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Topic: 5 Bar rush Passing Advice

Author: Will Original Message Posted: May 31 2011 1:53PM

This is mostly stolen from other peoples advice, but I added in some of my own stuff too. Learning a brush pass is the easiest way to get really good at foosball quickly.

The essence of the brush pass is that you can pass either a wall pass, or lane pass from the SAME position. Your opponent will not know which pass you are attempting until too late if the pass is fast enough. The method I will describe is only the basic "near-side brush pass beginning from a 2nd-man pin." Other variations exist, but I feel this method will bring the quickest results and knowledge enough to learn the other variations .
First, you only need to lift your man back enough to just barely clear the top of the ball-- any farther and you are revealing your intentions to the opponent as well as compromising the power of your pass. If you lift the man backwards, upwards, before you hit the ball, you are not brush passing. The idea is not to “hit” the ball, it is about trying to find the right spot to squeeze the ball out between your man and the surface.
Rules: Since passing from a stationary ball is illegal, you must set the ball in motion. Since passing IMMEDIATELY w/the same man you set the ball in motion with is also illegal (like a pull-shot-pass), you must pass it (or at least touch it) with a different man. Hence, we will set the ball in motion pull-direction with the near 2nd man of the 5-bar, and pass it with the near man:
1. ***First position your 3-bar on the near wall; make this a constant habit
2. Then on your 5-bar back-pin the ball with the 2nd man from the near side, men slightly forward
3. Adjust the pin (tapping the ball and rocking it slightly) until it is about to slip out with increased pressure
4. Now roll it laterally and VERY SLOWLY toward your near man
5. The near man will then pass the ball by putting a spin on it using a "brush" motion, to be described
1. The ball is placed to the rear of the rod because this provides a better position to put spin on the ball once it is moved laterally to the passing man. It is the spin which will result in the angle in the ball's motion
2. If the ball is rolled from a really solid back pin (i.e. ball too far back) the near man will not be able to put a spin on (the back of) the ball, and will most likely only pin (the top of) the ball again, or briefly pin then squeeze out the ball unpredictably; we want to pass it, not pin it again
3. Make sure the pass to your 1st man is perfectly lateral, so that it reaches the 1st man at near the same almost-back-pin distance it started from
4. The slowness of the lateral motion is OK, because this is NOT the part of the motion which is intended to deceive your opponent; great care in setting up the ball position with this motion, and the longer time-window to choose among your impending passes are the two reasons for the slow roll to your 1st man... keep it slow
Before I describe how to pass the ball with the 1st man, here is a paragraph of comments on the pass:
Remember you want to have the option of either wall-passing or lane-passing. Ideally then, you want to start the pass exactly between the wall and the lane. So figure this area out by watching the near man's range of motion as you push and pull the rod all the way. The general center of this left-right distance is where you will begin your pass.
Important note: Here, and on the far man, is the LARGEST distance guarded by only a single man on the entire five bar; there is no 6th man beyond the wall to come to the rescue to block a wall pass-- this is why passes are done near the wall; also the near wall is more easily visible, so we begin with this version, rather than the far wall. The path of the wall pass seems simple enough; angle the ball toward the wall, and if there is enough spin the ball will hug the wall all the way down to your three-bar. But where is the lane? Pull the opponent's five-bar to your near wall. See the opposing 2nd man? He can't go any further! The ideal lane pass is just out of his reach; the only man who can block it is the 1st man, who is also busy guarding the wall pass!
Okay, now the hard part. Remember approximately where you are going to pass the ball from (between the wall and lane). This is really only approximate, since you will wait for an opening, and then hit it, and the ball will be rolling slowly while you are deciding. CENTER your near man just behind the rolling ball and follow it. If you rolled it correctly from the 2nd man's tenuous-pin, your near man should look like it is about to pin the ball; it should not be obviously far up in the air away from the ball. Since the man is centered on the ball and following it, the opponent can't tell which pass you are preparing for, since at the center you are prepared for both! How so? From here, you "brush" the ball, either in the push (aka brush-up) or pull (aka brush-down) direction. Usually a few fakes are thrown in for good measure, but let's practice without fakes for now.
What does "brush" mean? Try to "scrape", or "brush" the BACK or BACK-TOP very edge of the ball with your man as hard as you can, while applying the LEAST amount of pressure possible to the ball, but maintaining contact and DO THE BRUSH MOTION FAST. Remember to follow-through after the brush; don't stop and let your 5-rod follow through all the way to the near (brush-down) or far (brush-up) wall. I repeat: always do the the brush motion fast; don't even practice it slowly just to "get the feel of it", because you won't. The brush will result in a SPIN on the ball, which angles the ball in the direction of your brush (i.e. a brush-down pulls it toward the wall, a brush-up pushes it toward the lane).
Finally, the two most common mistakes:
• none of this will work unless at the time you brush the ball, the ball really is towards the back of the rod, i.e. just forward of the line at which you could back-pin balls securely. Really. So if you aren't getting this, try doing a brush-down to a stationary ball, and begin with trying a pinned ball. Then progressively move the ball forward and try it again; the best brush often works where many beginners think it will actually be pinned. The ball-positioning to that back position maximizes the spin resulting from the brush.
• the other common mistake is to "swing" at the ball, as if to shoot it forward; the brush motion is mostly a sideways motion with very little forward swing-- at first try to err on the side of too little swing (i.e. no swing while maintaining contact for the brush), then adjust from there; the ball will move forward if you brush it right anyhow, and any swinging at the ball, or follow-through, is done near the very end of the brush motion-- but at first, don't even try to swing as a followthrough and just try to isolate the fast brushing motion.

