Tips and Tricks for Foosball / Table Soccer

How to Serve in Foosball – Incl. Serving to Yourself


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That foosball is an interesting game is certainly not in doubt. Indeed, this game is also convenient in the sense that it brings about the attendant enjoyment but without the need to go out in the open to accrue the same. It is only fair that you know how to play the game strategically.

Serving the game is probably the first and foremost thing you need to know. The kind of approach you adopt depends on two main factors. First is the nature of the game itself. Is it a home or tournament game? Then, there are rules that are laid down by the governing body which also come into play.

In our discussions below, we shall look into these two case scenarios and the rules that guide the processes concerned. Our aim in the discussions below endeavor to aid you in setting out and doing a great job on the whole. Read through our discussions diligently and patiently to gain the necessary inspiration.

How to Serve in home game Foosball

We have already explained that the game of foosball may be played for fun or for competitive undertakings. In this segment of the discussions, we are going to examine the home tournaments. This kind of sport stands apart from the others in the sense that it is not played against any competitor for a large part.

The second part is devoted to the tournament competitions. In this kind of foosball game, two or more parties play, usually for a coveted prize. There are rules and regulations that govern this kind of tournament. For this reason, it is an undertaking that ought to be approached with some care and attention.

Home Games

As the name implies, the home game is the one you play when in the comfort of your own home. It is non-competitive in nature and is purely for the sake of killing time. This being the case, this kind of game is slow, comfortable and less strenuous to undertake. As such, you need not necessarily have to strain yourself to play it.

Since it is a home game you simply have to agree with your opponent on what rules you want to play by. Some home game rules that have nothing to do with the official rules stated further down.

How to Serve to Yourself in Home Games

Follow these steps to serve in this sense: (Remember this is not allowed in tournaments)

  • Place the ball in the hole and pin it in between your thumb and index finger using your left hand
  • Fix your index finger on the inside part of the table
  • Maintain your thumb on the outer portion of the table in order to hold the ball firmly in place
  • Apply some pressure using your right index finger to the upper right-hand side of the foosball
  • Release your left hand from the ball
  • Place the said hand on your 5-bar rod handle to ready yourself for the serving
  • Roll your right index finger to the left-hand side over the top of the ball and let it slip through the hole
  • In this way, you will apply some spin on the ball in such a way as to let it drop directly to the second man on the 5-bar piece.
  • Go ahead to catch the foosball and maintain the possession from the serve onwards

Tournaments Games

Serving in foosball for tournament games differs markedly from the home serving. The process kicks off with the determination of who will serve first. To do this, a coin is tossed, and the side that wins the coin toss carries the day. After winning the toss, the team that starts:

  • First, ask the opponent if they are “ready”
  • When the opponent confirms they are ready you have 3 seconds to begin placing the ball.
  • Place the ball at the middle player on the 5-man rod. Either side is fine.
  • Then you have to move the ball from one player to another on the 5-man rod. And wait for 1 second before the ball can move up the field. (The ball is allowed to move during the 1 second)

ISAF Tournament Rules on Serving the Ball

ISAF, the body that oversees the promotion of foosball has some rules in place to govern the serving. These rules are six in number and cover every aspect of the tournament thereof. In this last segment of the discussions, we are going to look into these rules to determine how they are likely to impact your overall experience. Below are the rules that you have to adhere to while participating in your tournaments:

Serve and Ready Protocol (Official Ruleset Section 4)

  • A serve is defined as putting the ball into play at the five-man rod at the beginning of a game, after a point is scored or if the ball is awarded to a player on the five-man rod following a rules infraction. The ready protocol will be used whenever putting the ball into play.
  • 4.1 The serve.
    The serve shall begin with the ball stopped at the middle player figure of the five-man rod. The player serving the ball must then follow the ready protocol

    4.1.1 If the ball is served from a position other than the middle player figure and the violation is discovered before the ball is scored play shall stop and the ball will be reserved by the same team. Once a point is scored, no appeal shall be made. The penalty for subsequent violations is loss of possession to the opponent for serve.
  • 4.2 Ready Protocol
    Before putting the ball into play the player in possession of the ball shall ask the opponent if he is “ready”. The direct opponent has three seconds to respond “ready”. The player in possession of the ball now has three seconds to begin to put the ball into play. Waiting beyond these time limits will be considered a delay of game (See Rule 25). The player must move the ball from one player figure to another and then wait at least one second before advancing the ball. The player is not required to stop the ball. Time limits begin one second after the ball contacts the second player figure.
  • 4.2.1 The penalty for beginning to put the ball into play before the opponent responds “ready” is a warning and the ball shall be put into play from its original position. The penalty for subsequent violations is loss of possession to the opponent for serve.
  • 4.2.2 The penalty for advancing the ball without making it contact two player figures or failing to wait one second before advancing the ball is the opponent’s choice to either continue play from the current position (including the goal) or to serve the ball.

Other Rules to Know


This basically entails tossing a coin to determine which side serves first. The rule comes into play when tackling professional tournaments. As a general rule, the team that wins the toss gets to serve first. After the first goal is scored, the one that has been scored is the one that serves first, and so on.

No Spinning 

Whenever the rod completes a 360° rotation without getting into contact with the ball, the spin rule applies. This spinning is generally considered an illegal move as the rod of necessity has to touch the ball in every spin. Players are discouraged from maneuvering this kind of spin.

Check our article on why you shouldn’t spin here and why it is illegal.

No Jarring 

Jarring refers to a situation in which the rod hits the wall of the foosball deliberately to dispossess the other player of the ball. No jarring is generally allowed or tolerated at any point in the tournament or competition.

It is worth noting that the rule only applies when the rod is hit against the wall. It is nevertheless suspended when the rod is held to the back and forth in the attempt to mount a formidable defense. Many people view it as a subjective regulation.

Dead Balls 

A dead ball is a situation in which the foosball stops right in the middle of two opposing team rods. In this case, the ball has to be picked up and served afresh. As a general rule, it is the team that last conceded the goal that is supposed to serve in this sense.

In case this dead ball happens to be on the defensive two bar, it is the defensive player who has to move the ball into the playing position. The rule exists to prevent a situation in which the players deliberately cause the dead balls in order to compel a fresh serving.

Out of Play 

Out-of-play refers to a circumstance in which the ball comes off the table area or collides with a top rail and the bounces back into the table area. In this case, the ball is deemed out-of-play and has to be served afresh by the team that conceded the last goal.

Are There Any Books That Can Help Improve My Foosball Serving Technique?

Looking to level up your foosball serving technique? Check out the best foosball books list for valuable resources on improving your game. These books offer detailed tips and strategies for mastering the art of serving in foosball. Enhance your skills and dominate the foosball table with these expert-approved reads.


So the serv itself isn’t that difficult but I would recommend that you know the rules related to the serve. It is a bad thing having to turn over the ball due to a mistake that could be avoided by know the rules. And also could be nice getting the advantage if your opponent makes the mistake.

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