

Your defender is trying to judge whether you will pass, and if so, where. Meanwhile, you’re aiming for the goal.

To make this work, try to practice long pull shots with your 2-man defender. When setting up for these shots, prepare your 5-bar and 3-man offensive players by keeping them up when shooting. You will need to do this quickly and methodically during a game.

Keep practicing these pull shots until you have a smooth, unpredictable and powerful delivery.

Check out this rip from the backfield to inspire your 2-man pull practice shots:

5. Practice 3-Man Shots Repeatedly

Don’t forget about your deadly 3-bar offense either. This is where most of your goals will come from. So practice shooting and scoring as much as possible.

The shots you can practice include quick back and forth passes into flick shots, pull shots, push shots, and more. Again, try to practice with control and patience before shooting. Be unpredictable.

However, at first, the key is to do each one repeatedly; slowly at first, then build up speed and power as your control increases.

Also make sure to place the 2-bar players and goalie in realistic defensive blocking positions.  Make it harder to score on yourself. This will pay off in an actual game.

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Just look what you can achieve with a 3-bar dead ball shot:

Shoot at angles and aim for corners.

When practicing from the 3-bar, don’t just take straight forward shots through gaps. Learn how to use angles and shoot at corners.

As in soccer, shots that target the far corners are much more effective and harder to defend against.

Try to practice angle shots to the right and left side of the goal from stalled positions. Then work on these shots after a passing combination.

6. Practice Ball Control

Better ball control is often what distinguishes the pros from amateur foosball players. This is because improved ball control leads to longer periods of possession and more scoring opportunities.

Front and Back Pins

One of the best ways to improve your ball control is by practicing front and back pins.

For instance, you often need to stretch your player to stop a ball that’s getting ahead of your player, or drifting behind the player.

This is when you need to ‘pin’ the ball firmly with your player’s feet on top of the ball.

To begin, just practice moving the ball back and forth with each player using front pins and back pins.

Here’s a tutorial on how to do a front pin to get started:

Circles

Another pro practice technique is to create space around the ball.

What I mean by this is, while moving the ball from side-to-side, you can distract your opponent by hovering around the ball.

To practice this technique, try moving the players in circles around the ball as you pass. This is also a good way to practice patience and control. And it also confuses the opponent when done correctly.

Check out this video for a demonstration of foosball practice drills to master circling technique:

7. Practice with a Strategy: Be Unpredictable

You should always practice with a game strategy in mind. As mentioned, each routine should be carried out as if you were in an actual game.

There should be patience and intention in each move, pass and shot.

Before shooting on goal, for example, always pass back and forth a few times and set yourself up before taking the shot or executing a quick pass.

Remember: Your goal is to practice being unpredictable.

This is possibly your greatest weapon in competitive foosball. And it’s something the best foosball players have mastered.

You never know when their shot is coming, or whether they have a passing combination in mind that will lead to an easy goal.

If you just practice shooting the same shots over and over, or the same passing combo routines, it will lead to a more predictable and less dynamic game.

Watch this video for a good example of this approach to foosball practice:

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