Focus on power and the goals will follow.
The first time you see an advanced foosball player in action, you may be in awe of how fast they shoot the ball.
The ball rips off their player in the blink of an eye.
It’s like magic. How do they do this?
In your quest to emulate these skills, you might try to fire off some quick pull or push shots when practicing or playing against an opponent.
But a blindingly quick flick of the wrist is useless against a good player if it isn’t executed with power.
That’s because a good player can read these shots and get their defender or goalie in place with plenty of time to block your measly attempt.
What’s more impressive about watching an advanced foosball player, then, is how much power and force they generate with those quick movements.
So even if the goalie or 2-man is anticipating their release, the ball moves with such speed and force that they can’t get there in time to block it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are other foosball techniques, such as basic push/pull shots and ball control, that are helpful and worth practicing for better offense.
But to drastically improve your foosball offense, one of the key aspects you must work on is power generation.
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Practice the 5 fundamental power generating techniques described below and you’ll be on your way to a much more effective offense in foosball.
1) Use an Open Stance
You have two basic options for your foosball stance: an open or closed stance.
They are both useful and serve different purposes. That’s why it’s a good idea to change your stance throughout the game.
The closed stance is when you stand with your feet about 12 inches apart and perpendicular to the table. Both toes are about 6 inches from the table.
This type of stance is best for controlling the ball. You should move into a closed stance when defending or passing among your players. But it’s not ideal for generating power.
Use an Open Stance to Generate Power
An open stance is when your feet are spread out diagonally, with the left foot forward and the right leg back. The left foot should be angled about 45° toward the table.
The right foot can be pointed forward, perpendicular to the table.
But the details of foot placement and angles are less important. Your goal at this point is to learn how an open stance can help you generate more power.
Some players put more weight on their left leg in the open stance. When lining up for a power shot, they shift back to the right leg. Their weight and strength shifts forward to the left leg when executing the shot.
In general, using an open stance helps boost power by adding leverage and strength from your core and legs.
2) The Closed Grip Power Shot
Like your stance, your foosball grip should change throughout the game.
Sometimes a tighter grip makes sense. This is mainly when you need to control the ball. But if it’s too tight, you will not be able to generate much power for a shot.
You will need to loosen that grip a little. Yet this is not the same as an open grip, discussed below.
The ideal closed grip for a power shot is like a golf grip. Your middle, ring and pinky finders are wrapped firmly around the handle. The pointer finger and thumb are loosely wrapped at the front of the handle.
Note: The thumb is not just placed along the top of the handle, but around the grip. And your knuckles are angled downward slightly.
When shooting with a loose closed grip like this, you can crank down on the handle. Most of the pressure should be along the outer edge of your palm.
If it’s your right hand with the 3-man shooting, pretend you are quickly and forcefully loosening a screw. The force comes from your wrist and tightening your grip at the end of the shot.
The closed grip power shot is best for quick power shots when you are passing among your 3-men and notice an opening.
Watch this video for a good demonstration of how to crank down with power using a closed grip shot:
3. Use the Open Grip
The best players use both closed and open grips to rip power shots. The open grip will generate the most power if done correctly.
It is harder to control the ball with an open grip. So I suggest that you practice switching from a closed grip when passing, to an open grip when preparing to shoot.
It’s good to keep the grip loose enough so it’s a fluid motion. Do this slowly at first and build up speed with practice.
In a right-handed open shot with your 3-man, you would start with the handle resting on your open palm. You “wind up” by rolling the handle in a downward motion along the palm and release the shot with a quick upward wrist flick.
You tighten your fingers at the last minute.
This is a simple but clear demonstration of how to do an open grip power shot:
4) Make Contact with the Ball
OK, the fact that your need to make contact with the ball may seem pretty obvious. My point here is that you should spend more time focused on the contact point when practicing.
You need to strike the ball at the right spot with maximum contact to get a strong shot off. This simple idea is often overlooked.
For instance, many novice foosball players spend all of their time working on speed without considering contact.
I suggest doing it the opposite way. Start by practicing very, very slow shots with either the closed grip or open handed shot.
Watch how you contact the ball each time. Are you hitting the top of the ball at the end of your rotation? Are you hitting the side of the ball? This is fine if you’re shooting advanced angles or trying to put spin on the ball. But we’re not quite there yet.
Try to finish your shot or rotation at dead center: this is the sweet spot.
Even soft and slow shots can be delivered with power when sufficient contact is made.
Now, as you build speed with each shot, the power should also increase.
5) Get a Full Rotation
Some power shots are executed quickly, as with the closed grip mentioned above. These are often done with half or less than half rotation. It takes time and practice to do this correctly.
But the official rules of foosball state that you can rotate 360 degrees before making contact. And another 360 following the shot. So why not take advantage of the full rotation?
The more rotation, the more momentum and power.
Let’s be clear: This is not the same as spinning the rod, which is illegal. You need to have full control in order to do a single rotation before and after.
You can try a full rotation shot with either the closed or open grip. But it’s very effective – and powerful – with an open grip
Try the full rotation from the start of a forward pin shot. From the top of the ball, you would rotate up and around to the contact point.
Watch the following video for a slow motion demonstration.
It starts at just under 2 minutes to show a full rotation shot. But watch the whole video if you want to learn more about how the rules apply to these types of shots.
All of the techniques described above will help you generate more power with your foosball shot. But only if you practice.
The best foosball players practice these shots over and over. Starting slowly and building up speed and power as they master control and technique.