The "Stick" Pass

Here we have the most common pass in the standard game of foosball.  At the more elite levels and the Professional levels you will have the brush pass more.  The stick pass is based on the concept of overpowering your opponent or beating them with sheer ferocity.  The brush pass is like foosball chess, very slow, look for a hole and scope it through.  The stick pass has fakes, speed, force, deception and cleverness.  The brush pass is based on a one on one challenge between the skill of the offence and the skill of the defense.

How to do a stick pass.

The stick pass basics can be explained with very few diagrams.  See above.

1.  Start the ball on your 5-bar to the rear of the 5-bar but still under it, next to the second figure.
2.  Rapidly bring the ball to the wall or the lane.
3.  In one motion smack the ball through to your waiting, tilted forward, 3-bar.
-this should all be done either too quickly to block or to crafty or sneaky to respond to.

The Basic Skills Needed
Before we spend any time on the skills of a stick pass, you need to be able to catch the ball on your 3-bar.  Please take the time to read the catch section.  Also please note we will use figure #1 and #2, the stick pass can be done on either side of the table.  Close to the offense or close to the defense, you choose.  The one close to the offense is called "near wall" and the other side is called "far wall."

1.  Prepare to pass:  
a.  Some people like to have the ball at a dead stop, some like the ball moving, some like to be tic-tac'ing the ball back and forth between the #1 and #2 figure.  Really you choose what works for you as you get better, but if you want to start learning, try the dead stop method.
b.  The ball should be, either moving or stopped, setup next to the #2 figure on your five bar.
c.  Your feet should be set so you have a full range of motion with your arms.  Notice we spoke about the feet first.  The arms, hands, head and shoulders all set on the feet, get them right FIRST.
b.  Your passing/left hand needs to be on the 5-bar ready to do the motion.  You want a good grip, but do NOT squeeze to hard.  Relax and let you hand do the action.
e.  You arm and elbow of you passing hand need to have room to move.  When you do the pass, your arm can't smack into your stomach.  Position your body to allow your arms to move around quickly.
f.  Your right hand needs to be ready to catch.  DO NOT wait until you pass to get your right hand ready to catch the ball.
2.  Ball Position:
a.  The ball is set next to the second figure, see above, mostly behind, but still under the rod.  We do this to have plenty of figure to move the ball with, maintain good control and even to mask the ball from the view of the defender.  Set a ball up on a table and check it out from both sides of the table.
b.  The figure and the ball should be TOUCHING.  This applies to all forms of foosball actions EXCEPT for a "pop" shot or pass.  Some people actually strike the ball with the figure but this is very difficult and you have a much lower consistency.  If you want to learn a pull-pop or a pop-pass, do it yourself because you can already do the stick pass.
3.  Get your catch ready in your mind and hand:
a.  We put the catch in here again to emphasize it's importance.  The best pass in the world is the same as giving the ball to the opponents goalie if you can't catch the ball.
b.  Get your hand ready to catch, see the catching instruction.  NEVER get lazy!
c.  Get your mind ready to catch.  If you are going to the wall, be tight on the wall.  If you are going lane, get your grip ready to be soft to absorb the impact
4.  Toss the ball from #2 to #1 figure:
a.  This is almost the most important part of the pass, second only to the catch.  This is the part which puts the ball where you need it to be to get around the defense.  Hitting the ball forward is easy, rolling it sideways is hard and takes great skill.
b.  Your hand should have a good hold on the handle, but do not over-squeeze.
c.  There are 3 general ways to consider the "toss".  The quick flick, the pop and the acceleration methods.  We think the "pop" seems easy, but has so many drawbacks we do not teach it.  The quick flick is the standard form used by intermediate players.  After you realize the "pop" is not good, you move to the "flick" then one day your realize the acceleration method is the best.  It takes a keen eye to "see" the difference between the "flick" and the "acceleration", any fool can see the "pop".
