Know the Basic Rules of Air Hockey: Players have one mallet on the playing field. (Although it's a heckuva lot of fun to double fist.) Pucks can be struck with any part of the mallet, but never "topped." And only one puck is allowed on the playing field. When the ball gets away from a player, that player is out.
There are three ways to score in air hockey: by hitting a ball into the opponent's goal, by shooting at a target called a pylorus (which is not really a part of the human body), or by hitting a plunger button with your hand. You can also score by knocking over objects such as milk bottles with the ball, but only if they aren't being used by another player. Otherwise, you'll get a penalty called a minor for rough play.
The object of the game is to shoot the puck into the opponent's goal before they do the same to you. There are two types of shots in air hockey: power shots and finesse moves. A power shot is when you use all your force when shooting; a finesse move is when you don't want to hurt the puck too much so you use just enough force.
You take power shots because you want to send the puck as far as possible. It's important to note that although most balls will go pretty far when shot hard, there are some that are designed to be hit more softly.
There will be no "topping" the puck, which means players will not be able to elevate their mallet and place it over the puck to keep it in place. There will be no contact of the puck with hands, arms, or other body parts. Each round, each player is permitted one 10-second time out.
The first player to score three points wins the game. If both players are tied at three points each, then a sudden-death penalty shoot-out will be used to determine who wins.
Air hockey is played on an air table that has two pockets for the ball. The ball is a hollow plastic sphere about the size of a golf ball. It has thin wires running through it so that it can be manipulated by hand. Air hockey tables usually have holes in the top of the table where you can put your feet while playing.
You can watch videos of people playing air hockey on YouTube. You'll see that some players use a stick to push the ball into the other team's side of the court, while others use a paddle to hit it away from them. Either way, there's no keeping the ball in the air for more than a few seconds at a time.
Some people can push the ball farther than others, but that's about all they can do with it. A player cannot touch the ball with his or her hands or arms because that would be illegal in a real hockey game.
The major mechanic is interaction with the puck, thus there are some very strict limitations regarding how you may and cannot strike it; most notably, you cannot bring your mallet down on the puck to halt or pull it. This is known as "topping," and it is an immediate foul. If the player commits this penalty, the opposing team gets a free shot.
There are two ways to stop the puck in air hockey: using your hand or leg. You can't use your stick because that's used for moving the puck around the table.
It is not considered good form to use your hand to stop the puck in air hockey. This is because you want the ball of your palm to make contact with the puck when you stop it. This helps make sure that it isn't just a hard hit into the boards with the side of your hand.
The only time this is acceptable is if you need to prevent a goal or if you have no other choice than to stop the puck with your hand. For example, if a fast-breaking opponent has the puck behind your net and is heading straight for your net, you could reach out with your hand to try and block their shot.
If you do use your hand to stop the puck, be careful not to wrap it up too tightly. This could lead to injury if the opponent starts pulling on it.
Here are the fundamentals of air hockey: Toss a coin to see who gets possession of the puck first. To score a point, the puck must penetrate the goal completely. Points are not awarded for rebounds or pucks that become trapped halfway in. When one player scores, the other player delivers the puck. If there is no winner by the end of five minutes, another ball is delivered. The object is to have the most balls in when the time runs out.
There are two ways to play: defense mode and offense mode. In defense mode, each player on the opposing team tries to prevent their teammate from getting the puck. The objective is to be the last player with the puck standing at the end of five minutes. In offense mode, each player on the opposing team tries to get the puck past their opponent and into the goal.
In practice, it's difficult to defend against everyone who has the puck. So most games are played in offense mode, where players try to outscore their opponents. That's why it's important to shoot the puck hard and often!
The only real difference between air hockey and ice hockey is the presence of air instead of water. This makes the game slower and less physical than ice hockey, but also makes the rules easier to understand. For example, there is no offside rule in air hockey!