Is Air Hockey A Professional Sport?


Is Air Hockey A Professional Sport?

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Have you been playing air hockey and wondered about competing in it professionally? Maybe you are extremely good, and you wanted to know if air hockey was even considered a professional sport or not.  Well, in this article, we will answer all of your questions about air hockey.

So is air hockey a professional sport?

Although most people do not think about air hockey being a professional sport, it actually is. Even though it is not as popular as other sports that you see in the olympics, air hockey has been around for a while and is considered a sport since there are tournaments, leagues, and rules for playing.

If you want to know more about air hockey and when it was first invented as well as tournaments, leagues, rules, and how the table works, you will want to keep reading. You can also watch this video to watch the world youngest air hockey champion in action going head to head with his teacher! 

Is there a specific league for air hockey similar to the nfl?

Who’s not aware of the popular air hockey that everyone loved when it was first introduced? Although air hockey has become a thing of the past just as arcades, you can still find air hockey tables in a lot of peoples homes all across America. 

Air hockey has one professional organization which sets the rules and regulation in addition to other details. This organization is called the Air Hockey Players Association (AHPA).

If you visit the official website, you will see they have about 10 pages in one of the sections of rules that need to be followed. There are various details such as what the size of the table should be i.e, 8 foot, the puck types (out of all the pucks made, only 3 are allowed), as well as the type of puck that is used, There are even specific details about the material that is used when making the puck as well. 

It’s not just one organization for Air Hockey. One of them belongs to the US that is why it is called the United States Air Hockey Association (USAA). Their rules and regulations are on par with the AHPA’s rules, etc. One of the rules also indicates that there can be no distractions on the table at any time.

Even though Air Hockey has never attained a status of Olympic games, it has enjoyed professional status and has at least one professional league as well.

Tournaments and leagues

The AHPA has a major tournament every year. The last one was played in March of this year and played in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  • The current fees to enter was $30 for beginners and their rating had to be 1001 and below.
  • Amateurs are rated between 1001 and 1299 and the fee for them to enter the tournament was $75.
  • A pro is rated between 1300 to 1699 and they had to pay $145 to enter this year’s tournament.
  • The final category is the Master and they are rated starting at 1700 and go up from there. Their fee was $175. You would have to contact the USAA for events in your area and possible leagues you can join.
  • They hold multiple events around the country allowing lesser ranked players to challenge higher ranked competitors.

Are you interested in playing air hockey?

If you are someone who has a passion for this game, there are definitely some of the best opportunities for you out there. Your skills can take you somewhere depending on where you stand.

To turn into a pro, you need to follow all the rules of the 2 professional associations and play on regulation tables only.

What exactly is a professional sport?

A professional sport are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the front through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes.

As a result, more sportsmen can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of the sport.

Most sports played professionally also have amateur players far outnumbering the professionals.

How does an air hockey table work?

Before you get all signed up to play in this profesional sport, you should know how the machine that you are playing on is operated and works. 

There are three main design components of an air hockey table that make it work:

  • the blowers
  • surface of the tabletop
  • the rails

The blowers and the surface of the table work in conjunction to make the game smooth. Holes are strategically placed on the entire surface of the table to facilitate air coming up from the blowers. Fan powered blowers force air through these holes and create a surface with minimal friction. The tables themselves must also be smooth and thus many of the high-end tables are made with a durable, yet slick, laminate surface.

The rails are the most often forgotten component of a solid air hockey table. Because scoring can involve setting up shots off the rails, the rails must be designed for with the right amount of bounce and “bankability”. Many of the best tables are made with dense aluminum to meet this criteria.

What rules does the game follow?

Generally speaking, the rules of the game are really simple. All you have to do is put the puck into your opponent’s goal. Almost anyone with an air hockey table in front of them will be able to pick it up right away. Most games are played to 7 with tournament matches being a series of games.

There is a larger body of more nuanced rules which govern things like coin tosses, face offs and puck possession. Because the rule set can get quite lengthy, we’re better off pointing you to something more specific than all these facts. 

When did Air Hockey become a thing?

In early 1969 there were three developers who started to design a frictionless playing surface. When this was finally completed in 1972 the start of air hockey as we probably know it today. Phil Crossman, Bob Kenrick, and Brad Baldwin developed the table while working with Brunswick Billiards. Another man named Robert Lemieux was additionally included as shown by the patent itself.

Brunswick brought air hockey into all sorts of public and home spaces such as arcades and community centers. By the early to mid-1970’s air hockey began to pick up popularity and everyone wanted one. There was even a world championship held in New York City in 1974 which was announced by popular sports broadcaster of the time, Marv Albert.

Conclusion

Now that you know playing air hockey is a professional sport, you can take your time and hone your skills to take on the top leaders. While some people are a natural at the game, others need to work hard to become the best, and with a game like this, you will need all of the practice you can get. 

Although air hockey may look fairly easy, there are a lot of different strategies, as well as mental awareness that goes into the game. This is why only the best of the best can make it to the World Championship events. 

So if you want to practice and have your own regulation table, here is the best place to get one and at a great price. 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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