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Can you stop the ball in foosball?

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The ball must always be in motion on the foosball table, and it is not supposed to come to a complete stop. There are two circumstances where a ball stops on the foosball table, either a dead ball or a player has used a figure to gain control and stop the ball from moving.

Anytime the ball is on the playing table, it should be in motion unless it goes out of play. 

So, can a player stop the ball in foosball? No, the ball must remain in motion as long as the the game is in play. As a result, a shot clock is used to encourage movement so that one player does not hold onto the ball the entire time without making any moves.

If the ball is on the table, but out of reach for both players, then it is considered a dead ball, and must be served once again.

Generally, as long as the ball is on the playing table, a player should not completely stop it, and it should remain in motion until a dead ball is achieved.Answered below are frequently asked questions about stopping the ball on a foosball table, and why its important to keep the ball in motion.

What is illegal in foosball?

Foosball is a relatively simplistic game with few illegal actions. According to the rulebook, the following practices are illegal in foosball:


Someone cannot spin in foosball, meaning a person is not permitted rotate their rods over 360 degrees. The rule expects a person to have control over their handles at any point in the game. 

If someone lets their hands go to spin the rods, then a penalty is levied, and the loss of ball possession or point is forfeited is scored with a spin. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep the hands on the handle and never let them go with a spin!


In most cases, the jarring occurs if a person bangs the bumpers on the rods so aggressively into the wall. The official rules ban jarring or lifting the table. If a person tries to tilt or lift the table off the ground to their advantage or affect the gameplay, a penalty should be imposed. 

If jarring occurs, the first penalty imposed is to return the ball before jarring occurs, or the opponent may reserve the ball on their 5-bar. The second penalty, which is a bit cruel, the opponent should be given a penalty from their 3-man rod.

Exceeding the time limits

A person can only hold the ball within the allotted time limit according to the official rules of foosball. Therefore, players are not allowed to stop the ball and hold on to the possession without keeping the ball in motion or passing it to other rods.

The time limit is outlined as shown below:

  • When the ball is at the 3-man rod, they cannot exceed 15 seconds.
  • When the ball is at the 5-man rod, they cannot exceed 10 seconds. 

Committing the offense weighs losing ball possession as a penalty.


Foul language is prohibited in foosball. Committing the offense gives the opponent a penalty shot, and if it persists, the person may lose the game.


Nobody should talk when the ball is in play. The rule also indicates that it is considered a distraction if a person moves in a distractive manner away from the table. 

Gestures such as hand waving, jumping up in the air, and burping are also considered distractions. The offense can cost a player to lose ball possession or earn the opponent player a penalty from the 3-man rod.

Where do you put the ball in foosball?

There are various places a foosball can be placed during the gameplay depending on the location or type of action that is done:

  • At the start of the game, the ball is normally placed into the ball entry cup. 
  • When serving the ball, the player should place the ball inside the hole as they pin the ball against the side of the wall.
  • Players are allowed to spin the ball when serving.
  • When an opponent is awarded a penalty shot, the player should place the ball on the white dot found in front of the goal. The defense players from the other team must defend their goal in a horizontal position.
  • The ball should be placed back to its original position when jarring occurs before the action takes place.

Balls rules in foosball

  • The server is prohibited from having any hand in the playing area when the ball enters the table.
  • Nobody should touch or strike the ball in foosball until it touches the field.
  • Serving the ball directly into the goal does not count; however, the goal counts if the ball hits an offensive player before heading into the goal.
  • As long as the ball is in play, it shall remain in motion unless it hits off the table or becomes dead. If it is off the table or a dead ball is declared, the ball is reserved in the entry cup.
  • A shot counts as a point once it enters the goal. A ball still counts as a point if it bounces back out into the playing table.
  • No player can reach out into the playing arena as long as the ball is in play. 
  • A player is not allowed to spin before or after interaction with the ball.
  • Aerial balls are a part of play, and no player can catch them unless they are deadfalls off the table.
  • A person must pass the ball from their 5-bar rod to the offensive 3-bar rod within 10 seconds, and take a shot or make a backwards pass from the 3-bar rod within 15 seconds.
  • A ball can only touch the wall to a total number of two times in a row before its advancement, though it can touch the 3rd time as long as it’s a pass.
Can you stop the ball in foosball

Stopping the Ball: Conclusion 

Once the ball has been served into the gameplay, it should remain in motion until the ball flies off the table, goal is scored, dead ball occurs or timeout is called. So whenever a player commits a foul, the play stops to allow the opponent to take their awarded penalty.

Whenever the ball hits off the table or a dead ball is declared, ball is served once again through the entry cup. However, if the ball is still spinning, that’s not a dead ball.

Players are not allowed to stop the ball, so a shot clock is used to maintain movement on the table. Players are allowed to keep control of the ball for up to 10 seconds with the 5-man rod or 15 seconds with the 3-man rod before the ball must be passed or shot.

Official ball rules may vary depending on the house rule the players are using, however tournaments use guidelines derived from the rulebook. Keep the ball moving so that it doesn’t stop, and you will have nothing to worry about in terms of FairPlay and the rulebook.

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