Now that you’re able to catch a ball and keep it in your team, it’s time for you to do something useful with it (like scoring some goals). Many people who start playing foosball only know how to shoot. In fact, they think all you do in foosball is very rapidly shoot balls towards the opponent’s goal. But the truth is: learning to pass the ball is perhaps more important than being able to score a goal out of it. Why? Properly passing a ball will create a lot of chances in front of goal for you. Then it doesn’t matter how good your opponent is at defending, at least a few of your big amount of chances should go in.
Two different ways to pass that ball
Passing a ball in foosball is a very subtle thing. Overpowering a pass almost never does you any good, at least not if you’re a world class player. There are 2 types of passes, which we can categorise as vertical (on the same rod) and horizontal (between the different rods).
Vertical passing means passing from one man to another on the same rod. How to do this? Pushing or pulling the ball with the side of your man. Then receive that ball with the side of one of the other men on the rod. Why is this useful? Constantly passing on the same rod will make it difficult for the opponent to keep following and defending you. Therefore it creates holes through which you can then horizontally pass to the next rod.
Some tips: it’s hard to pass vertically and perfectly straight. Therefore from time to time a ball will roll a bit away from the rod. Then it’s your turn to show the world your ball control skills, and keep that ball in possession.
Also, receiving a ball with the side of your man is quite hard, because a ball can easily bounce off in weird directions. Therefore, when passing vertically it’s best to slowly slow down a ball. This means that the receiver follows the direction of the ball for a about an inch so that the ball is eventually stopped right before his feet.
Horizontal passing means passing from one rod to another (usually forward, but in some situations it could be quite surprising to suddenly pass backwards, I must say). Passing this way, the ball usually moves a bit slower than actual shooting, which means that a straight pass is easily intercepted by the opponent. Therefore, for horizontal passing we use the brush pass method.
When you brush pass, you gently brush the ball in a certain direction. This gives you almost 100% certainty that the ball will go in the direction you wanted. The only downside is that the ball moves a bit slower, so against really good opponents you should try to do it faster, but most of the time brush passes aren’t easily defended against.
Of course, the whole thing can be reversed to pass the ball downwards. The ball can also be shot via the walls of the table if you like (which is awesome, you should train yourself to be able to do so!).