Louis Cartwright on roller practice
If you have a practice friend and some patience try setting on your roller wether rocking or however you do it at tourneys dont have any shot in mind maybe a middle and have your friend call out push pull or middle at different times this should help ya some. This should make it so you can shoot from any set without giving it away and better reaction time. This works greak for pull shots too
Dan S. on the snake
I've never done a snake in my life, but this problem can occur with any shot, or any skill for that matter. I think your problem is that your mind and body have disjoined, and the root of the problem is psychological. I have an idea, and I don't know if it will help, but since this is the holiday season, and RSTS is slow, I will throw it at you. Visualize in that head of yours, you blasting rollovers successfully. Remember how you were shooting two weeks ago. Well, see yourself shooting like that in your mind, sort of like self-hypnosis. You've been focusing on how much your shot sucks, and you've lost all your confidence. If you can shot your shot in your head, you can do it for real.
Gummeson on tells
While were on the subject of tells....I know that in my personal case I've used my own tendencies and tells against my opponent. I think I'm able to successfully do this because of how long I've been playing and the wide fluctuations of my level of skill/confidence at any given time due to lack of consistent practice. At one tournament I may be rusty or out of practice and be doing things that can tip a good goalie off and allow them to read my shot somewhat. I try to remember what goalies had success against me at these times and then use it against them at a later tournament where I was mechanicallly better or more sound and didn't have the same tells,tendencies, etc. For example I might have been "loading up" on my long either due to lack of practice or fatigue at one Tournament and then not have that issue at a different tournament. What I'll do then if I face that goalie is remember that and intentionally do the same thing before my first few longs. Then after that I can use it to my advantage the rest of the match, I might do this same tell later then go straight or on a crucial point not show this tell and go long. It could be anything from relaxing slightly right before the shot to moving the fingers on either hand slightly to dipping a shoulder before the shot. The point is I know when and what is happening at any given time so I can make a concious decision to either use it to my advantage or remember it for another time when I'm not having those same problems. There is actually alot more to this and it can only work for you if you know where the issues and problems in your game exist and can recognize when someone is "on" to them and using it agaist you. I wouldn't recommend using this as a replacement for good practice habits and consistency but it has bailed be out of situations I've gotten myself into due to my game being at a less then a steller level. The more you know about your own game, good and bad, the better off you are. Good luck to everyone at Nationals. I might just surprise a few people. Then again maybe not ;) Dave Gummeson
Gummeson on practice
Here is my 2 cents. It's important when practicing to have identified a few things before you start and have a plan for what you want to accomplish. The first thing I would do is to make an honest self assessment of your game. You can do this both by asking other people who know your strengths and weaknesses as well as using what you know about yourself. Once you've identified what you need to work on make a plan for what you realistically want to accomplish and by when. I have very limited time available to practice and get out and play to get ready for a tournament so when I do play I need to make the best possible use of that time. It's important to identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can address them in your practice plans. You want to minimize your weaknesses and maximize your strengths by working on both. If you have a great long pull and a weak inside you need to address that in your practice routine. Maybe your game is very mechanically sound but you have trouble with your timing or reading defences. If you practice by yourself 2-3 hours working on your 5-man and shots what have you done to address the timing issue? Here is a quick example: Say your not real quick from rod to rod and get beat in the transition game in singles. What would be the best way to minimize or improve this weakness? Obviously the best way would be to find a player that excells in this area and play them in singles as much as possible. I believe it's also important to maintain your strengths though so when your playing this person it doesn't mean you need to speed your game up if you have a slower style game. Use your strengths and play your style of game when playing this person in singles and your hand speed will naturally improve just by playing this person. It's adapt or lose and believe me you will get tired of losing. Especially if your a competitive person. I believe the most important part of any practice schedule is to plan it out and have the discipline to follow through. There are alot of good drills and ideas out there on how to practice and what to practice. The key is following through with those plans and to constantly re-evaluate your game and know what your strengths and weaknesses are. First you need to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then and only then can you find the most efficient way to impact those areas. Look at it this way. Envision a group of people cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They are cutting their way through the undergrowth and clearing it out. Then someone climbs a tree, surveys the situation and yells, "wrong jungle!" How does the group respond? "Shut up! we're making progress." The point is alot of foosers are to busy cutting through the undergrowth to even realize they're in the wrong jungle. Kind of a long winded explanation but it's something I read that I think really makes the point "Take the time to evaluate what your own personal needs are on the table". Then come up with your plan to address them and continously re-evaluate those needs. There is a million different practice drills and ideas out there. The important thing is finding the ones that work for you specifically and using those. Hopefully this wasn't too long winded and it helps someone. Dave Gummeson
Gummeson on Worlds 5 bar practicing
I'm sure everyone is starting to practice hard and prepare for the World Championships by now. If your not what are you waiting for? Every couple of days from now until World's I'll post a suggestion or Tip to help you maximize your practice and get the most out of your preparation time between now and the big weekend.
