Geoff Brice Newsletter discussion

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Geoff Brice Newsletter discussion

Post by Messiah » Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:13 pm

This thread will contain the discussion on Geoff Brice's article in the August newsletter, and is locked until then. It is a fascinating read, and will provoke a lot of response!

The newsletter is available at:
Last edited by Messiah on Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Still going....

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Post by El Capitan » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:59 pm

Another great job Dan, and I expect it to be the longest issue for quite some time!

Geoff's article could surely only ever be topped by one or two people - I wonder if they will ever get their say?

I managed to force mr Brice out of semi-retirement at the famous "Walsall-Egg" tournament and it was a pleasure.

I feel as a committee member I should respond briefly:

I don't mind any comments against me - yes I was personally bored by the "ban the snake" discussions, but that's my choice. I am not always a spokesperson for the BFA! IMHO if it's legal with the ITSF, the BFA has little choice on the matter.

I don't fully understand the whole Reading fiasco, and wasn't involved at the time, but I cannot believe the BFA would have intentionally hurt or decieved Geoff.

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Post by Teeb » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:31 pm

Fantastic newsletter Dan.


*Goes to practice his pin-shot*

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Post by The Doctor » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:42 pm

Fascinating article.

I agree with Geoff in that I think that succeeding Garlando models have become generally harder to play on, with the exception of enabling a small number of largely tedious (snake, brush) or very difficult (walking pin) techniques.

I certainly remember pull and push shots being easier to execute on telescopic blocky tables, because of the shape of the feet and the lightness of the rods. It was also easier to play fluidly and for long periods of time on these tables.

In more recent times, snakes, pins and brushes were easier to do with the lighter rods of the 2004 WC Garlando than with the current model (granted, they were less likely to go in, because of the low crossbar!  :lol:)

Regarding the snake, Jody, Chris H and I talked to a couple of Tulln bar players (one of whom helps out each year at the venue) and were told that
snakes are banned in Austrian pub play. The shot is still used in tournaments, but competitors practise it in their own time.

If the BFA wants to let the game grow, then the views of the casual enthusiast should trump those of international players in most cases, as they outnumber us. The BFA could run a two tier system, with:

a) more accessible telescopic blocky/pinny tables for the grass roots and the majority of tournaments, snake banned

b) ITSF tables for a series of tournaments that exist solely for preparation for international competition, with snake allowed

This would create a larger pool of potential pros than is currently being created, with the best from tier a) expected to wish to graduate to b) and sell their soul to the snake, as I have done. :twisted:
Last edited by The Doctor on Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by davez » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:44 pm


A superb and gutsy job. Brilliant.

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Post by Christopher Lyall » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:48 pm

Things I've learnt from Geoff's interview:

1) Not to snake around people that aren't comfortable with it.
2) That Geoff is a legend.
3) That if I ever run a tournament the only events will be:

Sat: OD Groups of 10 race to 9, DE afterwards
      No-Snake Super-Melée in evening
Sun: OS Groups of 10 race to 9, DE afterwards

4) That my school was used as an experiment  :shock:
5) That together Simon and I are just about solely responsible for the massive decline of foos in my school. Soz Geoff...
6) What a state UK pubs are in.
7) That Geoff was a bobsledder (?!?!?!!!!!!!???!).
8 ) I should start practicing other shots more.

I still enjoy both parts of the snake shot greatly though - shooting it and defending it. For me, lacking a significant 5, it's a gateway to the psychological aspect of the game, which I enjoy.

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Post by fool_on_the_hill » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:15 pm

Wow. I don't have time to read all the posts on britfoos these days, but I just read Geoff's entire article. Anyone who has any interest in the future (or indeed the history) of foos cannot afford not to read it in full.

I've never had any particular dislike for the snake. Although I've never played it myself (because I find it boring) I've certainly benefited from it in doubles! I also enjoy defending the snake (but must admit that I think I have more fun in games based on the non-snaking, more 'traditional' style of play), although Jon rightly points out that it's completely different to defending other shots, and I was completely useless at for a very long time until I cottoned on to this difference. I think I have the benefit of learning against attackers who were also new to the snake. Had I arrived at Warwick to face today's fully-qualified snakers I might well have had a different opinion.

