The floating triangle

The basis of Triangle Defense is that there are three mallet positions to block all straights and single banks. However, the positions shift based on where the puck is located – I refer to this as the “floating triangle”. In this article I discuss how the concept of re-centering to defend straights should also be applied to banks.

Let’s start by looking at two illustrations. The first shows three different puck locations. Each puck location has three unique mallet positions to defend straights and banks:

Floating Triangle (Mallets)

The second illustration shows the same as above, but uses lines to visualize the movement of the Triangle Defense:

Floating Triangle (Pyramid)

Key takeaways:

  • Banks are more obtuse off the rail that the puck is closest to; the defense does not have to pull as far to block these shots.
  • Banks are more acute off the rail that the puck is furthest from; the defense has to pull further to block these shots.
  • The defense should be positioned slightly closer to the centerline when the puck is further back on the opponent’s side.

A game of inches

The adjustments required to play a solid floating triangle defense are small but important. Think of it like this: An air hockey table’s goal is 15 inches across, pucks are three inches in diameter, and mallets are four inches. A shift of the mallet by just a few inches makes a huge impact.

Make it intuitive

Figuring out where to move your mallet to, depending on where the puck is located, is not the type of thought process you want to have in a close match. To make the defensive locations intuitive practice defending banks which are hit from everywhere. Once you are aware of the concept of the floating triangle, pulling to the correct spots becomes second nature with enough repetitions.


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