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13 Sports Idioms You Should Teach Your English Students

English idioms and expressions are deeply integrated into everyday conversations, so it is vital that English teachers teach some idioms to their students as a part of the language learning process.

Following the previous two articles on Weather Idioms and Love Idioms, this week we present to you 13 Sport Idioms in English! 

1. The ball is in your court. (Tennis) 

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Meaning: It’s your decision or responsibility. 

Example: You can either stay angry at him or go have a conversation. The ball’s in your court. 

2. Drop the ball. (Any ball sport) 

Meaning: To make a mistake or forget something important. 

Example: The deadline was five hours ago. You really dropped the ball on this one. 

3. Call the shots. (Billiards) 

Meaning: To be in charge and make the decisions. 

Example: You’re leading this project, so you call the shots. 

4. Give your best shot. (Basketball, soccer)

Meaning: Try your hardest. 

Example: Don’t worry about your results, just give your best shot! 

5. Get off the hook. (Fishing)

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Meaning: To escape responsibility, blame and punishment.

Example: We can’t let him get off the hook for stealing from the company! 

6. Out of [someone’s] league. (Baseball)

Meaning: To be too good or successful for someone. 

Example: She’ll never agree to a date with me, she’s out of my league. 

7. Knock it out of the park. (Baseball)

Meaning: To do something exceptionally well. 

Example: You knocked it out of the park with that presentation! 

8. Hit your target. (Archery) 

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Meaning: To achieve a goal.

Example: If we work super hard for the rest of this month, we can definitely hit our target! 

9. Get the ball rolling. 

Meaning: To get something started. 

Example: We have a lot to do for this film production, let’s get the ball rolling. 

10. Blind-sided. (American football) 

Meaning: To not see something coming. 

Example: He was blind-sided by his love for her that he didn’t realize she was in love with someone else. 

11. Front runner. (Track and field) 

Meaning: One of the people expected to win. 

Example: She’s a front runner for the new managerial position.

12. Go overboard. (Sailing) 

Meaning: To do or say something in excess.

Example: She went overboard with her wedding decorations. 

13. Hit below the belt. (Martial arts) 

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Meaning: To do or say something that is unfair or cruel. 

Example: That was a hit below the belt when you said she isn’t a good mother. 

We hope you found these sports idioms useful for your future English classes! What is your favorite idiom in English? Share them in the comments below! 

Ellier Leng
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