on the ball
- (idiomatic) Alert, active, or attentive; on top of things.
If I had been more on the ball I would have asked when he called me.
- (sports) Being in control of the ball.
2010 December 28, Kevin Darlin, “West Brom 1 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC:
- ...Rovers were also aided by some poor defending from West Brom, whose lapses at the back undid their excellent work on the ball and condemned Roberto di Matteo's Baggies side to a third straight defeat.