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Learn About The Fun Game Of Air Hockey

Sep 1, 2008
Air hockey is an extremely popular game in the U.S. Unlike traditional hockey, which is played in an iced rink with heavy padding and skates, air hockey is simple to play no matter what your physique. No need for the uniform and ability to skate. Lets look at the basics of the game.

Equipment
Air hockey requires a couple pieces of specialized equipment, including a table, two mallets and a puck.

The table includes a large smooth surface for play, which includes some kind of machinery underneath that forces air to the top through several tiny holes. This allows the puck to glide effortlessly over the surface, allowing for fast action and quick gameplay.

The table is surrounded by a rail to keep the puck from flying off the table. At each end is a slot which serves as a goal, and underneath the goal is usually a return to grab the puck and return it to play.

In the United States, the USAA (United States Air-Hockey-Table Association) is the regulating authority, and have only approved tables manufactured by Dynamo for official use and tournament play. The approved tables under this brand include the Photon, Pro-Style, Blue Top, Brown Top, Purple Top or Black Top. There are other brands used in arcade that may not be regulation, but are still sufficient to learn the game. There are also tables that use a very slick plastic surface instead of air, and these are not actually real air hockey tables, though the gameplay is usually the same.

Rules
The USAA maintains the official rulebook and there are several rules that are important to take note. To start the game, a coin toss or face-off determine who gets possession of the puck initially.

There are several rule violations which constitute a foul, thus turning over possession of the puck to the opponent. Topping, or placing the mallet on top of the puck to stop it, is an automatic foul. In addition, not hitting the puck within seven seconds of it crossing into your area is a foul. Other fouls include hitting the puck with anything other than the mallet, and hitting the puck so hard that it leaves the table.

Points are counted anytime the puck crosses into the goal area, whether an electronic scoring device counts it or not. The first person to score seven point in a game wins.

Gameplay

Playing air hockey is all in the way you grip the mallet. Use your fingertips instead of gripping the center with your hands, which allows more fluid motion of the wrists.

When defending the goal, keep your mallet out in front of it by about 8-10 inches. You can move the mallet back to the corners to defend from there.

When shooting, always wait until you get control of the puck before attempting a move. Create your own patterns of shooting, but mix them up to make sure that you keep your opponent guessing.

Recent Winners
2007 World Championship: Danny Hynes
US Championship: Wil Upchurch
European (Teams): Russia
Texas State Open: Tim Weissman
Catalan Champion: Sergio Lapez
Russia Open: Dimitriy Butyrev
About the Author
BarFun is the UK's leading supplier of Air Hockey Tables at low prices with fast delivery.
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