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The Unspoken Rules of Butt Slaps in Sports

Cliff is an online marketer and freelance writer. He is passionate about health, sports, and travel.

Butt Slapping

I was watching a basketball game featuring my favorite team. It was a thrilling game; the score was tied with 10 seconds remaining on the clock. The team’s superstar called for an isolation play, waited for the clock to dwindle down, and sank a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. The players began celebrating. The hero of the game rushed to the bench, pumping his fist and giving high-fives. While doing this, his teammates started slapping him on the butt, one after another.

And so I began to wonder. What is the origin of the butt slap? Why is it only done in sports? Do guys slapping each other on their behinds gain a boost in confidence or something?

As you may very well know, this gesture is very common in different sports, even those played by big and tough men, like football. Can you imagine what these big dudes say to each other, or more interestingly, what they feel while giving and receiving a butt slap?

Nice play, man!

Nice play, man!

Science Behind the Butt Slap?

To provide you with a little bit of useful information, some say that there is science behind butt slapping. It is said that it has similarities with horse racing, where jockeys whip their horses to encourage them to go faster. But then again, some studies claim that whipping horses does not increase their chances of finishing first, second, or whatever. But there’s still a useful tip we can get from horse racing. There is actually a limit to the number of times a jockey can whip a horse. The same goes with butt slapping.

Actually, I played basketball back in high school, and I’ve had my fair share of those “confidence and energy boosters.” Honestly, at first, it didn’t come very awkward to me, probably because I’ve been seeing athletes doing it way before I started playing basketball. So I thought it was a natural thing for sportsmen. I hate to admit this, but I think I’ve given more butt slaps to men than women. But hey, don’t start laughing now. You know you’re in the same league as me.

That realization sparked another question in my mind. Are butt slaps also common in women’s sports? If so, that’s worthy of a whole different article! But in any case, the butt slap is here and here to stay. For beginners, if you want to avoid people questioning your manhood or if you want to hide your real intentions, you must learn these unspoken rules of butt slapping.

See the look on the guy in the middle? That's the look you want to avoid.

See the look on the guy in the middle? That's the look you want to avoid.

The Unspoken Rules of Butt Slapping

1. No squeezing. This is the number one rule. A butt slap should always be a quick tap. Make sure your fingers are together to avoid accidental cupping, or to avoid temptation. If your hand is still in contact with the guy’s butt after half a second, your thoughts are not on the game; they're lingering somewhere else.

2. Pick just one cheek. No matter how much you want to smack both, get a hold of yourself and pick only one cheek. Preferably, slap the one nearest you to avoid that split second of choosing which one you think is better to smack.

Never stare!

Never stare!

3. Keep your eyes up. You don’t have to look at the guy’s behind when giving him a butt slap. This will only make you look like you’re actually enjoying this crazy antic.

4. Fall in line. Did your teammate make a fantastic play? Wait your turn to give him a smack. Don’t go rushing towards him like a kid drooling for ice cream. Don’t you worry; you’ll get your chance.

5. Listen to the horn. When the game ends, it also signals the end of butt slapping, or at least after a few seconds after the game to congratulate your team for winning or to tell them you’ll get ‘em next time. As for you, this is your last chance, so go get ‘em now!

Oh, and one more thing: Never take it to the showers!

Are You Ready for One?

For having the patience to read this article, here's one for you...

Well, on second thought, there might be folks who do not want to be on the receiving end of a butt slap. As a matter of fact, I'm also done with it. So if you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment instead. Many thanks!


Sherri Johnson on July 03, 2020:

I enjoyed reading this to my son cause I pat him all the time and he gets mad

Thanks on January 10, 2020:

Thx u this is some new facts

Dave on June 13, 2019:

You made laugh so hard, in regards to the rules of butt slapping!

Haha haha

Joseph Tabit on March 29, 2019:

There is a science behind it. The idea is to smack the guy at the very bottom of his vertebral column (Coccygeal Nerve #31) right at the tailbone just above the ass. The idea is to activate the most inferior nerve in the Central Nervous System and send it straight to the Brain Stem and into the Basal Ganglion of the Limbic System in the brain. This activates the Pleasure Center where the person feels like a million dollars, especially if the person who slapped him was older and well respected. It layman's terms "Atta boy kiddo"!!!!

