Football players will do anything they can to get a leg up on the competition. Unfortunately, that leads some of them to make questionable decisions. Taking ballet is not one of them. Looking at the reasons why football players decide to take ballet lessons will make you wonder why it’s not a more common practice.
Supersonic speed is a great attribute to possess on the gridiron. Possessing the ability to blow past defenders makes some wide receivers the highest-paid players in the league. However, blazing speed is only one piece of the puzzle that defines a player’s quickness; agility is another key component.
Lynn Swann was a Hall of Fame receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers “Steel Curtain” teams of the 1970s, winning four Super Bowls as Terry Bradshaw’s go-to guy. It’s fitting that a man named “Swann” would attribute his ballet background to his superstardom as a wide receiver since bodily control in ballet is integral to hauling in a deep pass a player must jump to catch.
Become More Flexible
Flexibility is crucial in more ways than you would imagine. While having hundreds of pounds of muscle is impressive, it is useless if an athlete lacks flexibility.
Increased flexibility benefits the arm for throwing, the hip flexors for longer strides while running, and the whole body for more fluid movements. Ballet can make one of the best five quarterbacks in the league even more lethal when equipped with a superhuman arm. Ultimately, football players have taken up ballet primarily to increase their flexibility and agility.
Many of the positions on the field, particularly in the trenches, require players to have superior balance. If an offensive lineman can’t maintain good balance, an elite pass rusher will eat them for lunch.
Another former Steeler—albeit three decades later—Steve McLendon was a ballet dancer. Ballet helped the 280-pound nose tackle be quick off the ball and maintain his balance to put force behind his assortment of pass-rushing moves.
Finding the Center of Gravity
Your athletic performance relies heavily on your center of gravity. This is the context of how your muscles develop. Leg and glute muscle developments are more pronounced in female bodies, while upper-body muscle development is more prominent in males.
Every significant ballet variation, whether performed by a novice or an accomplished dancer, requires a strong center of gravity. Aligning your center of gravity will help you maintain equilibrium. A robust center of gravity paired with impeccable balance will do wonders for football performance.
Many ignorant individuals dismiss ballet because it doesn’t involve deadlifting or maximizing their bench press. Depending on the complexity of the equipment, a decent gym routine will only work out a few hundred distinct muscle groups at a time.
Your muscular growth potential is so far unrealized without mobility training. In addition to the large, well-known muscles, you may also employ the smaller, more obscure ones.
Flexibility and agility could improve by working these muscles. As a result, you’ll have an easier time avoiding that huge tackler when you run with the ball. Alternatively, when you’re the huge tackler, you bring down the ball carrier.
It’s clear why many football players decide to take ballet lessons based on the benefits they provide. It may not be the most traditional approach for football players, but it has certainly paid dividends for several.