It's difficult to see a way out of this that everyone could agree on. Jon has identified how international development of the game and the grassroots development seem to be pulling in different directions. I think we can assume we're not going to get other countries to ban the snake, which in turn means we could not possibly ban it here without depriving our players of valuable experience to compete in international competitions. There is therefore inevitably a point at which people will meet the snake. If a person's first national tournament is too early and the Garlando Worlds are too late, we need to find a middleground.

If we're never going to stop people from eventually meeting the snake, let's at least not have them never meeting snakers. This kind of segragation is what's going to kill foosball, and something has gone very wrong at some point for Geoff to be put in the position where he feels that this is his only option.

I personally would find it an interesting experiment if tournaments like Warwick/Holywell (that usually have a day for open events and a day for ranked events) were to ban the snake in the ranked events. It would allow the Open events to keep their prestigous ITSF status while making the ranked events more accessible and - in my opinion (but also I think the opinion of many others) - more fun. It may also alleviate the boredom that I've heard some Pros/PMs complain of due to the Master's events often playing out in almost exactly the same way as the latter rounds of the Opens. It seems to me entirely positive to reward players for their diversity as well as their proficiency at a single style of play.

I don't think this will solve everything, but I strongly believe that if we're to find any kind of solution it has to begin with getting snakers and non-snakers together in the same room. It's ridiculous that our tournaments are totally unappealing to a huge majority of Geoff's hundreds (thousands?) of young, talented and enthusiastic players. Something is wrong if after four years attending (and often running) many the largest tournaments all over the country, I've never met Geoff himself, who's clearly one of the people most dedicated to table football in the UK.

Get these two camps together: In the same room, at the same tournament, and we'll work from there.
Last edited by fool_on_the_hill on Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by The Doctor » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:33 pm

fool_on_the_hill wrote:I think we can assume we're not going to get other countries to ban the snake, which in turn means we could not possibly ban it here without depriving our players of valuable experience to compete in international competitions.
This is assuming that achieving marginally better results in international competitions for the benefit of a select few is more important than the benefits of tapping into a very large pool of young enthusiasts and giving them the opportunity to have fun playing the type of foosball that they enjoy.

Bear in mind that the 'prestige' of success in ITSF tournaments is, for the vast majority of Geoff's crowd, not enough of a carrot to force them to adapt their play. Surely this should tell us something.

Imagine that the BFA were to ban snake shots in all UK competition. The current group of regular international players would still practise specifically for competition abroad and ensure decent placings. Meanwhile, back in the UK, we might find that we have a solution to dwindling tournament attendances.

Why not run a Brice-style experiment and have the BFA sanction and jointly organise, with Geoff's guidance, a 'no snake' tour that would run in parallel with the usual events? It would be a kind of healthy organic, local-foosing alternative to the homogenised international produce that we normally have to swallow.

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Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:11 pm

This was incredibly interesting. I could go on so many points in the piece.
However, if you're reading this then you've just spent a lot of time reading Geoff's extremely interesting and well written piece and most likely other people's points above - so I wont bore anyone with my jumbled ramblings  :lol:.

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Post by Mogwai » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:45 pm

I am now 45 minutes late for bed, going to be knackered tomorrow but what a fascinating read. Gonna take a while to digest this I hope to have some response soon.

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Post by Mike A » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:54 pm

Great article Geoff. You raise a lot of interesting points and provide some real evidence (something we have been lacking for a long time).

I think that if by banning the snake you make the game far more attactive to new players, then maybe it is something to be seriously considered, personally I had a lot of fun at Geoff's no snake tournament and would happily attend more.

I agree with Andrei, the UK player base should be the first consideration, the international scene doesn't have anywhere near the same importance. I would be fascinated to see how many people a no snake tour (promoted through Geoff's venues) could eventually attract over a period of a few years.

Personally I like the snake, but if we can get higher tournament participation and greater UK interest through getting rid of it, then in my mind there is little argument, even if the standard of play (in international terms) in the UK goes down as a result.

Putting this into local context I remember a couple of new faces down the Crown pub in Keynsham a week or two ago. They had a go at the expert challenge against a couple of experienced players. They were duly trounced. After a few games I heard one of them comment 'there is just no point even playing against these guys' and they promtly went off to play darts. I don't know if the snake was to blame for this or whether it was because they were simply given no chance, but it is clear that trouncing new comers is not the way to encourage participation. I think that the snake more than any other shot creates the feeling in a new player of having no chance, and this is bad.

