Tips and Tricks for Foosball / Table Soccer

Foosball Tutorial: How to Catch, Trap and Pin the Ball


Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Foosball Pinning technique is the key to improving the game. Pinning helps in better defense, offense, and overall control of Foosball.

By pinning the Foosball, you keep the ball in your possession. The way to develop the pinning technique is to understand the exact tilting of players and occupying the right positions on the table. Pinning can be easily practiced alone without another player.

Importance of Pinning

In this article, we will understand the ways to pin the ball. Pinning as a technique is extremely important to have control over the game.

You might have a powerful shot, and you easily pass through the gaps. But, none of them would matter if you can not block the ball and pin it down. So, let’s have a look at the importance of pinning before we see how to catch, hold or pin and how you can practice

· Better Control

Blocking in the right manner brings the ball back in possession. It is similar to having the balls below your foot in the field soccer. You can do anything with the ball once you have in your control.

Foosball is all about being in control. The game moves very fast. There are not many gaps available. By developing pinning techniques, you become capable of being in charge of the game rather than being on the mercy of the opponent.

It stops you from being the secondary player. You control the game, and opposition has to work towards playing to your strengths.

· Placement for the Shots

Every player has a favorite. Even the world champions have one or two favorite shots they use to score or pass. With pinning you can place the ball exactly where you want.

Otherwise, you wait for the ball to come at a particular position. This does not happen. Even if it happens, the odds are low.

By pinning the ball, you control both sides of the rods and every point within reach of the player. You can place the ball exactly where you want.

· Stopping the Opponents

The opposition will have a go at you. It is seen that many beginners manage to block the ball, but the ball deflects back to the opponent’s zone.

This could be frustrating for any Foosball player. Without good blocking and pinning, all the anticipation fails.

Even when you block the gaps, you do not keep the ball. It is just a matter of time before the opposition strikes. To stop the opposition, catching and pinning is a must.

· Increased possession

Foosball is football on a table. There is a direct correlation between possession and winning. The team with increased possession often controls the game.

Whether it is the defense side or the attack side, increased possession directly relates to more opportunities at goals.

A player might have great shots, but they would not come to use without good catching and pinning.

· Improves Defense

Your whole defense depends on catching and pinning. If you are blocking regularly but handing over the possession to the opposition, you aren’t doing it right.

In that case, it would be just a matter of time before the opponent strikes. To improve the defense catching and pinning are the only choices in foosball

· Improves Offense

To score a goal, you need to have coordination between different rods. The offense also needs those powerful shots piercing the defense.

How do you move along the bar without pinning? When you do not get the position of the ball at the right spot, there is no offense

Pinning improves the defense and lets the player set the field to the preferable shot of offense. Every time the ball reaches the offense rod, the player should have a good go at goal. This is not possible without pinning.

· Buying Time

Foosball is played in the head as much as it is played on the table. The opponent has a plan. By pinning and staying on the rod, a player can buy few precious seconds.

These seconds can be used to make a strategy. Also, while you are pinning and rocking the ball, you get to understand the strategy of the opponent.

Pinning allows you to get into the head of the opposition. This is the technique you need to continuously buy time as the game progresses.

· The Increased Area of Play

Most of the beginners do not use the area available on the table. This is mostly because of the lack of catching and pinning.

The passing is restrictive because of lack of good pinning technique. With pinning the whole field is brought into play.

This also helps in making it tougher for the opposition to make a strategy: more you increase the area, more you allow yourself to control the game.

· Play to the Strength

Pin and get the ball to your strong areas. Without pinning it is to leave the game on the opposition’s strength.

Pinning is integral to both offense and defense. It allows you to play on your strength. By strong pinning technique, you can also make the opposition change the natural game.

If you play on your strength, your odds of winning increase.

How to Pin the Ball

Every time a pass is received or opposition’s shot intercepted, pinning the ball means the ball is in possession. To pin the ball, the player is tilted at an angle forward such that the legs are lifted backward.

The ball hits the slope of the legs and stops. Once it is pinned under the legs, it is moved around for a further play. Pinning ensures that the ball doesn’t immediately go to the opposition’s area.

To pin the ball, few basic guidelines need to be followed. These guidelines make pinning easy and effective

Right Angle for Pinning

If the tilt is more the ball can pass right underneath the players. If the players are vertical, the balls can rollback. Rolling back sometimes is beneficial as it can take the ball from mid-field to the offensive line

The ideal angle is the one at which the ball wedges in the leg. The ball comes and just fits in. This is the best way of catching. Otherwise, it can deflect.

One can go for either front pinning or back pinning, but it makes more sense to catch in the backward position as it gives some extra time. On the other hand, the front angle can deflect the ball fast.

Front tilting of legs has the advantage of minimizing the gap for the opponent. So, this depends on the skills you have mastered over time. Go for any of the two rather than keeping it vertical. Both tilting have some advantage.

