Foosball has a unique reputation. Many consider it to be simply a tabletop game that can be played by anyone and is simple enough to not qualify as a sport, but there is another segment of the public that considers foosball to be a sport in every sense and they are serious about it in ways more than one.
Every foosball enthusiast may have considered the idea of becoming a professional foosball player at least once. However, given the controversial nature of the sport, it continues to remain an active topic of debate regarding whether it’s a sport or just a game.
Given the fact that there is an international organization known as the International Table Soccer Federation or ITSF organizing competitive tournaments on foosball across the world, it is no doubt that foosball is an actual sport that requires training and dedication to master.
At the same time, there are individuals who just eat, sleep, and play foosball (or teach the sport to others) and do absolutely nothing else. So, yes, it is possible to be a professional foosball player, but the road to achieving that level of skill in the sport is a long and difficult one (much like in any other case).
There may be many individuals such as yourself who may have wished to try their hands at mastering foosball enough so as to play on a competitive level but lacked the direction or pointers to do so.
Hence, in this article, you shall find in-depth instruction on how to become a professional foosball player: step-by-step. But first, let’s make a note of the equipment needed before we begin training.
Essential equipment needed
Although this is a no-brainer, it is understood that when you are embarking on your journey to become a professional foosball player, you need lots of practice. This practice may well extend to more than 1-2 hours every day for at least 3-4 days a week; you can utilize the remaining time to rest and work on your strategies or simply play casual matches with your friends.
However, practice is one element that you cannot go without.
And for practice, you need the essential foosball equipment which includes a foosball table, foosball rods, the ball itself, the foosball men, and finally, the cleaning supplies for the table, the rods, and the ball.
If you are extremely serious about foosball as a game, you might consider buying a foosball table that is at par with the standards of tables used and approved by the ITSF.
Similarly, the same principle must be followed with the balls and the foosball rods. You should consider investing in a good brand foosball table that is ITSF approved because if you want to become a professional foosball player, you need to start playing on the same kind of foosball tables that are used by the players and the parties in the tournament.
Some of the best brands of foosball tables that you can buy either online or from your leading sports equipment retails are given below:
Tornado is the leading brand when it comes to the manufacture of foosball tables. The company has been there for a long time now and their foosball tables are made from the highest quality solid wood and quality raw materials that ensure the longest durability and therefore last the longest. The International Table Soccer Federation has officially approved Tornado tables year-after-year. If you do not have budget constraints, you should certainly go for this brand of tables.
After Tornado, Shelti foosball tables are the next biggest brand that is known to have been operating in this space for a substantial period of time. Their cabinet-based foosball tables are known for their quality and durability. You can choose their tables as well, and you will not be disappointed. There isn’t a world of difference between Shelti and Tornado, so you can just choose the table that fits your budget.
As for the foosball rods, you can choose telescopic ones as they are the ones used in the tournaments. When it comes to the ball, you can go for a cork or textured ball depending on whether you want a fast-paced or a slower, relaxing game.
Step 1: Understand Your Motivation
Before we proceed any further on this journey of you becoming a professional foosball player or even starting out on the same, one question you must ask yourself is: why?
Why do you wish to become a professional foosball player? What appeals to you the most?
Is it the money they make? Is it the popularity they receive? Perhaps the respect they receive from the juniors in the sport?
Whatever it may be, but you need to be honest and clear with yourself. For once, foosball has a peculiar reputation indeed in the sense that it is perceived by the audience or the public to be a far too simple’ activity as it involves very little motion of the body except for the torso and hands.
Moreover, in contrast to sports like soccer where several players run around a huge field behind a ball, foosball certainly appears to be far less challenging and relatively less intimidating for someone who has never tried it before.
However, every sport requires serious dedication and foosball isn’t an exception.
So, if you want to become a professional foosball player for the sake of money, then it’s worth mentioning that foosball isn’t a highly paid sport compared to others like soccer or basketball.
While professional foosball players can make anywhere between $39,000 – $135,000+ per year, their earnings wildly vary with their level of skill at the game.
So, if money is what you are after, you should try doing something you are already good at, because that way, you will save the months and years of your time that you would have otherwise spent training to play foosball at the competitive level.
If it is the fame or popularity that interests you, then you must know that in this internet era, it is possible for anyone to become popular by showcasing their talent on social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram.
