Learn Air Hockey Rules

Basic Air Hockey Rules

  • A coin is flipped to determine which player gains possession of the puck first.
  • Scoring a point requires the puck to enter the goal completely, if it is visible then the point is not counted.
  • Each player can only strike the puck once.
  • If the puck is sitting on the centerline, either player may strike it.
  • First serves are switched after each round.
  • Time-outs are limited to one per round and a maximum of 10 seconds per timeout.
  • Time-outs are only allowed if the puck is in the player’s possession.
  • Players can stand anywhere along the table up till the centerline.

Fouls and Out-of-play Rules

  • Touching the puck with hands, arms or any other physical contact with the body can result in a penalty.
  • Placing the mallet over the puck by lifting it up in the air is strictly against the rules.
  • Mallots that cross the centerline can result in a foul, only the puck can cross the centerline.
The penalty resulting from a foul is usually confiscating the puck from the player, but the rules may vary in different countries.

How to Win in Air Hockey

Knowing the basic rules will help you play a penalty-free game, but they are not enough to help you win. Good reflexes coupled with the right tips and tricks up your sleeve are the perfect combination for winning a game

Firstly, the way you hold your mallet determines how you will strike and the energy you put into it. A big mistake that many beginners make is holding the knob right in the middle of the mallet. The right way to hold it is to place three fingers on the ridge instead of gripping the knob. This allows for more control and requires less force when you hit the puck. 

The second thing to remember is to never panic. This will cause you to make irrational decisions that may backfire. The best way to act is to think, plan and then strike. Suppose the opponent strikes the puck at full speed directly towards you. Your first instinct may be to hit it right back. However, if the puck misses the goal, it could be directed right back at you at such a high speed. Thus, the first step is to slow down the puck. Once you have control over it, then carefully aim and strike it back. This will allow you to have more control over your gameplay. 

The third tip to win a game of air hockey is to always have your defenses ready. At many points in the game, your opponent will have control of the puck. Your first instinct may be to guard the goal with the mallet right in front of it. However, a better alternative is to place the puck near the first screw. This allows you to block any shots, as well as gain possession of the puck again. This strategy is also called the “out defense” method or the triangle method.

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