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Post by CannonBallGuy » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:32 am

Excellent newsletter.
I would also like to say a big personal thank you to Mr Brice for introducing me to foos by putting two tables into Howells College in Cardiff.

I'm sorry to report however, that as far as I am aware, I'm the only one still interested. We did tend to have a queue to use the tables and they were almost in constant use during breaks, lunch, free periods, etc. But I don't know of anyone else from the college who still plays today.

You certainly got me hooked though (got myself a pinny-feet, through-rod garlando last week - sorry!!) and I hope I'll have the chance to meet you again when I attend an event in the future.

And also, a big applause for speaking out and saying what needed to be said - not so much about the snake as I have no opinion on it having not played against it and only just started trying to play it myself (much much harder to pick up than push/pull shots/kicks - I can't stand trying to practice the snake for more than about 10 minutes a day before I just start hammering the balls home with other shots) - but about how foosball is dying and something must be done to save it.

I can confirm, as a university student, that the foosball scene is nearly non-existent. Before I purchased my own table, I had to travel over an hour by car (clearly much longer by public transport) to get to a foosball table that I could play on as obviously while Mr Brice is still running tables in sixth-forms, I can't just wander in to those to play a game.

Oh and to address the snake issue, and in response to Mike's post above, I can clearly imagine that if any players at my sixth form had started to play the snake, they quickly would have scared everyone else off and there would have certainly been a segregation between the few "snakers" and all the other "non-snakers" as Mr Brice described in one o his examples. I'm certainly glad no such thing happened as if it had I most probably would have lost a lot of interest in the sport.

Anyway, I'll stop here so as to not out-do Mr Brice.
Thanks once again.

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Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:16 am

Ok, I'll add a little something now just because there seems to be a little trend forming where people in collages stop playing because some can snake.
I attended a 6th form with one of Geoff's tables in it and I hadn't even heard of a snake shot until Liverpool 07. However, me and my friends killed off any interest in the table, from other people, by the 2nd year - simply because we could beat everyone. This was just doing push/pull shots/kicks etc. In hindsight I don't feel great about what we did.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make that n00bs will often give up when they play people much better than them, who have little or no consideration for that fact, no matter what shots they use.

I might as well make a second point now. Personally I don't have a great deal of sympathy for those who come away from TOURNAMENTS so annoyed with the snake that they would not attend another. I know it's incredibly hard for a n00b to face a snake shot (at my 1st tournament, in my 1st game, I played some foreign guy who scored 10 snakes in 10 attempts very quickly. I point out him being foreign as most English speaking players would point out to a n00b after a game what they should roughly be doing, something which is common courtesy among the thoroughly decent people at tournaments  - something which the language barrier prevented him from doing).
I earlier put 'tournaments' in capitals to emphasis it, as ranking tournaments are about winning, not about fun games. In my early days (and still now, obv) a few people beat me on 5 hacking alone - to me this was much more boring and frustrating than snaking - but it's all part of winning.
I understand and agree with many of Geoff's points, however I feel the place for many of the 'anti-snaking' ones are for social play and non-ranking tournaments - those aspects of the game which are meant to be fun!

I genuinely hate to say it, as I know it must have been a huge disappointment at the time, but Geoff's last no-snake tournament had a terrible turnout for 1st time students. To my memory it was just me and 2 friends, and Chris Hutton + 2 friends. I make this point as it shows that even given everything 'they' want - no snaking and free entry! - motivation for tournaments is just not there with so many people. Thus you cannot blame the snake (well not to the degree which Geoff had maybe made out by my interpretation) for a poor conversion rate between social play and tournament attendance.

If there were to be any more no-snake tournaments then I'd attend just cause I love foos, even though my game would be ruined, as the snake is pretty much my only effective shot.

Sorry if that was a big long winded - I know there's a lot more i could say though! - but they are points I felt I should say. I welcome any feedback/counter-arguments people may have as this whole topic does interest me.

Cheers, Joe.

P.S - Geoff is the reason why I got into foos, which is now something that I just love. Me and my friends which did used to play still see him as a cult hero. So much so that I'm actually feeling an internal conflict of interests posting what I just have  :lol: . Anyway, Geoff, if you read this  - then I'd always like to have a chat about all this with you if I ever see you in the Barrels, and if it wouldn't bore you to death covering old ground......

