Put the ball in your opponent's goal while keeping it out of yours by using the player rods that you push, pull and turn. The game is a race to five points.
Watch the time limits. The ball is allowed 10 seconds on your 5-man rod and 15 on both your 2- and 3-man rods.
Pay attention to what the ball is hitting on the table. The ball must hit the playing field before it can be hit by a man.
Have the team that served the last shot serve again if the ball stops where it can't be reached by a player.
Have the goalie put the ball into play if the ball stops behind a 2-man rod.
Count all legal shots that go in the goal even if they come back out on the table after the score is made.
Be careful how you shoot into the goal. A goal made from a spinning rod that has turned more than 360 degrees doesn't count.
Think about angles. If you hit the ball head-on, it will advance straight forward, but hitting different places on the ball will yield different results.
Keep your man close to the ball instead of swinging the man up high to come down hard on the ball. This is a good practice for beginners and will allow you more control of the ball.
Keep your eyes on the ball more than on the movement of your opponent's rods. This will keep you from getting too caught up in the defense of your opponent and will let you focus on your shot.
Practice the wrist flick, which is how you will make most of your shots. The movement is simple: while holding onto the rod handle, throw your wrist down hard toward the floor.
Refrain from spinning the rods – continually flipping your players over. It's not as helpful as you might think, actually contributes to more-random play, and is illegal in tournament play – as is moving the table.
Try to stop the ball when you block your opponent's shot.
Take a controlled shot after you've stopped the ball.
Avoid just bouncing a moving ball across the table. If you simply deflect the ball on defense, the ball can very easily go back into your opponent's possession.
Use your rods wisely. If you have men on two different rods lined up perfectly, you are blocking the same space twice.
Stagger your men so that you block more paths to the goal.
Watch for sloppy shots. A lot of goals are made on deflected rather than purposefully shot balls.
Try to control loose balls so that they don't get delivered right back to your opponent.