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Everyone knows that the best part of any game is to be on the offensive and foosball is no exception. In the game of foosball the offense allows the player to show off his or hers strength, style, intelligence, as well as their ability to capitalize on the opportunity. Like in any game the more offensive weapons one has the greater the chance one has at overwhelming their opponent. This section will cover most of the most commonly used offensive weapons, and though there are new and up and coming shots that can be used, the shots in this section are traditionally known to have a high percentage of going in the pocket.


The Push-Kick

The push-kick or brush shot is one of the coolest shot used in the game of foosball. However, it is not as much of a high percentage shot like some of the other shot used. I have seen people who use this shot as a high percentage in their offensive arsenal. They are so good at this shot that they can hit deadman long, go short, slice, or do a soft push. I found that most people will use a push-kick quickly rather than taking the time to set it up. Thus the element of surprise increases the possibility of scoring. However, those who are so dedicated to the push-kick as to live or die by it like I once did, will take the time required to set it up, look over the defense, and then shoot.

I think what makes the push-kick less popular to used for a high percentage shot is the fact that it is a combo-shot. Is it not easier to score using one man rather than two? Perhaps. Is it not easier to shoot with one man from a stand still than with two? For instance, when shooting a push or pull shot. Perhaps. Nonetheless, there are those who are willing to use the push-kick as their ace shot and those people have my sincere admiration. I really admire those who have a high degree of control of this shot. This means that with combination ("combo") shots they can go long "deadman", split, or go short. In other words they can do what ever it takes to penetrate a defense using combo shots.

There are two traditional ways to do a combo. One way is away and the other is towards. A push-kick is what I call an "away" combo shot because the ball is moving away from you and you are pushing the ball. A pull-kick is what I call a "towards" combo shot because the ball is moving towards you and you are pulling the ball. I will start out talking about the push-kick and its variations.


"Deadman"

The "Deadman" Push-Kick

The "Deadman" push-kick is where the shooter attempts to place the ball in the extreme far corner of the goal from where he has the ball set up at. This is an extremely difficult shot except for someone who lives and dies by it. The Percentage Scoring Ratio (PSR) is low and is slightly increased by the experts. On a good day with everything working (like longs, shorts, and splits) the PSR may get unusually high (between 80-100%). Also the previous stats depend greatly on who is playing goalie.

It takes a lot of power to do a "deadman" push-kick, especially from a stand still, yet there are many who can do it with very little effort and with deadly accuracy. This shot requires a lot of practice to master, mainly because it has to be done with extreme accuracy. However, with a little understanding of how the shot is done and lots of practice then this shot can be mastered in a reasonable period of time. Now I will attempt to show you how to do a deadman pushkick and hopefully it will be a benefit to you.

1) First you want to set the ball in front of the pushing (or passing) man. In so doing, you want the ball to be slightly or more to the back. The greater the distance of the shot, the more to the back the ball should be. Remember when doing combo shots you do not want the ball to be too far forward or too far back, because you do not want to turn the ball over.

2) Next, you want to determine the distance of the shot so that you do not over shoot the hole or under shoot and hit the defending men. Pick a location on the playing surface that is in front of the open hole and aim for it. If you are playing on a Tornado table and I hope you are, you will see that there is a white dot on the playing surface which is in the center of the pocket. I found that if you aim slightly beyond that dot, then that will hit the "deadman" corner. Remember this is not an easy shot to do and it does require a lot practice.

3) Finally, you push the ball to the middle man and from there the middle man does the shot. If everything goes well, when the middle man makes contact with the ball, the ball should be squarely in front of the man and directly under the rod or slightly forward. The idea shot is a square (or 90 degree right angle) deadman push-kick like the one in the illustration above.


The Split

The Push-Kick Split

The push-kick split is just as a difficult shot to do as the "deadman" push-kick. Generally, a split is not an easy thing to do when using any type of shot. Mainly because there is a tight hole between the defending men. Usually, the split is done with a short stroke or distance and quickly before the goalie figures out what you are doing.

To do this type of shot you basically follow the same procedure on how to do a "deadman" long described above. Remember this type of shot requires a lot practice to master but it is a very effective shot to use. Also, if you are smok'n the goalie with your long and short push-kicks, he will attempt to split his men in order to shut down your offense. This is when you want to do a split. When you make it then the goalie is really in for a long night because now he is aware that you can go long, short, or split.