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Post by The Doctor » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:47 am

CannonBallGuy wrote: I can confirm, as a university student, that the foosball scene is nearly non-existent.
As Geoff says, the largest player base is in schools and six form colleges. What the BFA perhaps should be working on is ensuring that every university has a table in decent nick, ready to greet keen players once they set foot on campus.

With basic, well-maintained, equipment that meets the approval of new students and the occasional nudge in the right direction, these players might be relied upon to develop the game of their own accord.

Could we have some kind of action plan drawn up for this? Objective: have table-football societies running in 50 universities by 2010?

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Post by Jonathan may » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:36 am

1. The game very nearly lost me after Reading 2002. I turned up used to blocky telescopic having never seen a snake. I had a great pull shot on a blocky table. It didn't work with pinny men/through rods (heavier rods, narrower men, and I wasn't able to adapt). I think I won 1 game, getting destroyed by anyone with a snake. I remember being very frustrated playing Paddy Grover, who I could actually compete with except on the 3-bar, where he just shot snake after snake...

2. However, I am very competitive, and I quickly discovered that this style of play was very easy to replicate. I came back the next year (Reading 2003) and did very well, I think 2nd in SPS, 3rd in OD, top 3 in a few other events.

BUT, here's what I think we're missing in this discussion. Not whether the snake is worse than any other shot, or whether it alone puts people off, or  whether it's a spin, or even whether it's gay.

When you consider whether or not the snake should be part of the game, you should look at what benefits it brings to the game, and at what cost. The costs are well documented. Even if you dispute some of what Geoff says, how many snake-pros will shoot a snake in a match against novices? Or in a match back in your University bar? I try to avoid it as much as possible... because we KNOW it's boring, and we KNOW it puts people off!

(Aside: when I don't shoot snake, I shoot pull kicks, pull shots, push shots, dinks, various trick shots and brushes. When I shoot a long hard square fast pull shot, it gets looks of awe. "How do I do that??", "How do I defend that??", "Now THAT is how you shoot a pullshot!!", "Teach me!" When I shoot a long hard square fast snake shot, it gets looks of frustration and boredom. Two in a row, and you might lose your opposition...)

I am very competitive, and I quickly realised I could only compete with the new heavier rods and pinny men by shooting the snake. (Incidentally, some of you may remember an Oxford tournament where I mainly shot pullshot, I was attempting to reinvent my game a bit, but I quickly discovered that my wrist was struggling with shooting pullshot for three days solid...). I had shots before the snake, and I'd happily return to my game and alter it if necessary. So would all of our top players! Most of them turned up at Geoff's no-snake event, and it was enormously fun.

When assessing whether to keep the snake, we have to ask: what does the snake BRING to the game? Why do we need it? There is a lot of evidence that it is detrimental to the game. What evidence is there that it is beneficial in any way?

To me, it's fairly clear that its costs outweigh the benefits. If tomorrow ITSF said they'd ban it, how many of us would stop playing? Anyone? Would anyone really care? Would anyone be sad to see it go? I seriously doubt it. Even those of us who like to win, and have based our game around the snake, we'd adapt!

Coming now to criticism of Geoff's argument. Sarah, since Geoff's unlikely to read the board (assuming you've read this far into one of my posts, LOL), feel free to pass them on. I'm not convinced Geoff has dealt adequately with the fact that this argument could, in theory, be applied to many different shots. The question is why has it NOT?

To me, the answer is simple: the snake shot has the ultimate combination of being:

1. Extremely simple to get to a point where you can shoot three unraceable holes.
2. Extremely unnatural to block for someone who has traditionally employed a race defence (most novice players).

In short, it's TOO EASY to get this shot to a point where you can score consistently on a novice. It's TOO HARD for a novice to adapt their defence. Take any other shot - how easy is it to learn an unraceable long square pullshot (seriously hard)? What about a decent pin-shot (who can shoot the long push pin consistently? In the UK it's only a few, even in the Garlando Worlds most Europeans struggle!)? What about pull-kicks? Extremely hard to learn a fast pull-kick with enough options to keep your opponents guessing...