Author: Will Reply #1 Posted: May 31 2011 1:53PM

Once you get the hang of it, it is VERY IMPORTANT to always be aware, especially with Tornado men (with subtly angled toes), of the exact area of the toe which is intended to brush the ball; it is usually along the subtle angle of the toe-- you probably didn't even notice this shape before did you? If your pass doesn't seem to be working, concentrate on the bottom of the two surfaces of the toe on either side of this edge. (The bottom one is gridded with horizontal and vertical hatches, and the top one has only vertical hatches-- these vertical hatches on the top side help impart spin upon brushing.)
If done correctly, the brush will result in a significant spin (good), causing it to whizz away at an angle; in the case of a brush-down/wall pass, the ball will angle into the wall and hug the wall all the way to your waiting three-bar. Practice the pull-brush wall-pass first and note: the first time you do it right, YOU WILL KNOW; the ball will move in a very counter-intuitive way, seemingly disobeying the laws of foosball Physics; it will seemingly be about to bounce off the wall, but instead it will hug the wall as described all the way to your 3-bar. When this happens the first time, remember how it feels like-- and try to reproduce it. Again, always do the sideways brush motion as fast as possible, and minimize forward swing. For now you can practice this by putting the opposing 5-man about a pencil-width from your near wall; remember this is in addition to the width of the bumper, which is nearly an entire ball-width.
Notes on doing it wrong: 1) If the ball is too far back when rolling, you will pin the ball, and it may even squeeze out in an unpredictable direction, or simply stay pinned. 2) If the ball is too far forward, your brush motion is a) too transparent to the opponent and b) you will have to mostly swing at the ball and therefore the spin will only be mild resulting in a mild angle (perhaps missing the wall or lane and colliding with the opposing man) and little wall-hugging behavior.
Practical notes:
• At first, you may not find it easy to center your near man behind the rolling ball, so remember to roll the ball slowly; at first if you are intending a brush-up, you may be inadvertently positioning your man slightly to the right (near side) of the ball, giving away your intentions to the opponent, and the mirror image also applies for the brush-down (pull-brush). Once you are well-practiced, you will be able to spin the ball w/your brush in both directions from directly behind the ball, or insert a series of fakes before you brush, for example fake up-down, up-down, in rapid succession, followed by "up", or "up-down" to really pass.
• Experiment to find the best 2-man back-pin degree. The previous paragraph explains too-far-back, too-far-forward, and just-right. Again, always be aware of the brushing surface of the toe at whatever angle you choose
• To catch a wall pass, just leave your three-bar on the wall in the front-angled position. Your grip has to be not too tight, and the man has to be angled as far forward as possible (If it is too high the ball will go under it, but you want to be as close to that as possible)
• To catch a lane pass, begin with your 3-bar ON THE WALL, then move it off of the wall AS you pass; don't make a habit of leaving it in position to catch a lane-pass before you pass.
• The lane pass is more forgiving if it has less spin; you may even be able to just "swing" at it with only medium brush/spin and get away with it if the opponent is adamantly guarding the wall; this is only a crutch, and will not work in the higher levels of tournament play; still it'll serve you well at first.
• Experiment with a variety of fakes, especially doing an "up-down-up-down" motion behind the ball before you pass.
• Use your brain; figure out which pass your opponent thinks you like to do more, and execute the other pass.

