Air Hockey Tables

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Air hockey tables for game rooms bring family and friends together for an action-packed friendly competition. As the puck glides across the surface, players try to become the first to score seven points in a round. The person who performs the best out of the seven rounds wins. 

 

These tables bring the fun of playing in an arcade to all your gatherings. You might have several neighbors over for after-dinner fun or want to impress relatives during your next family get-together. Either way, air hockey tables help everyone have a great time. That's true whether people play themselves or sit back to observe and cheer players' successes. 

How to Play Air Hockey

 

If you recently bought an air hockey table and are learning the game, the official air hockey rules can help you play fairly:

 

  • Figure out who will get the puck to start the game by flipping a coin.

  • Only one puck can be on the table at a time, and each player can only use one air hockey paddle or striker.

  • A player can hit the puck with any part of the striker except the bottom surface.

  • A player can only shoot the puck when it's on the side of the table closest to them.

  • A player can stand alongside or behind the table, but they must stay on their side.

  • A player can hit the puck if it's touching the centerline.

  • The puck must go inside the goal fully to score the point. Pucks that go in halfway or rebound out don't count.

  • When a player scores, the other player gains possession of the puck for the serve.

  • When hitting the puck, strikers cannot cross the centerline.

  • A player cannot pick up the striker and put it on top of the puck to keep it in place.

  • A player's arms, hands and other body parts cannot touch the puck.

  • Each player can have a 10-second time out each round, which they can only call when they have the puck or when it's not in play.

  • The first player to seven points wins the round.

  • Once the round is over, switch the player who serves first.

 

How to Get Better at Air Hockey

 

Improving your air hockey gameplay comes with a lot of practice. As you first use your table, you might want to slam the puck forcefully when it comes near you. However, the key to playing like a pro is to have control and be patient. Follow these air hockey tips and tricks to get better at this recreational sport:

1. Get a Better Grip on the Striker

 

Most beginners hold the knob in the middle of the striker. However, this position causes you to use your whole arm to move the striker, making you tired and leaving vulnerable gaps around the goal. Professional players usually hold the striker using three fingers on its edge. This angle gives you more control than when you grip the knob. Letting your fingers lay on the ridge gives you some extra mobility as you strike the puck and defend the goal.

2. Sink the Puck

 

When you hit the puck, be aggressive by driving the striker straight into the puck based on where you want it to go. If you're a beginner, you may try to strike a bank shot by hitting the puck using a sideways swiping motion. As you develop your skill, you'll discover that you must hit the puck from behind, then strike it forward in your desired direction. This method lets you hit the puck with full power before your opponent has time to react.

3. Control the Puck's Momentum

 

You might instinctively hit the puck back to the other side when it's coming toward you. This spontaneous move usually results in wild shots rather than strategic movements. Instead of acting out of impulse, try to control the puck's momentum and slow it down. When you feel like you can manage the puck enough to make a deliberate shot, strike it. If it rebounds back to your side, keep trying to gain control of the puck every time it comes near you.

4. Practice Trick Shots

 

Trick shots allow you to have the upper hand in any match you play. Even if your opponent has more experience than you do, you can easily score against them with the right methods. Here are some air hockey shots that'll impress your friends and family:

 

  • One two: Hit the puck off the wall into the corner and, as it comes back to you, hit it into a goal off the side of the table.

  • Casting cut shot: You can only do this trick shot after your opponent scores against you. Take the puck out of your goal, drift it onto the table diagonally and cut it into the far corner of your opponent's goal.

  • Moving puck chase shot: Hit the puck off the rail to the far corner, let it come back to your corner, and strike it into the goal as it moves out in front of you.

 

Keep in mind that these trick shots can be challenging to learn. You have to set them up in a way that won't tip off your opponent, or else they'll have enough time to adjust their stance to block the puck. Practice your moves and defense methods over time to use them at your next party or family gathering.

