Some Table Questions

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Some Table Questions
« on: January 17, 2011, 11:38:06 PM »
Hi, new guy here. I'm an old time casual bar fooser from Minneapolis. A lot of the older guys who play at Mort's know me even tho I never got into tournaments or league play. The extent of my foos in the last 15 years has been getting together with a small group every other Thursday (more or less) on a private table. We've been doing this for years but alas, the dude with the table no longer abides... he got married and had kids.

After a few months of not having it, I missed the foos and wanted to get it going again, so I decided to buy a table. I bought an old blonde side coin op that was used in the 98 US Open in Minneapolis. It's in mint condition, the girl  who had it (Nancy Riley for any who might remember her) was religiously extra anal about taking care of it and I got a plethora of spare parts, balls, and maintenance stuff. I love the table, it's one of the nicest playing tables I've been on, I definitely like it better than the cherry/mahogany side we'd been playing on. Even down at Mort's with newer tables that are all the same model, some definitely play better than others and this is a very tight table that just does what it's supposed to. My game already sucks consistency wise, so I hate table issues that affect it even more.

Anyway, I had a few questions after reading bbtuna's thread on tables.

There isn't much there about the blonde sides, basically a single sentence and you emphasized that they were your least favorite table. I was just wondering what caused you to have that opinion of them and what some of the other people here (blonde table owners maybe?) thought about them.

I didn't like the mahogany one we were playing on because it seemed very slippery and bouncy compared to other Tornadoes, so that's my least favorite. The reason I have a preference is probably because in 30+ years of casual foosing I never practiced enough to develop any real ball control skills. Now that I have my own table, I may as well take advantage of it and improve my skills. I have no aspirations of going pro at 50, but I would like to be consistent enough to reliably execute shots I know I can do and get my 5 bar good enough to be competitive down at Mort's on a Friday night. The main thing I have going for me now is I've always loved the game, even if my lifestyle didn't.

What things should I be thinking about upgrading to make it play as close as possible to the latest and greatest?

I'd definitley like to upgrade the side strips because they tend to make the ball bounce up in the air when it hits them. The rods all play great, some of the chrome has worn off, but they all glide/spin fast and smooth.

The rods are supposedly the originals. If they are they are definitely heat treated because none are bent and this table got some serious play by some of the hardest foosers in the state. I was wondering if BB or anyone else knew what rods they used on the '98 blondes.

I heard they made man changes, but I'd hate to change all of them if it's going to be insignificant. I'll be heading down to Mort's this week to check out the newer tables for differences, but I thought I'd ask here first so I know what to look for. It plays fantastic now, so I don't want to fix anything that's not broke.

Nice to meet everyone - I aim to become a better student of the game now that I got my own table. Maybe we'll see some of you down at Mort's if you're local.


Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 07:35:46 PM »

I thought I'd throw down a pic of the new table...

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 11:11:47 PM »
i haven't been on the board consistently and I am sorry I haven’t responded sooner and surprised no one else has either but here goes….

I am not fond of blond’s because I have played on 5 different ones locally and a bunch at my first tournament when I came back in 2002 and I know them enough to know I am not fond of how they play…man seems lower, table seems slower but, there is nothing actually wrong with them, its just an opinion thing.  To be fair I have never played on a new or “mint” one so I have never seen them at their best

But you should be proud of your table, any brand new Tornado coin opp is a great world class table.  Now, on bringing your table up to new, before spending that money, tell me what the tables are that you are playing, lets see how much if any updates that need to be done…side strips are $25 (which is stupid expensive for ¾ inch clear table) if you go to order them, I understand the latest version are sort of smokey rather than perfectly clear like the first generation so you can get better idea of where the wall and surface meet…so I am told.

If you end up making all the “useful” upgrades, it will cost about $220 dollars (which includes the side strips)
Side Strips = $25
Newest thinner split bearings $3 x 16=$48
Newest handles $5.00 x 8= $40
Newest men (change all except the 3 goalie men unless you are OCD – plus 2 back ups each color) $4.50 x 24 = $108            
TOTAL $225+shipping

Plus if you can swing it, I would get a foosball light…$130 plus shipping

if this is too much for you all at one time, you can split the order in half basically and only change the side you practice on…it would be $100 plus $25 for side strips

what to do for practice is another post, I will work in that maybe later tonight or tomorrow

Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 11:44:03 PM »

No problem, thanks for taking the time to reply.

