Learn 9 English idioms from ball sports: out of your league, up to par, get into the swing…

Learn 9 English idioms from ball sports: out of your league, up to par, get into the swing…


Hello, I’m Gill at engVid, and today’s lesson
is on some idioms, sayings, expressions which come from sports – ball sports, sports played
in a field or by a team, that kind of sport, okay? So, let’s have a look here. First of all, this is an appropriate one for
the beginning of the lesson, because it says, “Let’s get the ball rolling.”, and that’s
what people say when they want to make a start with something. So, in any sport, of course, you have to get
the ball rolling, but in a metaphorical way, in other contexts, if you want to get a meeting
started, or a lesson started, or anything, you say “Let’s get the ball rolling.”, meaning
rolling along the ground, okay? So, that could be any sport with any type
of ball, okay? Next one also mentions a ball, and it says,
“Keep your eye on the ball.”. So in sport, of course, you have to look at
the ball. You have to focus, so it’s about focus. If you’re playing football, for example, you
need to see where the ball is, it’s very important, but in other contexts, metaphorically, in
your work, for example, you have to keep your eye on the ball – don’t lose focus, so you
don’t want to lose focus by not looking at the ball, so it’s used in that metaphorical
sense as well. Just keep – keep your mind on what you’re
doing and don’t let yourself be distracted by anything else, okay? Next one, so, goalposts are mentioned here,
so that refers to any kind of sport where there is a goal, that kind of goal in football,
maybe that kind of goal in rugby, different types of goals, and this is a bit like in
ice hockey as well, as a goal, where you try to score a goal by getting the ball into the
goal. But, if you say to somebody “You’re moving
the goalposts”, you can’t do that in sports. Usually, well, always, the goal stays where
it is. It doesn’t move. It’s sort of in the middle of the side at
both ends, isn’t it? It’s a very particular place, it has to be. But, if you’re having a discussion with somebody
and you have different opinions and the other person starts to argue in a slightly strange
way, or they’re changing the – changing the focus of your argument, you could say to them
“Now, you’re moving the goalposts!” and it’s supposed to be a criticism, because it’s somebody
who is trying to play a trick, really, by moving the goalposts so that they can win
their argument and you lose your side of the argument. So, you have to try not to move the goalposts
unless, well, if you like to argue that way and you do move the goalposts, then that’s
your choice, but that’s what it means, okay? Next one, this is another playing field, either
a football field, rugby field, cricket maybe, but usually when there’s a goal at both sides
because if you say “We need a level playing field” it means level. If you have a sloping field, that’s going
to be an advantage to one side. If you kick a ball down a sloping field, you
can get to the goal much more quickly. If the other team are having to kick the ball
up a slope, that’s making it very difficult for them. So, if someone says, “We need a level playing
field.”, in a metaphorical context, it’s about equality, really. It’s about equality and fairness. To be fair to people, to give them an equal
– not one person having an advantage over another person, but make sure everybody’s
equal, so a level playing field. Okay, next one, if someone is out of his league,
the league is usually in football for example, you have different leagues where people are
at different standards, so the league is a kind of standard, okay? So, there’s the league at the top, all the
top teams are at the first division, it’s called in UK football the first division,
and then you have the second division who aren’t quite so good, subdivision and so on. So, if you’re out of your league, in a football
sense, you’re in a team, maybe you’re not such a good player, but you’re in a team of
really good players, and then you aren’t good enough really to be in that top team, so you’re
out of your league. So, if he’s out of his league in that team,
he’s not really up to the standard of the other players. But, in everyday life, this is used sometimes,
if someone isn’t at the same high standard as their colleagues, or sometimes if someone
has a girlfriend or boyfriend who comes from a different class, or they have a higher standard
of education or there’s something that makes them a little bit unequal, you can say “That
person’s out of his league”, or “Oh, she’s out of her league with that boyfriend”, you
know, that sort of thing. So, if you’re out of your league with somebody,
it’s not a very nice thing for anyone to say. It may not be true, it’s just opinion, really,
so, okay, that’s that one. So, this one here, this comes from tennis. So, if you’ve seen a tennis match, the two
players are hitting the ball across the net to each other, or four players if it’s a doubles
tennis match. So, the court is a tennis court. So, you’ve got the tennis court here, this
is seeing it from above, and the net goes across about this height, I think, and then
they have to hit the ball over the net with tennis rackets like that – a little bit like
that. That’s not a very good drawing, sorry. But this is the tennis court. Each player is there hitting the ball across
