Offense (sports)

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In sports, offense (American spelling) or offence (Commonwealth spelling, see spelling differences; pronounced with first-syllable stress; from Latin offensus ), known as attack outside of North America, is the action of attacking or engaging an opposing team with the objective of scoring points or goals. The term may refer to the tactics involved in offense, or a sub-team whose primary responsibility is offense.


Generally, goals are scored by teams' offenses, but in sports such as American football it is common to see defenses and special teams (which serve as a team's offensive unit on kicking plays and defensive on returning plays) score as well. The fielding side in cricket is also generally known as the bowling attack despite the batting side being the side that scores runs, because they can prevent batting players from scoring by getting them out, and end the batting team's scoring turn by getting them all out.

In countries outside North America, the term offence is almost always taken to mean an infraction of the rules, a penalty or foul, and attack is more likely to be used where Americans would use offense.

Many sports involve elements of offense and defense, where teams take turns trying to score points while also trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring. Sports that use an offense and defense:


How the Offense Works

Baseball's offense revolves around the team trying to get on base and score runs against the opposing team. Each team has nine chances to score runs, with a total of once per inning. [1]

Batting Order


Hits and Walks

During an at-bat, the batter attempts to reach base by contacting the baseball with the baseball bat and putting it in fair territory without the defense making a play to get them out. [3] Hits are classified in four separate ways:


Once a batter reaches base, they becomes a baserunner. Baserunners can advance to the next base on subsequent hits, walks (when the pitcher throws four balls outside the strike zone), or when they steal a base (attempt to advance while the pitcher is delivering the ball). Baserunners must touch each base in order, and they can be tagged out by defenders with the ball.

Scoring Runs

The batting team's objective is to score runs. A run is scored when a baserunner successfully advances around all four bases and touches home plate before the defensive team can record three outs. [9]


The batting team has three outs per inning to try to score runs. An out can occur in various ways, including striking out (when the batter fails to hit the ball after three strikes), getting caught by a fielder, or by force outs (when a fielder with possession of the ball reaches a base before the baserunner).


Offense in baseball also involves strategic decisions by the batters and coaches. This includes bunting (purposefully tapping the ball lightly to advance baserunners), stealing bases, hitting for power, and executing hit-and-run plays.

Notable Offenses

American Football

In football, the offense is the team with the ball and trying to score points. At the start of the game, the offense gets the ball first. The main goal of the offense is to move the ball down the field toward the opponent's end zone. This is done by running with the ball or throwing it to the offensive teammates. The offense has four chances (called downs) to move the ball at least 10 yards. If the offense succeed, they get another set of downs. If the offense does not, the other team will get the ball. The offense uses different strategies and plays to outsmart the defense and move the ball efficiently and effectively. The coaches design these plays and involve players running specific routes, blocking opponents, and making quick decisions with the ball. [10]


The ultimate aim of the offense is to score points. They can do this by carrying the ball into the opponent's end zone for a touchdown (worth 6 points) or by kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal (worth 3 points). If they score a touchdown, they can also score an extra point by kicking the ball through the goalposts (1 point) or running or passing the ball into the end zone (2-point conversions). [11]

The offense's job is to advance the ball down the field and score points while avoiding turnovers and getting stopped by the defense.

Offensive Positions

Notable Offenses [13]

See also

  1. "Baseball & The Tenth Inning | Ken Burns | PBS | Baseball for Beginners | Understand Game Terms | PBS". Baseball & The Tenth Inning | Ken Burns | PBS. Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  2. "At Bat | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  3. "Hit (H) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  4. "Single (1B) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  5. "Double | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  6. "Triple (3B) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  7. "Home Run (HR) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  8. "Walk (BB) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  9. "Run (R) | Glossary". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  10. "National Football League (NFL) | History, Teams, & Facts | Britannica". 2024-04-16. Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  11. "Scoring Plays | NFL Football Operations". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  12. "2023 NFL Rulebook | NFL Football Operations". Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  13. Davenport, Gary. "Ranking the Top 10 Offenses in NFL History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2024-04-17.

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