Is Foosball a Sport? All the Nuances Explained

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Last updatedLast updated: June 17, 2021
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Foosball is played by two people, and the object of the game is to score as many points as possible. So it must be a sport, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. While all this is technically true, many people still debate over the question of is foosball a sport. The answer to this debate probably comes down to how foosball is actually played. For some, playing foosball is an activity you do every once in a while, that is fun and social and not really physically-taxing. For others, however, foosball is a sport in that they practice, work hard, learn new techniques, and even compete against other people.

What is considered sport?

First things first, let’s decide on what actually is a sport. Basically, it is a physical activity or game that is competitive. While there are many obvious sports, such as baseball and basketball, there are less obvious ones such as trampoline. There’s even a movement to include esports under the umbrella of physical sports.

Do people play it professionally?

Yes, people do play foosball professionally and there is plenty of prize money to be won. While you might only be familiar with foosball that is played in your buddy’s basement, there are actually tournaments in most major cities, in every state in the US.

Each tournament has different requirements but there is usually a chance for amateurs to enter, to see how good they really are.

If you are interested, there are plenty of online sites that have tournament information. Who knows, you might just be the next foosball star. The key is to practice on a professional, tournament-quality foosball table.

So, is foosball a sport?

Is Foosball a Sport? All the Nuances ExplainedYes, it would seem that foosball is indeed a sport. While it can’t compete with the likes of hockey on TV, it is a game that is played with the goal of beating an opponent. Foosball has a certain set of rules to follow and there are even professional tournaments you can enter and if you’re good, you can win prizes.

Is it an Olympic sport?

While the answer to this question is not yet, in the future, there may be an entirely different answer. Becoming a recognized Olympic sport takes a lot of time and effort; there are many stages to being able to compete in the Olympics.

First, a sport needs to gain Observer status. This means that a sport is regarded as a sport, according to GAISF, which overseas international sports. In 2017, foosball actually got this designation, although it’s interesting to note that in the same year pole dancing and poker were also awarded the designation.

The next step is for there to be a large enough international demand for the sport. Basically, more people need to play and watch foosball for it to be really considered in the Olympics.

So, while you won’t be able to watch foosball this year in the Olympics, there is a chance you will later in your lifetime. The best way to achieve this feat is to keep playing, as the more people engaged with foosball, the better chance it will have of entering the Olympics.

Can it help to burn calories?

Any time you expel more energy than you take in, you are burning calories. So, if you eat a healthy lunch that is followed by a rowdy game of foosball, then yes, you will burn calories.

Playing foosball requires some movement. You are using the muscles in your arms to move the players, as well as your legs to move between rods. This requires your body to work, which is the same thing as burning calories.

Now, the biggest thing to remember is that if you consume more calories than it takes to move your body, then you are not burning them. So, if you eat a bunch of potato chips and some sugary pop, and then only play a game or two of foosball, you won’t be losing any weight any time soon.

Are there foosball schools?

Yes, there are schools that teach the rules and techniques of foosball. Not only will you be able to learn the sport but you’ll receive valuable information to really increase your performance. While there are not a lot of options for foosball schools, the sport is growing in popularity and therefore more schools will start to pop up.

Some historical facts

Is Foosball a Sport? All the Nuances ExplainedFoosball has been around for quite some time. In fact, in 1921, the first patented foosball table was created, and the term officially took off. Not surprisingly, foosball capitalized on the success and popularity of soccer, as many people wanted to emulate the full-size sport, but in the comfort of their own home.

The sport of foosball became a staple in the United States in the 1970s. Just as you would be able to find pool tables in most bars, you would also be able to find foosball tables.

Around this time, the average size of a house was starting to increase, and many people now had bedrooms or rec rooms. Foosball tables were a fun addition to these spaces. There were many versions of foosball tables, some made of plastic, and some made of wood. You could find both budget and high-end foosball tables.

With the dawn of the twenty-first century, foosball was becoming more recognized as a sport. The International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) was founded in 2002. Rules and regulations were agreed upon and there was a push to have foosball included in the Olympics.

Now, many people still have foosball tables and there are even smaller, tabletop variations. Foosball continues to be a favorite way to be social and competitive at the same time.

Final thoughts

Those who regularly play foosball won’t be surprised with the idea that foosball is a sport. Afterall, they have spent countless hours practicing, analyzing the game, and learning new techniques. They have battled all their buddies, constantly working to perfect their game. While you might not see a game of foosball on TV yet, there is a chance it will become a reality in the future, and just maybe, it might become an Olympic sport. So, is foosball a sport? Most definitely!

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