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The Football Player versus the Ballerina

Today’s Topic, Football and Ballet.

When you think of football, ballet is not something that is usually found in the same sentence. Often these two sports are thought of as polar opposites; football is a rough and tumble sport where as ballet is elegant and soft. Although at first glance the two sports seem very different, they have actually numerous similarities. Now for the sceptics reading this article, let us go through a couple examples of how these sports correlate and why taking a ballet class could potentially improve a football players game.

The first example is flexibility. Believe it or not flexibility is very helpful for football players, it helps them avoid tackles, make catches, and even avoid injuries to their joints. In ballet flexibility is required to accomplish that higher développé, higher arabesques, and those beautiful leaps. Since flexibility is required during ballet class, there is only room for improvement when it comes to a football players game. Our next example is speed and agility. Speed may seem obvious in the sport of football, to avoid tackles and make that touchdown. In ballet, the answer is a little less obvious. Speed and agility is found in ballet by measuring the quickness of the jeté, or the precision of the beats in a entrechat. Are you starting to see the correlation? Ballet strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles. Additionally, the pirouettes (turns) practiced in ballet help improve agility, allowing players to recover quickly after sharp turns or changes of direction.

Let’s try another example, how about strength. That lean, elegant ballerina is not always thought of a strong, but leg, arm, and core strength is required in nearly every ballet move to give it that “effortless” grace. Football players are typically considered strong based on the tackles that they make and the number of bench presses they are able to do. If football players were to practice ballet they would find that they must use their body as whole, down to the tiniest of muscles. Our last example is balance. Just as strength is not often the first thought when describing a ballerina, balance is not the first thought when it comes to describing a football player. Balance is required to help players keep their footing while making catches and helps them to remain standing while opponents try to tackle them. In ballet, balance is everything. Balance is necessary for nearly every combination whether it be in the form of a pirouette (turn) or a promenade (an arabesque done in a circle). Practicing ballet technique improves upon that balance, thus giving football players an advantage on the field.

Hopefully we have converted those skeptics. With the competition for sports scholarships and professional contracts increasing, every advantage counts. Ballet and football are truly sports with numerous similarities, showing that participating in one can definitely help one improve their “game” in the other.

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