Football Language: To be at it
In this football language post we explain the expression ‘to be at it’ which is used when a player or a team are playing really well. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have recently heard the phrase ‘to be at it‘ quite frequently on TV commentaries here in the UK (and the opposite, ‘not at it‘) which means that either a team is playing really well or not. We can see that a team ‘is at it‘ from the way they are playing – particularly at the start of the game: they are sharp, quick, and are tackling and pressing well and making it difficult for the opposition to settle and play their game. Sometimes we might also hear ‘to be on it‘ and again this means that the team is playing well; playing in a focused way. We can also hear pundits say that a team is not at it which of course means they are not playing well: they are off the pace, not as quick as they should be or maybe they are not pressing hard enough or running fast enough or they are misplacing passes.
- Example: “We are all looking forward to Harrogate on Saturday. We need to be at it and set the tempo.” (Gillingham boss Neil Harris before the big game: (Gillingham FC, August 2023)
- Example: “Teams who come here know they will be in for a tough game and we want opponents thinking that – but if they are, we have to make sure that we’re on it from the first minute.” (Barrow.com November 2020)
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