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Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 3)
7/5/2013 1:10:16 PM
Unders should travel at the max speed that the table will allow the puck to move without flying off. In practice you should work on increasing the speed of your unders until you have the ability to strike the puck and cause it to leave the table. From there you can scale back the speed of your unders depending on table conditions. Think of it like this: If you are never hitting the puck off the table on unders, you are not striking the puck with enough power.

Unders must be fast, really fast. They are the foundation of offense, especially vs. a pyramid defense. The defense must always be kept in check with unders. If you have a fast and accurate under, the defense cannot wander; in other words it makes it very risky for the defense to attempt to snag pucks. A fast under commands respect and opens up straights, overs, and it also keeps the defense on its heels. Without an under there is nothing that can score, all straights and both over-the-mallets can be blocked by a single out position on defense.

There is no need for hard mallets or low tops. Offense is the easier part of air hockey. Your mallet selection should be geared around defense. A soft or original high-top mallet is the only thing that makes sense. With a high top more hand contacts the mallet, and that means more control.

By and large, generating enough power on offense to reach critical mass is not difficult. Defense and puck control are the more difficult facets of air hockey skill, and mallet selection should cater to these areas.

A soft or original high-top mallet is the more effective material on defense. It is softer so the mallet deadens the puck upon impact of an oncoming shot and also makes catching your own missed shots easier.
Of the 64 national championships, 61 were won with high-tops and 3 with low-tops - Davis Lee has won 2 and Owen Geraldo won 1. Davis modifies and extends his low-top's nub so much that it is almost like a half-top. Owen Geraldo had an outstanding defense but his offense was the worst of any champion in air hockey's history. If anyone needed a low top to assist with a sub-par offense, Owen did.

Not recentering on defense is the most egregious error that can be made. Most players of all skill levels, pros included, seem not to even be aware of this concept. Below is an article, with diagrams, that explains recentering in detail:



Blog History
Structuring offense vs. unknown opponents 21 Aug 2014
Extending Timeouts 15 Aug 2014
Releases 10 Jul 2014
Left-of-center vs. right-of-center 07 Oct 2013
A couple of new articles 29 Aug 2013
Charging 27 Aug 2013
Moving to WordPress 13 Aug 2013
Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 5) 05 Jul 2013
Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 4) 05 Jul 2013
Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 3) 05 Jul 2013
Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 2) 05 Jul 2013
Top 10 most common mistakes in air hockey. (pt 1) 05 Jul 2013
A blog about air hockey strategy and tactics. 01 Jul 2013