IMPROVING BALANCE, FLEXIBILITY, AND AGILITY USING BALLET TRAINING FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS: A PILOT STUDY
M. Maleki, P. Rund, K. Stirton, M. Lockard
Willamette University, Salem, OR
Balance, flexibility, and agility (BFA) are beneficial to athletes in many disciplines. Despite the associated improvements in performance and injury risk, the benefits of BFA have long been undervalued in sports like football where gains are often emphasized over grace. While anecdotal evidence implies that implementation of ballet as training that targets BFA can benefit football players by reducing injury risk and improving overall performance, there has not yet been controlled prospective research. PURPOSE: To analyze the impact of thrice weekly ballet classes on the balance, flexibility, and agility of collegiate football players. METHODS: 10 NCAA Division III football players were recruited from Willamette University to participate for three weeks during the off-season. Players were randomly assigned into the ballet training group or the control group. The ballet group attended a 30-minute ballet class three days per week, for two non-consecutive weeks. Balance was assessed using the Biodex Balance System (BBS), flexibility was assessed using a goniometer, and agility was assessed via the Illinois Agility Test (IAT). BFA data were collected at baseline and once per week for three weeks. Differences in means across all testing sessions between groups was assessed using repeated measures ANOVAs. Bonferroni post hoc tests controlled for family-wise error rate during multiple comparisons across time periods. RESULTS: Flexibility: improved ROM of lumbar flexion (p=0.073) and ROM of shoulder extension (p=0.073) in the ballet group approached statistical significance. Balance: The ballet group’s improvement in overall balance scores from the BBS (Ballet: 1.6 ±2.55, Control: 1.5 ±1.63) was not significantly different from control. Agility: The IAT time was significantly faster in the ballet group (Ballet: mean1 = 19.674 ±1.73 sec, mean4 = 17.034 ±1.73 sec, Control: mean1 = 16.23 ±0.46 sec, mean4 = 16.002 ±0.46 sec; p=0.001). CONCLUSION: This pilot study indicates that implementation of a ballet class may increase the balance, flexibility, and agility of collegiate football players, warranting continued research on this training intervention.
Maleki, M; Rund, P; Stirton, K; and Lockard, M
"IMPROVING BALANCE, FLEXIBILITY, AND AGILITY USING BALLET TRAINING FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS: A PILOT STUDY,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8
, Article 45.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss7/45