5 bar practice Tips: **Don't add alot of new passes right before a major. 1 or 2 new options is OK but depending on how comfortable your able to get with them you may or may not be able to use them much. Remember, you need to be able to execute all your passes any time and under pressure. Adding too many new options, even if you get them down, can have an adverse effect on your game by confusing your decision making during matches. This might sound hard to believe but you CAN clutter your mind with too many options. Remember, Simple, Simple, Simple. **Find someone to play 5 bar games with. There are several ways to do it. A point for every pass and alternate pass attempts. Or you can play make it take it. I like this second way because it gives you more incentive to make your pass and can be quite humbling if your struggling on your passing or are lazy on your defense. **Make sure to spend a set amount of time each day on each pass. Don't neglect one because you think you've got it down. That doesn't mean you shouldn't spend more time on passes you have more opportunity to improve on. It just means at least spend some time on each option each day that you practice. Your brain is a funny thing. Whatever you do the most in practice you'll probably gravitate toward in matches. **Watch yourself pass on tape. You might even want to make a video of yourself playing 5 bar matches at home so you can have the camera positioned so that you can see the table and yourself. Now watch yourself and see if you can pick up any subtle or not so subtle habits or tells. -Are you doing an inordinate amount of a certain pass? -Is your stance/grip changing for certain passes? -Are you setting certain passes up the same way each time? -Any tells in your passes that you can see? **Don't forget to practice ball control. Spend a little time passing the ball in between all the men on your 5 bar. Visualize when you would throw in cetain options as your working the ball. Also, make sure you vary the speeds as your working the ball between the men. Being able to TOSS the ball to the position you want it at the speed you want it is very critical to having an effective 5 bar. **The last thing I would suggest is for defense. This might sound crazy but set an egg timer and shake your 5 man bar hard for 2-3 minutes and break it into several sets resting between each. You'll be amazed at how hard this is and how tiring it can be. Then practice executing your passes right after your finished shaking the men. Not very easy is it? You may want to try some or all of these suggestions. They are all things I've done and have worked well for me. The important thing is to plan what it is your going to do so your not just blindly wasting time with no rhyme or reason. If your really not enjoying a particular practice sesson or are burned out here is my suggestion.Take a break or change it up because if your just going through the motions your doing yourself more harm then good and are likely to even develope bad habits that will adversely effect your game.
David Gummeson on Stick Passing
The key to the stick pass(or lane/wall) series is to:
1) Make sure the wall pass is not raceable.
2) Make sure you can set both the lane and wall passes up and work them in so they look the same.
3) Be able to work both options into your series several different ways and with different "fakes" but, don't use fakes just to use them. Any fake, hesitation, hover should have a definate purpose to it. I see alot of players just randomly use fakes and end up defeating the entire purpose by getting the defense to dive right into the hole they're passing to which brings up my next point.
4) Everybody reacts differently. Some players will dive to the lane like clock work everytime you throw a hesitation in before your wall pass. Others it freezes on the wall. Still others will not react at all. Sometimes I use fakes, hesitations, etc to see how the defender will react and, yes it is correct that you can use certain passes to set up another pass for later in a game or match. Sometimes I will work the ball on my five and observe a certain way a defender will react when I do a certain fake or a certain toss to another man. I may do this manuever 2,3 or more times during a game or match to see if they react the same each time but not use the pass I see them leaving until a crucial time in the match. Other times I might keep abusing the defense with the same pass until they start blocking it or even pass to a certain hole knowing they're probably going to block it but I'm isolating their defense by making them commit a man to it and opening up my other options. However, this last strategy is not wise if your behind and depending on who your playing. There are some players that are better at blocking and steeling 5 bar passes then others. If a particular player has trouble blocking your wall pass without it bouncing right back to you then exploit that as much as you can.
On the lane pass there are two distinctly different ways to execute this pass.
1) Drag the ball to the lane.
2) Execute the lane off a Tic Tac. In other words, let the ball seperate from the man before hitting the lane. You should be able to effectively use both styles because different players tend to have a more difficult time with one than the other. Plus they play off of one another well and are key to setting up your wall options. The most important thing to remember is to Keep It Simple! All the options, fakes, etc, might be appealing and look good but there needs to be a purpose for them. If your randomly just throwing in different fakes & options your doing nothing more than guessing and your success will be very inconsistant. The passes you use should have a natural progression. In other words: I tryed A and the defense reacted a certain way so I'll use fake, toss, pass B and see how the defense responds. So you see it's simple yet not so simple. Very hard to explain over the internet but I hope it helped someone.
