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Sports Lingo

Here at The Minaret, we realize that the world of sports has its own language. Most of our editors (Names won’t be uttered here, but there have been some funny instances around our office) have scratched their heads at the terms used in our articles. So for their use and your own, here is a short but useful list of common sports terms used in six major sports: baseball, football, basketball, hockey, boxing and soccer.




Five Tool Player: A baseball player that is above-average or excellent in these five areas: the ability to hit for average and power, good base running skills/ speed, a strong/ accurate throwing arm and good fielding skills. Examples are Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen.


Full Count: Refers to an instance when a batter reaches a count of three balls and two strikes in an at-bat.


Turn Two: Refers to an instance when the defending team is able to get two outs on a single play. Also known as a double play.




Hat Trick: Refers to an instance when a single player scores three goals in a single game. Also used in hockey.


Hooligans: Fanatical soccer fans who are known for their violent behavior.


Parking The Bus: A phrase used when a team goes into a dominant defensive strategy. This occurs when all the players on one team are playing behind the ball and not actively attacking to try and score.




Alley Oop: When one player throws the ball up near the basket and the other player grabs the ball in mid-air and scores, usually with a dunk. Think Lob City with point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin of the Clippers, and you’ll get the picture.


Breaking Ankles: When an offensive player performs a dribbling move, usually a crossover, that causes the defender to lose balance and/ or fall to the court. Point guards Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and the Wizards’ John Wall usually excel at this.


Downtown: The area behind the three point line. Any basket scored from “downtown” is worth three points. So the next time you hear “he nails it from downtown!” you know what’s going on.




Crashing The Net: When an offensive player(s) rushes towards the front of the opponent’s goal in an attempt to deflect any rebound into the goal that comes off the goalie or to distract/ block the goalie’s line of sight.


Enforcer: The tough guy or protector of a hockey team. He is quick to fight and protect his teammates, especially against another team’s enforcer. Also known as a goon.


Slap Shot: A type of shot when a player raises his stick up around his waist or higher and brings it down with a powerful motion, striking the puck with its blade.




Bob And Weave: An evasive tactic a boxer uses in their defense. Refers to when a boxer moves their head and body laterally, up, down and rapidly to avoid their opponent’s punches.


Glass Jaw: A term that describes a fighter that is easy to knock out.


Sucker Punch: A type of punch that catches an opponent off-guard.



Bomb: Used to describe a long, arcing pass. Also used in baseball to refer to a home run.


Lambeau Leap: When a player of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown by jumping into the stands near the end zone at Lambeau Field, home of the Packers. Wide receivers Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and running back Eddie Lacy did this so many times this season that it broke the hearts of Chicago Bears fans all over the nation.


Zebras: Another term used for officials due to their white and black uniforms.


So the next time you’re reading an article about an NBA game or watching a quarterback such as Andrew Luck throw a deep touchdown pass, now you have at least some knowledge of the what the heck is going on. Not to mention you can impress your friends who like to watch and talk about sports. That’s always a winner.

Jordan Llanes can be reached at 

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