The players should not be in a stationary position while receiving a pass or while catching. If it is stationary, the impact of the ball can deflect it, and the ball can pass back to the opponent’s control.

The key is to get the right grip, the right stance, and the flick of the wrist as you move the rod from across while anticipating the lane pass or wall pass.

Pin Control

Once the ball is caught, the pinning has to be controlled. The ball has to be moved across, and one can either tic-tac pass or just pass it from one player to another by moving the rod and pinning.

The pin control should be confirmed by tapping on the ball and moving it to and from a couple of time before tossing on the rod.

Pin control ensures that you are in complete control of your moves. Pin control also gives you the advantage of faking it as you can easily move in either direction before passing the ball.

It also helps a lot while taking the shot from the three-rod striker or passing from the five-man rod. Without pin control, passing and shooting are like shooting in the dark. It can work a few times, if lucky, but mostly it is just gifting the opponent with possession.

Things to Consider While Pinning

While pinning, the ball must be taken a right at the center. The base should cover most of the ball. If one is not in the right position, the ball wouldn’t be caught. It would deflect.

Another important factor is that the rod shouldn’t move to and fro randomly. There is always a strategy to move the rod. If you know the player, you should know the preferred pass or shot the player prefers.

Many beginners to cover more area just move the rod as far as the movement allows. This play has two major disadvantages.

First, if the rod is moved from one extreme to another, it takes a lot of time. This allows the opponent to exploit the gaps.

Second, one is neither covering for the lane pass or wall pass. The technique is to keep the wall as one end and the position for lane pass as one end.

By choosing these two points as extreme, one increases the probability of catching and pinning the ball. Also, the tilt should be at the extremes, and the players should be vertical during the movement between the extremes.

Right Grip for Pinning

All the movements required for catching and pinning can not happen without the right grip. The grip should not be slippery.

The requisite movement comes from the two movements of push and pull, and the turn applied. Open-handed grip works better as one can turn at the right time freely.

Players can also wear gloves if the grip is an old one and slipping. Baseball gloves or golf gloves work perfectly with foosball bar handles. The thumb should point towards the axis of the rod.

Right Stance for Pinning

Foosball is played on the table with hand-eye coordination. But, many beginners make the mistake of standing in a difficult position.

There is no standard way of standing as different people have different comfort of stance. The central idea is to have a stance that does not constrain any of your movement.

Before beginning the game, check that both rods are operated comfortably. All the extremes are comfortably covered, and turns of the rod in both the direction happen easily. One should also check if one can hold the rod tightly while blocking the ball.

Difficulties in Pinning

Pinning comes with advantages and a bit of difficulty. The speed at which the opponent plays is the biggest difficulty while trying catching and pinning.

To counteract on this difficulty, the angle of the tilt should not be too high. A fastball can pass under the player’s leg. The players shouldn’t be vertical at the time of receiving. If it is vertical, it serves no purpose.

Another difficulty is moving the pinned ball in both the direction. This difficulty depends on the quality of the ball. Once the ball is caught first few movements is the rocking to and fro movement. This ensures that the player becomes aware of the exact pressure to be put on the ball to move it around.

Beginner’s Mistake When Pinning

Beginners focus a lot on shooting and passing. Beginners should understand that the most important part of Foosball is catching and pinning. Shooting and passing can only be effective if catching, and pinning is perfect.

Rather than spending hours practicing shooting and passing, beginners and amateur should spend a lot of time practicing blocking and pinning.

This improves the chances at the game in many ways, as given above. One of the most important reasons is that the new player learns to feel the control of the foot on the ball.

New players are advised to begin every game by practicing pinning a few times. This gets a player into the game.

How to Practice Catching and Pinning

Start the practice with straight shots. Start with the defense and goalie. Just pass straight from one player and catch with the other. Keep the speed less and focus more on catching cleanly.

The speed is increased gradually till one feels confident to move to advance level. The next step is keeping one rod still and moving the other to catch. The ball is hit straight like before. This improves the time that is so essential during a game.

Once these two steps are perfected, the player repeats it with all the combinations and speeds. The real foosball catching happens in high speed and random movements.

During practice, it should begin with simple, straight passes with stationary rods and gradually increased to accommodate match like environment.

Once the catching is perfected, pinning and movement are practiced. Place the ball behind the rod. Place the legs on the top, tap it a few times, and move it in both the direction. Pass it to another rod and repeat. Practice it will all possible positions, along wall and lanes.

Pinning should be practiced both on the same rod and across two rods. All of it should start at low speed and gradually increased to higher speeds.

For catching and pinning brush shots, the player should consider the spin imparted. If the grip is not firm, the ball can slip and go to the opponent’s rod. The spinning ball is caught right at the center of the leg base.