I've come up against only two examples of shots that engendered the same frustration as the snake:

1. When Dave Morgan first came to Cambridge for a Varsity match, he shot very long hard one-way (pull) front-pins on blocky telescopic. Most Cambridge players had never seen this and got extremely frustrated. But when I pointed out that he had very little control, could only really go long, so if you pretty much sat on the long with the 2-bar and raced shorts with the goalie, you had a good shot at saving it. Instantly people started to enjoy it again... (after we'd lost the match!)
2. Most people when first playing against a good pull-kick. It is too fast, particularly when there are no tells, to race. Most people found the first time they played Martyn (or one of the Irish guys, Vinnie?) on Tornado, that they had no chance. Long long long repeatedly. But once you tell them to try something a bit different to what they do against their mates (don't race long, sit on long and race dinks/shorts), they start to get a feel. Then they pick up racing long with the far man on the 2-bar (risky, but it feels good!).

In short, in about 5 seconds, you can teach someone how to get a hold on these shots.

The same is simply not true for the snake. Try a shuffle. What's a shuffle? Try a slow defence. Try a bait defence. Try to pick up their timing. Any tells? Are they rocking evenly? Is there a twitch in the motion? Do they cheat on the ball? Do they reverse-cheat on the ball? Etc... etc... yawn. Step 1: teach someone what you are even talking about. Step 2: show them it. Step 3: watch them do it not quite right and still get drilled.

At the Garlando Worlds I had the pleasure of playing against Tim Ludwig and blocking his pull-shot. Make no mistake, he shot very well, he has a great pull-shot. But I noticed that despite it being one of the strongest pull-shots on Garlando in the World, you can race it (well, I didn't strictly notice this, I was advised it might be possible ;-)).

So even a novice would not be disappointed if they raced a few in a match. And they might get twitch-straighted a few times, but then they KNOW it was their fault! No problem....

I would 100% support banning the snake in ranked events. I think you would increase turnout, pull some people back to the game, and hopefully open up to new people. I don't think you would lose anyone, so long as you gave sufficient notice that from e.g. 2009 at all BFA tournaments, all ranked events will be snake-free.

The biggest disappointment for me was that Geoff tried ONCE to run a tournament with no snake. We can dig out all of the old posts if necessary, but I'm pretty sure there were millions of reasons why the turnout wasn't great. I remember posting many myself. It was not enough of an experiment to draw any conclusion! I think I had more fun at that event than at almost any other... and most of you will know me as a snake-only shooter! The feedback from that event was great.

My proposal (cf Harry): For Opens we use ITSF rules. For everything else, we ban the snake, and permit aerials.
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Post by robmoss2k » Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:37 am

Fascinating. But this argument got very complex, very quickly, and I think it needs a little reduction.
  • 1.When you can shoot something your opponent doesn't understand, your opponent will get bored.
    2. When you play on a table on which you can't shoot, you will get bored.
    3. Things that don't involve one-way-per-man lateral motion during a shot are "dirty" to the average novice.
    4. Stiff rods take power away from shots hit by wrist/palm-roll shooters and thus encourage rollover shots, because they're easier to hit hard.
    5. People hate losing all the time.
Through-rod, pinny-foot tables encourage all of the above to happen "to" a novice. There's no argument about that. You can try to argue with that if you like, but I'll laugh in your face and call you a retard, because we both know I'm right.

If you want to keep the nice shiny WC-spec tables but not scare off the novices, then you at least have to ban the snake.

If you don't mind using block-foot telescopic tables and don't want to scare off the novices, then it would help to ban the snake, but it's not the be-all and the end-all as it's harder to shoot and considerably less effective.

If you want to actively encourage novices, you need block-foot telescopic tables with no snakes.

And just to clarify, when I say "novice", I don't mean someone who's crap, I mean someone who hasn't played competitively before. And if you want to keep your beloved competitions that have somehow started to seemingly cost about £500 to put on when we used to do them almost for free, you need more people turning up.

Do I think we should ban the snake? In ranked events, definitely. And from a personal point of view, in the Opens as well. Allowing the snake hurts the snakers too when they go to the world championships - their game becomes hopelessly one-dimensional and as soon as they get bricked they have no other shot to drill someone with. I know my results weren't great but I haven't played truly seriously for 4 years now, I know I'm crap and I don't mind. My game now purely consists of a set of labour-saving shortcuts. These people could actually be good.

I've personally learned a snake mostly out of necessity but I hate it. Trivial to defend when done improperly, so many good players gone to waste through learning a shot they don't understand. I like hitting raceable shots and being clever with them as it's much more fun (as anyone who was watching my dinks and straights at the worlds will attest) but sometimes you just have to win. The only reason I've started getting reasonable results in tournaments again recently is because I've started putting a non-zero amount of effort in and have suddenly realised that there's only about 5 or 6 players out there in the UK scene whose snakes I can't pretty much brick.

