Old School

  • Posted on: 12 November 2010
  • By: sean


Old timer gym teacher's picture

Maybe I can shed some light on "old school." If your gym teacher is an "old fart" like myself (I grew up in the early 1960's, so,yes, that makes me "old" and qualifies me to answer this blog) than maybe you have been taught some of the original 4 square rules. We learned 4 square by different rules than what I see being played today. For example,

1) We had to stay within our squares to play. No stepping completely out of the squares (one foot had to stay in) or you were eliminated. Somewhere over the years, someone didn't like getting sent to the back of the line by this rule and decided to change it and it caught on so now you can go anywhere on the court, so it seems.

2) Due to rule one, your best move was to make the ball travel low but straight at the person which made it difficult to hit back.

3) Another rule we had was that the ball HAD to bounce in your square once. No hitting it in the air, without a bounce in your square, into someone else's square...that made you out.

4) Due to #2 and 3 above, a defensive maneuver was allowing the ball to deflect off your hands (tap, not catch) or body and into your square once to hit it. Also, along with the no catching rule was the rule that there were no double hits (deflecting the ball with your hands was not considered a hit as long as the ball was deflected into your own square and was not being propelled into someone else's square.

5) Which brings me to the last rule that we played by. Your hands (one or both) were the only thing you could use to propel the ball towards another person's square. Kicks, head butts, etc. were not allowed...after all, this isn't kick ball or soccer, it is 4 square.

So, maybe some of you think there were too many rules back in the old days but I think the game has evolved to what it is now because someone didn't like the original rules and decided to change them and it got passed around and stuck and that's OK too. But if your gym teacher is over 45 and learned the game when he/she was a kid chances are you may be using one of the rules above that are now considered "old school." There are two important things to know about 4 square. The 2nd most important thing is that you talk about the rules you want to play by and everyone knows and agrees to them before you start the game and the first important thing is that you have FUN!!!