The origins of foosball-like table games were spotted in Europe as far back as the 1890s. But the first person to patent foosball as we know it today was Harold Searles Thorton in 1921.
Football (or “soccer”) mania was sweeping Europe. And, as all great inventors do, Thorton wanted to bring that excitement into the home.
In the 1950s, Lawrence Patterson brought the game to the U.S. It was a hit… and by the 1970s, you could find a foosball table in nearly every bar and social hall across the country.
Today, the International Table Soccer Federation promotes international competitions for foosball. Expert competitors can “kick” the foosballs up to 35 mph! Add that to the bucket list...
Despite – or maybe because of – its popularity, the game hasn't changed much in the last century…
The Basics of Foosball
Funny enough foosball rules haven't changed over the years. However, new technology did help to morph the way people play the game.
Unlike in some other European countries that focus on passing the ball and lining up shots (like actual soccer), foosball tables in the U.S. are designed for speed. So the most important thing to learn when laying the game here is control.
All the fancy wrist flicks and palm rolls in the world mean nothing if you can't maintain definitive control of the ball at all times. Relax your grip on the handles and stand with feet apart to widen your range of movement, Practice manipulating movements of the players to drive the ball up and down the field. Practice pinning the ball beneath one of your own players while you plan your next move. Stay on the offensive – watch that ball at all times and work your midfield players. Your goalie should only be for backup. The game is played out on the field.
Once you have the basics down, you can move on to more complicated maneuvers like power rolls, wall passes, and punch shots.
But remember, this isn't a game of fancy footwork. It's a game of technique, agility, and control. Control your ball, control your players, and you'll reign victorious.
To see our collection of Foosball tables, click here!