The rest of you, I hate to say it, but... your snake is crap. Learn something else as your main shot if you want to do well. And if that's not encouragement enough, let's at least ban it in the ranked events to force you all to learn something different, even if it's a bloody hack!

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Post by Steviola » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:00 am

I think Andrei has pretty much nailed what needs to be done in his first post, that being:
A R-G wrote:If the BFA wants to let the game grow, then the views of the casual enthusiast should trump those of international players in most cases, as they outnumber us. The BFA could run a two tier system, with:

a) more accessible telescopic blocky/pinny tables for the grass roots and the majority of tournaments, snake banned

b) ITSF tables for a series of tournaments that exist solely for preparation for international competition, with snake allowed

This would create a larger pool of potential pros than is currently being created, with the best from tier a) expected to wish to graduate to b) and sell their soul to the snake, as I have done.
Surely this is the best way forward? The majority of tournaments would be no snake, the only exceptions being the ITSF tournaments. I know even some of our top players are getting extremely bored of the UK scene at the moment because of playing the same players with the same shots tournament after tournament. Having no snake tournaments as standard should help freshen things up at the top end whilst making the game more approachable and watchable to your new player.

Regarding Jon's article in the newsletter, referring specifically to his point about this "bridge scenario" and which way we should go - the ITSF way or the pub player way, personally I believe we can do both simultaneously, firstly by initialising Andrei's suggestion for tournaments and taking it from there. The biggest issue I have always had with the BFA in the 4 years I have known the organisation is that seemingly little effort is made in growing the game at a grass roots level. Over the past 2 years we seem to have made decent strides to become a more professional and international outfit (although we are well away from attaining the desired outcome yet) but very little if anything has been achieved at the basic level, and I think this is mainly down to 2 points:

1) No one knows how to go about sorting it out
2) It seems like such a mammoth task (partly because of 1)) that it is rarely taken on by someone.

To make the point even further, I personally volunteered to take charge of the "Youth and Grass Roots Development" forum on this website and had planned to set about reorganising the structure and gathering information and volunteers to see where we could go from. I planned to start this at the beginning of June, but for a number of reasons I have been unable and unwilling to do so. It is now a whole 2 months since I planned to start this yet not one person from the committee has once queried why nothing has been done!

The point: Growing the game at a grass roots level is not considered by the BFA to be a serious priority, or even if it is in their minds it is not shown by their actions, probably due to points 1) and 2) above. In my opinion it should be THE ONLY PRIORITY!

Perhaps with Geoff's help, expertise and vast experience, along with many others who are still active members today, we can work together to help save the game in this country.

Has anyone objected to banning the snake yet?

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Post by leaks » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:06 pm

Hmm, Im still reading the article but Ill chip in a comment here on what's been said so far. I don't object to banning the snake for some tournaments if people feel so strongly about it - but do you all really think that is going to help that much? Understood, caning a n00b with a tournament quality snake shot in their local pub is gonna make them hate the game, but you could say the same of most shots. Probably only tictacs and flare stuff would impress them and make them want to continue playing once they've been thrashed by a top player, because that's the stuff that looks cool and is fun to play. I don't think the snake is the root of the problem here - in fact when I first got beaten (badly!) by a snake shooter at a tournament, I loved the shot and that's why I started to practise it. I know there are a lot of snake haters out there, but it's a legal shot and we have to live with it - do we really want to coddle new players from the shot by banning it in all non-Open events, then see them get thrashed by it in the Opens and at ITSF events because they have no experience?

I would also say that it's quite possible that pub players used to blocky foot dont like pinny foot through rod tables simply because they arn't used to it, not because it is harder for them to play on or less fun or a worse table. A pub player who thinks they're pretty handy on blocky foot gets onto a pinny table and suddenly can't play as well as normal and get beat by players they think arn't as good as them. They're not committed or interested enough to adapt their game, so they dismiss the table and return to blocky. In this scenario it's really not a surprise that the blocky foot tables get more attention in venues where a pinny foot table is added when there was only blocky previously. The question is, when is there a good time for people to transition from one type to the other? If we keep grass roots/pub tables as blocky foot, it just means we're saving the point where players realise their skills don't transfer so well to pinny feet tables to the day they enter their first tournament! What do you think will happen at that point? It's the same mentality again, they will probably dismiss the table and tournaments. I feel like the only way to really solve this is get more pinny tables into pubs/grass roots venues, but from the sounds of things this is a pain for the table operators from a maintenance perspective. Im not sure what the best solution to this problem is... get them all playing Tornado? ;)

Anyway, those were the things that popped into my head so far - Ill keep reading the article...

