I’ve always heard about various professional athletes taking dance classes to improve their training and performance but I always saw it more as a rare publicity angle. For instance, when Matt Leinart, former USC quarterback and now NFL second string quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, was a senior in college he took only one class: ball room dancing. This class both legitimized his eligibility as a student athlete and, as the media claimed, helped his football skills improve.
Apparently, ballet is a common practice for athletes across many sports to help improve balance and self spacial awareness. I recently read an article on livestrong.com titled “Ballet for Improving Hockey Players” about how important ballet classes can be for up and coming hockey players.
Watching hockey matches, most people would assume that strength and brut would be the most important features of an elite hockey player. Hockey is an extremely difficult sport to play because you have to focus on moving a small puck across an icy surface with a long stick while the other team is trying to chuck you up against the glass and steal the puck all while you are balancing on ice skates! Because of this last challenge, ballet proves to be the perfect training practice for aspiring hockey players. According to this article written by Judy Fisk, a LiveStrong contributor who specializes in alternative sports training, ballet classes can improve hockey skills in four different ways: balance, core strength, injury prevention, and footwork.
Ballet training creates an extreme self awareness which improves balance and spacial awareness which is very important because hockey players are constantly shifting their body weight and changing directions on their skates. Ballet also creates better flexibility and muscle strength which helps hockey players with quick footwork and coordination. Most importantly this muscle strength and flexibility are key in preventing common injuries. Most hockey injuries are pulled muscles which often result from short and tight muscles. Overall, ballet helps athletes improves stability, flexibility, and balance which can only help the strategy and skill they apply in their respective sports.
It makes a lot of sense for athletes! I don’t know about you guys but all I can think about is all those big tough male athletes in tutu’s and leg warmers. 🙂