Table football glossary

Around the table, many players use technical terms that beginners don't understand on first hearing. Although many of the words come from football, table football has its own vocabulary. Pissette, demi, gamelle or Fanny... But what do these terms actually mean? What are all these variations of the game, which are tolerated in the official rules of table football but often frowned upon in the more traditional game of table football that has been played for years in bars and cafés?


Back: The backs are the players located at the back of the team. They are the two players on the rod also called defenders.

Forward: The forwards are the 3 players located at the front of the team. These players are also called attackers. Bafiste: A person who plays table football. Jumped ball: A technique achievable thanks to the playing surface with oblique lateral bands, specific to Stella and Cornilleau table football, which consists of lifting the ball above the players. Rod: The rods are the metal bars on which the players are fixed.

Half: A player located on the central bar of the 5 players. In official rules, shots from halves are allowed and counted as a valid goal. However, they are traditionally penalized in café rules. Depending on the practice, goals scored by halves do not count or generate a +1 bonus for the next goal scored by either team. Goals from halves are never penalized if the shot is deflected by opposing halves or if the goal is scored against their own team. Golden goal: Deciding a tie between two teams by an ultimate goal.

Cabinet: The cabinet of the table football refers to the central part of the table football. It can be considered as the table football without its legs. Goal: The area where players must put the ball to score a goal.

Ashtray (cendar): An action during which the ball lands in the ashtray on the side of the goal. Achieving this very risky and lucky action counts as +3.

Score counter (abacus): The score counters located at the ends of the playing area and near the goals allow both teams to keep track of the score. The counter located on the side of its goalkeeper counts the points for its team.

Engagement: Engagement is the action of introducing the ball into the playing area at the start of a game or after a goal. If in official rules it is customary to draw lots to determine which team will have the ball at the kickoff, in café rules it is often referred to as "touch-touch". The ball is then thrown into the playing area between the halves and must bounce off the opposite side before being controlled by a player.

Fanny: To "make Fanny" or to "be Fanny" is an expression synonymous with defeat with a score of 0 or a negative score. The team that finishes the game is then "Fanny". According to customs, it is customary to pass under the cabinet of the table football or to owe a drink or a coffee.

Bowl: A bowl is an action during which the ball exits the goal after entering. The bowl can allow the team that scores it to subtract one goal from the opposing team. The team that scores a bowl can either count the bowl as a regular goal and start with a traditional kickoff.

Goalkeeper: Alone on his rod, he is the player who protects the goal from opponent's shots.

Player: The players are the figurines on the field. There are 22 players on a table football, 11 per team.

Lob: Action that consists of passing the ball over the bars or players. Traditionally, a goal scored on a lob counts +2.

Fishing: Fishing is a practice that consists of trying to retrieve the ball in the opposing goal after scoring a goal. Like a bowl, a ball fished in this way is equivalent to a -1 for the team that undergoes this action.

Pissette: Pissette is an action that consists of scoring a goal with the right forward when the opponents' defenders are in normal guard position and offer no protection on the goal. This technique, allowed in competition, is not appreciated and often not counted in café rules.

Handle: The handle corresponds to the end of the rod on which one places one's hand to play. It allows the player to move the rods and thus the players. There are different types of handles: long or flat, round, or even American.

Rakes: Action generally prohibited in café rules, the rake consists of frantically moving the rod of the halves to deflect any action by the opposing team.

Recovery: A recovery is an action during which the forwards score a goal without having previously controlled the ball. The ball can come from the back or from a rebound on the facing wood. Recoveries, allowed in official rules, are not appreciated or even prohibited (in 1-on-1 play in particular) in café rules.

Stop: Action that consists of stopping the ball by blocking it against the wall of the playing area or against the playing figure. The stop is mainly used by the goalkeeper but can also be performed by the defenders and the forwards. A stop allows you to orient the ball in a given direction and to control it.

Scissors: Action that consists of performing a movement of the player forwards similar to the opening and closing of scissors. This action allows the player to advance the ball without controlling it and to surprise the opposing team.

Slot: The slot is an action during which the ball lands in the central corridor of the goal. A goal scored in this way counts +3 or +4 depending on the regions and the customs.

Tile: A tile is an action during which the ball hits the wall of the playing area after being fired by a player. Depending on the practice, the tile can be counted as a goal or a return shot by the opponent.

Tribble: A tribble is an action that consists of quickly hitting the ball back and forth between two players of the same team. This practice, aimed at destabilizing the opposing defense, is generally well received in competition but frowned upon in café rules.

Parade: Parade is an action that consists of stopping a shot from the opponent. The parade can be made by the goalkeeper, the defenders, or even the forwards. In general, a parade is well received by the public.

Wall: The wall is a tactic that consists of grouping all the players on one side of the playing area. The wall is generally used in café rules to deflect shots from the opponent.