30 Sports Phrasal Verbs with Meaning and Example

Sports Phrasal Verbs

When we talk, read, or listen to stories about sports, we often hear special phrases that might sound strange at first. These phrases often combine a verb with another word, usually a preposition or an adverb, to create what we call “phrasal verbs.”

In the world of sports, these phrasal verbs can really spice up the conversation and make it more colorful. Let’s dive into some common sports phrasal verbs and understand them with simple examples.

Phrasal Verbs Relating to Sports

Warm up – To engage in light exercise to prepare the body for more intense physical activity.

  • Before the race, all the runners warm up to avoid injuries.

Work out – To exercise, particularly in gyms, to improve fitness or strength.

  • I work out at the gym five days a week.

Kick off – To start, especially used in soccer to denote the start of a game or the start of the second half.

  • The match kicks off at 3 pm.

Wind down – To gradually relax after a period of excitement or tension, often after a game or sports season.

  • After the championship, the team wound down with a small party.

Play off – To compete against someone in a game or sport to decide the final position or winner.

  • The two top teams will play off for the championship next week.

Cool down – To engage in light exercise after more intense activity to help the body transition to a resting state.

  • After our long run, we walked for ten minutes to cool down.

Warm down – Similar to “cool down,” it involves light exercises after intense activity to help muscles recover.

  • After the marathon, it’s important to warm down to reduce muscle stiffness.

Step up – To increase effort or improve performance, often in a crucial moment of a game or season.

  • The player really stepped up in the second half and scored two goals.

Face off – To compete or confront each other directly, often used in hockey.

  • The two teams will face off in the finals tomorrow.

Go for – To attempt or try hard to achieve something, often a goal or a record in sports.

  • He is going for the world record in the high jump.

Run over – To continue beyond the expected or allotted time, often used in sports events or games.

  • The football game ran over, so the next program started late.

Team up – To join another person or group in order to accomplish something together, often used in sports and exercises.

  • For the upcoming tournament, I’ll team up with Maria.

Gear up – To prepare oneself mentally and physically for a game or event, often by wearing the appropriate equipment or attire.

  • The players are gearing up for the big game tonight.

Knock out – To defeat an opponent in such a manner that they are unable to continue, especially in boxing.

  • The champion knocked out his challenger in the third round.

Cheer on – To support or encourage someone, often used in the context of sports.

  • The fans cheered on their team until the very end.

Blow away – To impress or overwhelm, often used when a team wins by a large margin.

  • The new player blew everyone away with his incredible speed.

Call off – To cancel an event, often used for sports matches that are canceled due to bad weather or other reasons.

  • The baseball game was called off because of the rain.

Back out – To withdraw from an event or competition after initially committing to participate.

  • He had to back out of the race due to an unexpected injury.

Take up – To begin to participate in a new sport or activity.

  • She took up tennis for some summer fun.

Catch up – To reach the same level or standard as someone else, often used in races or league standings.

  • The team is working hard to catch up with the league leaders.

Fall behind – To fail to keep pace with the competition or expected level.

The runner fell behind early and couldn’t recover.

Look up to – To admire or respect someone, often a sportsperson or an athlete.

  • Many young athletes look up to Olympic champions.

Sit out – To choose not to participate in a game or activity.

  • I decided to sit out this game because of my injured knee.

Get into – To become interested or involved in a sport or activity.

  • Lately, I’ve really gotten into yoga.

Take on – To agree to compete against someone or accept a challenge.

  • The team is ready to take on their rivals in next week’s game.

Set back – To delay or hinder progress, often due to an injury or defeat.

  • His injury set him back a few months in training.

Pull ahead – To move in front or take the lead, especially in a race or competitive sport.

  • In the last lap, the runner pulled ahead and won the race.

Hold off – To keep or maintain a position of advantage against an opponent.

  • The team managed to hold off their opponents and secure a victory.

Push through – To continue despite difficulties or challenges, often in training or competition.

  • Despite the pain, she pushed through and finished the marathon.

Each of these phrasal verbs brings its own flavor to sports conversations, adding both clarity and cultural richness to discussions about physical activities and competitions.

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