Table soccer may not be a common game (or sport) that comes to people’s minds, but alas, there are a couple of curious questions to be asked!
What size is a Foosball ball? What varieties of Foosball balls exist? Well, here’s the ultimate guide to learning about them.
Table soccer is more popular than most would think and the balls are possibly the most important part of the game. With that being said, choosing the right ball for the desired type of gameplay is very crucial. For example, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) in recent times released a new type of Foosball for its games; the Fireball ball. This ball was not chosen due to an increase in performance, but rather for its bright fire yellow color so it can be seen better on the play table. This is just a small chunk of what the Foosball ball offers.
Sizing of Foosball balls
Generally, the size of the ball is all about user preference. There is not a predetermined size that is used. Ordinarily, they range in size from 31.75 mm to 35 mm. A regulation sized ball (used in the ITSF for example) is around 36 to 38 mm. These size differences are not too far from each other. Each table soccer table is constructed slightly different depending on the brand and those tables come with their own balls. But the sizes are pretty close in proximity to each other. Landing a goal is going to play out either way.
Varieties of Foosball balls
The balls used for a game of table soccer are not just a manufactured “one and done” gig. The balls have more character to them and offer up a friendly game or a highly competitive game. While the sizing is not far off from each other, the types of balls are different. Here are the types most commonly used:
– Textured balls:
These are most commonly used with the Tornado/Dynamo brand of balls that are played on classic American tables. They offer gripping action with their design, which offers slight texture to the surface. They are can be plastic or cork. Combined with a good skill set, these balls will deliver on scoring points. They tend to spin on the table a bit more which gives an opportunity for scoring as well.
– Smooth balls:
If the name of the game is novelty fun, these are the balls to bring to the table. They offer no substantial grip power due to them being made from smooth and sleek plastic. They are slick which causes a bit of chaotic fun, although, they can produce a little bit of speed. But speed does not ensure a win if the goals are being missed. Generally, these balls create a bit of noise. Perhaps that’s something that makes the game great, but not all players are looking for loud entertainment out of their Foosball balls.
– Cork balls:
In contrast, if noise reduction is on the checklist, cork balls are the best option. They are dense, so they absorb the shock of being bounced around in the game. They are more common on European Foosball tables. Most users who have had this type of material highlight the sound absorption, but complain about the longevity of the ball. Cork balls tend to chip away fast and leave pieces on the table if rough games are being played. They are not very cost effective (banking in at $24/twelve ball count on amazon.com) so this might be the choice for someone who is a serious Foosball player and/or someone who plays a lot among friends and enthusiasts alike.
-ITSF balls, the Fireball:
While regulation sizing is not an exact science in the world of Foosball, as mentioned earlier, 36 to 38 mm is the size most used within tournaments. According to the ITSF website (www.tablesoccer.org), the redesign of their Foosball ball has been in the making since 2007. Different companies were creating prototypes that gave the ball different dimensions. It is not clear when the exact year was that the Fireball was chosen as the new ITSF official ball for its tournaments, but it can be stated, as before, that it was picked because of the fiery yellow hue. The contrast of a ball is important to the game, especially in ITSF games, as it helps keep track of the ball during the fast pace rate of the games. These balls offer the best in contrast while sticking with the effectiveness of a material as it’s predecessor. It still offers gripping action and speed that matters.
– Traditional Soccer balls:
If there were a toss-up between the smooth balls or the traditional soccer ball balls, the choice would be about the same, They are both noisy selections and are made of shiny plastic that gives for a game of ricocheting balls. The traditional soccer balls are just that; grooved to look like a small, toy-like version of a soccer ball. In terms of the size, they are smaller which also gives them toy feeling. They come with tables of the same structure and more of an aesthetic appeal. There’s no doubt these are the bottom of the barrel of table soccer balls. They would make a great first gift for a child, but no adult would consider these as serious options, even for not so earnest players.
Foosball balls give players more of a choice than at first glance. Considering all the different types available on the market, there is a question still lingering in the background. Which ball is most cost effective? Sure, it’s not all about the money; but let’s get real here, for adults, it is always about the money. What is the most bang for our buck? Once again, each player is going to have a preference in which ball truly works for them. With this consideration, it is either pay what for the quality desired or pay to save some money.
When considering price ranges, if saving a buck is important, always look at multiple sites and compare the contents for sale. In terms of the cheapest variety, the traditional soccer looking balls are the choice to make. A twelve count of them, kindly called ‘mini’ at 1.4 inches diameter, go for between $6.99 and $8.99 on amazon.com.
Plastic, smooth balls will only set the buyer back $3.69 for a four pack. They do not have great reviews and it might be better to shop around for this variety if it is what the player is seeking.
Textured balls run a bit higher on the pay scale because they’re optimal for serious players. On amazon.com a twelve pack goes for about $15. Invested players would find this most pleasing to get the results they want while still getting a little bit of a deal.
Cork balls, as mentioned before, are the highest price it seems. For $24, the buyer gets twelve balls and perhaps the quietness is what the selling point is targeted as; but still a bit high even for the most dedicated player. This choice, as with the other ball choices, is purely user preference as stated.
Weigh the options, consider the type of game desired, choose what will suit the game best. Everyone’s heard of Foosball, but never really considered the most key player in the game; the ball. It is not a decision to take lightly and exploring all the possibilities is an adventure within itself. Considering that Foosball has been around since roughly the 1890s, it leaves one to wonder if anyone has thought about the ball that much. The first instinct would be the table size, material, etc., As well as the plastic men that will be “playing” the game. The table is important, as its size will help the player place it where it will fit best in their homes or otherwise.
The table helps the player control their ball and perfect their gameplay. However, don’t underestimate the power of the ball! It is the scoring factor, as the game cannot be won without it. Considering the above options are significant because the type of ball dictates the results of the game. If the ball is not easily controllable, the game will be thrown. Choosing a ball for the player’s comfort level is key to a successful game. A ball that is not controlled well can cause frustration and often be kicked out of the table play area by a plastic man. Don’t let that happen, let the ball be the focus for the game.
The ball is where all the action happens. It takes on the form of a fast-paced game or a slower pace game for the inexperienced player. Either way, suiting up with the right ball is the key to unlocking the perfect Foosball game. Even though originally, Foosball was designed for at-home play, such a light approach can be alright. Hopefully, this guide helps Foosball players, experienced of novice, choose the ball that will land the score they desire!