I was at Mort's last Wednesday, I think the tables they have are the "fridge" T2000 models. They have the same side strips as my table, the white ones. I'm pretty sure the men are the same, they look identical to mine. They have the newer black plastic handles but with everyone using wraps the difference is negligible. They also had the newer thinner bearings, I could tell right away when setting up my pull shot. The new red 5hr tumbled balls were the biggest difference and I posted about those in another recent thread.

Thoughts - I already got some of the newer balls so that's covered. The good news is they play very much the same on my table.

I like the extra rod you get with the thinner bearings, but I did notice they kept coming loose on the table we were playing on (also had a slope to it, not sure if it was warped or just not level but Gummy wouldn't play on it). I think functionally the new bearings make a difference in play so I might want those - my question is do I need both sides or is the thinner inside half compatible with the ones I have? I can handle $50 for this, $100 is pushing the value barrier.

I'm not sure how much of a difference the new side strips will make because I wasn't able to see any so maybe I"ll wait on those. Mine are at least clean, the ones at Mort's all have a bunch of lint, crumbs and crap glued to them with pop and beer. I also just cleaned mine up and reglued any loose or misaligned spots. It takes a bit of detailing to clean those cracks out :P

The rods on my table play like new, they have those fine scratches from a lot of intense game play, but they're all like new other than that, no bends at all, not even the 2 man rods. It defies reason if they weren't heat treated, which is why I kind of wondered if they started playing around with ht rods before the grey mables used the merkels.

I was looking at that light once before. The way my mind works tho is "how can I build that better for half the cost?" so I can put the difference toward other upgrades. Right now the lighting is pretty good, it's centered exactly under a ceiling fan with a light on it. I put some better bulbs in and took off the decorative cover and even modified a few common household items to make a "fooscam" mount that screws onto the threaded rod that holds the cover.

I am super happy with this table, I paid more than your recommended prices but the table is mint and Nancy is an old friend so I didn't try to bargain her down. I also got tons of spare parts, all the tools, and she came over to help clean and set it up. The other thing was availability, I wasn't going to get a better deal in the foreseeable future and our Thursday foos nites had waited long enough.

One last table question. I searched for previous threads on this too and couldn't find it - where is the play counter located? I don't think the coin-op was ever used on my table but I'm curious now because I couldn't find it anywhere on the coin-op mechanism.

As far as practice, I'm doing mostly ball control drills that I've seen on foos vids and working on shot consistency. I never had a good 5 bar, so my focus on learning new things is there. My shots are good, they just need to be reworked a little for consistency (practice drills) and to be more graceful so they aren't so hard on my hand and arm. I always had a "pure power" shooting style that wasn't a problem in my 20s when I was still bulletproof, but now that just hurts way too much when I miss or stub. I'm basically doing the same shots, but trying very hard to loosen and soften my hands on the grip so I can get a better feel for that sweet spot where the shot is perfect and almost effortless. It's a lot of constant internal coaching.

As far as my 5 goes, I had no idea what I was supposed to be practicing at first, so I kind of developed this mis-timed tic tac thing where I greatly vary the distance and timing between tics and look for holes, usually a wall or 1st lane, but any lane will do. I need muscle memory and coordination the most, the transition between the lateral movement and the forward stick or brush is still pretty ugly. It's getting better every week as I practice and that's all I'm looking for right now is consistent improvement.

I'm not teaching myself any new shots and don't plan to. From the front I have what I always called a "turnbolt pull" because of the way I visualize and shoot it. I like to shoot precisely square so it's like a lock bolt or bolt action rifle where the bolt has to fit perfectly square in the opening before the cylinder can turn. I can hit sprays, 7s and go deadman, but rarely find it necessary. I'll basically shoot a long over and over until they virtually sit on it, and then start hitting straights. Even if they leave a straight, if the long is still open I'll go for it just because I have more confidence in it and it makes that statement to a goalie.

My 2nd shot is a pushkick and I shoot it the same way - hard and square and prefer the long hole. Here I use my options more but the ones I use most are the long smash to the far hole, the short smash to a very tight near hole (both look the same til it's over) and a very tight inside dink - all from the same starting position and grip. This is proving to be a little tougher with the new balls so I'm reworking the shot to be able to adjust my timing while looking for the holes on the fly. Kind of a hybrid thing between looking and timing - again, a lot of internal coaching.

