how do you score points in air hockey
how do you score points in air hockey

Ever wondered how those rapid-paced games of air hockey manage to keep score? In this article, we will uncover the secrets behind scoring points in this thrilling arcade game. From the basics of gameplay to the strategies employed by seasoned players, we will explore the different ways you can outsmart your opponent and rack up the points. So, get ready to unleash your inner air hockey champion as we reveal the key techniques to score big in this exhilarating game.

Serve and Setup

Starting the Game

To start a game of air hockey, the first step is for one player to serve the puck. This is typically done by using a paddle to strike the puck from the center of the table towards the opponent’s side. Once the puck is in play, both players can start using their paddles to hit the puck and score points.

Puck Placement

After each goal is scored, the puck needs to be properly placed on the table to restart the game. The standard placement is at the center of the table, equidistant from both players. This ensures a fair and balanced restart, giving each player an equal opportunity to gain possession of the puck.

Restarting After a Goal

When a goal is scored, the game needs to be restarted. Both players need to return to their starting positions and be ready to react quickly. The player who was scored upon gets the advantage of serving the puck for the next round. This allows them to have a chance to regain momentum and potentially even the score.

Scoring Rules

Basic Scoring Rules

In air hockey, the objective is to score points by hitting the puck into the opponent’s goal. When the puck completely crosses the goal line and enters the opponent’s goal, a point is awarded to the player who scored. The player who reaches the target score first wins the game.

Points for Shots

Not all shots in air hockey are equally rewarded. Different shots can earn different points, depending on the rules of the game being played. For instance, a shot that goes directly into the opponent’s goal may be worth one point, while a shot that ricochets off the side walls before entering the goal could be worth two points. These variations in scoring add an extra layer of strategy and excitement to the game.

Winning the Game

Reaching the Target Score

To win a game of air hockey, one must reach the target score before their opponent does. The target score is agreed upon by both players or determined by the rules of the game being played. It adds a sense of urgency and competitiveness to the match, as players strive to score points quickly and effectively.

Winning by Two Points

In some variations of air hockey, a player may be required to win by a margin of at least two points. This rule ensures that the winning player has truly outperformed their opponent and has a clear advantage. It adds an extra layer of tension and excitement to the game, as the scoreline may become more unpredictable and closely contested.

Penalties and Fouls

Illegal Shots

While air hockey is a fun and fast-paced game, there are rules in place to ensure fair play and sportsmanship. Illegal shots, such as using one’s hand to move the puck or lifting the paddle too high, can result in penalties. These penalties may include the loss of a point, a turn, or even disqualification from the game, depending on the severity of the offense.

Out of Play

In air hockey, certain areas of the table may be designated as out of play. If the puck goes out of these designated areas, the game is temporarily stopped, and the puck is placed back into play in a fair manner. This ensures that the game remains fair and that players are not unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged by the puck’s movement outside of the playable area.

Unsportsmanlike Behavior

In any competitive sport, including air hockey, good sportsmanship is crucial. Unsportsmanlike behavior, such as taunting, distracting the opponent, or intentionally damaging the equipment, is not tolerated. Players who engage in such behavior may face penalties or disqualification from the game. It is important to play the game with respect, integrity, and fairness.

Strategies for Scoring

Timing and Precision

One key strategy in air hockey is mastering the art of timing and precision. By carefully watching the opponent’s movements, players can anticipate when to strike the puck and maximize the chances of scoring a point. Rapid reaction time and accurate shot placement are crucial for outwitting the opponent’s defense and finding gaps to score points.

Finding Weaknesses in Defense

Every defense has its weaknesses, and a skilled air hockey player knows how to exploit them. By carefully observing the opponent’s positioning and movements, players can identify areas where the defense is vulnerable. They can then strategically hit the puck in those areas to increase the chances of scoring points and keep the opponent on their toes.

Utilizing Angles

Another effective scoring strategy in air hockey is utilizing angles to one’s advantage. By hitting the puck at specific angles, players can make it more difficult for the opponent to defend the goal. Shots that bounce off side walls or hit the corners of the goal are often trickier for the opponent to block, providing opportunities for scoring points.

Defending Against Scoring

Blocking Shots

As much as scoring points is essential in air hockey, defending against the opponent’s shots is equally important. Blocking shots requires quick reflexes, agile movements, and good positioning. By closely tracking the puck and positioning the paddle in strategic areas, players can effectively block the opponent’s shots and prevent them from scoring points.