Air Hockey Defense Tips

 

As you improve your playing skills, you'll see that mastering defense can almost guarantee your success. Follow these tips for protecting your goal and preventing your opponent from scoring points.

1. Keep Your Eyes on the Puck

 

As your puck moves quickly around the table, you need to keep a close eye on it to control your goal. Avoid tracking the puck with your striker because it creates gaps and openings in front of you. When you're focusing on the puck's track, you're not able to anticipate your opponent's next move.

Instead, watch the puck with your eyes while keeping your striker a safe distance from the goal. When you look at the puck instead of tracking it with your striker, you'll have more time to react when it comes near you. You can also plan a counter-attack strategy and be more aware of your opponent's movements.

2. Do the Air Hockey Triangle Defense Method

 

When you don't have possession of the puck, you're on the defense. Rather than holding the striker in front of the goal, anticipating your opponent's hit, move your hand forward a bit. Draw your hand toward either side of the goal to prevent the puck from coming inside from any angle. Create an imaginary triangle between the two points on both sides of the goal and your striker. The striker should be about a foot away from the center of the goal.

This method strengthens you against straight shots from the other side because you won't need to move as much to block a shot. You can keep your striker at any one of the three points, depending on the incoming shot's direction. Maintain your triangle stance throughout the whole game to prevent weak spots. With the triangle defense method, you can be more flexible so you can regain possession of the puck.

Air Hockey Table Parts and Maintenance

 

After you get your brand-new gaming table, you'll want to take care of it so it lasts a long time. Here are some tips for maintaining its various parts.

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How Air Hockey Tables Work

 

Air hockey tables feature slick plastic surfaces with a centerline in the middle. Raised edges around the playing field keep the puck from flying off the table. Each table features a symmetrical design with tiny holes across the entire surface, contributing to the even, frictionless playing field. Under the table, a fan blows air through these holes at a consistent pressure to keep the puck floating so it can move across the board. Your table may also have a manual or electronic scoring system.

How to Clean Air Hockey Tables

 

Dirt or dust on your table can add friction to the surface, preventing the puck from moving. When caring for your specific product, always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. These general air hockey table maintenance tips can help you keep your table clean and functional:

 

  • Clean the table before and after use: Every time you use it, clean your air hockey table to prevent dust and other debris from getting in the way of your game. After you play the game, wipe the table again to clean up any grime that may have accumulated. If you only use it every once in a while, deep clean it before putting the cover on and when you take it out of storage.

  • Turn on the blowers as you vacuum: As you clean the surface, keep the blowers on to keep dirt and grime from settling into the holes. Go over the table softly with a vacuum hose to pick up loose debris.

  • Wipe the air hockey table surface: After vacuuming the table, wipe it down with a soft, clean cotton or microfiber cloth to remove stubborn debris. You should wipe down both sides of the table, including the edges.

  • Clean the fan blades: Dirt and dust will keep air from blowing through the holes. Wipe the fan blades once every few months to ensure nothing is blocking the fan's cycle.

  • Clean the holes: If dust or debris gets stuck inside the holes on your table, you can use a rag or pressurized can of air with a straw. When you're finished cleaning the blocked holes, wipe the bottom end of your table to prevent dust from coming back up to the top.

  • Wax your hockey table: You may want to wax the table's surface during a deep clean. This optional step helps keep your table smooth and updated. Use a small amount of air hockey table wax and apply an even, thin coat over the whole surface. Once the polish dries, buff it out with a dry, clean cloth. As a result, your table will have a shiny, glossy finish.

History of Air Hockey

 

Here's some of the history behind this exciting, relatively new sport.

Who Invented Air Hockey?

 

Brunswick Billiards employees Phil Crossman, Bob Kenrick and Brad Baldwin invented air hockey in 1969. These men began working on a game that uses a frictionless surface. The project was put on hold for a couple of years until Bob Lemieux revived it.