The Short

The Push-Kick Short

The push-kick short is just the opposite of the "deadman" or push-kick long. Instead of hitting the far corner you want to hit the near corner. A lot of times a goalie will leave the short open hoping that you will not see it, so that they can block the long or split push kick. Again, you must learn to seize the opportunity and capitalized. In so doing, you will create havoc on the defense.

To do this shot you basically follow the procedure on how to do a push-kick that is mention above. Remember that this shot, like any other push-kick requires a lot of practice, but when all the variations are mastered you can destroy any defense, especially on a good day. As mention previously these variations of the push-kick can also be used with angle shots and push shots for an even greater offensive effect.


The Pull-Kick

Now I will talk about the other type of combo (push-kick). This type of shot is just like a push-kick except the difference is that the ball is moving towards you and not away. For that reason that is why I call it the "pull-kick". Instead of pushing the ball to the middle man, you are pulling the ball.

The Pull-Kick For some reason, I don't know why, I have noticed that the push-kick is more popular than the pull-kick. Also, I have noticed that when people do use it, that it is more spontaneous than plan. I have also noticed that when people do this shot, it's target location is more random. In other words the shooter just hits the ball when they see a big hole. Whereas with a push-kick I have seen players (myself included) who will set the ball, look over the defense, and then aim for what is there. I'm not saying that this cannot be done with a pull-kick, all I am saying is that I have not seen too many players shoot the pull-kick like I have seen players shoot the push-kick, which happens to be the more popular of the two.

To do a pull-kick is very similar to a push-kick. You basically apply the same methods that it takes to do a push-kick. One difference is that you are setting the ball up on the far side of the table (your opponent's side). Another difference is in the way you work your hand and wrist. With a push-kick, your hand is more on top of the rod (handle). However, with the pull-kick your hand is more to the side or under the rod. I believe, because your hand is under the rod (handle), that it is harder to control your aim. In other words it is harder to hit the desire target. Of course, the way players do this type of shot, as well as any type of shot, may vary.


The Pull Shot

The pull shot is probably the most highest percentage scoring shot in the game of foosball. The pull shot is probably the easiest shot to control and shoot next to the push shot. I believe this is why it has long been a very popular shot. I call it a pull shot because when the defense is sitting in front of the shooter, the shooter can then pull or move the ball around the defense and then deliver the ball into the open hole.

The Pull Shot

The pull shot is a very easy shot to do. You simply set the ball up right next to the middle man (or the intended man shooting), pull or move the ball towards you, and then with a twist of the wrist you slap the ball in. Like the push-kick there are several ways to use the pull shot. You can go long ("deadman"), short, split, or go straight in.

Long Pull

The Pull Shot Long

The pull shot long is where you want to shoot way around the defenders and hit the far corner. Generally, when doing a long pull, you may want to have the ball slightly back. Remember the greater the distance, the farther back you want the ball to be. However, this is not etched in concrete, it is whatever you are most comfortable with that counts. I believe the position of the ball in the illustration above is ideal for a long pull, but as you master the pull shot you may or may not agree. I believe that when the ball is slightly back that it works well for doing a "deadman"-square pull. I myself seldomly do a "deadman"-square pull, but I have seen those who can do it consistently and with deadly accuracy. Even though the pull shot is a fairly simple shot to do, to do a "deadman" long requires a lot practice. When practicing this shot, set the goalie men up in a blocking position to block a "deadman" pull. Leave just enough room for the ball to pass squarely through, and then try making it consistently. It won't be easy.


Split Pull

The Pull Shot Split

Simply stated, a split pull is where the shooter splits the defense or goes between the defending men. Sometimes a goalie will start to spread out his men in hopes to shut down the long pull. This is a good time to implement a split pull.

It only takes a quick snap and the ball is in; mainly because there's usually not much distance that the ball has to travel. The thing is that you usually want to do it quickly before the goalie sees what you are up to. When setting up for this shot, you would set it as if you were going to do a normal pull shot. You don't really need to have the ball position that far back, but I seen people who do prefer to have it that way.


Short Pull

The Pull Shot Short

A pull shot short is when you want to place the ball in the near corner of the pocket. In respect this shot is the exact opposite of the pull shot long. In many cases the goalie will knowingly or unknowingly leave the short open in hopes to shut down the pull shots going long or split. When this happens the opportunity to strike short is there.

