If you want to become a pro at foosball, you have to know the professional foosball rules. No, professional foosball is not just spinning the rods; it is much more than that. FYI, spinning the rods is an illegal move in professional foosball.
Some of the rules are simple and they force you to use your skills to score, but there are some rules which seem extra complicated when you read about them, but those rules you have to see to understand, something like baseball. So, let’s talk about professional foosball rules which you can use with your friends if you want to be better at foosball. For better understanding the rules I will divide them into categories.
- To start the match flip a coin – the team which has won can choose the side or the ball. The game starts the moment you the ball enters the field.
- To serve the ball you have to say ready and the opponent has to repeat. After the ball is in the field it has to touch two players then you have to wait one second to shoot the ball.
- Once the ball is in the field, the match can start.
- The team who scored the last goals has the subsequent serve. The team who lost the game in the multi-game match has the first serve.
The ball in play
- The ball is in play until one team scores declare timeout or hit the ball off the table.
- If the ball hits any part of the table and enters the field again, the ball is still in play. If the ball hits anything off the table, it is considered as the ball off the table.
- If the ball flies of the table, it is in play until it hits something away from the table. Do not touch the ball in the air.
- If the ball completely stops and it says out of players reach it is a dead ball.
- If the dead ball is between the five-man rods it will be put in the game by the team who served the ball.
- If the dead ball occurs between the goal and the five-man rods it should be served at the two-man rods, on the nearest spot of the dead ball.
- If the ball spins near the goal area and it is out of the reach it is not considered a dead ball. Both teams (and the time) should wait to see if the ball will stop spinning or enter a player’s reach.
- If one team intentionally makes a dead ball, the ball goes to the other team.
- Both teams have 2 time outs during the match when they can leave the table. Both time outs are 30 seconds long.
- If the ball is in play, the team who has the ball can call time out, but if the ball is out both teams can call it.
- If the game is played in doubles, the team may switch position during time out.
- Players should have both hands on the rods while the ball is in play. But, a player can take one hand of the rods to wipe off before the shot and it should last 2-3 seconds. When he returns the hand on the rod, he must shoot after 1-second break.
- Both teams should be ready to start playing after 30 seconds or they will be charged with delay of game.
- During time out, players can enter the field to lubricate the rods or clean the playfield. The player can pick up the ball only if the opponent agrees with it and he should put it in the same place.
After time out
- The team with the ball must ask the opponents if they are ready before resuming the match.
- If the time out is called after the goal and before the serve, the team who was scored upon has the serve.
Official Time Out
- Official Time Out is not the same as the player’s time out.
- If a Referee is not present at the table when the ball is stopped or dead, players can request it.
- A team can’t switch positions during Official Time Out, only if they are entitled to do it.
- An Official Time Out can be called for table maintenance if the table is compromised (broken or defective part of the table).
- If a strange object falls on the field the match will be stopped until the object is removed.
- The medical time out lasts 60 minutes and if the player is not able to continue the match, his time must forfeit the match.
- The medical time out can be requested by the Tournament Director, the Head Official or the Referee.
- The score is when the ball enters the goal by the legal move. If the ball enters the goal and returns on the playing surface are considered as a goal.
- If there is a dispute whether the goal is scored, the Referee will decide with the information given by the spectators and players. If the information isn’t clear, the goal will not count.
- Teams have 90 seconds break until the next match when the match is over. If the teams agreed to switch sides after the first game, they should do it again. If they didn’t agree on that, they must stay on the same side.
- If both teams want to resume the play before 90 seconds time, the play will continue earlier.
- If one of the team is not ready after 90 seconds they will be charged with the delay of the game.
Spinning the rods
- First and the most important rule is NO SPINNING. Every move where you spin the rod for more than 360° is considered illegal.
- If a player hits the ball with an illegal move, the opposite team will decide if they want to continue the match or serve the ball.
- Spinning the rod where you don’t hit the ball is not illegal, but it may be ruled as a distraction.
- If the player scores his own goal by spinning the rod, it will count as the goal for the opponents.
- Banging the walls or moving the table to distract the opponent is considered a jarring infraction.
- Bumping the wall as a part of the shot is not considered jarring unless it is made to prevent the opponent to gain possession.
- Any touching of the opponent’s rods which makes him lose possession is considered a jarring infraction.
- Slamming the rods on the side of the table to move the ball is considered illegal.
- No changes on the table which can affect playing characteristics can be made.
- Players mustn’t put any substance on their hand to clean the table (sweat, spit or other).
- To clean the surface one has to use supplies approved by the Tournament Organizer.
- If the player uses a substance to improve the grip it mustn’t apply it on the table. If the substance leaves residue on the handle, the player must clean it off immediately.
- A player mustn’t leave anything on the rods which can affect their movement.
- The match must begin with the brand new ball. Only if both teams agree to play the next match with the same ball, it can be allowed.
- The ball can stay in the same possession for 10 seconds on the five-man rod and 15 seconds on other rods.
- The possession is changed when the ball leaves the current rod.
Reaching into the field
- It is illegal to reach in the field while the ball is in play unless the opponent or the Referee is agreed with it.
- The ball which stops spinning is the dead ball and it is not in the play. The player can touch the ball if the opponent or the Referee is agreed with it.
- While the ball is not in play, the player may clean ball marks off the table.
- Any movement or sound away from the table can be considered as a distraction.
- If a player believes he is being distracted, he can call a Referee.
- Talking to the teammate while the ball is in play can be considered as a distraction.
- If a player is moving the rod as a part of a fake is not considered as a distraction.
- Remove the hand of the handle then shooting the ball is considered as a distraction.
- If a player removes his hands off the table and reaches down (to wipe his hands) while the game is in play, is considered as a distraction.
- Practice is permitted on any table before the match starts.
- No practices allowed after the match starts.
- Any movement of the ball from one player to another or shooting the ball is considered as a practice.
Behaviour and language
- Comments directly or indirectly by a player are not allowed.
- Calling the opposite team is not allowed.
- Cursing is not allowed.
- Coaching is allowed only during time outs and before/after the match.
- Headphones, earbuds or other listening devices are not allowed while the ball is in play.
- A pinned ball on the five-man rod can’t be passed to the 3-man rod of the same team.
- Changing the speed or direction of the ball from the front or back of the player prior to passing is considered an adjustment, which is illegal. Changing the speed or direction from the side of the player is legal.
- On the five-man rod the ball can strike the wall only two times. The third time the ball is awarded to the opponent.
- It is legal to have only one hand on the rods when playing defense.
- Acceptable dress code should consist of warm-up jackets and pants, athletic shirts, sports T-shirts, polo shirts, athletic shorts and athletic shoes.
- Denim or jeans, tank tops, cargo pants, flip flops, sandals and nonathletic shoes are prohibited.
- Top players are required to wear patches on sleeves with their World Ranking written on it. Other players are encouraged to have the name of their country displayed.