Charging is the method of blocking your opponent’s shot over the air hockey table by aggressively pushing your mallet towards the center of the table. Air hockey games are fast, primarily because of the nearly negligible friction that exists between the table and the puck. Because of the speed, players tend to not stray away from their defensive positions, but sometimes a radical change can disturb the established pattern of play, and help you score some points. The following guide will help you execute a good charge during an air hockey game.

Charges are extremely risky because it leaves your goal wide open to attack. Yet it is a defensive move, which means that you need to execute it when your opponent is about to attack. The charge is best saved for times when traditional defense techniques do not seem to yield results.

The shot:
Push the mallet forcibly towards the centerline of the table, away from your goal. Lunging forward with your entire body behind the mallet is a great way to add force to your shot, but remember that you need to recover and pull the mallet back to the defensive position as quickly as possible.

Result and frequency:
A charge is done to hit the puck back into the opponent’s goal without taking possession of it. A good charge causes doubt in the offense strategy of your opponent, and may even help you score a goal. But because of the minimal control you have over the puck, there is a lot that can go wrong with a charge. Reserve this move for the most desperate of defensive maneuvers so that you opponent plays his or her offense expecting you to stick to the traditional defensive techniques.

Predictability is the worst weakness in an air hockey player, as opponents generally tend to find a way around established patterns and win a match, even if they are not as skilled in the game. Practice the charge to make sure that it is effective when you do use it, but do not let it creep up in your normal games.

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