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Tech-talk: The snake

Posted by on October 18, 2011

Tech-talk: The snake

© Divyam Ruth Täschler
hits it real hard: Andreas Esterbauer

The snake

Short description

Instead of your hand, the wrist is braught to the handle when shooting the snake. The ball is already pinned down under the man in front of the rod. By moving your arm, the ball is accelerated sideways and the man is stopping at the position where the ball is supposed to be shot on goal. As soon as the ball catches up with the man, the arm is pulled upwards causing the rod and man to spin, hitting the ball. The handle is caught in the hand to stop the spinning motion.

Scoring potential

Most players already recognizes, positively or negatively, that the snake can be shot pretty fast after a relatively short time of practice. However, consistency and precision is not included in this stadium yet, which has awarded this phase the name "hammer-and-hope": Shoot anywhere as hard as you can and hope ist somehow going in. Especially this stadium has braught mischief upon the snake but we'll cover this later in "the style".
With more practice, precision and consistancy usually catch up with speed, the slight rocking motion is disguising the release moment of the shot perfectly so that at latest then, the snake is practically impossible to race for the defender. In addition, very short distances can be shot in the same brutal manner than deep ones, which gives the upcoming snake systems starting in one of the corners of the goal rather than in the middle an important advantage over the comparable pinshot-systems. Where this advantage comes from is easyly explained by the mechanics of the two shots: When shooting a snake, you don't have to strike out. This has already been done by using the wrist instead of the hand. So when you accelerate the ball, you don't have to overhaul it with the man to be able to do your strike-out motion which you have to do when shooting a pinshot. This of course needs time and space, which is the reason why most pin-shooters struggle with the very short distances. From a mere mechanical point of view, this makes the snake the most effektive shot-system of all, but what about other aspects of the game? Walking the snake can be accomplished with a little bit of practice as well, also its definitely more simple with the common grip on the handle. But dancing around in front of the goalie to create holes in the opponents defense is not neccessary with the snake, you're usually fast enough to confidently shoot into holes already existing. 10 points for scoring potential of the snake.

Two-bar performance

Well, what can I say? Who get's scored on by a snake from defense should urgently visit If anyone hasn't noticed yet, snakes are only coming STRAIGHT at your goal! You don't even have to watch out for passes in doubles. They are even harder to play than those bank-attempts some people try out get behind the enemys five-bar line. As a forward, great reliev overcomes you when you see the opposing defender bringing the wrist to the handle because it can't get more ineffective than that. Only sad 2 points for the two-bar performance of the snake.

The multitabability

In case anyone hasn't noticed yet, at the top of the ITSF-world ranking, snake shooters are stacking up and that isn't coming from nowhere. Not only is the snake an effective, easyly learnable shot, it's also simple to transfer to other tables. While you're usually struggling with a pinshot when switching to the slick, hard balls of a tornado or garlando, players from those tables usually shoot your ears off with a snake during their first visit at German tournaments. Only the bonzini, with their men of steel (OK, aluminium), is giving most players a hard time adapting to the table. Still, 9 points are awarded to the snake for its multitabability.

The style

This category separates the table-soccer world into two categories: While one group enjoys the pure brutality with which balls can be hammered into the goal, the other one condems the shot for its "not-meant-like-that" use of the handle. The latter group even created their own names like "monkey-shot" to show their resentment and of course the shot is by far too easy to learn and every idiot could shoot it anyway if he only wanted to. May it be jealousy, hurt foosball pride or really the optical concerns some players are having, fact is you're not making friends with a snake everywhere.

More malevolence is braught upon the snake player during easy pick-up games in a local bar when each opponent is sent from the table with hard snakes to the corner. At the normal bar-level, corners usually aren't guarded preventively but only by reaction. So you shouldn't hit those corners too hard, otherwise you score all the time and apart from you, nobody wants that. Only 6 points for the style.


Three-bar scoring top, the rest: flop. Mechanically the snake has reached the highest evolutionary ladder, it is hard, precise and universally applicable on every table. But therefore you have to look for other techniques for your defense and your local bar quickly, so that the snake only ends up with 6.8 points in total.

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