Were the rules of sports explained to you? Or did you just figure them out?

I was a very active energetic child but never very interested in sports. In elementary school P.E. (“physical education”…come to think of it even the abbreviation was never explained to me) we played lots of different sports…soccer, basketball, football, volleyball…

the thing was our P.E. teachers never explained what the rules were, they would just say we’re playing soccer today. I would only find things out like “no hands in soccer” or “don’t move with the basketball unless you’re bouncing it” when classmates would start yelling confusing things at me like “traveling!”

This just irritated me and put me off any interest in sports.

I am reminded of it because I took my 5 year old to his first soccer practice where there was no attempt to explain the rules, just “kick the ball”.

No, like you, my elementary and high school PE teachers never explained rules and, at least in high school, basically ignored anyone that wasn’t already a jock/on one or more of the school’s sports teams. I was, apparently, always offsides in soccer, though no one would ever tell me why, and one teacher basically told me “why does it matter? You were offside and it’s not like you play on a team anyways.” She was a rude bitch.

My school had very sexist PE teachers (which is odd, since they were women) who believed that girls couldn’t learn to play baseball or football, so I never got to play those. Guys played hockey, girls got broomball with broken brooms. It was a horrible experience.

I played volleyball in college, and got a really good teacher who explained the rules and techniques to us (oh, yeah, in high school, girls weren’t able or allowed to serve overhand, but the guys could, and we played girls vs guys games…guess who always won?)

I have more interest in sports now than I did then, but it’s as a spectator. I really enjoy watching hockey and football, and lately, curling. I’ve picked up some of the rules by watching, and others via discussion with people who know the game, or Wikipedia!

Huh - I thought this was only me. I remember taking Cricket in PE and we were expected to know what the hell we were doing.

No wonder I always hated gym…

I think my elementary school gym teacher went over the rules; IIRC we mostly played those “made up for PE” games. In middle school the sexes seperated and any actual instruction was phased out. By high school boys’ gym consisted of the teacher having us all play basketball or football (depending on the weather & season) while he’d do paperwork or work on game plans. Early in the year they’d sorta “scout” for talent for the sports teams. Being good enought to be noticed for, but not having any interest in joining an after-school sports team was a sure-fire way to get on their shit list. They disliked those boys even more that those of us with zero-atheletic ability or knowledge (eg your’s truly). One of them actually told me “It’s not my job to teach you anything”. And each gym class contained a random mixture of freshmen, sophmores, and seniors.

Whenever we did a joint activity with the girls they’d go over all the rules. Also the girls’ teacher would actualy teach the rules and vary activities (including stuff like aerobics & an abortive attempt at circuit training). Whenever we were allowed to pick who’s activity we did I picked hers. I never played any sport outside of gym class (even at summer camp I’d do stuff like archery or hiking to avoid playing softball). Even as a senior I had no real idea how to play basketball or football. I disliked football so much I basically skipped class whenever we playing (which nobody seemed to notice or care). Never attended any of the games our teams played. Never watched sports on TV.

Likewise with mine. And they mixed kids of all abilities as well. The results were horrendous for me.

As a former jock I can say I’ve had the rules explained to me, but I never quite got them. Playing sports was my social outlet, I didn’t much care about the intricacies of the game. A few of my old friends have opined that they never met anyone who could play sports as well as I did… but knew NOTHING about the game.

I figured them out by playing them. When I was very young, I used to LOVE when my dad would take me to baseball games - but I didn’t understand what was happening at all. It wasn’t until I started playing softball when I was in third grade that the rules of the game actually became clear to me.

And then I loved going to baseball games with my dad even more. :cool:

I remember “playing” football when I was a kid without understanding the rules. I had a vague idea that there was something called a “down” that went up to four. So I occasionally asked the teacher what down it was. I thought that if it was fourth down, that meant the game was almost over.

