Building an Offense Strategy in Air Hockey

How you perform inair hockey can change depending on who you are facing. For an experienced player, the first step in formulating a winning strategy is understanding how your opponent plays their game. When facing an unknown partner, this can put you at a slight disadvantage. But if you are aware of what you need to look out for, you can quickly understand your opponent’s strategies and style. To play on the offense means to push your opponent back so that you can focus on landing points instead of alternating between offensive and defensive play. A successful offensive strategy first requires you to understand how your opponent plays their defense. Make a note of how your opponent holds their mallet – in a situation where you find that he uses a claw-grip, it is more than likely that his defense is on par with that of a beginner. Attack him using straights to land points and further test his movements. Carefully notice what his stance is like – if his shoulders are rolled forward, then he probably has an aggressive style. In such situations attack using straight unders to land an advantage.

Finally, notice which direction his mallet is facing – towards or away from the goal to better understand how he approaches his defensive techniques. If you feel that he is adequate in performing defensive strokes, then the aim is to attack him with a variety of techniques to get a feel of what works best. Always start with your least difficult shots and progress towards the most difficult ones. Ideally, you should aim to win using shots mid-ranged in difficulty, but try to switch up your shots so that they don’t get too used to your style of play. If you are unsure of their defensive techniques, aim to shoot an off-goal. In this way, you can see how he reacts to your shot without potentially wasting an in-goal shot. Remember that your more difficult shots can put a strain on you as well – you should always try to win with your easier shots – even choosing to prefer them over trickier attacks.

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