What do you wish your PE classes had been like?

demoiselle2014
demoiselle2014 Posts: 474 Member
edited June 2015 in Fitness and Exercise
More and more, I am discovering the severe limitations of my middle and high school physical education classes. As I've done yoga, I've learned that (in certain areas), I am extremely flexible. PE fitness tests (v-sit, anyone?) convinced me that I was inflexible, and I believed that into my 30s. When I began using weight machines as an adult, I learned I could get quite strong (but PE had led me to believe I was weak by doing pull up tests without adequate training to develop the strength to do pull ups). Now, I just finished C25K, and I realized as I practiced how useless the bit of running we did on the track in PE was--we would only do it for a week or two before the Governor's fitness test, and then only to get a mile run time that was fast enough to pass. It wasn't enough to give me lasting cardio benefits, or to gain endurance, or to realize that I like running.

We would "play sports," but there was relatively little skill work or instruction on the how-tos for someone like me, who grew up in a family where neither mom nor dad ever threw a ball to me.

My school actually had a good fitness/weight room, but our PE classes did not include instruction on how to use the weight machines or free weights. Basically, only our swim teacher/coach gave us serious skills instruction that I have been able to use into adulthood.

Basically, I am realizing that everything about school PE conspired to make me think that I was not athletic, and never could be by any measure. It didn't give me the skills to take in to my adult life to develop a good base of fitness. I have had to learn all of that by myself.

What was your PE like? Did it help you become fitness oriented? If not, what would your ideal school PE class be like, to better prepare you for a healthy adulthood?
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Replies

  • ElizabethKalmbach
    ElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,416 Member
    ... I seldom ever went to school PE. I had ballet classes 5 days a week in high school, and was permitted to substitute that extracurricular (with a note from my ballet school) for a french class... My french is abysmal, but I had fun in that class.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,876 Member
    I always loved PE. Your run of the mill PE class is pretty general and it has to be...you're teaching masses and really, they're mostly to keep kids moving who've been sitting in classes all day. In high school I had a wider selection of more specified PE like weight lifting, etc.

    I was also a track and field sprinter from 2nd grade through my senior year in high school and was at one point my senior year ranked 3rd in the state in the 100M...so I was an athlete long before I got into any kind of organized PE class. PE for me was just a fun part of my day...kind of like recess...my real training came after school with track practice, football practice for a few years there, gymnastics, swimming, etc. I dabbled in a lot, but track and field was really where I shined.
  • greekyogurtandpuppies
    greekyogurtandpuppies Posts: 81 Member
    edited June 2015
    I always used to feel bad for the kids who were picked last for teams and wished that the teacher would count off instead of letting students choose.

    Also, in middle school, we had to do bear crawls across a mat and the boys would always stare at the girls' rear ends, which we all hated. Lol
  • cheshirecatastrophe
    cheshirecatastrophe Posts: 1,395 Member
    edited June 2015
    What it should have been like:

    Screen-shot-2010-04-24-at-Sat4-249.23.png

    All day every day.
  • demoiselle2014
    demoiselle2014 Posts: 474 Member
    I'm not sure volume of students is a good excuse in my school's case. We had only 40 kids per grade, and by high school when PE was done in sections, there were sometimes under 10 people in a class...
  • whirlygig60
    whirlygig60 Posts: 37 Member
    My PE classes had absolutely no training for the physical fitness test. We spent a lot of time sitting around doing nothing or being bused down to the lake to go fishing. My instructor was easily 100 lbs overweight and did not care at all for his teaching job. He was just there to keep his football head coach position. It makes me mad on what I could have achieved physically if I'd had someone who cared to teach.
  • jvs125
    jvs125 Posts: 223 Member
    My PE was worthless. Just team sports, limited instruction, no learning. I wish there was a nutrition component to it. People need to learn about that, as it is so basic to our health. I wish there was also an intro to proper strength workouts, how to use weights, proper form to avoid injuries. I wish there was an element on how to deal with injuries and medical conditions (i.e. asthma), how to adapt your workout consequently. I wish there were also other disciplines that would allow an individual to compete with himself and improve their best performance instead of comparing with everyone else all the time.
  • yesimpson
    yesimpson Posts: 1,372 Member
    edited June 2015
    My experience of PE was rubbish. I was awkward, ashamed of my body, and terrified of embarrassing myself in front of the other girls. We did team sports which made me so anxious about disappointing my teammates that I basically didn't participate. The memory of struggling to do the bleep test in front of 35 other teenagers still now makes me feel sick and sweaty. I would cry the night before our weekly PE lesson, every day from when I turned about 10 until 16, when I could leave the indignity of forced physical exercise in short netball skirts behind!

