• Stay focused or attentive
      Used to advise someone to concentrate on a specific task or goal, and not be distracted by other things.

    • Be aware of what's happening
      Used to encourage someone to pay attention to their surroundings and not miss important information or events.

Examples of Keep your eye on the ball

  • During the soccer match, the coach shouted to his players, "Keep your eyes on the ball, guys! Don't let it slip past you!"

    This idiom means to stay focused and attentive to a specific task or situation, without getting distracted by other things. In this case, it's used in a sports context, reminding players to keep their attention on the ball as it moves around the field.

  • As the project deadline approached, the team leader urged everyone, "Keep your eyes on the prize, people! We're almost there!"

    This idiom can also be used in a non-sports context, to encourage people to stay motivated and focused on achieving a particular goal.

  • When the singer forgot the lyrics to her own song, the audience whispered, "She's lost her eye on the ball!"

    This idiom can also be used in a negative context, to criticize someone who has lost focus or made a mistake.

  • In the final scene of the movie, the hero said, "I've got my eye on you, villain! You can't escape me now!"

    This idiom can also be used in a dramatic or threatening context, to indicate that someone is being closely watched or monitored.

  • When the student was struggling to understand a difficult concept, the teacher advised, "Take your eye off the problem and look at it from a different angle!"

    This idiom can also be used in a more metaphorical way, to suggest that sometimes it's helpful to step back and consider a problem from a new perspective, rather than getting too fixated on the details.


The idiom "keep your eye on the ball" is most commonly used to remind someone to stay focused and not be distracted. This could be in the context of a specific task or goal, such as studying for an exam or completing a project at work. By using this idiom, the speaker is advising the listener to concentrate on the most important aspect, represented by the "ball," and not get sidetracked by other things.

Additionally, "keep your eye on the ball" can also be used to remind someone to be aware of what's happening around them. This could be in a literal sense, such as playing a sport and needing to keep an eye on the ball at all times, or in a figurative sense, such as being aware of changes in a situation or potential risks. The idiom serves as a reminder to not become complacent and to pay attention to important details.

Origin of "Keep your eye on the ball"

The origin of the idiom "keep your eye on the ball" can be traced back to sports, specifically baseball. In baseball, the most important aspect of the game is to hit the ball with the bat. Therefore, players are constantly reminded to keep their eye on the ball in order to successfully hit it. Over time, this phrase became a popular idiom, used outside of the context of sports.

The phrase can also be linked to other sports, such as tennis or golf, where the main objective is to hit a small moving object with a racket or club. However, the idiom is now used in a variety of situations and has evolved to encompass the idea of staying focused and aware in general.

Overall, "keep your eye on the ball" emphasizes the importance of paying attention and not losing sight of the main objective or important details. It serves as a reminder to stay focused and not get distracted, a valuable piece of advice in both sports and everyday life.