Whether your foosball table sits in the office, the bar or your own games room, one thing is always certain: you’re always going to end up searching around for something to use as a ball when one inevitably goes flying off the table into the corners and crannies of the space you’re in.
Over the years we’ve heard of foosball table owners using everything from ping-pong balls to dog treats as substitutes – but foosball isn’t designed for something so light (or crumbly), and if you want a good game, you’d better have the right ball for the job.
We did some research into what the “proper” foosball ball should be, according to the International Table Soccer Federation, but to our surprise we couldn’t find any mention of ball specifics in their 18-page rule book – and the British Foosball Association didn’t get us any closer either. We do carry a fair range of different balls in our store, including the ITSF’s competition balls, so it seems the best thing to do is simply give you a run-down of what’s available – we’ll let you decide which one is likely to suit your play style!
The first thing you need to do before buying a set of foosball balls is grab your table measurements. A standard-sized table, measuring either 4ft 6” or 5ft, needs a 34-35mm ball. A junior table, which only measures out to around 4ft (sometimes smaller) needs a smaller ball; aim for 31-32mm.
Most table football balls are made of solid plastic, with a rough-ish texture for extra grip and control on the table. This is what the ITSF uses in its competitions, and it’s what you’ll find on most commercial tables in bars, youth clubs and the like. It’s cheap, it’s sturdy, and it’s lightweight enough to keep the game moving quickly.
Growing in popularity are the alternative cork balls, which have a slightly rougher texture and tend to be a little heavier. These obviously provide even better control and excellent grip on the table, but most importantly, they also hugely reduce the noise – so if you’ve got a home games room and your family don’t appreciate the late night clattering around of a plastic ball, you can at least make a move towards keeping the noise down with cork!
If you want to add a cosmetic touch you’ll be glad to know that foosball balls are available is a variety of different colours – maybe you want to look out for shades that match your favourite team! Families tend to love the painted foosball balls designed to look like footballs, and of course it’s worth remembering that bright colours are easier to find when they get stuck down the back of furniture – so you may never need to hunt too hard again!