These are the basic game rules for air hockey as given by the USAA for professional or home air hockey play.
1. A player may stand anywhere around the air hockey table on his/her side of the center line. He/she may not stand past that line.
2. If any part of a player’s hand, arm, body, or clothes touches the puck, a “palming” foul shall be called.
3. The puck may be struck with any part of the mallet but the bottom surface.
4. The puck cannot be “topped” by lifting the mallet and placing it on the top of the puck to slow or stop it while the puck is on the air hockey 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.
5. Only one puck shall be in play at a given moment.
6. A player may play with only one air hockey mallet on the playing surface at one time. Violation results in a foul. Players may choose to hold only one air hockey mallet.
7. When the puck enters a player’s goal, 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 prior to making the shot.
8. A player has seven (7) seconds to execute a shot that crosses the center line of the air hockey table. The seven (7) seconds begin as soon as the puck enters and remains on that player’s side of the center line. Violation of this rule is a foul.
9. When the puck is in contact with any part of the center line, either player may strike the puck.
10. The player scored upon receives possession of the puck for the next serve.