Despite the long history of foosball and its prevalence in bars and pubs throughout the world, very few people are aware of the rules of how to play the game. In this article, you'll learn the rules of foosball that are used almost universally. These are the just the basics. The full official rules of table soccer according to the International Table Soccer Federation can be found here.

Overview Of General Foosball Rules
Games are played until one team reaches 5 goals. Matches are played until one opponent wins 3 out of 5 games. Once a ball is in play, the action continues until a goal is scored, the ball leaves the table, a dead ball (the ball stops moving outside the reach of any foosmen) is pronounced, or a timeout is called.

The Serve
The server launches the ball from a hole (called the "serving hole") in the side of the foosball table. After a ball has been served, players are prohibited from striking it until it has touched the playing field.

Passing And Shooting
Most actions that players use to propel the ball are acceptable during play. However, there are a few illegal activities. First, beginning players have a tendency to spin the rods ferociously, hoping to propel the ball with force. Generally, if the foosman used to strike a ball rotates more than 360 degrees either before or after its impact with the ball, the player is illegally "spinning."

Second, a player is not allowed to "jar" the foosball table during active play. This can include lifting or moving the table in any way.

Lastly, players are not allowed to touch the rods of their opponents. The first 2 times this action takes place, the offending player can lose possession of the ball. If the action happens more than twice, a technical foul can be called.

Dead Balls
A dead ball is defined as a ball that has stopped on the playing field and is not within reach of any foosmen. If the ball stops between rods 2 and 8 (which includes most of the playing field), the ball is served again by the player who served the last ball in play. However, if the ball stops between either of the 2-man rods (rods 2 and 8) and the goals nearest those respective rods, active play resumes by placing the ball by the foosman nearest the last position of the ball. In a closed system, like a Foozi table, the player that last touched the ball before it became dead must lift the table by the rods so that the ball rolls towards the opponent’s foosman. Once the ball has touched the opponent’s foosman, normal play will then resumes.

Playing By The Rules
While most people can arguably enjoy foosball without adhering to a strict set of rules, the rules above govern most professional foosball tournaments and competitions. These rules exist to ensure that players cannot take undue advantage of their opponents. As in most organized sporting events, foosball is more fun and challenging when all players are playing with the same set of opportunities and limitations. Take some time to learn the rules above. You may find that playing foosball is more exciting than ever.



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