Air hockey is a fast paced game, and slight variations in the angle and force of contact between the mallet and the puck and cause significant deviations by the time it reaches your opponent’s side. Regardless of how many hours of experience you have gathered over the air hockey table, it is natural to feel a little clumsy when you try to play without warming up. The following warm up exercises will help you keep consistency at the maximum even before you face your opponent.
Basic offense shots:
If you are facing the air hockey table right after any other activity, it is best to start warming up at the basics. Simple offense shots such as the cross-straight can help your body and mind get ready for playing a serious game. Focus on the accuracy of the shots instead of the power you exert, so that you are more consistent.
Repetitive shots: If you found that a particular shot was giving you trouble in a previous game, it is a good idea to practice the shot in your warm-up time to improve it. Repeat the shot over and over again and focus on gradually becoming more accurate with every consecutive shot. Start with a slow pace so that you are absolutely sure of the angle of impact, before you start to develop on speed.
Capture and shoot: Capturing the puck is just as important on the air hockey table as hitting a successful shot. To ensure that your muscle memory for capturing and holding the puck is strengthened, hit the puck towards the opposite rail repetitively and focus on stabilizing the puck as smoothly as possible, before hitting it again.
Every air hockey player has their own pre-match routine that helps them get “in the zone” before a serious match. Such exercises are often repetitive strikes with slight variations so that the player can get used to all the major elements of the game. Explore a variety of warm-up exercises until you find a method that helps you achieve a good degree of consistency in a short amount of time.