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Foosball is also known as table soccer, table football or babyfoot. It is a table-top game based on soccer. Players attempt to use figures mounted on rotating bars to kick the foosball into the opponent's goal. A foosball may travel at speeds up to 35 mph in competition. The sport requires quick reflexes and fine motor control.

A winner is determined in foosball when one team scores a predetermined number of goals, say 5 or 10.

A foosball table can vary in size, but is typically about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. The table usually contains 8 rows of players, which are plastic or wooden figures mounted on horizontal metal bars. Each team of 1 or 2 human players controls 4 rows of figures.

The arrangement of foos-men is standard. Looking from left to right on one side of the table, you see:

 Row 1: Your goalie.  Usually 1 Foosman, but sometimes 3.
 Row 2: Your defense.  2 Foosmen.
 Row 3: Opponent's attack.  3 Foosmen.
 Row 4: Your midfield.  5 Foosmen.
 Row 5: Opponent's midfield.  5 Foosmen.
 Row 6: Your attack.  3 Foosmen.
 Row 7: Opponent's defense.  2 Foosmen.
 Row 8: Opponent's goalie.  Usually 1 foosman, but sometimes 3.

Foosball is often played for fun in pubs, bars, workplaces, schools and clubs, with few rules! "House rules" often include banning spinning your foosmen: your hand must maintain continuous contact with the handle.

Foosball is also played in official competitions organised by a number of national organisations. The two main table types used in official tournaments are "Italian-style" Garlando and "American-style" Tornado.

Garlando tables have ramped sides and use smaller thinner foosmen with blocky feet. This leads to an open, flowing style of play.

A Garlando style table with a game in progress

Tornado tables use bigger foosmen with wedge-shaped feet. This allows balls to be pinned to the surface of the table, before skill moves like the "snake" are executed.

Foosball strategy varies greatly. With teams of 1 human each, it is impossible for each person to control all 4 rows of foosmen simultaneously. Some players keep the left hand always on the goalie or defensemen and move the right hand among the other 3 rows. More aggressive players may take up an attack with the offense and midfield, leaving the goalie unattended.

With practice, it is possible to learn very fast "set-piece" moves, including the "snake", "pull-shot" and "tap-bang".

See also: Sport