Air Hockey Table Rules

Air hockey is a great game that is easy to learn and fun for the whole family. It is easy to jump right in witha couple of paddles and start smashing and crashing around but there are basic rules to the game that should be adhered to for maximum enjoyment and fair play.

The rules listed below are more of a guideline and are not carved in stone. If you want the complete official US Air Hockey Association Rules (USAA) then visit here.

You can always make up your own house rules of course, but be sure to establish them beforehand and not as you go along. Not doing so never ends up well with an argument almost guaranteed to break out.

As well, the size of the playing surface can affect how the game should be played. Check out the Ultimate Buyers Guide to Air Hockey Tables here to discover the best gaming table for your needs.

Simple USAA Rules

  1. Player may stand anywhere around the air hockey table on his/her side of the centerline. He/she may not stand past the line.
  2. Only one puck can be used at a given moment.
  3. The first player to score seven goals wins.
  4. The puck may be struck with any part of the mallet except the bottom surface.
  5. A “palming” foul occurs when any part of a player’s hand, arm, body, or clothes touches the puck.
  6. The puck must drop and remain in the goal for the goal to count. The player’s opponent receives one point for a goal scored, unless the offensive player committed a foul during or just before making the shot.
  7. The puck cannot be “topped” by raising the mallet or pusher and holding it on the top of the puck to slow or stop it while it on the table. This cannot be done at any time, whether before a serve or during play. Violation constitutes a foul. However, using the mallet to bring an airborne puck to the table or toward the opponent’s goal is not a topping violation no matter which side or edge of the puck is contacted.
  8. A player may play with only one air hockey mallet on the playing surface at one time. Violation results in a foul.
  9. A player has seven seconds to return a shot that crosses the centerline. The seven seconds begin as soon as the puck enters and remains on that player’s side of the centerline. Violation results in a foul.
  10. When the puck is in contact with any part of the centerline, either player may strike the puck.
  11. The player who is scored upon receives possession of the puck for the next serve.
  12. A player must make a clear indication of a time-out so that the opponent understands the player’s intention to stop play.
  13. When a player is scored upon, they have 10 seconds to remove the puck from the goal and place it in play. The 10 seconds start as soon as the puck has fallen completely through the goal and is available for the player to place into play. This rule is suspended during the course of a time-out.
  14. A player may hand-serve the puck (use their hand to set the puck in front of his/her mallet) only after he/she has been scored upon.
  15. Each player may take one time-out per game. The time-out can’t be longer than 10 seconds.
  16. A player may exercise their time-out only when the puck is in their possession or not in play.
  17. After each game, players swap sides of the air hockey table.

In the end, it’s all about having fun. Whether you are using the official USAA rules or making up some of your own, be sure to honour them. Poor sportsmanship is a sure fire way to ruin a great afternoon of air hockey fun.

Happy gaming!

DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE AIR HOCKEY RULES PDF