Games can be a lot of fun.
They also can cause a lot of problems when people do not know or do not follow the rules. That is one of the reasons that rules exist. Air hockey rules are in place so that friends do not become enemies over a game.
To learn about the rule in this game including air hockey goalie rules and air hockey defense rules, just continue to read our article. It provides that information and more. There are official rules and basic rules for this game and you should learn them all to make sure all your games are fair.
Air Hockey Rules : Know the Basic
Here is a list of official rules that cover the basics of the game:
- a coin toss or face off determines the start of play
- the first player to 7 points wins (a goal is counted when the puck breaks the plane of the goal whether the electronic scorer counts it or not)
- when one player has possession of the puck they have 7 seconds to hit it back or lose possession
- a player cannot place his mallet onto p of the puck. If he or she does, they lose possession
- only the mallet can touch the puck when it is in play. Loss of possession of any of your body parts touches the puck
- when the puck has a clear path to the goal and the defending player stops it with anything other than his or her mallet, they lose possession.
- hitting the puck on your opponents side of the center line results in loss of possession
- when the puck leaves the table the player hitting outside of the ‘rink’ loses possession. Any out of play foul turns the puck over to the offender’s opponent
What is Air Hockey?
It is a downsized version of ice hockey, at least hat is its inspiration. You play with a ‘stick’ or mallet that hits the plastic puck across a slippery non ice surface. There is a goal, a center line and some similar rules to ice hockey but there is no body checking or harsh penalties.
The air hockey table or ‘rink’ comes in several sizes with 6 by 4 feet being one of the more popular dimensions. The professional tables usually are 8 by 6 feet in size. Then a blower is attached beneath the surface of the table and blows a constant supply or air to float the puck making it easier to slide around the surface.
There are side and end rails to help keep the puck in play and scoring depends on how goods you get at hitting bank or trick shots. This can be a fast paced game depending on the players and the size of the table.
Then the objective is to get the plastic puck into your opponent’s goal 7 times for the win.
The Game From Start To Finish
The game’s basics have just been described to you and as you can see it is a game of skill and ability to defend one’s goal. while ice hockey players have the wrist shot, the slap shot, the flip shot and other shooting options, the air hockey player needs to learn about how to bounce the puck into their opponent’s goal.
It takes timing and a lot of practice along with a lot of experimentation to see what shots you can master and will work for you. Defense is important as you are the forward, defense men and the goalie all rolled into one.
Ice hockey has 6 people to fill those roles but you only have yourself. Learning to defend your goal without committing a foul is important. You cannot stop the puck with your hand or other body parts, again unlike ice hockey who can use different body parts to stop the puck from entering their goal.
With 7 seconds to shoot your best shot, you need a lot of practice to get your aim down just right and get it past your opponents defensive stand.
Goal Tending and Fouls
Like all games, air hockey has some penalties, called fouls, that help keep the game fair and friendly competition. Here are some of those rules to help you know what not to do when you play this game:
- Goal tending- this is where you stop the puck with something other than your mallet. The puck has to have a clear path to the goal for this to be a foul. You lose possession of the puck if you commit this error
- Topping- this is where a player places their mallet on top of the puck
- Palming- this is where a player places a body part on the puck to stop its motion. Clothing touching the puck is also considered palming. The one exception to this rule is when the puck leaves the table and flies off into the room.
- When a player commits any foul, they lose possession of the puck
- If you take more than 7 seconds to hit the puck out of your end, you lose possession of the puck
- Pucks- only 1 puck can be used at one time. It is a foul to use more than one
- It is not a foul when the puck is on the center line and both players strike it.