Pinning is also practiced for both directions. Front pinning and back pinning is practiced till one has complete control on the area of play.

To become better, one needs to have a complete area of play allotted to a rod. By pinning in both the direction, you cover the whole area and hence improve your play.

A lot of practice is needed to perfect pinning, but once it is perfected, this is a big edge on the opponent. Though pinning can be practiced alone, for beginners, it’s better to have a partner while practicing. With two players, the unpredictability factor is taken care of.

Shots and passes in games are always unpredictable, thus practicing with a partner prepares one well for a Foosball game.

Pin Shots

Most foosball players play pin shots to score goals. It is very effective ones the ball reaches the striker rod. The ball is pinned by the central player in the three-player rod and shot straight by push or pull.

But when the defense is strong, a straight pin shot might not work. In such cases, a player pins the ball and keeps passing and rocking from one edge of the goal to another till a gap is found.

Speed is not always the key here. It is more about placement. Pinning eases the movement and makes every position a possible place to strike. This cannot happen in tic-tac tossing on the bar. It is somewhat like dribbling if one could draw an analogy from the field soccer.

There are two types of pin shots- front pin shots and back pin shots. As the name suggests, the two shots are played from front and back respectively.

One could use any one or combination of both to baffle the opponent. The only caveat while playing this shot is that sometimes players tend to make a complete circle. A 360 degrees movement is a foul.

The foul is punished with granting the serve to the opponent.

International Rules for Pinning

Though pinning is fun after a while, the rules shouldn’t be forgotten. Foosball is like football, but it isn’t football. It has its own rules.

One cannot spend more than 10 seconds on the 5-player rod and 15 seconds on others. If one does, the serve goes to the other. This is an important point for beginners who learn to pin.

One can get carried away and focus on showing off pinning skills. This could result in keeping the ball more in possession than required. Pinning keeps the game in your control, but passing and shooting win you the game.

Reading the Opponent

Catching and pinning is not just a mechanical skill that is acquired by the right grip, stance, and the tips given here. The biggest factor is the way one could predict the shots and passes from the opposition.

Most players have a subconscious pattern of passing. Even if they are extremely good at everything, there is always some preference. A good pinning technique is about picking those patterns and using them to be in the right positions.

Anticipating the next move is the key. If you are playing a new player for the first time, take some time to observe. If that time is not available, spend a few minutes just observing while you play.

One does not always have to play by a standard mechanical format. Like football, foosball is a game that is played at the moment. You can work on your skills, but your performance in the game depends on how well you read the opponent’s mind and how less the opponent can read yours.

If you are predictable, you significantly lose your edge. Practicing more pinning and another technique allows you to develop a different strategy and make you a complete all-around player.

Working on the Overall Game

Pinning is the beginning of control on a foosball table. You learn how to control the ball. Pinning certainly improves your game. But pinning has to be complemented by other skills.

Along with pinning, two of the skills to be practiced is shooting and passing. You become a good foosball player by making a game and not just trying to score goals.

There are a few things necessary to become a good foosball player. Learn to pin the balls. Learn to use all the players, learn to pass between rods and in the same rod, and learn to get into the mind of the opposition.

Foosball is an extremely competitive sport. You improve and advance by developing your overall game. All aspect should be given equal importance. You should always work both on offense and defense


Pinning and trapping is the best way to feel the control of the game. You have been given techniques to practice and improve catching and pinning. It would take time for you to learn. But if you learn, it would certainly increase your gaming experience.

Whether you are a weekend foosball player or just play it for fun, either way, these tutorials will assist you in becoming better players. This article aims to help you improve your game.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Top 8 Foosball Covers -Ultimate Guide

    Top 8 Foosball Covers -Ultimate Guide

    Welcome to your ultimate guide to the top 8 foosball covers for perfect gameplay! If you’re a foosball lover looking to enhance your gaming experience, this is for you. We’ve scoured the market to find the best foosball covers that will protect your table. So, get ready to take your foosball game to the next…

    Read more

  • Tornado Foosball Tables Manufacturer

    Tornado Foosball Tables Manufacturer

    Tornado Foosball Tables Tornado Foosball Tables have been a leading brand in the world of tournament-style foosball for over 40 years. Known for their high-quality construction and exceptional performance, Tornado tables have become synonymous with the sport itself. As the official table of foosball tournaments, Tornado has established a strong reputation for delivering an unparalleled…

    Read more

  • Shelti Foosball Tables Manufacturer

    Shelti Foosball Tables Manufacturer

    What Differentiates Shelti Foosball Tables from Tornado Foosball Tables? Shelti foosball tables offer a unique playing experience compared to those by tornado foosball tables manufacturer. The key differences lie in the craftsmanship and design, providing players with a distinct feel and gameplay. Whether it’s the materials used or the engineering, each brand offers its own…

    Read more