When doing this shot the ball should be set up in a pull shot position. Ideally, you want the ball to be directly under the rod or slightly to the back. Like I said previously, as you progress and develop you own pull, one that is more suitable to you, you may or may not agree with my ideal position. Once the ball is set, check the defense and make sure that the hole is still there. If it is, don't waste anymore time and with a quick twist of the wrist just slap the ball in.

Ideally, you want to set the ball up so that you can go long, short, split or whatever. After you have the pull set and ready, check the defense over and look to see what is there. If the long is there, go long. If the split is there, split and if the short is there, go short. I think you get the idea now. Just hit whatever is there. If you can do that, then the defense should begin to crumble.


The Push Shot

The push shot is a lot like the pull shot in that you are using only one man to move the ball and score. Where they differ is in the direction. As you should know by now, when doing a pull you are moving the ball towards you. However, when doing the push shot you are moving the ball away from you or towards your opponent(s).

Push Shot

I think the push shot is harder to do than the pull and I think it is also a lot easier to block. I do not really understand it, but when blocking a push shot I believe that the "look" (is what the shooter sees defensively) is a lot more affective on a push than on a pull shot. I have found that I have greater success blocking the push shot than the pull but that is a whole other story (see section on Defense).

To do a push shot is relatively simple. You basically set the ball up just like you would a pull shot except the ball is going away from you and is facing away from you. Unlike the pull shot where you are shooting towards the near corner of the pocket, the push shot shoots towards the far corner. Like the pull shot, you want to have the position of the ball slightly back. As far as shooting the ball goes the same principles that apply when shooting the pull apply here. See section on pull shots

Split PushShort Push

Like most of the shots used, the push shot can go long, short, split, or straight in. All you need to do is set the ball up to do a push. Once the ball is set and ready, you should look over the defense to see what is open. To hit what ever is there ever time will require a lot of practice, but once all the variations have been mastered, then you should be able to pick a defense a part.


The Toe Shot

The toe shot is one of the most exciting shots to see and do in the game of foosball. What makes this shot so cool is its versatility. You can go towards and away, or forwards or backwards. You can do roundhouses or you can do combinations. It is from the toe shot that the wrist shot (snake shot) evolved from. I will talk more about the snake shot later on.

The Toe Shot

The only drawback to doing toe shots is that they are hard to control and setup on slick table tops or non-Tornado tables. Don't get me wrong it is ok to have some slickness to the surface, that makes the ball travel faster but if the surface is too slick, then the degree of control decreases and the chance of turnovers increases. Because of this drawback, I recommend that you learn and master other more high percentage shots (pull shot). You never know when you are going to walk into an establishment with non-Tornado tables. However, I have seen those who are so good with a toe shot that it is their primary weapon no matter what the playing surface is like. The control they possess is amazing and I have seen them rip a part defenses, including mine.

I call this shot the toe shot because the ball is at the end of the man's feet. Some people refer to it as a toe shot if the ball is in the front position and a heel shot when the ball is in the back position. There are many who refer to it as a pin shot whether the ball is either in the front or back. However I just call a toe shot either way because either way the ball is still being controlled by the man's toes. Now I will attempt to explain how to do some of the various types of toe shots that are commonly used. I hope you will find it to be beneficial to your game.


Front Toes

The Front Toe Shot

To do a toe seems fairly simple but to some it can be a hard shot to do. What is even harder is having to explain how the shot is done. So here goes.

Like I said earlier there are several ways to shoot from the toe position. The illustration above indicates that are (at least) two ways you can shoot from the front toe position.

STEP 1

The first thing you want to do is to set the ball up in the front toe position. Make sure that you are comfortable with the ball position and the degree of control.

STEP 2

After the ball is set and ready, look over the defense and see what is there. When you see an opening move the ball to that position and pop it in.

Step 3

Moving the ball in position is probably the hardest part. Basically, you move the ball in the direction you want to go to. Usually, the distance is not very far but sometimes it can be (rarely).

STEP 4

After the ball has been moved to the shooting position, the ideal position of the ball should be directly under the rod or slightly forward. You do not want the ball to be behind the rod because you may jam the shot or lose the ball.