    Cross country was my only time to shine. We did two cross country runs a year in secondary school - 2 miles over muddy bogs and hills. I would come 20-30th out of 110, which for someone who is in the bottom set for PE was great! Swimming I was OK at, after 8 years of Saturday lessons, but we did that for one term when I was 12. I'm sure I would've loved Pilates as I enjoy that now. Any sort of weights/kettlebell class would've gone done well with me, because I think it would've improved my body image. And, although 14 year old would hate me for saying this, I think a greater variety of types of sport/exercise practiced more times a week would've helped me to make progress with my fitness levels, therefore I would've hated it less.

    Starting to swim again at 18, then joining the gym, made such a difference to my confidence levels, because I was proving to myself that I CAN be fit and active.
  • ElizabethKalmbach
    ElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,416 Member
    (I agree though, that I would have thought that I was unfit had I been forced to play sports. I'm really lousy with a ball. Thankfully, my Mother drew the correlation between PE class and ballet and argued with the school until I was allowed to do something I enjoyed instead of just "trying out" a bunch of things that I would perform badly at for too short a duration to be able to improve.)

    I think it's intended to be a "sample" of things for kids to try to see what they might "enjoy" doing more. It isn't meant to improve you so much as it is meant to show you all your options. Improvement is meant to be made in the sporting clubs and teams after school, but I don't think I (or any of my peers) really received that message.
  • tedioustrainingap
    tedioustrainingap Posts: 78 Member
    I wish we'd been allowed and encouraged to excel in a chosen field, rather than forced to also partake in activities we found difficult, painful or alien. The bad tended to outweigh the good, so I was put off of most sports and activities for a long time, as a result.
  • demoiselle2014
    demoiselle2014 Posts: 474 Member
    I think little me would have benefitted from the PE courses sticking to a topic long enough to make some visible gains. If we went twice a week and did basketball for two weeks, there was no way I'd see any improvement. Same with the "train to the test" method of doing running, pull-ups, sit-ups and stretches. If we'd stuck to any single skill for a whole marking period (which was for us about 7-9 weeks, I don't quite remember), I might have experienced some progress. That amount of time was enough in yoga, and in running, to actually feel good about what I'd achieved. I also saw improvements in weights in that short amount of time. Also, the net result was that I gained confidence in my body, rather than losing confidence.
  • demoiselle2014
    demoiselle2014 Posts: 474 Member
    (I agree though, that I would have thought that I was unfit had I been forced to play sports. I'm really lousy with a ball. Thankfully, my Mother drew the correlation between PE class and ballet and argued with the school until I was allowed to do something I enjoyed instead of just "trying out" a bunch of things that I would perform badly at for too short a duration to be able to improve.)

    I think it's intended to be a "sample" of things for kids to try to see what they might "enjoy" doing more. It isn't meant to improve you so much as it is meant to show you all your options. Improvement is meant to be made in the sporting clubs and teams after school, but I don't think I (or any of my peers) really received that message.

    I envy you your ballet experience, though that would not have been the right choice for me at that age.

    I agree that you get more skill training in sports. Unfortunately, schools often only let the most skillful players be on their sports teams, which means that the kids who need that help the most are least likely to get it. I, too, suffered additional "demerits" on sports teams because I am very, very tiny in build, and weighed very little. Apparently, I looked like the other kids could break me. But that actually meant I needed the training more, not less.

  • ElizabethKalmbach
    ElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,416 Member
    My school had both sports "clubs" and sports "teams." You had to try out for the team and do better than your peers to be asked to join. The clubs were for all skill levels and all you had to do was show up. I'm not sure if this was because I had an exceptional school, or if this was par for the course and most "clubs" just don't advertize as extensively as the clubs at our school did.
  • AsISmile
    AsISmile Posts: 1,004 Member
    I HATED PE.

