Posted on: December 7th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Sports metaphors can be effective descriptors at work – if everyone is on the same page and understands the correct meaning.  Each week we’ll take a look at a familiar sports phrase or metaphor in business, identify its origin, explain its meaning and demonstrate how to use it in business.


Sports phrase: The Ball’s in Your Court

This is a tennis reference meaning it’s your turn to do something.  In tennis, hitting the ball over the net put it in the opponent’s court.  You can only play a ball that’s in your court.


Business Application:  In business this phrase can be used to get people to take action.  If the ball is in someone’s court that person is the only one who can make a move and without action from that person everyone else is at a standstill.   Here’s an example:

  • I did the research on where we should have the company retreat this year and now I’m waiting for a decision from Bill.  The ball is in his court now.


*Take these definitions with a grain of salt.  They’re based on years of being a fan and more than a decade in sports broadcasting and Jen’s status as America’s Expert Talker.