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How to Play Foosball and Foosball Rules

Foosball has become a very popular game over the years, in fact, it is no longer a game or a recreational hobby, and it even has a governing body. Now that it’s formalized there are foosball rules you need to understand and keys to playing.

The table is present in so many places, at bars, restaurants, bowling allies, parks, basically, anywhere people come to have fun and to socialize. With that, people can take part in playing the sport.

Apart from it being a recreation hobby, foosball has garnered immense popularity that people have tournaments where you have teams and coaches as well as stakes on the line. So you should not be left out in this wave. This article will teach you everything you need to know about foosball.

Picture of foosball table.  It's important to know foosball rules.

For purposes of information sharing, foosball in the simplest form is a replica of soccer or what some term American football on a table where people control 13 players on each side using bars or rods.

Each road has a different number of men. There is a 5 man rod, a 3 man rod, a two-man rod, and a one-man rod that is the goalie. The five-man rod represents the midfield on both the teams playing. The 3 man rod is on the offensive side and lastly the 2 bar the defensive side and of course the one-man goalie. You should not mistake foosball for soccer; it is a bit different but has a lot of similarities.

Objective of foosball

Foosball is played by points, most specifically 5. Basically, the first team to reach 5 points wins the game. It is done by scoring past the 2 bar and goalie. It does sound quite easy but we should not forget that the opposing team is doing the same and therefore it all comes down to the strategies you choose to use to outplay and outwit our opposition.

Organization of the game

By this, we mean how you choose to play the game. The most common method is the one play where there is one player against another single player. The two players have to control all the 4 rods by themselves to score the points while preventing the other side from scoring.

The second option is a doubles game, where you have a partner. You know have the task of choosing who will man the offensive side and the one to take over the defensive side. The last strategy is between you and the goalie. This is where you only play the furthest defensive rod and the other 4 remain untouched.

Just like any other sport, rules have to be set. Besides, how will we be able to establish a winner if no rules are set? They help to conduct the game and to direct it a certain way. Rules give a sport a sense of order. The governing body is the United States Table Soccer Organization.

They give direction on what should be done next if a certain thing happens. Foosball is no different. It now is an international sport it has to have rules that govern it which will be explained below.

Picture of a small foosball table game.

Foosball Rules

Start of the game

Like many games, foosball is started or kicked off by a coin toss. The team to call out the correct landing of the side of the coin starts the game off. To add to this, after a team has scored, the other team now gets to start the following round.

How to score

After the kick-off, the 5 bar is given a maximum of 10 seconds to pass the ball to the 3 bar. You can also shoot to score from the 5 bar at this time. The goal is to get it out of that position before the 10-second limit. The 3 barmen should be well situated to catch the ball so that they can score. This is called the offensive 5-bar passing.

After the ball is passed to the 3 bar. It is time to shoot. Again, you are given 10 seconds to make the shot. Here you have to remain calm in order to shoot the ball past the 2 bar defensive and the goalie. His is the 3-bar shooting.

The above plans are for the offensive side. We will now look at the defense.

The 5-bar defense has the task of keeping the ball away from the other team while the 3 bar defense has the task of blocking the shot to the goal. The 3-bar blocking only comes in to play if the 5-bar defense does not manage to stop the ball after the serve.


This is against the rules of foosball. It entails rotating the rod in a 360 direction in an attempt to confuse your opponent. This is down without the ball moving. It is against the rules of foosball and might get you into serious penalties.


This is yet another violation of the sport. It entails a player hits the sides of the table with the rod. The illegal technique is used to distract the other player. Jarring also make the other player lose possession of the ball. This will have the ball in your court where you can score. It is an illegal play. It is unfair to the opposing team.

Dead balls

A dead ball happens when the ball stops at a place where neither of the teams can reach. When this happens, the round has to be restarted in any way the referee chooses to.

Color image depicting a senior couple playing table football game together.

Out of play

This happens when the ball is completely out of bounds. By this, we mean that it is no longer on the table or hits something else and then is directed back on the table. When the ball is out of play, the round has to be restarted and the ones to serve are the ones who did not score the previous round.


The game only ends if a team is the first one to gain 5 points. You can have the best 2 out of 3 games or a 3 out of 5 games depending on our most preferred way.

This is all that the game entails. You can now try to play it for fun with your friends or if you are good enough you can even decide to organize tournaments and have teams sign up where you can play for a trophy and a bit of prize money.