Basically, that is all there is to it. With one single motion, you are moving the ball around the defense in order to score. Unlike some of the other shots you have more than one direction in which you can shoot and score. With a front toe you can go either towards you or away.

AwayTowards

I prefer to do the away toe, however, I have notice that most players prefer to used the towards toes more, especially, when in a hurry. I think it is because it takes less effort and that more power can be applied when doing the shot. Try it, and see for yourself. You may agree. Nonetheless, you should practice doing this shot both ways and then establish a forward shot you are most comfortable with. If you get good at going one way you should still be able to go the other way. That way the defense will always be guessing and wondering where you will go next.

Back Toes

The Back Toe Shot

The back toe shot (heel shot) is very similar to the front toe shot except the ball is behind the rod instead of in the front. I use the back toe shot a lot when I am playing on a Tornado table. For some reason I find it easier to move the ball forward and then hit it, than to move it back. To do a back toe shot you basically follow the same steps on how to do a front toe shot.

Roundhouse Toes

The Roundhouse Toe Shot

The roundhouse toe shot is definitely one of the coolest shot done in the game of foosball. It is a very dynamic shot to see as well as to do. However, this type of shot is not an easy shot to do. This shot takes a lot of practice to master, but when mastered it can bring terror to a defense. The roundhouse toe is where you start out moving the ball in one direction and then reversing the direction back the other way to shoot and score. The idea is to get the defense moving in one direction thus leaving the area that was once covered open. This shot is perfect for when someone is using a racing-type style of defense. However, this shot is lease affective when playing someone whose not very good at playing back because most the time they just sit there and when you shoot you shoot right back into their coverage. Then you look pretty stupid.

Like I said to do a roundhouse toe shot is not easy and to explain how to do it is even harder. Yet I will attempt to explain how nonetheless.

STEP 1

First you must have the ball set in the toe position (either front or back). Make sure that you are comfortable with the degree of control before you commit yourself to the shot.

STEP 2

After you have setup the ball, look over the defense to see what is there. However, in this case looking over the defense does not really matter because if the hole is open for a regular (one directional) shot then you should go for that shot. As I briefly mention before, this is a type of a shot you want and need to do on an advance player. When the level of the game is where you are having to out think your opponent, then that is when you want to do this type of a shot. (More later)

STEP 3

Now that you are ready to do the shot, move the ball as if you are going to do regular toe shot. Instead of following through with the shot you then pull or push the ball back the other way.

regular directionreverse and back the other way and then shoot

STEP 4

At this time the ball should be back where it started, except now the ball should be under the rod or slightly forward and ready to be popped into the open hole.

When properly executed this shot is done in one single motion. In order for it to work well it must be done in a single motion. The defense must believe and be convinced that you are about to do a one directional toe shot. As I mention earlier there are several ways you can do this type of shot. You can do a back-toe-away-reverse pull, a front-toe-towards-reverse push, a back-toe-towards-reverse push, or a front-toe-away-reverse pull just to name a few.

Remember that it takes a lot of skill to do these types of shots. Not only that, you must also know when to do them. A good time to use these type of shots is after you have established a serious threat with your regular toe shots. The goalie will see that you are setting up to do a toe shot and sometimes will assume that you are about to do the same shot again and that is a good time to do a roundhouse toe shot.


Roundhouse-Combo Toes

The Roundhouse-Combo-Toe Shot

The roundhouse-combo-toe shot is another one of those really cool shots you see done occasionally during a game. I say occasionally because you rarely see people do this shot. I believe it is because not very many people can do this type of a shot. I myself can this shot in a towards-front-or-back-toe-combo motion but I can not do it in an away motion. In fact, in all of my years of playing I have never seen anyone do an away-roundhouse-combo-toe shot.

Roundhouse-Combo-Away Toes

Roundhouse-Combo-Towards

This shot is a combination of a push or pull kick and a toe shot. First you start out in a toe-shot position then you move the ball into a push or pull kick position which will deliver the ball to the shooter (usually the middle 3-man) who then will hit the ball in the pocket. Remember this is a single motion maneuver and it is usually done very fast too.

The Away-Roundhouse-Combo-Toe Shot

When doing this shot you first want to be on the far side of the table (the opponent's side). Then you toe the ball away from you (towards the opponent's side). Next while the ball is still in motion, you reverse the direction of the ball and then pop it to the middle man (pull-kick), who will then slap in the ball. Remember that before you do the combo the ball should be in a good position so as to avoid turnovers. Like in the illustration above, under the rod is an ideal position for the ball to be in.

