Build a Human Foosball game

In recent years the “dude-that’s-awesome” factor at my extended family’s Thanksgiving get-togethers has increased 10-fold. Why? Two words: human foosball.

You may have seen this Backyard Badge recipient at a corporate event or summer festival. But as my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Art demonstrated, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing it to your own backyard.

What you’ll need

You can rent these things from party outfitters. But building them yourself is a much cooler way of doing things. You can get creative with the building materials but here are some of the basic elements you’ll need:

  • An enclosed area (the foosball pitch) – our boundaries are made of big-ass hay bales
  • 6 poles laid out width-wise across the pitch. Spacing is important. You want them close enough so opposing players can get a bit scrappy with each other with their feet. But not so close as to congest play.
  • Sleeves that fit over each of the poles. Players will hang on to these, allowing them to slide side-to-side (we used plastic piping)
  • A couple goalie nets (or just a gap at either end in the boundaries)
  • A soccer ball or reasonable facsimile
  • Having a little cousin you can bully into being your ball fetcher is helpful for whenever the ball is kicked over the boundary.
  • Beer doesn’t hurt either
  • Shin guards (if you’re a sissy)


Like the table version of the game, foosball plays like soccer with two teams trying to score on each other by kicking the ball into the net (without using your hands). The difference with foosball is that the players are restricted to moving side-to-side along their pole. In human foosball, players must keep both their hands on their pole at all times.

Each team is comprised of a goalie, three mids, and two forwards (see image below). Feel free to adjust the set-up according to your group’s size and preferences.

Set a score or time you want to play to. Or, kick it old school and end the game when it’s too dark to continue or someone gets hurt.

Human foosball: a shin-kicky good time!

The Backyard Badge celebrates creativity, imagination and finding adventure close to home. Share your own awesome experiences by visiting the Submissions Section (you’ll get a free ebook as a thank you for your submission). Or add your stories, photos and videos to the BoA Facebook Page.

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Josh is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome, where he noodles and doodles about life and the lessons learned from it. He's the author of Simply Blunderful and creator of The Overcoming Obstacles Toolkit.

32 thoughts on “Build a Human Foosball game

  1. Neil La Barge says:

    We would love to build one of these at our camp kids in Arizona. Can you tell me the inside demensions of the play area? Looks reletively simple to build. Thanks! Kind Regards, Neil

  2. Dustin Miller says:

    I seen this on line and we have to play this what a great Idea wow!
    Could I have the inside space measurements and pole spacing that would be great Thanks Dustin,

  3. Wyatt DeJong says:

    I am building one of these myself. Looking at how many bales are used and knowing that they bales are about 8 ft by 3 ft, I am planning mine having a playing area that is 40 ft. long and 14 ft. wide. That is me using 5 ft on each side of the goal with a goal that is 4 ft. wide. That also means that I will have six poles that are 7 ft. apart and the two on the ends are just 2.5 feet from the side that has the goal on it. My poles will need to be 18 ft. long. You can scale it down if you need to.

  4. Mike Evans says:

    My class wants to make one of these to give to give to our student council for use in fundraising an we’d like to make the process easier buy using recommended resources. Can anyone tell me what is being used for the poles?? What is being used for the sliders on the poles? I see from one post that the recommended poles are 18 feet long but there is no suggestion for material to be used. Sliders are not mentioned. Help please.


  5. Crissi Reid says:

    I would love to do this at our Family reunion this May. Could you please tell me how many and what size hay bales and how you secured the poles to the hay bales. Thank you 🙂

  6. Pingback: Build A Game Nick
  7. Mike says:

    An ancient wisdom indeed says that you can not play human foosball without a young cousin or someone else to bring the ball , just in case :>>>

  8. Perry Graham says:

    Providing new concept of making your birthday party more interesting and unique foosball game is the best option for it. This game allows you to kick, block and slide with your pole mates to score goals and show your pitch dominance and makes you more entertain. So have your birthday party differtent from others by providing this type of exciting game you may retal this foosball game from

  9. Tim says:

    Omg, really? I don’t think that can works like a foosball table but this is interesting, and I bet people can have so much fun , this is team game somehow.

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