Keith Erskstine on the snake
Does the shot evaporate under pressure or at all times? Music performance practice, and my personal experience, dictate that under big pressure I will only be able to perform say at about 70-80% of my potential playing at home/practice (except for those instances of finding "the zone"). To help prevent this, an extremely thorough, CONSCIOUS knowledge of every minute detail of one's technique is required. If one has developed a shot instinctively, rather than analytically, instinctive knowledge (ie, half *ssed knowledge) is the 1st thing to evaporate under pressure, and if conscious knowledge is not there to supplant it, disaster....
Go back to fundamentals - try breaking your shot into its constituent motions - practice just the lateral takeoff without a swing. practice straight shots. Then, with goalie out of the way, practice the shot pulling to the 1st dot - then to the 2nd dot - then the 3rd. Don't lengthen the takeoff until you can hit 3 consecutive shots at the precise location. Be analytical - if you can hit 3/3 on a 1 dot pull, but 1/3 on a deadman, work out the details of the long pull takeoff. If you cheat a little bit on one side of the ball does the takeoff to the far side improve?
Video yourself at home and evaluate it - it's hard to evaluate the mechanics of what one is doing when one is doing it - watching afterwards might help. When you DO get your shot back, video yourself in top form for future reference. I don't know if this is your problem or if it is mainly nerves. It sounds like you have a lot of self imposed pressure with your goal of doing well at Vegas/Worlds? Are you thinking foos ALL the time? Can you clear your mind and get the little pink ball out of your head? Tai chi or yoga can really help mental focus - it is hugely challenging to vacte one's mind and think of nothing but breathing or focus on awareness of inner muscle tension. The guy saying relax is right on. Adverse muscle tension can lead to trying to shoot hard rather than fast... I know you're probably much better at foos than me, don't take offense at my advice - its based on sports & music performance practice from my experience in other pastimes. Check out the book Inner Golf, a good reference on sports psychology. Good luck, Keith Erskine
Brian Harrington on the snake
Personally, while it's natural to assume that your roller is having issues due to mental factors I have observed two physical issues that can cause the roller, when otherwise executed identically to fall apart.
Anyway, couple things: are you initiating with your shoulder? I'm sure you don't normally, but this is something to double-check. Are you putting unusual pressure on the rod prior to execution, during the rock? This is what does it to me. I can hit unraceable ups and downs to the far corners all day long, but I start to overpressure the rod and it is fucking spray city. It's super subtle too. I've found that I have a greater tendency to do this:
1) primarily the day after a workout with weights
2) when I want to seriously crush the ball. In either case, I tighten up. Did your fall apart happen while you were playing someone you usually crush?
The other consideration is that you may have slammed into a training plateau. You've got to be prepared for this. In training, as I'm sure you know, your improvement will be cyclical. Part of this cyclical process is spending time (sometimes weeks) in a plateau phase where not only do you not feel like you're making progress, but also aspects of your game become apparently worse. This is actually a good thing. It means you are seriously training, and you are challenging your brain. Assuming the physical issues don't fully resolve the problem, then realize that you've hit a plateau and just need to work through it. Don't get pissed, just understand where you are and that by continuing to practice and play you will emerge from your plateau cycle. Usually, and this is the great thing, an emergence from the plateau is usually accompanied by a marked leap to a new, even higher skill level. I've seen this phenomenon in both myself and others. Also, make sure you're getting enough sleep. You can't hope to have the mental acuity necessary for a game of explosive precision like foosball without adequate rest.
Moreland on offensive thinking
I guess I'll chime in a comment about getting hacked out or beaten by a good 3-man. If you are getting out offensed, make sure you don't concentrate too much on defense. I get myself into these kinds of scrapes all the time. I'm playing someone that I feel I have a better or just as good offense game and, it's a very close match or I'm getting beat pretty bad. I start to think about defense way too much. I turn all my attention to the fact that I'm getting drilled and, I don't do the same to the person I'm playing. Lately, I've figured out that if I am getting a good beating on the table, if I start being a little more offensive minded, then I start to catch up. I might get myself back into the match and, the defense picks up by itself. The opposing player may continue to score on you for a while but, at least you'll be countering his goals with some of your own. If you keep yourself into the match you never know...you might start blocking him for some reason. Last Wed. I played singles vs. Chris Reyes (Pro), who might I add is shooting much better lately. He slaughtered me the first game and, I couldn't figure out how to block him. Matter of fact I don't think I blocked a shot. The second game I just started playing all offense and, I won a very close game (even though I didn't block him any). The third all of a sudden I was bricking everything he did. He couldn't score a role-over at all and, I cruised to a victory. The only reason I got back into the match is because of the second game antics (offense).