A on July 24, 2018:

Mr. Openhimer, probably because of sexual harassment. While some, or even many, people may be fine with it, there are some who aren't and those might cause issues.

Mr. Openhimer on March 21, 2018:

I swat my secretary's butt any time she does a great job. She giggles and seems to enjoy the recognition. Several weeks ago she started slapping my butt when I closed a big deal, and I have to admit, it actually makes me work much harder to close every deal and earn that swat from her. I was looking this up to see if there was some sort of science behind the motivating factor behind the swat. Why don't more people do it in the office setting as well?

Mickey on February 23, 2018:

Touch my butt, and be prepared to stabbed in the face with a soldering iron...hazing often hides behind the name of tradition.

Culley on September 02, 2017:

Itve always found it to be in good fun. It is a playful gesture that incites bonding & encouragement.

Richard mota on August 26, 2017:

Exactly what I wanted to find out great article!

Willie Forsythe on July 29, 2017:

It is always fun to learn new things and I was happy to read this. It was very interesting

Betty Smith on May 13, 2017:

In today's SOCIETY the sexual culture of same gender,bisexual,transgender,and anything goes men slapping each other on the butt probably makes some feel uncomfortable,makes

Spectators wonder and others indifferent.

Ware No on October 30, 2016:

Me and my mom GG think it's gross and should be banned. That makes it easy for people with ulterior motives to get down without being exposed.

Mrs S on April 04, 2016:

We are rolling with laugh! Just shared this with our teenagers- perhaps our maturity had us crying! Loved it!!!

Jobert on March 24, 2012:

xD Funny hub cliff~ Now i'm ready to butt slap a teammate after the game :D

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on March 16, 2012:

Brought back awesome memories, eh? You're welcome brian!

brian s. on March 16, 2012:

Lmfao!!!! I was an athlete in high school He did it when everybody slapped my @$&!!! Not to brag but I was star running back for my high school football team in got them all the time Until My junior year when I said enough is enough And I punched the running back coach!!! I deffly ran some laps for that thing never did it again!!! Funny stuff man thanks dude!!!

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 27, 2012:

I completely understand that. I've been a huge sports fan ever since I was a kid and I've been trying out pretty much any sport I get a chance to play. I think many people know that it's for giving a confidence boost or anything like that, similar with giving high-fives or a pat on the shoulder. It's just that it's unique in sports and very unusual in everyday activities. That's why it gets a lot of attention. The involvement of the butt in this gesture also makes it a topic for fun and laughter. But there's no denying that although there are players that do not appreciate butt slapping, there are many who consider it as a vital part of any game.

chipsball from Houston, Texas USA on January 27, 2012:

Been playing all kinds of sports for over 60+ years and coaching little league baseball...butt slappin' has been a intregal part of baseball and other sports for years. It is a commonly used method of motivation and inspirations that puts some hop in the players and pumps them up. ANYBODY who finds it unusual and sexually distrubing has no idea what it' for and what it does to the players and coaches. Any other connodations with this beyond sports is misguided and misintrepreted. I had one mother from little league ask me why I slapped her son on the butt after he made a dam good comment..." to get his ask in gear! That's baseball.

David from Idaho on January 26, 2012:

Although I never appreciated the butt slapping on the baseball diamond I have no problem with it in my own house.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 26, 2012:

Virtual Treasures, I bet your husband doesn't follow these rules. Haha. Thanks for reading!

Tonja Petrella from Michigan on January 26, 2012:

So now I know why my husband is always going around slapping my butt and telling me "good game!" Hahahaha! Good hub!

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 25, 2012:

Steph, isn't butt slapping extreme? Two NBA players were even ejected when they slapped each other! Poor guys.. Thank you for reading! I'm happy you loved the hub.

Turtlewoman, I should really watch beach volleyball more!

Kim Lam from California on January 25, 2012:

How funny! I've pondered on this subject many times. I also wonder why only males participate in this ritual. The only sport where I've seen females butt-slap is in sand doubles volleyball.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on January 25, 2012:

Extreme sports? LOL! But love the hub, your wry sense of humor and commentary on the selected photos. Now, let's watch the Super Bowl for any demonstrations of proper "butt slap" etiquette.... :)

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 25, 2012:

Melovy, I'm also glad I was on-topic. I might have given myself a butt slap (a really hard one) if this wasn't accepted. Thanks for reading!

