Ballet in the NFL

Injuries are no uncommon feat in the NFL. Those players see the worst of it. Obviously the stretches and warm ups they did had not shown improvement on the rate of injuries. So the NFL came up with a new and improved way to stretch the players – BALLET!

Ballet and football seem to be on two different ends of the spectrum {concerning the fine arts and sports}, but they have many similarities. Ballerinas and football players use the same muscle groups. Practicing ballet as a form of cross-training improves a player’s performance on the football field. Ballet aids in flexibility, speed and agility, strength, balance, mental focus, and endurance.

Flexibility is very important in football despite the fact that the sport is often seen as a strength-centered activity. Flexibility helps the players avoid tackles and make catches. It can also reduce the likelihood of injuries to joints, such as the knees and shoulders.

On the football field, speed can mean the difference between a tackle and a touchdown. Ballet strengthens the legs, knees and ankles and makes use of rapid leg movements, all of which aid in the development of a faster running speed. Because of the various turns and other motions incorporated into ballet practice, football players who study ballet also become more agile and learn to recover their speed quickly after changing direction or spinning to avoid a tackle.

Ballet dancers aren’t what many people think of when they picture strong individuals, but ballet actually requires a significant amount of arm and leg strength. Ballet helps to develop muscular strength without adding significant amounts of bulk to the body {this is especially important for kickers and certain offensive players such as wide receivers and running backs who need strong legs but don’t necessarily desire muscular bulk that could hinder their performance}.

Good balance is vital to being effective as a football player. Improving balance through ballet training makes it easier for players to make leaping catches without losing their footing and to stay on their feet while opponents try to tackle them or strip the football from their hands.

Ballet requires a lot of focus, since most movements in ballet must be made with precision while appearing graceful and effortless. This focus is also a major boon on the football field, allowing players to follow complex plays, track the position of the ball in the air and make decisions on the fly, which may determine whether the ball makes it to the end zone.

Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and circulatory system, making it easier for the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to its muscles during periods of intense muscular work. For football players, this translates to increased endurance on the field, allowing their bodies to run, jump and face impacts from other players for a longer period of time without tiring.

Hopefully, all you football players {or football parents, siblings, enemies, whatever you are!} have a better appreciation for ballerinas and football players who do ballet. I hope I have enlightened you all this evening! 🙂

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