I don’t ever recall learning the rules in a formal manner. Baseball has always been my sport of choice, and I can’t even begin to imagine how I began learning the rules for the game. My parents certainly didn’t teach me (they were immigrants and knew nothing about the game). It just seems to be one of those things that one naturally learns in the course of watching and playing the game. I still haven’t figured out a good, systematic way to explain the rules of the game to someone who is unfamiliar with it. The game seems logical and simple when I watch it or play it, but when I start explaining it, I realize it’s quite complex if you want to cover all the bases (cough).

Heck, even the Official Rules don’t really give you a clear sense of how the game’s played. It’s all there, but it’s not a straightforward, linear thing.

I don’t think most games lend themselves to an easy explanation of the rules. Even simple net games can be a little complex in the details.

Very rarely have any of them been explained to me. It seems to be assumed that since I’m male I already know them. Perhaps by osmosis or something.

I don’t think they were ever really taught to me, and I still don’t know the rules to most sports. Which is fine, since I don’t like sports.

This was my second-greatest* criticism of the P.E. in our school. Not only were we not taught the rules of sports we had to play, we weren’t in any way taught to do basic things like throwing, catching, etc. When we played baseball, I thought I was supposed to swing at every single ball that was pitched; nobody ever told me otherwise.

The first-greatest criticism was having to swim naked.

Yes, and we has written tests on the rules, at least in middle and high school. I remember being very nervous about my high school tennis test because scoring was very confusing to me.

I don’t think we did many sports with rules in elementary school aside from kickball. I grew up in the era of Presidential Physical Fitness so we spent a lot of time just moving around.

No PE at my Catholic school in the 50s, but in high school we had PE. Not only were the rules explained to us, but we had tests on them. We played backyard wiffle ball, and my dad took the time to explain the rules. When I went to a friend’s house (in elementary school) I was so frustrated when we played ball. If she had 3 strikes, she wanted to keep playing until she hit the ball. The other girls there didnt understand what 3 outs meant.
The school at which I teach also explains the rules to the kids and tests the kids on the rules.

I’m almost positive that my elementary physical education consisted of a lot of activities that were weird and oddly simple. Like, everyone got a basketball and would take turns throwing at the basket from various points around the key or running up and down the length of the gym dribbling. And then once enough progress had been made on the individual pieces, the teacher showed us how they all went together to make a sport. There was no sitting down and hearing a list of arcane rules and terms but a synthesis of various “sports etudes” I guess you could call them. And of course, if you were interested there were grade school sports teams that you could join for further instruction outside of class.

From what I remember, I learned basic rules from just playing with other kids, then learned more detailed rules and nuances from playing organized sports in school. I played football in school (until I was too small to make the teams anymore), and played basketball both in school and in a youth league. I played an awful lot of sandlot games too, of just about everything, including a lot of soccer when I lived in England. I honsetly can’t remember not not knowing how to play the major sports. The only think I ever tried to play without ever really getting a grasp of the rules was cricket, which I played with mostly other Americans in England. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but we gave it a try anayway.

When we played soccer in summer camp (c. 8 y/o), I thought they were saying “out of bounce” when the ball exited the playing field (the surrounding terrain consisted of a bunch of really tall grass, on which the ball, natch, wouldn’t bounce).

When I took PE (80s) we almost never played the full version of a sport. Either we played odd sports like wiffleball and soccer baseball (you kick the ball and then run the bases), or played with lots of ground rules like a street version of the sport. Since both of those were much simpler than the real sport you figured them out quickly.
As far as watching sports, that wasn’t too hard either. After all you don’t need to know what all the rules mean to enjoy a game. I didn’t really understand what pass interference was when I was 10, but the announcers and crowd reaction make it clear quickly what was going on.

I’m pretty sure I figured out most sports from watching TV and asking my dad; I can’t remember ever not knowing the rules to the popular American sports. I do remember getting really bored in PE in elementary school when the teacher explained the rules for baseball. I got totally annoyed that there were people that didn’t know the rules, as if they were totally obvious and everyone learned them, like, automatically.