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5-Bar Training Routine

There's a lot of tutorials on the web on how to execute, but there's nothing on how to plan out a "series" in foosball. This is talking about the mental side of the 5 bar war, and how to create a dominating 5 row.

I also did a write up/script for the video, as I did leave out a couple really important points. And sorry...not a public speaker, so forgive the pauses and tongue tied moments! Smile

Written Tutorial:

If you want to take your 5 bar passing to the next level, you will need to develop a 5 row series. A series in foosball is a sequence of passes (or shots) that all work together. Each pass has a purpose. Each pass is playing off the previous ones.

For this tutorial, I will be using the brush series as an example.

The first thing you want to do is the back and forth set up. This is done for a few reasons:

1. It lets you read the defense. We can wait for the hole we want.

2. Tossing the ball randomly for the set up, forces you to get used to taking your time. Even if you see openings right off the bat, we want to be disciplined and not take them. The more we toss this back and forth without passing, the more we learn patience. The more we practice patience at home, the more patient we will be when the pressure is on. As we go through this tutorial, you’ll see what I mean.

3. If you’ve ever played against someone who passes or shoots on the same timing every time, you know how predictable and easy that is to block. So we want to take our time. We don’t want the defender to know when we’re passing. We want him to work for the block. We want him questioning when you will be passing. Will it be quick? Will it be later? The more we keep him guessing, the more chance he has at making a mistake…the more easily it will be to make him fall into your traps later on.

4. And most importantly, this is setting up your opponent for later down the road. This is where thinking ahead comes into play. This is where it becomes a “series.” As we progress in the video, you’ll see what I mean.

Pass 1 – Slow toss, brush up. If you make it patient, smooth and crispy, it’s going to be open, especially against players you’ve never played before. This is just your starter pass.

Pass 2 – Slow toss, bounce off the wall, brush up. This is also going to be open because you’ve already gone up once, so the defender will probably be thinking a down is next. Plus because it’s coming off the wall, it’s really natural to want to stick on the wall as a defender. And lastly, this pass is great because it’s freaking STEEP. Even if you know it might be coming, you really have to get out high in the lane, but it’s not something that’s natural to start the game.

So what have we established so far?

1. We are very patient and take our time.
2. We like the lane.

This is where the series begins to develop.

Pass 3 – Quick, high straight lane brush when it’s open. This works because we’ve just established that we like to take our time, so the defender is not really going to be buzzing around until we get to the typical brush sweet spot.

Pass 4 - Slow toss, steep brush down at the same high spot that you just did your high lane. This works because we just spent 3 passes in a row going lane, and by now, a good player would be stupid to give up another lane. He is going to make that wall nice and juicy for you. He’s practically giving you a free pass at this point just so you don’t make him look stupid with a 4th lane pass in a row.

So what have we established so far?

1. That we are very patient and take our time.
2. We are using a brush series. The stick series and brush series are completely different series, and are defended completely we’ve shown the opponent that we’re going to be using a brush series with slow hovering.

This is where our series takes the next step and starts to get fun.

Pass 5 – Hesitation fast wall pass without the slow toss set up. This is going to be huge because we’ve established that we only pass off a slow brush set up. Even when we passed high up in the lane...the toss was still slow and we went back and forth a few times. So they are going to let their guard down to wait for the brush. Let the man drag slowly with the ball, and then execute a hard wall pass. This should be unraceable, just like any other pass, but really it doesn’t need to be, because you are dictating the passes. You are in control here. You know this pass will be huge, because you’ve just spent the game teaching your opponent how to block you, but really, you’re one step ahead. Instead of waiting until 8 or 9 in the time clock, you are passing at 1 or 2. This is the part of the pass that keeps the opponent off balance.

Pass 6 – This is going back to basics, but a normal brush pass is good here. Up or down, makes no difference. Toss the ball slow, and wait for your hole. The brush series in itself is a "series". You could pass high or low, fast or slow, etc. So it’s super critical to keep with your base brushes. I’ll explain why in a sec.

Pass 7 - Second man pass to the middle man on the 3 bar if it’s open. Why does this work?

1. Because we just executed a fast wall pass recently. That pass is still in their mind.
2. Because we’ve spent the whole game passing down near the sweet spot...there is no way they will be expecting the high lane.
3. The set up for this pass is so slow, that you will have plenty of time to see if it’s going to be open.

It’s important to understand that this is an option pass. Same with the hesitation wall pass we just did. We cannot make option passes the norm. They are options because we have made them options. We have established to the opponent, basic brush passes to open up our option passes. We laid the framework for things to work. That is why they work. If you just come out of the gate using these options:

1. You have shown the defender that you are a gimmick passer, and they will start baiting you for these passes in the near future. Like, if the defender knew I liked using the hesitation wall pass a lot, he would show it to me, and bait me, and make a steal. That’s bad. We want to be in control, not them.
2. The more options you have, the more choices you have to deal with. This is NOT a good thing. When the pressure hits, you don't want to have to worry about 20 different choices to just want a small handful. Ideally, you should only be using around 6 passes total all game, and then just vary the timing of them.
3. Passing with mostly options just makes you a bad foosball player - a hit and hoper, A guesser. Option passes within a series are educated guesses. Without the series, any successful passes were just luck.

Pass 8 – Middle man hack!!! What?!?!!? Lol This hack is going to come out of nowhere, and will almost always be open. Just like the other options.

Why does this work?

1. We’ve established the slow back and forth toss, and have shown no inclination to hack. This hack starts off exactly the same as the passes.
2. Because we’ve taken our time with every set up, we KNOW this hack will be open. We have spent the entire game looking at the goalie’s defense. If it’s not there, we don’t do it. Again, because this is an educated guess, we know that chances are it will be open.

There are a couple more passes I might do in this series, but I won’t go into all of them, because they are options, and I don’t want to teach you guys options. The brush series in itself is a powerful simple series without the options. The occasional option just takes your game to the next level.

I’m trying to teach you the philosophy behind what a series is. So let’s go over the main points:

1. Every possession, we want to toss the ball a few times to set up. This teaches us patience. Lets us analyze the defense, and is the set up for all of our future passes. Without the set up, we lose control of things, and give the power to the defender. Every now and then, we can pass without the back and forth toss, but only after we've established the pattern.

2. It’s important to look back and notice that all of these passes look the EXACT SAME during the initial set up phase. If any one of your passes doesn’t look like all the others, then you need to go home and practice your ass off with crazy reps to make sure it does.

3. Options are NOT the series. I can’t stress this enough. If you watch rookies and scrubs passing, you’ll see them out of control on the 5 bar...sometimes passing well, sometimes not at all. Even if they are passing good with options, it’s still bad foosball.

4. Too many options complicates the thought process. When it's crunch time, you want very simple passes to choose between. In crunch time, the mind panics and we want to keep our series very simple. I left this part out in the video, but it's HUGE.

Hope that helps you guys understand what a “series” in foosball is. The same philosophy can be applied to the other aspects of the game, and once you start doing that, you’ll really begin to open your mind up and start winning.

"Man's way to God is with beer in hand." - some Belgium monk

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