Football Language: Sky the ball

sky the ballWhat is the meaning of the phrase ‘Sky the ball’ in football?

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

Sky the ball

When players shoot at goal they must control their shot in order for the ball to stay low. However, when a player wants to add more power to the shot they may lose some control meaning that the ball may go too high. To sky the ball means a player has hit the ball too hard and it has gone over the bar – not just over the bar but a long way over the bar. The player has skied his or her shot. This sometimes happens with penalties when a player wants to use power rather than placement and can result in the ball being skied over the bar.

  • Example: Vidal skied the penalty over the bar leaving the game at 1-0.

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  • The word ‘sky’ is a noun here like in ‘into the sky’. What does it mean? Ex.

    Walcott motors forward on the break but he’s only got Giroud in support. The striker drops off and takes the pass
    from his teammate, then
    decides to have a go from
    30 yards, but hammers it
    into the sky.

    A looping cross flies high into the sky and towards Fletcher in the middle of the City box.
    Caballero tries to deal with
    the pass but isn’t at all convincing in doing so, resulting in a nervy few moments before he’s finally able to collect the ball.

    • Hello Sandarakis,

      Thank you for the question.

      There is a verb to sky in football which means to shoot too high, so high in fact that the ball goes into the sky – you can read more about that here.

      In your examples, the noun sky is used to show that the ball has been hit high, indeed, very high. In the first one Giroud shoots very high over the bar, while in the second one the crosss (centre) is a high one that the keeper (Caballero) has difficulty with.

      I hope that helps


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