One of the most exciting table games ever to have been invented, the air hockey game features fun and excitement but also has enough structure to be considered as a serious sport.
If you are looking for a game wherein you will be able to showcase your reflexes and body coordination as well as some strategy then this game is perfect for you.
How do you win any game?
In any type of game, one of the best strategies to start with is your defensive strategy. There is a common adage that tells us that the best offense is a good defense.
The first step to help you execute a good defense is by being calm. The calmer you are the better you will be able to think on your feet and execute the things you have to do as fast as possible.
The Triangle Defense
Most beginners position their mallet right in front of their goals. Thinking that this is the best way to wait for the opponent’s strikes, they park their mallets as a lonely barricade right at the center of their goal post.
Although a straight strike from the opponent towards the center will easily be blocked by this defensive ‘stance’, a skilled opponent can easily do a side shot or a ‘bounce’ shot to either the left or the right side of the mallet of the defensive player.
A better way to wait for an attack is by positioning the puck two feet in front of the center of the goal.
This may seem illogical at first, but a few games using this tactic will let you know that this is a great way to catch those angled shots your opponent loves to employ.
The only downside for this defensive position is a sneaky bank shot, which can be countered if you have a calm, loose, but firm hold on your mallet. When in a defensive triangle position, do not lean out towards the table instead stand on a relatively straight posture.
Know How to Control the Puck
You enhance your control with the puck starting with the way you hold your mallet. Most beginners will wrap their entire hands around the mallet, which seems to be how it was designed to be held having a protruding handle on top.
However, experts of the game have found out that holding the mallet by using the pointer finger and the ring finger with the middle knuckle bent against the handle gives the player better control. Holding the mallet this way also allows the players to strike the puck at maximum speed.
Another set of skill to master is employing the right amount of tension when gripping the mallet as you flick it back and forth.
Mastery of this skill will allow you to control the puck properly, which is a must if you wish to always keep possession of the puck during a game set.
You will also easily be able to control the direction of your strikes allowing for better precision which results into more points.
Track the Puck
Always keep track of the movement of the puck. Try to match your movement with the movement of the puck. This way you’ll not be reactive and will have more time and success intercepting a strike.
Practice all the Shots
There are a lot of ways to gain a score in this game and you need to experiment with all of them before playing with a serious opponent to increase your chances of winning. Note that the level of control you command with the mallet and the puck equates with the level of the accuracy of your strikes.
There are two basic shots to master: the straight shots and the bank shots.
The first shot, which is the straight shot, is a simple direct shot in a straight line towards the opponent’s goal. This shot is trickier than it looks since both the puck and the mallet is round making it harder to do a straight shot.
The second basic type of shot is called a bank shot, the objective of this type of shot is to confuse the defense of the opponent by not going for the goal directly but to rely first on the walls to bounce a strike to earn a point.
Aside from these two major and basic shots, there are a variety of shots you can do in order to earn a point, just remember to shoot using your wrists instead of your arms.
Learn and Adapt as quickly as you can
Don’t be a one-trick pony. The best chance you have of winning such as fast-paced game is to have a lot of strategies and tricks up your sleeve.
Do not use the same attack over and over again and risked being always read by your opponent.
Mixed things up and try to surprise yourself. Note that this is only possible if you have mastered the basics, so play as many practice games as you can.