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Believe it or not, foosball has been played for more than a hundred years.
Invented in Europe, the game spread to the United States. Over the years different styles of foosball evolved. The American version is fast-paced and focused on power. The European games tend to be slower with more emphasis on passing and control.
With a variety of game styles, there are also differences in equipment. And nowhere is this more obvious than with foosball balls. With many different types of foosballs, it can be difficult to know which one is most suited to your table and playing style.
So read on as we explain which foosball balls are right for you.
Cork Foosball Balls
Cork foosball balls are most usually linked with European style foosball.
Cork balls are softer than the other styles of foosball table balls. This means that they are easier to control and less likely to bounce away. They are ideal for the European style game which puts more emphasis on skill and passing.
Cork foosball balls are perfect for mastering the pin technique. This is when the ball is pinned between the man and table, stopping it dead. It allows the player to then pass or shoot with great precision.
The other benefit of cork balls is that they make much less noise that harder balls. But they are not really suited to the fast and powerful American style foosball game.
Smooth Foosball Balls
Smooth foosball balls are usually plain white and made of plastic.
The smooth surface of these foosballs makes them incredibly slippery. It means the pin technique is virtually impossible to do without the ball squirting away. Even stopping the ball is quite tricky with these hard balls. They make for a very fast game, but one that is lacking in much skill.
To make matters worse, these balls are also incredibly noisy.
Replica Foosball Balls
These balls are designed to look like the classic black and white soccer ball.
And while they may look good, these cheap balls are not usually very good to play with. They are covered in grooves and bulges to mimic the patches of a real soccer ball. This means that they do not always roll in a straight line as you would expect. This can become very frustrating.
These balls are also very noisy to play with.
Textured Foosball Balls
Textured foosballs lie somewhere between a cork foosball and a smooth foosball.
They are hard enough to play the fast-paced and powerful American style game. But they are also soft enough that they can be controlled well. This is the ball you are most likely to see when playing American style foosball.
If you are looking to play a foosball game that combines pace, power, and skill, then a textured foosball ball is the one for you.
The Right Ball Needs the Right Table
It’s no good having the perfect ball if you don’t have the perfect table.
Maybe your table is too small for your needs. Maybe it’s a little too large. Or maybe you think it plays too slowly.
If you feel that it’s time to upgrade your table, take a look at our reviews of the best foosball tables of 2018.