Staying Centered

One key defensive strategy in air hockey is staying centered. By positioning oneself in the center of the goal, players can cover a larger area and make it more challenging for the opponent to find gaps to score points. Staying centered allows for quicker reaction time and reduces the chances of being caught off guard by unexpected shots.

Reacting Quickly

Reacting quickly is crucial in both offense and defense in air hockey. In terms of defending against scoring, being able to quickly assess the opponent’s shot and react in time to block it can make a significant difference. Training one’s reflexes and practicing quick movements are essential for becoming an adept defender in the game.

Advanced Techniques

Bank Shots

Bank shots are a popular advanced technique in air hockey. Instead of directly hitting the puck towards the opponent’s goal, players intentionally aim for the side walls or corners. The puck then deflects off the walls and changes direction, making it harder for the opponent to predict and block. Mastering precise bank shots can give players a competitive edge and increase their scoring opportunities.

Offense-Defense Transition

Being able to seamlessly transition between offense and defense is a valuable skill in air hockey. Players who can quickly switch from scoring points to defending against counterattacks have a strategic advantage. This requires excellent communication and coordination between teammates in team air hockey matches, as well as individual agility and awareness in solo play.

Advanced Puck Control

Advanced puck control techniques can significantly enhance a player’s scoring abilities. These techniques include puck spins, flips, and deceptive movements that confuse the opponent and create scoring opportunities. Mastering precise control over the puck allows players to execute advanced shots and maneuvers that can catch the opponent off guard and lead to more points.

Scoring Variations

Team Air Hockey

Team air hockey is a popular variation of the game where players form teams and compete against each other. In this format, strategic collaboration and coordination between teammates become crucial. Players can pass the puck to their teammates, set up plays, and work together to outscore the opposing team. Team air hockey adds an extra level of excitement and camaraderie to the game.

Power Play Goals

In some air hockey games, power play goals can be awarded. This occurs when one team has a numerical advantage due to a temporary penalty on the opposing team. Scoring a goal during a power play can often be more rewarding, as it capitalizes on the opponent’s disadvantage. Power play goals contribute to the overall strategy and excitement of the game.

Bonus Points for Trick Shots

To add a touch of flair and creativity to the game, some variations of air hockey offer bonus points for trick shots. These shots involve extraordinary skills and unconventional techniques that impress both opponents and spectators. Performing a successful trick shot not only earns extra points but also showcases the player’s mastery of the game and adds an element of showmanship.

Famous Air Hockey Scoring Moments

High Scoring Matches

Throughout the history of air hockey, there have been numerous high-scoring matches that captivated audiences and showcased players’ exceptional skills. These matches often feature intense offensive and defensive battles, as players push their limits to outscore each other. High-scoring matches create an electrifying atmosphere and leave a lasting impression on both players and spectators.

Epic Comebacks

Air hockey is known for its potential for dramatic comebacks. There have been instances where players, facing significant point deficits, managed to mount stunning comebacks and secure victory. These epic comebacks serve as inspiring reminders that no game is ever truly over until the final point is scored, adding a thrilling element of unpredictability to the game.

Record-Breaking Goals

Just like in any sport, air hockey has seen its fair share of record-breaking goals. From the fastest goal ever scored to the most goals scored in a single game, these records highlight the exceptional talent and achievements of air hockey players. Record-breaking goals inspire players to push themselves further, constantly striving for improvement and aiming to etch their names in the hall of fame.


Air hockey is a thrilling game that combines speed, skill, and strategy. Scoring points is the ultimate objective, and players employ various techniques and strategies to outsmart their opponents and maximize their scoring opportunities. From perfecting timing and precision to finding weaknesses in defense, air hockey offers endless possibilities for strategic gameplay and exciting moments on the table. Whether you’re playing with friends, participating in tournaments, or simply enjoying a casual match, the joy of scoring points in air hockey is undeniable. So grab a paddle, get ready to serve, and embark on an exhilarating journey of air hockey scoring!

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Richard Nelson
Hello! My name is Richard Nelson and I am thrilled to be sharing my passion for Air Hockey Table tips with you on the website As an avid air hockey enthusiast and player, I have gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience in this exhilarating game. Throughout my journey in the world of air hockey, I have been fortunate enough to achieve multiple awards and prizes. These achievements have not only solidified my credibility in the industry but also motivated me to share my expertise with fellow enthusiasts like yourself.