Air Hockey Fan's tips

Published: 26th August 2007
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Air Hockey pucks are slim discs made of a plastic material known as Lexan.
Standard USAA-approved pucks are the yellow lexan, red lexan and the Dynamo green.
In competitive play, a layer of thin white tape is placed on the face-up side.
Four-player tables also exist, but they are not yet sanctioned for
competitive play.

A classic air hockey table consists of a large silky playing surface,
a contiguous rail to avoid the puck and mallets from going off the table,
and slots in the rail at whichever end of the table that serve as goals.

On the ends of the table in the rear and below the goals, there is usually a puck return.
Furthermore, tables will characteristically have some sort of mechanism that produces a
cushion of air on the play face, with the function of reducing friction and
escalating speed of play

Tips from the professionals

Practice "combos": these are groups of shots which are hit with the same apparent
delivery but opposite locations, caused by hitting the puck at slightly different locations on the mallet.
For example, a transverse motion of the right arm can lead to a "cut shot" to the left corner of
the opponent's goal or a "right wall under" (bank off the right wall, into the right corner of the
opponent's goal). Keep your opponent guessing!

In some tables, the technology is eschewed in support of a
slick table face, usually plastic, in the interest of saving money in both
maintenance costs and manufacturing. Note that these tables are officially not
air hockey tables since no air is concerned, conversely, they are still usually
understood to be as such due to the basic resemblance of game play.

Here are some basic rules as defined by the USAA:

If the puck leaves the table, a foul is called on the player that caused the puck to go out of play due to offensive motion and the opposing player gets possession of the puck. Generally, when a player causes the puck to leave the table with a forward motion of the mallet, even defensively (known as charging), the foul is charged on them. An out of play foul results in the opponent receiving possession of the puck.

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