Do Football Players Do Ballet?

Rumours of NFL players doing ballet have been swirling around football for many years. The fact is there have been several examples throughout the NFL of players participating in ballet in order to improve their game.

It is not as if all NFL players participate in ballet in order to be better football players but it has become a fairly common tactic.

Football legends such as Herschel Walker went as far as to travel with a ballet company performing for crowds.

More recent examples such as Steeler defensive tackle Steve Mclendon have stated that “ballet is harder than anything else they do”. This sort of relationship between ballet and football players has always been present.

Balance, flexibility and injury prevention are reasons that ballet helps players succeed.

The Dallas Cowboys even went as far as to install a ballet bar in their facilities. The Cowboys did not go as far as to host ballet classes but they wanted to encourage the use of the bar in order to improve their player’s flexibility.

What are the benefits of ballet in football?

Now that you know there have been many stories of football players practising ballet you may be wondering what exactly these players were achieving.

Injury Prevention

One of the key factors involved in doing ballet as a football player is avoiding injuries. As a football player remaining healthy is one of the most important goals of each season.

Many players will go down with injuries each week oftentimes costing them the entire season. Finding any way to avoid these sorts of injuries can be incredibly valuable for a player.

Some of these football players look to ballet as a way to avoid ankle and knee injuries. Players that play on the offensive or defensive line are often injured in these areas.

By increasing the flexibility of these portions of the body players can lower their chance of injury. This is why many players in these positions look to ballet players for injury prevention.


Flexibility is another added benefit of practising ballet as a football player. Players can use the flexibility they gain from this activity to improve their performance on the field.

For example, a football player could use ankle from ballet flexibility to improve his bend when pass rushing. These small advantages can make a large difference in a player’s ability.

Players tend to gain more flexibility in their feet, ankles, and knees when practising ballet on a regular basis.

Mental Focus

Mentally focusing on difficult tasks is a part of many different sports. The ability to do this successfully can help your consistency in performing at your best level.

When in the offseason many NFL players look to other sports or hobbies to remain mentally sharp. For those who practice ballet this can be a great exercise.

There is a certain level of mental focus needed to perform the movements of ballet. This combination of physical strength and mental focus is important in football.

When the season rolls around players that practised ballet in the offseason are already in the mental shape to play football effectively.

That’s all on football players and ballet if you want to learn more about these athletes see our guides to how football players recover after games or why they wear hats on the sideline.

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