This shot is a very difficult shot to do, and like I said I have never seen anyone do it. However, if this same kind of a shot can be done from a towards position, then I am sure it can be done from an away position. Maybe I should practice doing it and see if it really can be done.


The Towards-Roundhouse-Combo-Toe Shot

The towards-roundhouse-combo-toe shot is basically done the same way as its sister shot. The difference being that you start out moving the ball towards you and end up shooting it away from you. Also, instead of a pull-kick combo, you use a push-kick combo. I find this shot to be extremely less difficult to do than the away-roundhouse-combo-toe shot. Try doing this shot both ways and you be the judge.
If I have not said it before, these shots are somewhat difficult to do, especially if you are a beginner. Like most toe shots they are done more instinctively and spontaneously, than planned (like setting up a pull shot). They are usually done in one single motion and if you break apart these shots you will see there is a lot involved. You may find yourself asking how can this shot be done in one motion? To get to where you can play at this level takes a lot of practice and playing time, but like in any other sport determination will always prevail.


The Bank Shot

The bank shot is one of the coolest added dimension to the game of foosball. The bank shot allows the wall and the man to become one. A bank shot is done when a man hits the ball in such a way that the ball hits the wall and then goes into the hole. Normally, the bank shot is a low percentage shot, but I have seen players who consistently rip a part defenses with it.

The Bank Shot

You may find this hard to believe, but bank shots can be attempted and completed from any where on the table. I have even seen a guy in Texas who could do a push-kick bank shot consistently. There is no limit to what you can do with bank shots.

There is one thing I have noticed over the years about bank shots, and that is their effectiveness. I have noticed that the smoother the playing surface is, the easier it is to do banks. For instance, doing banks on a Stryker is much easier to do than on a Tornado, because the playing surface is a lot smoother. Therefore, bank shots are more effective and can have a greater role in one's arsenal of weapons. On the other hand, unless you are an expert with bank shot, you will find that because of the slick surface, it is harder to set up and control bank shots on a Stryker than on a Tornado.

To do a bank shots is relatively easy. You just set the ball up, hit on the side, and then watch it ricochet off the wall and go in. From the front position, players generally bank anywhere from an inch to about four inches away from either the near or far wall. f course, you can bank from any position along the front three man rod.

Far wallNear wall

The ideal position to place the ball is slightly back or more depending on the table. Sometimes the ball can be place in the forward position but that is a matter of preference. Most offend the ball is in the back position.

ideal position

Bank shots done from the offensive front middle man can be a very effective weapon. Especially when mixed or used with a back pin. Mike Eaton of La Porte, Texas would do this very well. First he would setup and do bank shots from the middle position. Then after a while the defender would see him setting up to what looks like another bank shot and shift his men to block it. This usually meant leave the opposite end of the pocket opened. Mike would then take full advantage and pinned the ball into the undefended part of the pocket.


Shooting Bank Shots from the Goalie Position

Doing Bank Shots at the goalie position is not much different from that of the front three. The only difference is that the ball has to travel a greater distance and the ball is placed in a more forward position. Also from a goalie defensive point of view, banks from the back are much more difficult to stop. However, I have notice that the front player defending, has a greater chance at blocking the bank shot. In any case, banks done from the back, and done correctly, have a very good chance of going in.

Goalie bank shot from the center position

Most bank shots are usually done around the middle area of the front two man rod. I have seen those who can do banks from the sides (only in Texas), but most of the time bank shots are attempted in the middle vicinity of the table. Notice in the illustration above that the five-man rod of the same team should be in the up position so as to not interfere with any shots attempted by the goalie.

Goalie bank shot blocked at the five-man position

As mention before, the five-man has a greater chance of blocking a goalie bank alone the wall where the ball might make contact. The drawback to blocking a bank shot with the five-man is that most of the other shots (pull, pushkick,...) attempted from the goalie position have a greater chance of going in. This is because when you shift to cover the bank shot the scoring lanes now become open. The solution is to learn to recognize when a goalie bank shot is being attempted. Usually your well experience player can recognize a bank shot attempt. Again you too will learn to recognize such things (like bank shots, lane passes,...) the more you play.

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