- As long as they stay on their side of the center line a player can stand anywhere around the table
- a player has 10 seconds to start the game again after a goal is scored or it is a foul
Top Tips for Winning at Air Hockey
Air hockey has gone professional and their are leagues all around the country. Many players take the game very seriously and create ways to win legally. Here are some of those tips:
- Striking the puck- hit the puck from directly behind the direction you want the puck to travel in. This provides maximum force
- Rebounds- if you miss your opponent’s goal, you may score on yourself due to the rebound. Watch those rebounds and be prepared to defend your own goal from your aggressive play
- Use one bank- double banks are not a good way to win. Each time the puck strikes the side of the ‘rink’ it slows a bit.
- Shots should be crisp- no hesitation, no extra bounces and they should have all your power behind it
- Home table game- use your own table you have at home to practice your skills, develop your shots and get your timing down. Practice does make perfect
- Defensive position- get into the habit of moving immediately to your defensive position as you never know when your opponent will block your shot and make one of their own.
- Keep the table clean- you may think that a dirty table helps your game and gives you an edge. That would be a costly mistake to make as the dirt works for the other player as well. Clean your game and make sure all air holes are not clogged
- Have a good blower- air hockey pucks need a good air supply to move around the ‘rink’. Make sure your blower is in top working condition and gives you the right amount of air flow
Air hockey goalie rules
The same rules for air hockey play apply to the goalie. Since you are the only player on your team, you have to make sure not to commit any of the fouls listed above. Make sure not to get upset when a goal is scored against you as you only have 10 seconds to resume play.
Goals happen so leave your temper for after the game and not during it. While you have two hands, you are only allowed to have one mallet in use at all times. There is no opportunity to use one hand as your goalie.
Air hockey is played one handed even if you can use both hands at the same time. If you are tired, you get 1 ten second timeout per game. It is not much of a rest but then you are not exerting as much energy as a real ice hockey player.
All the puck has to do is break the goal line play to count as a goal. If you trap the puck at the edge of the goal and a part of it crosses that line, then it is a goal. Even if the electronic scorer doesn’t see it.
Air hockey defense rules
Like the goalie rules, the same air hockey rules apply to this position as well. When you play defense you need to watch out that you do not trap the puck with your mallet by topping it. If you do you lose possession.
Since the same rules apply, here are some defense techniques to help you play a better defensive game:
#1. Pay attention- don’t be distracted and keep your eye on the puck at all times.
#2. Do not chase the puck- it will move faster than you can move. Follow the puck by moving your mallet back and forth to get the best defensive position
#3. Move back towards the goal- that is the best way to use your mallet in defense of your goal. It is easier to stop the puck and cuts down the space your opponent has to score .
#4. Find the proper position- your mallet should be somewhere in between 8 and 14 inches out in front of your goal.
#5. Learn the triangle defense- it is the most commonly used defensive method. The point of the triangle is nearest your goal.
Playing defense is also a skill you need to learn. teams that have lousy defense usually end up in last place and given bad labels. While you are practicing your trick and bank shots, you should be practicing how to defend your goal like a ro.
Air hockey: FAQs
#1. Can you block the goal in air hockey?
Not permanently of course. You can use your mallet to block the shot from entering your goal but you can’t put a stationary object in front of it to keep all shots from going in
#2. How to Start a Game of Air Hockey
The two players must agree on the method to start the game. The two most used options are a face off and a coin toss. The coin toss gives possession to one player who takes the first shot
#3. What You Need to Play Air Hockey
There are no special clothing items you need to wear when you play air hockey. The basic and only equipment is the table, blower, mallet and puck. All the mallets and pucks used are usually made of tough plastic.
#4. What do I do if the mallet and pucks get chips or cracks in them?
If they get cracked, you need to replace them with new ones. But if you only have chips and scratches, you can use some fine grit sand paper and sand those blemishes out
#5. Does it take long to play the game?
This will depend on how good you and your opponent are. If you are not good players then no it won’t.
Air hockey is a fun game and it is great indoor exercise. You get a lot of movement and action to keep you healthy and entertained for hours. This game is perfect when the weather is raining or snowing and you can’t go outside to play.
Build your own league to make the game more exciting to play.