 

Lemieux focused on creating an abstracted version of ice hockey with a thin puck, two strikers and slit-like goals that each had photodetectors. The inventors decided that this sport would appeal to a large market, so it became available to the general public. As a result, air hockey became an immediate financial success.

Determining the Official Rules

 

After a few years, consumers wanted to establish tournament play for the game. Some Houston players developed the Houston Air Hockey Association, and later, the Texas Air-Hockey Players Association. These groups created official rules and promoted the sport through local tournaments at pubs and the University of Houston. To make sure every player adhered to the same official rules, J. Phillip Arnold formed the United States Air-Table Hockey Association (USAA), primarily as an official sanctioning body.

Since coming into being, the USAA has held one or more global or national championship a year, with several champions, runners-up and third-place winners. Eventually, the Air Hockey Players Association (AHPA) provided players with extra accountability for overseeing the sport. The AHPSA and USAA and AHPA operate separately of each other. However, they have many of the same players and follow the same rules.

Famous Players Today

 

One of the best air hockey players is Colin Cummings. He was the first AHPA world champion and the youngest champion in the history of the sport. Today, a close-knit community plays the sport around the world. In the United States, the most popular areas are Boston, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Sacramento, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Internationally, players are prevalent in the Czech Republic, Spain and Russia. For a while, Venezuela was also a famous country for air hockey players. Three-time World Champion Jose Mora and a few other finalists came from Venezuela.

Competitive Air Hockey

 

Since its conception, there have been plenty of air hockey tournaments in the United States and worldwide. Each competition featured a champion, runner-up and third-place winner. Here are some of the famous games that have occurred:

 

  • USAA World Championships in Houston, Texas

  • AHPA World Championship nationally and around the globe

  • US Championship in Houston, Texas

  • European Championship in Europe, which featured single players and two-player teams

  • Texas State Open in Texas

  • Catalan Championship in Barcelona, Spain

  • Russian Open in Saint Petersburg, Russia

 

The Best Air Hockey Tables

 

Air hockey tables for game rooms do more than help people have fun. They complement your decor and fit your personality. Getting a game room ready for visitors means knowing how to cater to them, helping them feel relaxed and welcome. After browsing the assortment of options available from HB Home, you'll see how exciting it is to select a table full of style and function.

 

Some of the possibilities in our collection include: 

 

  • Mid-Century Modern: The Mid-Century Modern Air Hockey Table combines simplicity and elegance in the same package. Game tables showcase a Honey Mist brown finish to complement wooden floors, leather furniture and more. Enjoy hours of fun thanks to a powerful fan for consistent gameplay.
     

  • Homestead: The Homestead's rustic design and worn Cappuccino finish make it one of HB Home's most versatile air hockey tables. Unique X-shaped legs, a wooden crossbeam and detailed texturing give this otherwise minimalist table an air of confident sophistication. And the adjustable leg levelers and powerful single fan ensure a fun gameplay experience for all. 
     

  • Industrial: Featuring a Rustic Brown finish paired with black metal accents, the Industrial Air Hockey Table is a modern take on the classic industrial look. The rich, warm finishes make this table a particularly good fit for home bars or game rooms with a darker color scheme or more masculine aesthetic.
     

  • Telluride: The Telluride is a rustic-style air hockey table that is perfect for homes with modern farmhouse decor. The table features a worn Brown finish and a unique metal crossbar that gives a touch of flair to this one-of-a-kind piece of game room furniture.

Delight Your Guests With a Fun and Functional Air Hockey Table

 

All of our tables include a single air blower system for a consistent playing experience. Plus, the leg levelers make these air hockey tables work well in game rooms that may have uneven floors. 

 

Encourage your visitors or family members to spend memorable time together while doing something fun that doesn't involve staring at a screen. Your air hockey table is a wise investment that brings hours of excitement to each playing session. These products also qualify for free shipping! 

 

Contact us at HB Home to get the specifics that will help you feel confident about your purchase. Ask us for details about warranties and delivery, too.