Dan Schuermeyer on blocking slop.
I might as well throw my two cents in as a Pro Goalie ( And Forward too ) . Maintain your defense until the ball gets loose. meaning its not the shot you expected , its been touched . At that point use anticipation and Get the back goalie in the corner of the side of the table where the ball is. Dive the two row toward the white line to cut off short angles if the ball gets toward the middle of the table , race and break to the ball with a side swipe with the goalie man , keeping him angled back.Most people dont get the two row and angle it back over to the line near the wall for the help defense , they depend on their back goalie man.Anticipate where you will kick the ball on your sweep saves to keep the ball in your area with 2 row after blocking and saving the slop. Its always a tough part of the game but I have an advantage over many opponents cuz I keep slop out well and hold the ball in my area well. If you can understand what I mean these are some nice tips to help block Slop. I divide the hole into halves. Divide the table at the big center dot. If the ball is going to change the side of the dot as it travels , switch your defense more heavily to that side in anticipation the ball will be on that side when it enters your goalie position . Get the back goalie in that corner angled back. If it is angled back the ball cant get behind that goalie and you are in the corner . You must cover the corner 1st. If you see the ball is angling toward the middle, Side wipe saveing the ball with a swipe of your left hand i.e. racing the ball to the middle from the corner with your left hand. I mean swipe it quickly and all the way to the other wall kepping the man angled back. keep the 2 row angled forward to dig out your save and keep the ball in your area. Sometimes you have to Side swipe save with the 2 row also again angled forward is best , that causes the ball to go slightly back as you swipe keeping it in your area . a few things to think about..... Shoe
Todd Loffredo on practice
>O Lord of the Pull, > >Do you feel you have put in more practice time, equal practice time, >or less practice time compared to other foosball players to win the >championships you have won? Can anyone with personal knowledge of >LordPull verify this?
Its not the amount of time as much as it is the quality of practice. For example. When I practice my pullshot for the worlds.. I practice with a tight grip because I know when I get under pressure that my grip will get tight just from the stress of getting amped up or nervous. Then when I am in a finals and get what I call the death grip, it doesnt feel so foriegn to me and that turns the abundant energy into comfortable speed instead of a chokey odd feel that is hard to forsee for a lot of unexperienced players..It doesnt mean that I dont choke, I do. It just moves the percentages in my favor... I also practice very hard on not giving my shot away with any movments away from the rod and that is something that very few people really work on that is the difference between giving your shot away and not giving it away... I practice new philosphys in draws to put them to the test and to get a comfort zone with them.. I practice ball control very often. As many differnt ways as I can think of.. But when I practice for the years biggest tournament, I know what I am going to do and exactly what to practice. The rest of the year is trial and error of what to throw away and what to keep for that tournament.. I think about things and question the reasoning for everything so that I can verify my beliefs in what I do and what I dont do. I dont study tapes very often. I talk to people a lot and listen. And most important of all. I watch what is working on tour and have a need inside to understand why it works and then learn it. I rarely recieve pointers anymore unfortunetly..My piers tend to stay away from telling me anything which bothers me at times but I understand it also..I do give advice to people I beat often even though they think its crud sometimes..But I try to do whats best for this game most of the time. Not always, Im not a saint... I have recieved good advice from my partners in the past and I ask shit loads of questions which I know they get sick of.... I love criticism when it is logicaly engaged. Playing hard as you can is great practice. But most people dont play against thier friends or piers with that kind of intesity. Its probably your best testing groud however..Its just hard to accept the frustrations of getting beat by a personal friend on a daily basis..But its the stuff champions are made of.. That is Tommy adkinsons best quality in my mind..He always wants to win even for fun..And it shows in his game when the pressure is on... All this and more is involved in practicing and honestly trying to improve.. The answer to your questions are not simple nor easy. Eventually with sincere hard effort it can seem easy. But that is where discipline and effort play a huge role. There are a lot of things that I know about this game that I forget consciousl y because they have become second nature and its only when I sit down and play against somone and ask them, why dont you try this? that I understand its because they cant or have never tried it.. I believe in having more than one game because I have never found one game that beats all of the people all of the time. The key is to know when to change and adjust and having a lot of depth to change to.. Much like a bench on a basketball team..When to change is still a rotating decision constantly changing as peoples games change, And most likely this will be an evolving philosophy as the game evolves. Answer Combination of many differnt things.. Hope this helps somewhat... Godbless LordPull
Radack on deadman pulls