back and forward to each other, so if the ball is in your court, the ball has come over
to you, you have to try to return it. If you don’t, you lose the point and the other
person wins the point and eventually you will lose the whole game, or the match and the
other person wins. So, if “The ball is in your court.”, metaphorically,
it means it’s for you now to do something. You have to respond to someone, you have to
answer a question, or you’ve been given the opportunity to do something, you’ve now got
to do it. So, the ball is in your court. The action is for you to take now. It’s your turn, okay? Right. So, this one, “I’m getting into the swing.”,
or sometimes “the swing of it”, the swing of doing something is when you’re getting
used to doing something. You’ve been practicing for awhile and you’re
beginning to feel more confident doing it, and this can either come from tennis, where
the swing is like this with the racket when you hit the ball, or it could come from golf,
where you have a golf club and you swing like that and hit the ball with the golf club,
that’s a swing as well. So, to get into the swing means you’ve practiced
it often enough to feel confident in what you’re doing. So, if you’re doing – if you’ve started a
new job and you’ve been there for about a month, say, and you’re just beginning to find
your way around and getting to know the system and everything, and your boss might say to
you “How are you getting on? You’ve been here a month now, is everything
okay?” you might say “Oh yes, I think I’m getting into the swing of it now. I’m getting used to it.”, feeling more confident
and learning how to do the job, okay? Then, next one, “She’s not feeling up to par.”. “Par” is a golfing term. It’s to do with a kind of standard of – to
do with how many times a good golfer has to hit the ball to get it into all the holes
if it’s an 18-hole golf course, what is their sort of standard, how many hits do they have
to make, on average, to get the ball into the hole 18 times? So, that’s “par”. So, if she’s not feeling to par, it means
you can also say she’s feeling below par, you can say “below par” as well. “She’s feeling below par.”, which means not
at her usual standard, and feeling suggests health and she’s’ not feeling very well, or
she’s catching a cold or something. So, someone might phone up and say “I’m sorry,
I can’t come into work today, I’m really not feeling well. I’m not feeling up to par.”, or “I’m feeling
below par, I think I’m catching a cold or the flu.”, so it’s to do with a level of ability,
really. Ability. And your normal standard of ability, you may
feel below it sometimes. Okay, and then finally, we have “par” again,
which as I say comes from golf. “It’s par for the course.” The course is a golf course where you play
golf, it’s called a golf course, all the big open green space of grass and everything else,
sand pits and things and lakes where the ball can go into the water. Ah, things can go wrong! Trees at the side where you can lose a ball,
not a good idea. Anyway, if you say, “It’s par for the course.”,
that means that’s normal, that’s normal. Again, the “par” here is the player’s kind
of normal standard, average standard of ability, so if you say its par for the course, in a
metaphorical way, it means, oh well, we’re used to that, that’s normal. In the job I do, the kind of job you do, you
expect that kind of thing to happen. Sometimes it sort of suggests that something
has gone wrong and you say “Oh, don’t worry, it’s par for the course, I’m used to that
sort of thing going wrong.” You know, we’re used to it, we know how to
put it right, it’s par for the course. It’s completely normal, it’s happening all
the time. Okay. So, I hope that’s a useful run-through of
some idioms from ball sports, and hopefully perhaps some vocabulary, some new vocabulary
you’ve learned today as well. So, if you’d like to go to the website www.engvid.com
, there’s a quiz there to test you on your knowledge of the subject here, and thank you
very much for watching, and see you again soon. Bye for now.

24 thoughts on “Learn 9 English idioms from ball sports: out of your league, up to par, get into the swing…

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  2. Thank you very much for You spent your time for us , by the way You seem quite pretty .

  3. wooooooooooooooooukkkkkkkk teacher that's it is perfect 👍 explicitly to me and my lebo exactly tank please you can geve more like that's what

  4. have been following Gill for a long time for her very clear English. She’s a very lovely lady and her sessions are very helpful, like her so much!

  5. Thank you so much Ma'am Gill 🤗
    I learn a lot from you.
    You never fail to impress me through your kindness, ploitness and above all your smile 😊

  6. Hello, dearGill, is so confortable to ear and the way that prepared your classes, is amusing and amazing, well done, I will like to give my opinion, Also, in the British community wherever they are, (the people) they have a lot of expressions related to the cricket game, for example, is a weky person and so. On maybe because in the cricket, there something, in there, but my opinion. Is something like mischievous behavior, Well, is my opinion, A Mexican living in Japan.

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