Author: Darcy Reply #2 Posted: May 31 2011 2:10PM

Just to add to a 5 bar series from something someone told me a while ago:

It's ok to do the same pass twice in a row, if it's the right pass.

Author: Will Reply #3 Posted: May 31 2011 2:13PM

Its ok to do the same pass 10 times in a row, especially lane, because sometimes someone will let it through every time...

Author: Darcy Reply #4 Posted: May 31 2011 2:18PM

Thanks for elaborating Will!

BTW what are we doing tonight?

Author: Will Reply #5 Posted: May 31 2011 2:45PM

Playing foosball.

P.S. I mis-spelled the title of this thread "Rush Passing". It really is the furthest thing from that, because you really need to take your time when brush passsing.

Author: University of Foos Reply #6 Posted: Jun 8 2011 3:34PM

Good post Will.

I'll add a couple of things.

When you are brushing the ball you have two points of contact, one the table surface and one on the man. You want all the slippage to be between the ball and table and none between the ball and man. This lets you pass the ball harder making it more difficult to block. If the ball is slipping on the man, you probably have the ball too far forward. Alternatively if you start squibbing the ball it is too far back.

Catching the ball is often the difference between a semipro and a pro. This needs to be automatic if you're going to beat top players because each possession means more the better your opponent is. The downhill is pretty self explanatory, but catching the uphill is a little more difficult. I have two keys to catching an uphill.
1) The 3 row is tilted just slightly less than what it would be at when the ball is in a front pin. Preferably the ball touches the man before this position and is caressed into the pin but it is not 100% necessary.
2) Aim to catch the ball in front of the PATH of the ball with the caressing motion in the same direction as the path of the ball. This may sound obvious but simply getting in front of the ball and caressing forward can lead to dropped passes, especially if your opponent is being rough with the table.

Point 2 becomes more important as your passes get steeper.

Author: RezaREX Reply #7 Posted: Jun 8 2011 5:13PM

I can't wait to try out my new Rush Passing series.

Author: Darcy Reply #8 Posted: Jun 8 2011 9:25PM

I can't wait to try to coach you out of it.

Author: S. Edwards Reply #9 Posted: Jun 8 2011 9:31PM

I don't think you can pass any faster than you already do

Author: Cam. Reply #10 Posted: Jun 9 2011 10:12AM

Who needs a brush?

Author: Cam. Reply #11 Posted: Jun 9 2011 10:13AM

PS thank you christian and will for showing me this insanely helpful site.

Author: RezaREX Reply #12 Posted: Jun 9 2011 10:34AM

Yeah we thought we probably shouldn't keep this extremely informative and crucial information all to ourselves....Gotta share the wealth. RAZZLE DAZZLE!!!!!!

Author: RezaREX Reply #13 Posted: Jun 9 2011 10:38AM

"Once you master the angle, you can make this a very fast and vicious shot. But it won’t work all the time, once you hit your opponent with it once, they’ll start paying more attention to your 5 man abilities."

Author: Cam. Reply #14 Posted: Jun 9 2011 11:05AM

We should send them an email, maybe get them out here for a tuesday. Of course we would have to pay them. But just imagine how much they could help us in person.

Author: Darcy Reply #15 Posted: Jun 9 2011 11:50AM

That site should be called


Author: Will Reply #16 Posted: Jun 20 2011 4:14PM

Zeke Cervantes on Brush Passing, quality video for learning about passing.

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