Air hockey is a game of speed and accuracy. Any gaps in the defense will allow your opponent to exploit it repetitively before you recognize the pattern, reducing your chances of winning a game. To dominate over the air hockey table, you would not only have to practice the various attack shots but also improve your defense strategies. Given below are some of the most common defense mistakes that players make in air hockey.
- Leaning over the table
The defensive stance is where most air hockey players go wrong. Leaning with your torso over the air hockey table and shoulders hunched forwards makes you look for opportunities to charge and take possession of the puck instead of defending your opponent’s shots. Also the forward lean makes it harder to block under banks, leaving a very distinct gap in your defense.
- Reacting slowly
The air hockey puck receives very little friction from the air hockey table, enabling it to move at blinding speeds if hit properly. Your opponent will hit shots as hard as he or she can, sending the puck straight for a small gap in your defense, but you cannot defend it if you are reacting to the movement of the puck. Instead, look for cues in the opponent’s wrist and body language to predict where the puck would be and move accordingly.
- Hitting a shot without catching the puck
Your defense should not only focus on striking the puck back to your opponent after they attack, but also on gathering the puck from them and taking control of the game. Make sure that you are not simply hitting the puck back as soon as it crosses the center-line or collecting the puck and hitting a shot before you have resetting.
By paying more attention to your defense, you should be able to reduce the chances of letting your opponent score, and even gain possession of the puck more often. If it is complemented with a strong attack strategy, a good defense can make all the difference in the air hockey table.