If you showed up to work in a striped baseball uniform and dirty cleats, many of your colleagues would probably chose to eat lunch at their desks that day. So if you’re contemplating wearing your hockey helmet or your favorite track suit into work, it’s probably best to shelf that idea. However, that isn’t to say that the workplace is exempt from the sporting world. In fact, we use many sports idioms in our day to day lives. I’ve put together a list of 10 sports idioms that are regularly used in the business world.

1. Get a head start

An early start on something


A: We need to get a head start on the new graphics for the video. We don’t have much time left.

B: I’m on it. I’ll start this afternoon.

2. A long shot

Sports Idioms

A venture or guess that has only the slightest chance of succeeding or being accurate.


A: Do you think we could book The Stokes to play at our our annual party?

B: It’s a long shot, but it’s worth calling their manager.

3. Learn the ropes

Sports Idioms

If you are learning the ropes, you are learning how a particular task or job is done.


A. Our new project manager is arriving tomorrow.

B: Let’s hope it doesn’t take her too much time to learn the ropes.

4. On the ball

Sports Idioms

Indicating competence, alertness, or intelligence


A. We really need to be on the ball for our next campaign pitch.

B. I agree. We really need their business.

5. Jump to conclusions

To guess the facts about a situation without having enough information

Sports Idioms


A. I don’t think this new open office concept will work well for our company.

B. Don’t Jump to conclusions! Let’s give it a try first and see how it goes.

6. Neck and Neck

Very close or equal


A: We are neck and neck with our competitions. We have to work harder this quarter to grow our sales.

B: Why don’t we try launching a new product?

7. Get into the swing of (something)

To become comfortable doing something through practice


A: It will probably take Jake a couple weeks to get into the swing of things around here.

B: I’ll make sure to help him out if I see him struggling.

8. Down to the wire

Having a result that is not known until the end

A. We always knew we would be working on this project right down to the wire.

B. True, I’m just feeling a little stressed.

9. Cover all one’s bases

To inform (someone) of all matters at hand


A: We don’t have much time so we need to make sure we cover all our bases.

B. I’ll put together an outline tonight and send to you first thing in the morning.

10. Game Plan

A strategy for achieving an objective


A: What’s our game plan to attract more local business?

B: I’ll cover it in detail during our meeting this afternoon.

For more complete list of sports idioms used in the business world, click here.


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