I read with great interest your FAQ on the front pin shot. I am a player from the 70’s (then on Tournament Soccer tables) who has just discovered a foosball league. I am very rusty, you might say corroded. I am attempting to develop a front pin shot and have many questions. I will only ask a few:
1. I am trying to start off with the three fingfer grip you suggest. Does that end up in a wrist shot or an openhanded roll?
2. When I walk the ball about how long should the steps be? 1″ ? 2″ ?? and finally
3. Is there any thing special about shooting the straight?
Thank you for any help you can give me…………..John
Nice to meet another front pin aficionado.
As to your questions:
1) The 3 finger grip is used with a wrist shot, not a palm roll (I think a 4 finger grip would be better if you want to use a palm roll). However, don’t get hung up on the grip – try a few different grips and use what’s most comfortable for you. Besides the number of fingers, experiment with how far along your hand you hold the handle (e.g., handle back in the palm next to the thumb like I like, or mostly in the fingers and just barely in the palm, etc.). Also, you can hold the handle in different places – on the outer end so that you little finger is basically hanging off the end, on the inner end so that your index finger is about hanging off the inner end and onto the bar, in the middle of the handle, etc. Also, experiment with the closed hand (wrist shot) and palm roll (whichever style you want to shoot will affect your grip selection options).
2) Walking the ball around can be done 2 ways: 1) with lots of very tiny steps (moving the ball about 1/4 inch on each step – it looks like you’re “floating” the ball under your man); or 2) fewer but larger steps (moving the ball about an inch on each step, which looks like you’re walking the ball around. Either is fine. I prefer the smaller step method because it kind of hypnotizes your opponent into watching the ball float, and when you do a fake/change or direction its sudenly larger movement is more fakey. However, I’ve found it hard to do the small step method on Tornado, so I use the larger step method when I play on that. Of course, you can throw in a “large” 2-3 or more inch step as part of a “stun” fake. Also, especially with the small step floating method, remember to keep “stepping” on the ball even when you’re not moving the ball anywhere (this stepping keeps the defense mesmorized, and also helps to hide your shot takeoff if you decide to shoot from the ball “stopped”, since the shot motion looks like its just another “step”).
However, please keep in mind that its mainly the width of your FAKES (changes of direction) that is important – a good effective fake should be at least 2 inches wide. Note: this is very difficult to do on a Tornado (at least fast enough that it can’t just be raced by a good goalie) without having the ball slip out from under your man – which is why its hard to do a front pin series on Tornado effectively. Its easy to do a fast fake like that, up to the length of the goal (8 inches) if desired, on French style tables.
3) The best way to shoot the straight is not to do a spin/flip over, but rather just lift your man off the ball a little, move it left or right so you can swing it backwards (like you would a normal shot’s backswing), then move the man behind the ball and swing forward with a wrist shot. Using this motion allows you to hit the ball as hard as you can a normal shot (which isn’t possible with the flip over straight since you have to flip slow enough that you can stop the flip before it spins illegally). I also feel you can be more accurate that way (hitting it straight or cutting it if you want). In addition, taking the man to one side of the ball is the same motion you’d use to do a pin push or pull, and might make you opponent think you’re doing one of those shots,leaving you an even bigger straight hole. Not sure if I’ve answered the question you asked about how to do a straight – if not let me know.
Let me know if you have any more questions, or if I wasn’t clear (its a lot easier to demonstrate this type stuff on a table than it is to type it). Also, I don’t know where you live, but try to come to a Bonzini USA tournament if you get a chance – the best way to learn is to see it in person. Good luck with your shot – its a lot of fun to do :-).