Air Hockey Techniques for Winning Air Hockey

Tips For Winning a Tournament

Air hockey is a game which is played by various people. Some play it on a professional level, while others choose to keep it as a hobby. These professional players know the game extremely well. They know some of the best techniques and tips that will help you win the game. It is not necessary that every air hockey lover should become a professional. However, it is recommended that you learn these tactics and include them in your game. Even if you play air hockey as a hobby you should advance your game.
These are some of the tips that will help you win a tournament:

1. Controlling The Puck

To win an air hockey match, it is essential for you to know how to control the puck. Controlling and improving your puck control could mean anything. From learning how to maneuver the puck to learning how to catch it, everything comes under controlling. Most beginners make a mistake of catching the puck and returning it on the basis of where the puck was at when caught. Once the puck crosses the centerline, they hit it instantly instead of catching it and setting up a shot that will help it to land in the opponent's goal. This is not the right way of doing it. The correct technique is starting off by focusing on catching the puck. The player is required to gain control by moving the puck to a certain location before they execute a shot. 

Another trick that will help you control your puck is knowing how to properly grip your mallet. Most newbies wrap their hands around the mallet because its design has a protruding handle on top. However, experts have found out that holding the mallet with the help of the pointer finger and ring finger with their middle knuckle bent against the handle allows the player to have better control. This also helps them in hitting the puck at the maximum speed. You are also required how to learn to employ the correct amount of tension on the mallet as you move it back and forth. All of these strategies together will help you in controlling the puck and will make the game easier for you. It is essential that you practice these strategies before your big day so that you know your weak areas and you can work on them.

2. Striking the Puck

While playing air hockey, it is essential to know how to strike the puck effectively. There is a certain amount of speed required from you while shooting the puck. You have to be aggressive when you strike the puck with your mallet to shoot it in your desired direction. Newbies think that bank shots require hitting the puck from side angles; however, real players know the actual trick. You have to shoot the puck from behind and hit it towards the direction you want it to go.

3. Look Out for Rebounds

If you are hitting the puck in the right direction, there are high chances that you will cause ricochets off the rear wall. This situation can get frustrating but you have to make sure you take your defensive position immediately without getting swayed by the situation. It is a great tip to follow because your competitor may block your hit and strike one towards your goal.

4. Avoid Using the Double Bank

If you are properly shooting a puck on offense then there are fewer chances that it will bank off over a single wall before landing in your opponent's goal. Using the double bank strategy is not encouraged as every time the puck strikes against the wall its speed decreases due to friction. It is time taking as well which becomes a plus point for your opponents as they get more time to react and defend.

5. Avoid Over Complicating a Shot

Doing an over complicated drift or shot is not at all recommended when you are on offense. When you are practicing, you should focus more on the major shots that air hockey professionals use. These shots include, cross cut shots, under and overs and bank shots. You should also learn the correct direction to execute these shots. Some may be hit from the right, while others from the left side.

6. Using Trick Shots

Trick shots can give you an edge in the game. Even if you are competing against a player who knows a lot more about the game than you, these shots can still help you win the game. The key here is to use them correctly and at the right time. These shots will help you score multiple times; however, they may be a bit difficult to learn. It is essential that you learn how to set these shots. You have to set them as quickly as possible because you do not want to give additional time to your opponent to prepare their defensive stance.

7. Adjust Your Defense

In a game that is fast paced, it is significant that you know about adjusting your defensive stance. This tip requires you to pay attention to your opponent and see how they are setting their next shot. This will help you in anticipating the movement of the puck, allowing you to drift the sticker to the place where it will help you in blocking the puck.

8. Practice

Before you go for a tournament, you are required to practice as much as you can. If you own an air hockey table at your house, you can practice frequently at your own pace. You need to work on your defense, trick shots skills and know the don'ts of the game when you are playing against a skilled competitor. Even if you do not have an arcade style table, you can still practice and work on polishing your skills.

9. Issues With Offense

When it comes to playing offense, players usually make the shot super quickly. However, most players know the importance of offense in the game. They master each step before rushing to the next. If you do not master each step, you will be left with holes in your games. These holes will act as major errors that will prevent you from using the defensive errors of your opponent against them. You have to be able to anticipate what your opponent is upto. Certain strategies that will help you in this include focusing on perfecting every trick shot and basic shot, knowing what the set-up of the moves predict and focusing on the landing of the puck when these shots are used. Anticipating your opponents’ move is essential as it will help you in scoring on them. It will also help you in positing the striker in the right position that will allow you to stop them from scoring on you. 

Having a good offense is one of the most significant tips when it comes to winning air hockey. Since the game is won on the basis of scored points, if you don't put a puck in your opponent’s goal you won’t be able to win the game. Another tip that will help you is knowing that you will only have 7 seconds to strike the puck back to your opponent’s side. The game is timed to make sure that it is being played in a fair way. 

You should not use the bottom side of the mallet or your arm or any other part of the body to stop or touch the puck. You will get penalized for this and your opponent will get an extra shot.

10. Master Your Offense

Usually players advance super quickly when it comes to offense. However, it should be the other way round. People who have been a part of this sport know that it is extremely essential to master every step before moving on to the next. If you do not pay attention to each and every step, you will have a lot of holes in your game that will act against you at the end. These errors would not let you use your opponents' defensive errors against them. If you start off by mastering the basic skills and shots, it will get easier for you to anticipate your opponents’ move.

Final Thoughts

These are a few tips that will help you level up your air hockey game. It is essential that you practice thoroughly before any forthcoming match. Ideally, you should play with multiple players so that you can learn various tactics and techniques. Pay attention to your weak points during these matches and make sure that you work on them. Learn defensive techniques, trick shots and learn from your mistakes. It is possible that you may not win the game in the beginning, but once you start practicing, your game will definitely improve.