From the back it's just more of the same but with a few more tricks and reverses thrown in just in case someone gets my number. I can't purposely do a bank to save my ass, and tbh I don't care that much, I'd rather refine and hone what I've already got.
I know one shot wonders and guys with so many weapons in their arsenal it makes you dizzy and both win and lose games because of it. I'm aiming for a balance, a blueprinted main money shot and a favorite fun shot that's almost as good, better ball control and quicker, more reliable pickup/loose ball skills.

I can tell right now, the hardest thing is going to be keeping the explosiveness of my shots intact while trying to make them more graceful and effortless. This is key tho, because it's not fun when it hurts and the only reason I play this game is for fun. It's fun to face challenges tho and confidence is high that I'll get it figured out. I know some of the older guys here have been thru this same thing, any suggestions would be helpful.

Sorry for rambling, but that's basically the whole story :)

Offline alaskan thunder

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Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 01:11:10 PM »
Game counter is located behind the metal housing that holds the balls. It has a little piece that is clicked every time the metal housing flips over. It should be pretty easy to find....

Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2011, 01:36:11 AM »


That explains why I couldn't find it, I was looking for it on the coin slide mechanism. I couldn't see it because I've got the inside of my table filled with bricks and cinder blocks wrapped in towels and blankets for extra weight.

Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 11:56:31 AM »

I get it - Charlie the Big Bad Tuna :)

I want the new thinner bearings for sure. I can use the same bearing cups, I just need the 2 bearing halves for each bearing - right?

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 11:06:14 PM »
thanks, great post, it is fun to talk about your game, where its been, where it is, and where it is going...

for sure get the new thinner split bearings, they are an improvement in a number of just need the 2 halves on the inside, 2 pair per rod, but the original nut bearing on the outside works for the old and new bearing halves and don't need to be changed

the rods before the heat treated ones were not bad but they were not playing with heat treatment when they were making blonds...could be your friend changed one or more

it is fine about how much you paid, its great you helped a friend and a friend helped you and in the long run, a couple bucks one way or the other won't did great getting a mint table that will last you the rest of your life...congratulations!

the side strips make a significant difference but if the place you play doesn't have them, I wouldn't recommend changing them because you will have to be making adjustments every week...UNLESS you plan to go to regional and/or national tournaments because those tables will have the new strips...the new side strips impact anything you do on the wall...stick wall/pass, bounce pass, sling shot, and banks...

I would buy the same handles, assuming they are the new ones, as your weekly place has....all the versions are a little different and its not a big thing but its nice to practice the same way you will play

if you want, you can only change the side of the table you practice on which will save you money but if you can afford it, for sure change all

sounds like you have a good handle on what to practice, I will just encourage you to spend at least half of your time on ball control stuff and at least half of that on the 5 man...spend at least half of the rest of your time on your 5 bar...varied tic tac is a good series, just add on other things one at a time so you have options when you run into someone who is in tune with your series

Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 02:03:15 PM »
Thanks Charles

You're echoing my thoughts pretty much. I'll order the bearing halves all the way around. I was waffling about the handles and side strips but what you're saying makes sense. For now I'll just do the upgrades that are on the Mort's tables since that's the current local reference standard.

Overall I like the new handles better and even with wraps I think they tend to hold onto the wrap a little better (for sure with the Whatagrips that I like using inside out) and you can actually use them naked if your hands aren't sweating.

I agree on the side strips too, from what you've said and what I've read here about the new side strips they do significantly affect the game (in a good way) but if the Mort's tables have the old strips I'm better off sticking with those for now. The only suck about that is the old strips are pretty much the reason I can't do banks reliably, if it wasn't constantly bouncing up in the air off the side strip I'd be banking right and left.

Your advice on what to practice is right on, I've been practicing along those lines and the weekly improvement in my game shows. It's F'g comical really, that anyone could play foos with a genuine passion for the game for 30+ years and NOT have any 5 man game whatsoever until you understand why.

