Classical ballet dancers have a saying that ‘if ballet was easy it would be called football’. The challenges faced by the best young ballerinas and youth football players are very similar
Both require immense dedication and training, many of the same muscle groups are used, both require finesse, speed, strength and balance in bursts, and even similar injuries can be found between the best football players and today’s top ballet dancers.
England captain Rio Ferdinand was so good at ballet he won a five-year scholarship to the Central School of Ballet before becoming a professional football player. Former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin used the dance discipline to aid his recovery from a career-threatening injury. Queens Park Rangers had a tie-up with the English National Ballet and even Wimbledon during the years of the so-called ‘crazy gang’, featuring the likes of Vinnie Jones and Dennis Wise, trained with a ballet company.
Many football players exhibit strength, but may be lacking in other areas. Ballet lessons for youth and grassroots football players can help develop and increase flexibility and agility. This helps players learn how to move quickly on their feet, change directions with greater balance and stability and so play better football and avoid injuries.
Ballet dance routines and training stimulates a connection between your brain and your body that helps you do your best in all activities, including football. Ballet lowers your stress, stimulates you intellectually and helps you recognize and deal with patterns, spacial issues and sequences, which are essential to football strategy.
Ballet also gives young players the mental concentration and confidence to perform well in front of an audience or in big matches.