The first thing i tell everyone that is trying to learn this is, you dont need a dead man pull. I've done quite well over the years never ever trying to hit a dead man. Sometimes by accident i'll hit one, but if you leave that man on the wall and let me shoot 20 times, if im lucky i'll hit one. One you need to practice is what i call a pinky long. Place the bumper a pinky width off the wall and practice going around that. There will always be a bigger and easier hole to hit. That being said, things can help you square the pull off better. (Because no matter how many times i tell people this, they always ignore me and try to learn to hammer deads :) First of all the ball should be further back in the set on the man. Ie the ball should not be directly under the bar when you're set up, it should be a little behind the bar. This will allow you to squeeze the ball back more. Second when you follow through on your shot your man should at least go back to the middle of the goal. You'll see alot of people rattle it back and forth after a shot, this may add a little intimidation but in reality usually just gets a jar called on you sometimes and makes the loose ball harder to grab when you miss. Lastly, remember as much time as you put in on the trhee row, put twice as much in practicing your pass. You hit more dead men if you have twice as many opportunities... Good luck, David
Radack on Zones
The way you block with your 3 and 5 man rods is to use them as a unit. In singles you need to be aware of where your goalie men are (and they should be in the same position every time once you find a position you are comfortable with) and then use the two rods to cut off the angles to the holes that you have left. No matter where you place your men back there, there will be holes that are too big for one man to block so they need to move in unison. For instance with the way i have my men set up they have a base position and i'll float a little with the three rod (you need to prevent them from passing off your back wall in singles) but when they shoot I react back to the base position i want those two rods in, as their shot develops i need to slightly adjust my men as they shoot. For instance, if they shoot a short pull shot i stay where i am, but as their shot passes short and moves out to long i move my five man about a half inch. I know its a hard to believe that you can determine where they are shooting in mid shot an adjust accordingly, but its a feel thing you will develop and a speed thing. The short stuff reaches your men sooner than the long so you start reacting as they start shooting. Its the off speed stuff that can give people problems because then the, "ok it should hit my men at short in 1/2 a second or my men at long in a second" timing issue doesn't apply and a short pull could very well be moving through your zone that you have already adjusted to cover the long pull because they hit the ball softly instead of full speed. When they set up for a push back there, my men are in a different base position, and i have to react accordingly for long pushes and push kicks. In doubles, you can look at it two ways. First like singles, where you are protecting a side of the goal by moving your men in unison. Or you can view it as using the men in unison so that hole that is left open can be viewed by your goalie so that he will know where the shot from goal is coming from (because he will see the hole also) and be able to be in the correct spot to block it. It is my experience that a combination works best. When i'm playing goal i always start in the short and react out to long. This gives the forward the freedom to agressively pursue stuffs and block passes without having to concentrate totally on making sure that the goalie doesn't score a long because he knows there's a good chance i'll block it, but it also gives him the security of knowing that i am in short so he doesn't have to change his zone completely. Basically it allows him to use a typical zone with more freedom to be agressive... Ok, I've babbled on incoherently long enough... I hope somewhere in this there is some information that you may find useful.
Archer on passing in a series
It really depends on how you put it together. There is no such thing as "too many passes" per se, because, realistically, there are a limited number of them. There are several minor variations, such as tossing speed or hesitations, but it is still the same basic pass. Anyway, as I initially said, putting it all together is the key. Many semi-pros (such as yourself) consider their five bars "the shit", but wonder why they are not as effective as the pros in passing. You have to make your passes blend well. You need to pass in series. Think of how several passes work together, instead of "just let me get this pass through". The latter style of thinking does work, but you will find more pros going with the former. This is not the easiest thing to describe, but basically, you do not want to pass with a mish mash of different passes, just because you can do them. First of all, your percentages will be lower, as it is damn near impossible to do ALL passes well ALL of the time. You will probably find that on a given night, a certain passing series will be on fire, and others will be horrible, and the inverse of that the next night. I ran through almost an entire Oklahoma state in singles doing nothing but chip passing, which I do on occasion, but never as my main series. Why? My brushing sucked that day, pure and simple. To sum this ridiculously long post up, know how to do everything on the table, but take a subset of it and make it your best. Fall back to your secondary only if it makes sense in your passing series (and by that I mean in your overall passing plan for that game), or if your main series is not getting the job done. You will see this being repeated by pros all over the place. This will increase your percentages overall, which is of course what it is all about! Whew! Mike