Den is right though,despite Newts well worded reply its a shame the guy cant go out with some one as judging by this question I bet hes loads of others to,or will have any way! Thats the real problem with angling...the more you learn the more you realise that there is still so much more to learn! Questions begat questions! (Cor that was almost biblical!)
Absolutly correct , a practical demonstration as to how to set up your rods reels drop offs and alarms is so much easier than trying to explain.
I was out on the river on Mon night and got asked the very same question and tried to demonstrate how things worked with a spare drop off and a bit of imagination when I found it easier to get over an already set up rod and show how to set up. The drop back run and the forward run were shown and demonstrated how to tell the difference with the aid of an alarm and a decent drop off and the person concerned was able to pick it up very easily once shown.
Whilst demonstrating on one rod I pointed to another and said "that one will take off in less than a minute" to which a blank look was the reply , but the look on his face when it did was amazement both that I was right but also at how easy it is to show a run when it actually happens and all the fancy equipment works.
As a result the chap concerned is now going to invest in decent drop offs and alarms so thats got to be a result for the welfare of the fish