Air Hockey, dubbed as the fastest table game to play within the whole planet is a fun activity that can double as an exercise as well as an indoor recreation.
This table game mimics the full court sport that is popular among the colder regions of the world. Like the sport, the game is played with two sides that try to score by shooting a puck successfully towards the opponent’s goal.
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When playing air hockey at home you may establish your own set of house rules as long as all the players will agree on a certain standard before starting to play the game.
This is a common sense move to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
House rules are always fun and make the game more personal for a family who likes to play their own version of air hockey.
However, there are actually established set of rules that are recognized across continents. These rules are the ones being used for an official game of air hockey, wherein there are officials present to enforce and make sure that the rules are being followed.
Below is the Summary for the United States Air Hockey Association Air Hockey Rules of Play
Basic Rules of Play
The player must score 7 points first if he or she wants to win. There must only be one puck on the table during the duration of the game.
The player must quickly take a shot before the 7 seconds lapses otherwise he or she commits a foul, which forfeits the turn to his or her opponent.
The puck must not be touch by any body part of the players other than the mallets used, violation of this rule will also ensue a foul to the violating player.
A player can call for a timeout during his or her possession of the mallet, which can be called only once and will last for only 10 seconds per game. The player can stand anywhere around the hockey table within his or her side from the centerline.
Beginning the Game
There are a few things to note when beginning an official game of air hockey. The referee will preside over a coin toss wherein the winner will be the one to decide which side of the table he will play from.
Game 1 will be initiated by a faceoff, wherein the referee holds the puck on the centerline. Note that the centerline rule still applies.
The players will hold their mallet at least 1-inch from the puck before the referee releases it.
The referee only releases the puck a few seconds after calling out “players ready”. When the referee removes his hand from the puck, there must be no extra puck movement caused by the referee’s hand else he or she will stop the game and repeat this step.
The player must also be careful of not touching the puck before the release, committing it twice will accrue him or her a foul and forfeit the turn to the non-violating player.
The second, fourth, and sixth game will be started by the loser of the coin toss, while the winner serves during the third, fifth, and seventh game.
The puck is the only means of scoring in a game of air hockey. The player that shoots the puck towards the opponent’s goal and succeeds scores a point. However if the puck rebounds back out of the goal, there is no point earned.
A player can cause an ‘own goal’ earning a point for the opponent if he or she fails to deflect a puck bouncing back towards his or her own goal.
The hand can be used to stop a returning puck if a player drops his or her mallet right after striking for a goal unsuccessfully. His or her opponent should have failed to deflect (touch) the puck for the move to be valid.
Penalties and Fouls
A foul will mean losing the possession of the puck. However, if there is a technical foul, the innocent player can take an uncontested shot at the opponent’s goal.
There are numerous ways wherein a foul and a technical foul can be committed.
An example of an offense that earns a foul is when the centerline rule is not followed. And an example of a technical foul would be when a player commits a clearly “Goal-tending” act.
The official version of the air hockey game has a lot of rules and regulations to help regulate the game. Follow this link for a more detailed look at all of them.