1.  The Quick Flick:   With the ball stopped or rolling, jerk the 5-rod with all your might towards the wall and smack the ball with your passing figure.  As you can see by the description, there are some areas for discrepancy in this style.  Are you too far from the wall or off the ball slightly?  Are you going lane or wall with the pass?  Is your opponent just waiting for you to move to block you?  If you want to get good at the "flick" make sure it is smooth, fluid and without warning.
2.  The Acceleration:  In this method, you have the ball next to the #2 figure and you cause the ball to accelerate to the desired speed over a space of an inch or so.  In your mind you consciously think about the ball and your hand accelerating.  With the flick you try to defy physics and go from zero to fast instantly.  With the Accelerate method, you accept the laws of Sir Issac Neuton and you use them to steady the ball.
a.  When you accelerate the ball, the ball presses against the figure #2 as you speed the ball up towards the wall or lane.  This allows you a very short moment to steer and control the ball.  If the ball was slightly back or forward, you can adjust that.  If the ball was moving slightly, you can compensate.
b.  Accelerate method also encourages you to be more smooth and deliberate.  The "flick" and the "pop" are reckless, while the accelerate method is controlled.  Yoda would definitely recommend the accelerate method.
c.  Try this method, it is in the mind.  Think as you start to move the ball, "I am going to speed the ball up over the span of an inch."  With the flick you will find yourself trying to move the ball as quick as possible.  You can have the same speed of a pass with the accelerate as with the flick, consider.
-When you start a stick pass, the ball is in the same basic spot of the table each time you start a pass.  If you "pop" the ball, you sorta have to go to the wall, a lane pass is very uncontrollable.  If you flick the ball, sure the ball is quick and the defense has to guess where you are going, but again less control.  Now think about the accelerate.  If you want to go lane or wall, the defense will not know until you do it.  The ball will be moving at the same speed when it leaves figure #2 for the "flick" and the accelerate.  How will the defense be able to tell?  More to the point, with the "flick" and "pop" the defense can react to you, with the accelerate, you get to READ the defense and choose how where to best pass!
5.  Pass the ball through with figure #1:
-Okay, we finally get the payoff.  The ball is hurdling towards figure #1, you have chosen the lane or the wall because you think the defense is in the other place and you rear your 5-bar backwards and come crashing down on the ball.  You crush the ball with the force of you left hand, but you catch it like a delicate egg with your right.  You have the ball on your 3-bar and you prepare to send the ball back to the Gods of the Quarters.  What a load of crap!!!
1.  You do not raise your 5-bar backwards further then you need to, the pass is supposed to be quick, how hard you pass it is a matter of practice not how far you rear up to smash the ball.  Think of Bruce Lee's 1 inch punch.  Deliver all the force with only 1 inch of motion.
2.  You sort of push or scoop the ball through when you get good.  All the power comes from the follow through.  You want to practice passing the ball faster?  Place the ball on the table under the 5-bar near the #1 figure.  Put your #1 figure behind the ball ALMOST touching it.  Without rearing up at all, slide the ball to your 3-bar.  Always practice the catch when you do this.  Do this 100 times a day and you will get quick, hard, fast and the ball will seem to spring off your otherwise motionless 5-bar.
3.  After you pass through the ball, get your 5-bar back to catch a rebound.  Don't be a basket ball player and stand around and admire your pass.  Get you man back and get ready to scoop up the rebound.  Here are some numbers for you.  If you look at the best players in the world and evaluate what they do with the ball when it is on their 5-bar you would see these numbers.  40% of the time they succeed at passing the ball and catching it.  25% of the time the ball hits the opponents 5-bar and comes right back to them.   15% of the time the ball goes to the goalie.  15% of the time the ball is stolen to the opponents 5-bar and you have some odd percentages mixed in to other places.  But, if you look at this, just by getting ready after you pass the ball, you will be playing on 40% of the passes you make, the 25% which come back to you, and the 15% which likely came back to you but you booted because you were not ready.  Those same stats for beginners are like this:  20% to the 3-bar, 25% to the goalie, 5% go here and there and a full 50% of the balls are in a battle between the 5-bars.  If you get back and ready to grab the ball, you will get more of those then your opponent!!!