If we are being honest, the only way you can ensure discipline and consistency in your plan and journey to become a professional foosball player is when you wish to play the game at a professional level simply because you love the game itself and nothing else.
So, if you happen to be someone who wants to play foosball professionally for their love of the sport, read on!
Step 2: Set Realistic Expectations
When you start any new activity with an aim or objective to get better at it over time or derive something of value (mostly money), you will have expectations from yourself as well as from the activity that you are taking part in.
Humans are motivated by rewards as it is the sole reason they strive to do or try anything at all, so you and I are hardwired to think that way. No action can be executed without some hope or expectation of a desirable result in mind no matter whether that is about learning a language, starting a business, taking an educational course, learning a new skill, or trying to master a sport.
Similar to any other endeavor that you engage yourself in, it is likely that when you start your journey to becoming a professional foosball player, you will have several expectations – both from yourself as well as from foosball as a sport.
Unfortunately, quite often, you might end up setting unrealistic expectations either from yourself or the activity you are practicing, and when you do not see the results as quickly as you had hoped you would, the natural reaction would be an utter disappointment.
How many times has it so happened that you planned to learn a new language or a new programming skill but found it to be excruciatingly difficult at some point and lost interest?
Well, there is a fair chance that something like this may have happened to the best of us, right?
So, what is the key to ensuring consistency in your activities? Realistic expectations, of course.
Instead of having over-the-top optimistic expectations of the results, you need to be more practical and think logically about what you can expect in return for your efforts. This reasoning is applicable to any activity whether that be a sport or skill, and in our case where we are trying to become a professional foosball player, it is relevant as well.
Hence, it is necessary to know what to expect when you are starting out to become a pro foosball player and set realistic expectations. Some of the areas you may need to consider are:
1. Average Income of pro foosball players
The average monthly and yearly incomes of professional foosball players – the figures you find on the internet are what those individuals earn after years of practice. You must not expect to make as much as them when you are just starting out, because it does not make sense logically.
However, you must note that there are multiple ways for professional foosball players to make money; this includes: starting your online foosball training courses, writing books that serve as guides for beginners wanting to learn the game, or joining a club as a foosball coach and helping young talent develop their skills.
Additionally, the most successful foosball players on the competitive level are also paid money from the sponsors to highlight their brand and market the same. Sponsorship money could be anywhere between a few thousands of USD per year to several thousand per month depending on the popularity of the player and the marketing budget of the company offering the sponsorship.
Therefore, if you can just focus on becoming an accomplished foosball player, you can rest assured that money and riches shall come your way automatically.
2. Hours of Practise
A number of hours to practice daily – it is not uncommon to view professional foosball matches online (or in-person) to see them get over quickly and think that you don’t need to practice hard or long enough for this. However, make no mistake.
Professional foosball players do not consider the sport as their job or hobby or interest, because for them it is their lifestyle. Pro foosball players live to play foosball and get better at it. So, the performances you see in the tournaments are the result of months and years of practice. If you want to play foosball at a professional or competitive level, you have to give it as much time as you would give your 9-to-5 job. If you end up treating your foosball like your hobby, you shall remain an amateur for life; serious sports demand serious dedication.
3. Achieving Game Mastery
Achieving game mastery – may be the last time you saw a professional foosball player beat their opponent in a blazing fast manner, you were left dumbstruck by their skill and talent? Perhaps you too would like to build skills at their level and (hopefully) replicate such amazing feats of skill and finesse someday on the foosball table? Well, given enough time, you certainly will.
However, you need to give yourself time to reach that level of skill. The professional foosball players you see in the tournaments have been practicing the sport for years possibly and that too with utmost dedication.
Additionally, you need to enroll yourself in some moderate-intensity physical training classes. While foosball may not seem physically demanding, you need to build arm and wrist strength to ensure that you can hit the ball hard and advance it towards the opponent’s goalpost. Incorporate some form of cardio into your workout regime too, because competitive foosball can be intense when it comes to tournament settings, and you can even burn about 250 – 300 calories per hour of intense foosball matches.
If you are hoping to see significant progress within 1-2 months of your starting out, prepare to be disappointed. Foosball is a difficult sport and hence demands a considerable amount of time to achieve its mastery.
Therefore, it is necessary that you set realistic expectations about foosball and ideally write them down somewhere you will easily see every day so as to not stray away from your goal.
