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Bounce – Football Language Podcast: Season 2021-22

This football language podcast focuses on one word – bounce. This is used in a variety of phrases in the language of football. The transcript for this podcast is available below, and you can also access our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions please contact us at or leave a question or comment on our forum. (DB=Damon)

Bounce – Football Language Podcast: Season 2021-22

bounceDB: Hello everyone. My name’s Damon, one half of the langaugecaster team. Damian, of course, is the other member of the languagecaster team. I hope he is doing well over in London. As for Tokyo, where I am based – it’s cold and a little bit rainy; winter is coming.

Thanks for listening to our football language podcast and remember our site is a great place to come if you want to improve your English while also talking about the beautiful game of football.

OK, today, I’ll be talking about one word – bounce – and how it is used in different phrases in football. Before I do that, if you like what we do here at languagecaster, please show us by leaving comments, sharing our podcasts and posts, and maybe also by leaving a donation to help keep us up and running. We really appreciate everyone who supports us, as it helps keep our website running!

** Click below to donate to and keep the football language coming! **

Stinger: You are listening to (in Swahili).


DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Swahili!

OK, bounce, what does it mean? Well, to bounce is the action a ball makes when it is dropped; it bounces back up. So in a sport with a ball, you can imagine there will be a lot of use for this verb. It is also used as a noun – a bounce: for example, a big bounce means the ball bounced a long way up off the pitch.

Let’s take a look at some of these uses.

Bounce off

This phrase is used a lot to describe when the ball hits a player rather than the player kicking or heading the ball. It is often accidental. The ball can bounce off someone, or bounce off the goal post. You may often hear it with ‘shin’ the part of the leg above the foot and below the knee. Nobody plans to kick the ball with the shin, so if it bounces off the shin, it means it was an accident. It could be lucky or result in a miss. Let’s look at some examples. Here is one from 2020 from the BBC:

And Norwich’s nightmare continued when Wood eventually gave Burnley the lead- Johann Gudmundsson slipped as he curled it in from the right and it bounced off Wood’s shin as his overhead effort rolled into the bottom corner.

So this was a lucky bounce. the ball hit the player’s shin and he scored.

Bounce Back

Now, our next phrase, bounce back, is not used to talk about the ball but about a team or a player. If a team bounces back from a defeat, it means they perform well after losing their previous match. They are bouncing ‘up’ again – in form or even moving up the table. A player can also bounce back after a poor run of form – several games where they have not played well. If they bounce back, they play really well. Here is an example from the Daily Mirror online from January, 2021:

Arsenal have bounced back from their shocking form at the start of the season and have mounted three wins in three.

New manager bounce

DB: Our final phrase is even less connected with the ball or the actual playing of the game – new manager bounce. This phrase is a cliche that is often heard when a team plays well after a new manager starts. Perhaps the team has had a long run of bad form and their manager was sacked. A new manager starts and the results improve; this is the new manager bounce. You will also hear this before a new manager’s first game in charge. Pundits and news reports will ask if there will be a new manager bounce. And opposing fans often worry about the new manager, hoping there is no new manager bounce. Here is an example from BT Sport:

Michael Carrick takes charge of his first game as Manchester United’s caretaker boss with the club looking for a ‘new manager bounce’ after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

And they did get a new manager bounce with Carrick. They beat Villareal away 2-0 and drew the next game with high flying Chelsea.

Stinger: You are listening to (Polish).

Good Bye

DB: Yes, you are listening to and thank you for that message in Polish! Right, that brings us to the end of this short football language podcast. We looked at the word bounce and three ways it is used: bounce off someone’s shin, bounce back and new manager bounce.

Drop us a line anytime at You can read the transcript for the show on our website at and post on our forum! And if you like what we do, as we said at the start of the show,  leave a donation to keep our site up and running. Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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