Foosball has always been therapeutic for me and nothing has changed there except the type of therapy I'm employing. I'm an autistic savant which basically means that my mind is so tightly focused on what I'm doing in my head that getting thru normal daily activities can be absolutely maddening. It's like having the resources to do anything you want but you're not allowed to use them for the same things everyone else does. Knowing you can do anything you want, but not being able to or even figure out why you're unable to is the most frustratingly aggravating thing I know and it's every day of my life. It is pure rage against the machine and foosball was a very good pipe to vent that rage harmlessly. My shots were a blazing explosion of pure unrequited rage, I focused a tremendous amount of negative energy into that little ball every shot I took. I wasn't trying to win, or even be good at foosball, it was just a way to harmlessly vent energy that would otherwise result in yet another autistic meltdown, which is why I always had ridiculously wicked shots but almost zero game.

It wasn't just foosball, I played the whole physical game of life that way, using brute force and opposing forces to get thru it because all my actual skills and processing power were prededicated to loftier ambitions. Now most people like me find something relevant to the regular world to focus their efforts on and become extremely good at, many have become the world's best artists, musicians, scientists and mystics because they have the unique ability to focus all their efforts on a single task. Johnny Horton is a good foos example of this, his game is freakishly good but he acts like a 5 year old in the social aspects of the game and to anyone familiar with it, that's an autistic "tell".

If foos (or anything actually useful in this life) had been the object of my focus things would've been different but I got stuck with the other option of "focusing on not focusing" in order to figure out the whole of what was going on here. It's just mental geometry and perception, if you want to "see" the Whole, you have to keep your focus there and not get lost focusing on the parts within it. The short of this is I was never allowed to focus on anything unless it was in accordance with my greater focus. Focus, or lack of it is what makes you good at or suck at anything you're doing and simply put, we are all masters at it, there's just an awful lot to focus on to make the whole thing work.

The good news is, I think I'm actually starting to figure it out after 50 years of trying. The rage I used to harbor as a result of trying so hard to no avail is turning into the satisfaction of finally realizing the fruits of my labors. The little voice that always used to con me into doing things the wrong way is now coaching me into doing things the right way, with grace, using skills that were formerly locked away in my subconscious. My game used to be a shining example of the cons of autism, my shot a mirror of an autistic meltdown. What made my pull so scary was being able to go from a perfectly calm standstill to instant explosion without the slightest tell, the exact same thing as a meltdown. Now, my new game is a reflection of a new learning curve, learning how to control forces with a full working knowledge, confidence, and finesse instead of ignorance and brute force. The best thing about autism is you maintain the learning curve of a child, so I'm a sponge for knowledge :)

Thanks again for all your help and input, it's much appreciated.

the Eternal Grasshoppa (maybe I should have went with "rambling man")

« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 02:08:53 PM by Gwasshoppa »

Offline bbtuna

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Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 07:35:25 PM »
great post, very interesting, I have never known anyone with this to deal with and it really have obviously done a lot to think through it and although you have some unique very difficult issues, much of what you describe are the mental things everyone goes through as you noted in all sports

controling your mind and staying focused on each "event" on the table and making the most of it, is THE difference between winning and losing at every level

see the mental side of the game post with over 30,000 views...super interesting

Re: Some Table Questions
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2011, 05:36:10 PM »

I actually loved that thread and gave the link to everyone in our little foos group. It was one of the first I read because after searching out table info and other specific things I wanted to know, I started reading all of them in descending order by number of replies. I think I've read every thread with over 15 replies at this point.

I want to post over in that thread but haven't yet because I'm trying to figure out how to approach it. Being an autistic savant makes me ideally suited to delving into and pursuing the mysteries of human existence. I have been a devoutly dedicated student of these mysteries for 50 years and I haven't as yet figured out a way to constructively respond without opening a can of peas that probably shouldn't be opened on a foosball forum.

Zeek makes reference to the mystics of old, but don't underestimate the American mystics just because they wear jeans and tshirts and eat cheeseburgers. My credentials don't matter but because of my accomplishments in that arena others would probably argue against that. I am also a member of a sect that believes in something impossible, we believe it is not only possible, but within reach of the human race right now. There are 13 instances of 13 on the back of a dollar bill, that's our particular group's symbolism and everything we're up to can be understood by interpreting those symbols properly.

Simply put, what mystics do is use their natural abilities to penetrate the unknown, which fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) is 90% of what is going on in this world. We contain all that is known within us, we just aren't aware of it because our subconscious mind acts as a filter sifting out the information we don't need to be focusing on. Think of it as putting blinders on a race horse so he's not distracted from running true... to keep your attention from being sidetracked from what we're supposed to be doing here. We aren't even aware of 90% of what we're doing because it is locked away in our unconscious mind, but I can tell you that there's a reason we call it the Human Race. It is a race like game we're playing and it is winnable, I've personally done the math that proves it. I can also tell you this, the only way to win is to run your race in a way that everyone else wins too.

