Air Hockey Strategy – Strategies to Win Air Hockey

Even though air hockey is a fun game that you can play in arcades and at home, it has also become a very popular professional sport. Different associations like the USAA are built specifically to provide guidelines and rules for playing professional level air hockey. Winning a competition can not only get you awards, but also national and global recognition.


In any case, having an air hockey strategy is absolutely necessary. Even if the stakes are not as high when you’re playing a fun game with friends, winning always feels good. The right techniques and tricks are just what you need to gain an edge over your opponent. And if you can master these you can beat your rival consistently. Here are some tactics to help you win.

Practice

When you begin to play this game, you may get very frustrated because it can be difficult to control the puck. It could easily slip away from you because of the smooth surface or because you aren’t holding the mallet right.


Do not get confused, but keep calm and concentrate. The key to getting it right is practice and more practice! The timing in getting it right varies from player to player so it is okay to work at your own pace. The first thing you need to do is buy a good air hockey table.


If you want to play on a professional level, opt for a mid-sized or large table that is made of solid material like wood or steel. Practice frequently with friends or family, or even alone if you’re working on your offense.

Knowing All The Shots

One of the biggest mistakes that even professional players can make is that they master one shot and use it throughout the game. The problem with that is, it will become easier for your opponent to predict your next move and thus, block all your shots.


Instead, you should be making things harder for your opponent. Learn all the shots that you can (which comes from tons of practice) so that you can switch them up during the game.


This is especially useful if your opponent has a good defense strategy and you need to confuse them to score a goal. The following are air hockey shots that are absolutely crucial to learn:

1. Straight Shot - As the name suggests, a straight shot is made at a 90 degree angle from one goal to the other. While it’s the easiest to learn, you are least likely to score a goal with this as your opponent will be blocking you from the same angle that you shoot from.


2. Bank Shot - This is a great shot for tricking your opponent; it can either be over or under. The puck strikes the rail, bounces off and then heads for the goal.


3. Double Bank Shot - The only difference between a single and double bank shot is that in a double bank shot, the puck strikes at least two walls before going for the goal.


4. Drift Shots - There are numerous subcategories when it comes to drift shots, including the basic drift, L drift, circle drift etc.

There are two options on how to learn these various air hockey shots. You can either hire a professional trainer to help you out or simply watch YouTube tutorials and learn from them. The first is a good choice for those who want to play on a professional level in the near future, whereas the latter is good for those who want to play for fun.


But again, switching up your shots is more important during the game, rather than just knowing all the shots. Practice with somebody who has a good defense so that you learn to switch up your shots and don’t get too comfortable with one. The key is to master the above-mentioned shots before going for a proper match and for that practice is most crucial.

Keep Possession of the Puck

This is another very important strategy to master. What many players aim to do is strike the puck as soon as it reaches them. The problem with this is that there is not enough control over the puck and it could go in any direction.


Thus, rather than aimlessly hitting it as soon as it reaches you, you should stop the puck with your mallet and then decide the next shot. This does not harm your gameplay because even if you take your time, your opponent will not know what your next shot is. Plus, it gives you the time you need to decide which shot is likely to score a goal.


While your reflexes should be fast when the puck is coming towards you, that is not the case while shooting the puck. And, as a rule of thumb, try to keep the puck in your possession as much as you can.

Work On a Strong Defense

Very often players tend to work on their offense more than their defense. They believe that a good offense is enough to get them to win the game, but what they don't keep in mind is that the opponent could have a very good defense strategy which blocks most of their shots.


Thus, both defense and offense strategies are equally important. For a defense strategy, there are a number of different tips that you can keep in mind; the first being tracking.


As the name suggests, tracking means keeping an eye on the puck. Your opponent could also try to confuse you with trick shots, so instead of just blocking the goal or defending one side where you think it will land, it is best to follow the puck and see where it goes. Then, block the goal accordingly.


The second tip to follow is the triangle defense strategy. This strategy is one of the most commonly used in a defense position. It involves placing your mallet not too close, but neither too far from the goal (usually it is 2 feet from the goal in professional sized tables). This is the best position to follow the puck without letting your opponent score.
Last but not least, make sure to know when to use an offense and defense strategy.

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