Italian Idiom: Prendere la palla al balzo (to seize the opportunity / moment)

We all know how important it is to grab an opportunity when it presents itself, and that’s precisely what today’s Italian idiom encapsulates.

prendere la palla al balzo

Imagine you’re in a basketball game, and out of nowhere, the ball comes bouncing in your direction. If you fail to snatch it as it crosses your path, there’s a high likelihood it’ll land in the possession of another player on your team, or worse, an opponent. This scenario perfectly captures the essence of the idiom: if you don’t seize an opportunity when it arises, it quickly slips away.

The essence of the expression holds true in diverse scenarios, from taking the perfect shot of a skittish animal with your camera to seizing a career opportunity that comes your way unexpectedly.

Note that it is possible to swap the verb prendere (to grab / take / get) with cogliere (to grab / catch / gather).

Lets bounce. Portrait of a sporty young man standing on a basketball court
Ha preso la palla al balzo, letteralmente! = He “caught the ball on the bounce”, literally!

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