Step 3: Plan Ahead
If you wish to become a professional foosball player, you must acknowledge that the road to doing so is not easy in any case or manner. Not only it is a difficult task, but it also takes time for anyone to build a strong set of skills that can help you with playing foosball competitively.
As we said earlier, becoming a competitive foosball player isn’t easy, and you will be facing several challenges while you try or attempt doing so. Whenever facing anything that is new or unknown, the best thing you can do is to be prepared for what comes next.
In other words, you need to plan what you would consider doing in case your dream to become a professional foosball player does not pan out well. We suggested this as the third step right after asking you to be realistic with your goals and expectations because if you are being realistic about your dream or ambition of becoming a professional player, you must have realized that you need to be realistic about it.
There is always a chance that it would perhaps take longer than you imagined for getting to the point you always wanted to. In this case, try to determine the number of hours that you can give to foosball practice every day.
For example, if you are still studying in school or university, you might have more amount of time in hands compared to when or if you are already working at a 9-to-5 job, for instance.
Try to understand what foosball demands from you. One element of the sport is a regular practice, but how you manage to fit the same into your schedule is completely up to you.
It’s worth noting that those days, most universities and offices have a foosball table to complement their recreational area, so you can practice there with a buddy to ensure that you are not left without practice completely.
Most importantly, you need to keep the second option in mind that you can turn to in case at some point or any point you feel that the decision of yours to become a competitive or professional foosball player was not the brightest one, you always have some other profession to turn to and continue your living.
We would advise our younger readers who are still yet to graduate to not sacrifice their academics for the sake of foosball no matter how much they may enjoy the game, but at the end of the day, they need to graduate and get their degrees.
For everyone else, ensure that you have a backup option in case you feel like backing out of your professional foosball player goal.
We would like to highlight that backing out from a goal isn’t something bad. After all, it’s only reasonable to understand that some other option might be way more suitable for us than foosball as a career option.
Still with us? Alright, let’s move to the next point!
Step 4: Learn the Rules
Playing foosball professionally isn’t possible unless you know the rules set by the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) like the back of your hand. Unlike casual foosball matches where almost like spinning the rods to shaking or jarring the table is applicable, international tournaments are quite strict and particular about what they permit and what they object.
Hence, your best bet while starting out is to start by familiarizing yourself with the various terms in the sport. Start by picking up the official ITSF handbook and reading through it leisurely. Ensure that you understand the naming of the various parts of the foosball table and equipment.
Knowing the terms and the words used in foosball is essential because without it, you will not be able to make sense of the whole sport itself, nor will you be able to understand the commentary that is given during the international tournaments by the commentators or reporters.
Additionally, ensure that you learn about the various kinds of styles of foosball games that are played in the tournaments. Foosball has several variations and they all can vary wildly when it comes to their rules; what might be permissible in one local tournament may not be permissible in the in another of the game. So remember to check for “House Rules”
Hence, you must be completely well-versed with the rules because when it comes to the competitive foosball, one single mistake could potentially get you out of the tournament and hence destroy your chances of winning the tournament.
Look at your friends or buddies play casual foosball games and attempt to identify when they might be breaking a rule or two or are doing something that is against the rules imposed by the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF).
You can also try discussing the foosball rules with some of your friends who are into the game and are working hard to improve their skills at the game.
Therefore, this way, you will improve your own knowledge and memory of the sport, which will help you remember all the relevant information inside out.
Step 5: Find a Mentor and Practice
To master any skill or sport, you need a mentor or guide. That one person alone can spot your weaknesses quicker and guide you better than anyone else; when learning a new skill or activity, we tend to make mistakes that we ourselves may remain unaware of.
Perhaps it could be something as simple or silly as holding the foosball rod wrongly, or it could be something more serious like attempting to spin the foosball rods in an effort to get a free shot at the foosball and score a point.
Human beings tend to be egoistic, and hence, we might not look at our own mistakes. That’s why you should find a senior, more experienced foosball player who plays competitive foosball.
It is not possible to find someone always who would be willing and happy to guide you towards mastering the sport, so you can instead join a club or coaching center that teaches competitive foosball to beginners.
Once you do join a club and find a coach you believe knows about the game well enough, ensure that you follow their advice and instruction to the letter.