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The Mongoose
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Post by The Mongoose » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:58 pm

Many thanks to those who took the time to read and respond to my piece. Also, a huge thanks to Dan for giving me the opportunity to air my views.

Yes, I am now up to speed on these computer thingies and will respond to all replies. I apologise for being unable to do so after my 2006 post, but the missus did all the technical stuff then and after posting the piece was in no mood to help me with the replies.

Firstly, I thought Dan’s comments on my piece were overly harsh, believing that I had been unfair, rude, and guilty of singling out people in a way which may offend (sorry I can’t do that fancy stuff where you can itemise other’s comments in a little box).

There were two people named, so lets examine each case. Presumably, as they have been already named no further offence need be assumed.

John Worthington had already put himself firmly in the frame with his reply to my 2006 post. I simply repeated his comments and indicated how mortified I was with them. Therefore he was in no way “named and shamed.”.

I named Stephen Lyall because his was an example of an opinion  which I have found to be virtually universal amongst snakers. In addition, one of the most frustrating elements of writing my piece was I knew  that most of its readers would be snakers, and there would be very few who eschew the shot left in the game at the top levels to join me on the ramparts. It was therefore evident to me that most readers would entirely identify with Stephen’s comments and I fail to see where any offence could be given.

More to the point, I hope it was noticed that I did not reveal the names of any of the BFA  committee members who have caused me so much grief over the years. Now they richly deserve to be “named and shamed” but I refrained from doing so. In addition, I would like to emphasise that the examples I gave of where I feel the BFA have not acted in the best interests of the game were restricted to those where current BFA committee members were involved.

I must also comment on Boris’s reply because it contains some glaring inaccuracies. He stated that “My biggest problem with Geoff is his failure to encourage competitions at youth level…” This is an absolutely outrageous statement and breathtaking untrue. I would remind Boris of my 2006 piece where I wrote “In 2005 I hosted 44 competitions that were attended by 2638 students, 368 of which were females.  It seemed to me that my money was better spent this way than further enriching Rob Atha.”

This is still my policy and although I do not have the exact figures to hand for 2006 and 2007 the numbers would only be slightly less. I do remember roughly 35 of my schools held competitions last year, for which I donated either £50 or £100 as prize money, depending on the size of the sixth form. I have ALWAYS encouraged the participants to spread their wings and attend national competitions, promising the winners that I will pay their travelling expenses and entry fees. Sarah does a lot of school visits for me when she is home from uni, and will confirm I frequently give her fliers to display next to my FT’s advertising competitions. We even gave a lot out advertising Mase’s Tornado competition earlier this year.

Boris also stated “he now admits he has been actively discouraging his players from becoming involved with the BFA…”  This is what was actually written “Whereas before I have freely given out details of the BFA website and encouraged students to use it, I now intend…” Rather a big difference, I think.

As if the above were not enough, Boris continues to say, “Geoff’s analysis of the health of foosball… is welcomed, although laying the blame wholly on the snake is missing the point.” Once again, lets look at what was actually stated.. “It is clear from the above that the snake cannot be blamed exclusively for foosballs declining popularity. Equally, banning it will not be the panacea it needs for its survival,”

I must confess all of the above does not fill me with confidence that I will be able to work with the BFA in the near future.

I just wanted to clear up these points for now.  I will be back again to answer the other replies soon.  It’s now voddy time!

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Post by robmoss2k » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:51 pm

Geoff - whilst what you say about the comments about your article which were contained in the newsletter from Dan and Boris was perfectly true - Dan was wrong and Boris was wrong - let's not get sidetracked. Personalities should have no place in this argument so let's talk about what's actually important - grass roots foosball, the relative merits or otherwise of the snake, pinny feet or not, through or telescopic rods, all that kind of thing. Too many helpful arguments on here descend into petty slanging matches when we should be doing something to make a real difference.