The point I'm creeping up on is this, if you're basing your thinking and decisions on just the 10% of information you're consciously aware of, then the results are going to have a potential error factor of 90%. Just like a foos master, what I have done is paid critical attention to the details that reduce this error factor and enhance my error correction abilities. If I've mastered the art of anything, it's how to focus on a target I can't even see, even at extreme trajectories and velocities. I'll be a little Johnny Horton here and just say, "mentally I can hit any target in any position at any speed, while moving in any direction and velocity". Any thing or goal can be a target, you just have to establish a few parameters that identify it. Once you get that going, you're continually retargeting with greater accuracy because you're gathering more information about the target as you get closer.

And therein lies the danger. We as humans play the most difficult and dangerous game there is, but if you win it is the greatest accomplishment an individual soul can achieve and the reward is a perfect you in an eternal world that is perfectly suited to you. No more not knowing and all that results from it, fear, anger, worry, lies, cheating etc. The problem is, this is a world that will mesmerize and seduce you into her ways and if you get caught up in them to the point of forgetting why you're here, that's what's referred to religiously as "losing your way". You took the blinders off and now your horse doesn't even know which way to run, all to be the best at foosball, golf, finance, acting, etc. There is a good reason that only a few of us become the best at any given thing, and often times at great sacrifice to their own progression towards resurrection.

I think we're always consciously working with what's allowed, and we don't consciously control that, our subconscious does. I think people that excel in specific areas have either found ways to make that coincide with their greater purpose here or make the sacrifice and extend the path to their primary goal. It depends on so many variables that nobody can tell anyone else what choices should be made, the important thing is you do get to decide because of free will.

I can't even tell you how much I admire those people doing what they wanted to do in life and being the best at it AND making a living off it. I could never do that tho, because I was too focused on a target I couldn't even see. When people ask what autism is like, one of the things I tell them is that I've never been able to do a f'g thing I wanted to do, not because I don't have the desire or ability, but because it wasn't allowed by a part of me that I had no control over.

You know how when you were very young and nothing in this world seemed solid or real because you were just learning it - or how difficult everything seems until you learn it? Autism is a lifetime of living in that type of mental fog, you're always in learning mode. It's a different type of learning, most people seem to learn more sequentially, learn one thing then move on to the next, whereas I learn everything at once. I don't have time to process the information immediately, so I prioritize and work on what I immediately need to get thru a particular situation (or have the proverbial meltdown if I can't) the rest goes into a rotating holding pattern for me to work on it when I can get to it. In mysticism you're always dealing with realities and worlds that are there but not exactly real, or real but not exactly there. For me, that's just another day at the office because it's no less "real" or "there" than this world.

As much as I'd like to work something all the way thru to the point of complete understanding, once again I'm never allowed. So I get like 3 seconds to work on each thing, then I'm on to the next because I'm bound to keeping up with the rotation of my thought pattern. Even writing this, I have to grab a piece and then wait til the thought loops around again to fetch another piece. I've been somewhat able to compensate for that by continually accelerating my mind's rotational velocity so there is less time to lose the thought between loops. It's also why I ramble so much :)

Anyway, Zeek helped me out (a lot) by sharing what he did here, so whatever I post has to be aimed at helping him in kind without derailing his thread and all the effort he put into it. I also want to avoid setting myself up as any kind of authority or guru, the fact of the matter is I'm just another dude trying to figure all this *** out while there is still time just like everyone else.

I'll probably go over there and drop a little something in to see if it'll be welcomed and if it is we can all continue to work on it together. I think Zeek got to a little sticking point with his own stuff and it was beginning to get a little amateur guru-ish so the thread seems stalled at the moment. I got stuck trying to write about this stuff about 13 years ago, I got to a certain point and realized that I was out of ammo, that I was only working with part of the intel I needed to really understand the whole thing. I knew I had to refocus on figuring things out, because I was starting to lose that leading edge that was keeping me out in front of those who were pumping out the new age books full of half baked BS.

Honestly tho, it's the best thread on this forum and imo, one of the best I've seen on any forum as far as universally valuable info goes.