If at times your mentor shows dissatisfaction with your performance, do not be disheartened. It is likely that when the coach was of your age or was starting out, they too might have suffered failures initially. The key is to keep up your practice, even if you do not feel much confident about yourself.
Just keep training and there will be big results.
In the unlikely event, if you do not find a good coach or mentor for foosball, the alternative would be to join some club or association that teaches foosball to juniors and try to learn from your seniors.
Find out the best or most skilled foosball player at your local club and watch them play, take notes wherever you can. Aspire to become like them and beat them at the sport someday.
Here, you need to get the right crowd or bunch who are as interested as you are when it comes to learning and playing foosball professionally or competitively.
Making friends with other like-minded individuals will ensure that you enjoy playing and practicing foosball every day because, at the end of the day, you need to make it your lifestyle if you wish to be truly successful at it.
Step 6: Watch Competitive Foosball
Now that you have gotten a good grip over foosball, it is time to mentally prepare yourself to enter the big leagues. Quite often, the journey towards something great and difficult can start on a better note by ensuring that the person has the right mindset.
So, start by watching competitive foosball online on YouTube and try to make note of how the professional foosball players play the game. Try to use the knowledge that you have accumulated about the game thus far to make sense of their strategies.
Keep an eye out on the seemingly minor things like how the professional players grip their foosball rods, how hard they move the rods, their body position, how are their arms positioned, their posture while standing, etc.
Take note of the small details as and when you can, because now that you have already joined a club and are (hopefully) practicing the sport on a regular basis, you shall have the chance or the opportunity to try out new strategies and techniques that you see the professional players using in the tournaments.
If needed, keep a small notebook where you record your observations about the winning teams’ small details that you can make note of.
Your task here is to look at the winning team and learn exactly their strategy that they are using to win the games. Then, once you have made note of all that, you should go back to your club and practice those strategies with your buddies and try to master them.
After all, to beat the professionals at the game, you will need to use their techniques better than them. For the same, you need to practice them.
Step 7: Refine Your Techniques
By now, you must have completed a fair number of foosball matches at your local club or with your foosball buddies. Perhaps you have now gotten a fair idea of what works for you and what does not.
If you have been following this guide diligently until this point, you must have understood what kind of a foosball player you are. You know whether you prefer being offensive or defensive, whether you would be the one to serve first or play tableside, etc.
Additionally, you have also watched the professional foosball players use their techniques and strategies to beat their opponents. Better yet, you have tried to incorporate those techniques and strategies into your own games and hopefully, you have learned something about yourself and your skill levels.
So, hopefully, you have been following what we are telling you until this point because, at this stage, you shall be doing what’s the most important for you to build a career as a professional foosball player. And that is practicing and refining your techniques.
Additionally, do not ever hesitate to ask for feedback on your techniques. It is possible that since you were the one to have come up with the strategy, you might think it is the best of all others, but it helps to have the expert opinion of someone who has been in the sport for several years. Additionally, because you cannot find out your own mistakes, it helps to have a second opinion on the usefulness or utility of your techniques.
Also, ensure to learn from your mistakes. While practicing you must have had several cases where you were beaten quickly or so by your opponent, so in cases like that, you must keep a note of why you lost the game (or why your opponent won the game). Understanding your mistakes can help you become a more refined foosball player; if you know what does not work for you then you have already gotten a strong level of knowledge about your capabilities as a foosball player.
After a certain number of victories in the foosball matches, it might be natural for you to think highly of yourself, but that is what you must seek to avoid or prevent at all costs. Ego is a dangerous enemy for anyone seeking to become better at what they do, so anytime you feel too happy about yourself, just remember that there are professional foosball players out there who can beat you easily without much effort, so you must work actively to defeat them.
The best professional foosball players are the best not because they have years of experience, but because they have spent every single day refining their strategies and techniques against various kinds of opponents. They know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else around them.
Step 8: Enter the Competitions
Finally, you have gotten an extremely good level of skills at the sport. You have refined your techniques, gotten to know your strengths and weaknesses, and have seen professionals play foosball personally.
At this point, you should be confident enough to pay to enter the tournaments yourself. This is the final step of this guide, and you need to enter the competitions yourself to get in the game and test out your skills.
Ensure to practice with your buddies regularly before the tournaments, try out your strategies beforehand to ensure that you find them to be working effectively in the actual matches, then from that point on, just give it your best shot!