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Free English Lesson: 4 Everyday Sports Idioms

Image representing English learners watching out for false friends

Love sports? Then you’ll be excited to learn about the many ways the English language uses sport to communicate everyday things! Discover how you can use sport in all parts of life – beyond the pitch, field or court.

  1. Ball in your court

You can use this idiom to express when someone else has a choice in what to do, especially when they are required to make a decision.

E.g. “You’ve got all the details about the different course options – now the ball is in your court.”

  1. Fever pitch

This idiom is a really vivid way of expressing excitement and energy! Think of the excitement at a really big match. You can use it to convey the same level of energy in other situations, either good or bad.

E.g. “The protest at the factory was starting to reach fever pitch.”

  1. Drop the ball

If you drop the ball, this means to stop paying attention to something important, especially if you are responsible for looking after something.

E.g. “The hospital staff dropped the ball on patient care.”

  1. Jump the gun

This is used to describe starting something too early, before the proper time – and usually with negative consequences as a result!

E.g. “He jumped the gun when it came to asking her out – he should have waited until she felt more comfortable.”

Quick Practice

Which idioms would you use in the following events?

  1. When you are attending a celebrity film premiere.
  2. You are asking your friend to pick one person to invite to a special event.
  3. You are warning someone not to rush into booking a flight before getting their visa approved.
  4. Your boss admits she did not check a client’s paperwork correctly.

Your turn

Sports idioms can be fun and powerful ways of expressing yourself in English, but they can sometimes seem quite complex! If you’re feeling confused, the best way to get to grips with them is to practice in talking and conversations. So make up a little conversation between friends to see how you can use each idiom in different ways. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can learn them!