Physical Education Glossary
Over the course of my first few years teaching and coaching, I used many terms and concepts that I never clearly defined to all of the children. It was as if I was speaking a foreign language to some of them and if you think about it, I was speaking a foreign language. I would use terms like, "up the court, cover him, cut, cross it, clear it." Some children have never played or even watched some of the sports we do in physical education and if they have, we should not assume some other person has taught them the correct terms appropriate for that sport. As part of my program, I define terms and concepts that I am going to use throughout the unit as well as throughout the year.
Athletic Position: Feet shoulder width apart, head and chest up, knees bent, elbows in body and hands out.
Breakdown: Quickly getting into an athletic position after movement, usually accomplished by stutter stepping the feet and lowering the hips.
Cage Games: Any game or sport involving goals (soccer, basketball, team handball, field hockey, lacrosse, etc.).
Center It: When a player passes an object in front of the opposing team's goal. This term is usually used in hockey. Synonym: Cross it
Center of Gravity: A point or place where the mass is concentrated; where most of the weight is located
Clear: When the defense moves an object out of their end of the field. A clear should never be to the middle of your own goal. Always clear to the sidelines.
Cover: Play one-on-one defense on an opposing player. Synonym: Mark up
Cross It: When a player passes an object in front of the opposing team's goal. This term is usually used in soccer. Synonym: Center it
Cushion: When playing person-to-person defense, the space between you and the opposing player. As the opposing player moves farther away from the goal, the cushion size should increase.
Cut: A quick move or change of direction to get open or away from the defense.
Drop Back: Move towards your own goal or own end of the field to play defense.
Defensive Position: Also known as athletic position, covering an opposing player and staying between the goal and the player.
Fake: Making a quick move in one direction then going in another to get open.
Focal Point: A spot you stare at to help with balance.
Get Open: Move to a space where the person with the ball can see your entire body from head to toe.
Give and Go: Pass the object to a teammate, then move towards the opposing team's goal and look for a pass back to you.
Lead Pass: Passing the ball ahead of a teammate in the direction they are moving so the ball can be caught on the move. The person receiving the ball should not have to stop to catch it.
Mark Up: Play one on one defense against a particular player on the opposing team.
Pop Your Feet: A quick 2 step move that gets your body into a sideways throwing position.
Rep: Short for repetition. Term used in a workout or at practice. Performing a skill or action 1 time (1 rep). A group of reps = a set.
Set: Used during a workout, it is a group of repetitions done consecutively and then a rest period is taken.
Soft Hands: When an object is thrown to you and you give with the object. Arms pull into body when catching. Think of catching an egg without it breaking.
Square Up: When your shoulders and hips are facing another player or object.
Stutter Step: Quick, small steps after sprinting to breakdown into athletic position or to make a cut.
Triangles: When offensive players create angles to get themselves open for a pass. Not being behind a defender or not being in a straight line with a defender.
Up Field or Up Court: Move towards the opposing team's goal.