Hi alissa! The rules must be strictly implemented! Thanks for sharing this.

ThePracticalMommy, I wonder too. Once I have a kid, this will be one of the first things I will teach him. Maybe if all parents would do that, the butt slapping in sports will be gone at last.

JoshuaDR, that rule is indeed important. Can you imagine guys slapping each others' butts in the locker room?

Kathleen, I've only seen a picture of two female volleyball players doing it. Maybe I should watch women's sports more.

Elani, I've always wondered too. I had those awkward moments when I gave my teammates a butt slap and immediately after that I'd ask myself, what did I just do?

VendettaVixen, really interesting isn't it? Thank you for reading.

Donnaisabella, thank you too!

Isabella Mukanda from Fort Myers on January 25, 2012:

That was hilarious! Thanks.

VendettaVixen from Ireland on January 25, 2012:

Fantastic hub. I've never actually wondered about the butt slap, maybe because I'm not sporty in the least and have never had to tolerate it, but this was really interesting, and funny too.

Excellent job on tackling a quite unusual subject.

Melanie from Pennsylvania on January 25, 2012:

This is pretty funny. I always wondered why guys did that! Hilarious hub!

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 25, 2012:

Is it any more personal than tearing off your shirt at the end of a soccer match? A butt slap is as much a male bonding ritual as anything else. Ever see two girls do it?

JoshuaDR from Charleston, SC on January 25, 2012:

Good stuff. I think the most important rule is the last one. Listen for the horn.

voted up and funny

Marissa from United States on January 25, 2012:

I often wondered about this: what would prompt grown men to slap each other's behinds during/after a sweaty game? You have to wonder, though, why this thing is still acceptable after the recent abuse stories in sports lately?

Your hub is hysterical nonetheless--not one I'd expect to see from this week's WTI! Thanks for the laugh!

Voted up and sharing!

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on January 25, 2012:

Love this! I never knew there were rules to the art of the butt slap. Very funny - voted up and sharing this one!

Yvonne Spence from UK on January 25, 2012:

Well, this is an interesting take on the WTI! Glad it was deemed suitable as it is very funny, as are the photos. Thanks for a laugh.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 25, 2012:

Hey adjkp25! Awkward wasn't it? I can't believe I did those butt slaps when I was still a kid.

David from Idaho on January 24, 2012:

I played baseball for many years when I was growing up and we always had that one guy who was totally into the butt slapping thing. Personally, I never got it and still don't. I certainly didn't enjoy being on the receiving end of them.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 24, 2012:

Hi emie! There are really unspoken rules! Dare break even one of 'em and you'll pay the price. Haha. Thanks for reading!

emievil from Philippines on January 24, 2012:

Wow, I never knew there are rules for butt slapping. I thought it's just something they do! great hub topic here. Hope to read more of your hubs in the future.

Cliff Mendrez (author) from Philippines on January 24, 2012:

Hi Eric! Actually, I had troubles with choosing under which category to put this hub into. At first, I decided to put it under American Football, as the butt slap is believed to have started in that sport. But I scrolled down further the sub-categories and I found the perfect match: Extreme Sports! I don't know if I should be glad about the bots relating my hub to wedding etiquette though. Haha.

TravelinAsia, your comment is enough. No butt slaps please.

Alocsin, thank you once again. Glad you found this hub funny.

Simone, thank you for this week's topic inspiration. I hope this would be of help to beginners in any sport. Lol.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 24, 2012:

Hahaa, butt slapping in sports has always cracked me up, and I've always wondered about the etiquette surrounding the issue. This Hub rocks.

Also, lol@ Eric Newland.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 24, 2012:

Hilarious overview of a frequent sports ritural. Voting this Up and Funny.

TravelinAsia from Thailand/Southeast Asia on January 24, 2012:

I loved reading this .. Brilliant! A great subject to tackle, the legnedary butt slap! I enjoyed this hub so much, I reckon you deserve a good butt slap yourself.. hahaha.. Just kidding!

Eric Newland from Dayton, Ohio on January 24, 2012:

Haha, I love it! You've shed some light on a sports subject that could definitely use more exposure. Or maybe not.

I also like how the 'bots that be decided that your hub is related to a hub about wedding etiquette.