    Too many sports. When it was summer and we had PE outside all we did was some running (but not often enough to actually improve on it) and a lot of softball and football (soccer). Indoors was almost always something like basketball, volleyball or badminton. And once a year we had to do the "shuttle run test" (a speed and endurance run test) for a grade.

    By the time I was 16 I already started doing bodycombat in the gym and enjoyed that way more.
  • Need2Exerc1se
    Need2Exerc1se Posts: 13,576 Member
    edited June 2015
    What it should have been like:

    Screen-shot-2010-04-24-at-Sat4-249.23.png

    All day every day.

    Yes!! I loved those days!

    I loved PE classes up until high school. Then I mostly skipped them. I don't think school PE classes helped or hindered me being fit as an adult, or as a kid either.
  • Mezzie1024
    Mezzie1024 Posts: 380 Member
    I'm another one that got out of PE because of dance, but I did have some PE classes up until that point. I learned how to lift in PE (there was no separating the boys from girls, thank goodness!), how to properly stretch after running, and the basics of some sports. It wasn't a waste, even if it did jump from thing to thing, I assume in hopes that we would find sometging we liked and could stick with for a lifetime).

    Now in my town the students track their heart rate as they do certain activities and at rest, which I think is a neat addition. Also, we now offer yoga which the students love. Still, the main problem remains: a 50 minute PE class with ten minutes at the beginning and end for changing and lost time due to instructions and attendance leads to at most 30 minutes of exercise and usually only 20. Only the kids on teams or in dance end up getting enough activity. We also no longer mandate health classes; the biology and life science teachers try to include what they can, but they already have more to teach in a year than is possible, so important facts about healthy living are skipped, and our kids leave high school ready to be preyed on by companies selling dangerous, quick fixes.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
    edited June 2015
    There were parts of high school PE I liked and parts I didn't. I took tennis for part of one semester and then weightlifting for the other half. I was happy to get out of regular PE class, which was mostly kickball and dodgeball. Tennis was fun and weightlifting was just so-so. The teacher didn't really teach us anything but, again, I was just happy not to be hit with a kickball on a regular basis so I can't complain too much. It would have been better if he actually had some sort of plan for us to actually learn something.

    In college, I had to take 3 gym classes so I took tennis, weightlifting, and golf. Those were all enjoyable.

    Back in junior high, my favorite days of gym class were archery days. My least favorite, the ones I loathed, were gymnastic days. The teachers always made us partner up and create routines set to music and then we had to perform them in front of the class. Blech. I actually was once hit directly in the face with a dodgeball and my glasses split in half from the force and I'd rather have had that happen a second time than have to do a gymnastics routine in front of the class.
  • earlnabby
    earlnabby Posts: 8,171 Member
    I loved PE and especially enjoyed the sports part of it. I was a solid "B" student: good enough to enjoy myself with some skill but not great. The whole point was to get the students moving and it succeeded at that. We also had instruction on things like how to serve and hit the volleyball, how to dribble and shoot basketballs, etc. The physical fitness tests were the worst part of it because they had no purpose. I am of the generation that was in HS when Title IX passed so I started HS with no interscholastic teams but we had several by my senior year. Instead, we had the Girls Athletic Association (GAA) after school where you had a chance to participate in any sport you were interested in and all who signed up got to play. There were the organized ones like volleyball, basketball, etc. but you could also earn points for individual sports like bowling that you did on your own time.

    Full and fair disclosure: my Mom was a PE and health teacher for over 30 years, mostly in Jr. High. As the TK, I was always picked last even though I was pretty decent at the sports.
  • ShibaEars
    ShibaEars Posts: 3,928 Member
    edited June 2015
    PE class was mostly focused on team sports (volleyball & basketball in particular). I am not a team sports person. I wish they'd spent some time instructing us on how to use weights properly - some days we just got sent into a weight room. 99% of us didn't have a clue what we were doing and would just goof off, I'm surprised nobody got hurt. We did do running outside, but there was never any proper training, you just got sent out to do a 5K or something, and that was that. There were kids that were athletic and into sports, and they would make fun of those of us who weren't so athletically inclined. Of course I hated every second, and was led to believe I was unfit (ok, I was then) and would always be unfit so why even try?

    It was 6 or 7 years after high school that I found my own fitness groove and realized I can be fit & athletic.

    ETA: I read the post above that mentioned dodge ball - I freaking hated dodgeball, and I swear we'd play weekly.