Hello all.
I thought a name of sport with an indefinate article means a ball for that sport. For example 'a baseball' means 'a ball used for basefball' not 'baseball as a sport'. Somehow this sentence from my dictionary uses 'a soccer' where I think a name of sport should be used. I have two hypotheses for this problem. First one is that 'have a knack for' is followed by equipments or instruments to say somebody is good at using those stuffs. The other one is that it is just another typo. To me both seem plausible, and I can't find out what is correct by myself. I would appreciate it if any of you shed light on this question.

Thank you in advance.
If the name of the game already has the word "ball" stuck on the end of it, there's no need to repeat it when speaking only of the ball. We don't say "a football ball."

We play racquetball with a racquetball, but we play pool with a set of pool balls. We play beachball with a beachball, but we play badminton with a birdie, and marbles with marbles. You play ping-pong with a ping-pong ball, but you play shuffleboard and ice hockey with a puck.

The indefinite article can refer to the game: "a soccer game," "a game of soccer," "a different [kind of] soccer."

I think I'm misunderstanding your question. Could you give a longer quote from the dictionary?
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You said your dictionary uses 'a soccer', but didn't put the whole sentence. So, without knowing what you are reading, it could very well be a typo.

It could be 'a soccer' game, or 'a soccer' ball. But if you are going to play, you would say 'I play soccer'. I suppose that is why so many of us love (and love to hate) the English language!


Thank you all for replying so quickly.
I didn't put the whole sentence in my post, because I thought you could recognize it by the subject.

The sentence was "He has a knack for a soccer."
It is stated below the definition of 'have a knack for'.

I thought it should be "He has a knack for soccer."(not a soccer) So my question was if 'have a knack for' is used in this form.
For example, if we want to say someone is good at hockey with the phrase 'have a knack for', we should say 'He has a knack for puck.' instead of saying 'He has a knack for hockey.'.
I hope this explanation is clear enough.

Guessing from Avangi's reply I think it is OK for sports like 'soccer' since they have different names for the balls. Am I correct?

P.S: Sorry for causing misunderstandings. I wish I could make myself fully understood in English
Your explanation was okay. I was just a little slow to accept that that could appear in a dictionary. I would say it's gotta be a mistake. I've never heard it with the article like that.

A higher register synonym for "knack" would be "penchant," althought my dictionary defines "penchant" as "liking," while I think of "knack" as more of an inate ability to perform the skills, mental or physical.

And your original impression was correct: we have a knack for the sport, not for the ball. He has a knack for soccer, and he has a soccer ball autographed by Pele.

And as far as I can recall, we always use an article when referring to the ball. "He really knows how to handle (manipulate) a / the puck. In this case, either the definite or indifinite article may be used. When referring to a ball which is in play in a particular game, we always use the definite article, "Gimme tha ball!"

("Manipulate" is not a sports word. I used it because we don't normally handle the puck.)
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Thanks a million Emotion: smile
I am deeply impressed with your kind explanation. It really helped me a lot.
I'm going to send an email to the author to correct it. I want to find the perfect book for English learners, if any.
All the books I have studied so far had at least minor mistakes.
Anyway thank you again.