High School Softball Rules & Regulations

Fast-pitch softball is the fifth most popular girls high school sport, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. A total of 362,488 girls played high school softball in the 2012-13 school year. Fast-pitch softball is played in the spring and is basically the girls¡¯ alternative to baseball at the high school level. Each state can set its own rules, but most typically apply the standard NFHS rules.
The bases are 60 feet apart on a fast-pitch softball diamond. The distance from the rear tip of home plate to the front edge of the pitcher¡¯s rubber is 43 feet. The outfield fence typically ranges between 185 and 235 feet from home plate. Otherwise, there are no major differences between high school baseball and softball fields.
The biggest difference between baseball and softball is, of course, the larger ball used in softball. The high school fast-pitch softball is 12 inches in circumference and weighs between 6 1/4 and 7 ounces. Players typically use metal bats which must meet Amateur Softball Association of America standards. Each bat must include a knob at the end of the handle, a safety grip measuring 10 to 15 inches and a round, smooth barrel. Batters and runners must wear helmets at all times.
Unlike slow-pitch softball — which typically features 10 defensive players — fast-pitch teams use nine players in the field. Teams may use a designated player to bat for any specified player in the lineup. Any player may be removed from the game and then return once, provided she bats in the same position in the lineup throughout the game. A team may use a courtesy runner any time its pitcher or catcher reaches base. In such cases, neither the pitcher nor the catcher is considered to have left the game.
A standard high school softball game lasts seven innings. A game that ends early — because of poor weather, for example — will count if the losing team has batted at least five times. The NFHS does not enforce a mercy rule, but individual states typically call for a game to end early if one team builds a sufficiently large lead. In Alaska, for example, a game ends with a team leads by 15 runs after three innings, 12 runs after four innings or eight runs at the end of five innings.
As in standard baseball, batters draw walks by taking four balls and strike out on three strikes. Pitchers may intentionally walk a hitter by request, without throwing any pitches. A player with two strikes who bunts the ball foul has struck out. Unlike slow-pitch softball, runners may leave bases and attempt to steal when the pitcher releases the ball.
Pitching mechanics are more closely regulated in fast-pitch softball than standard baseball. As in baseball, the pitcher must begin with her pivot foot on the rubber. Additionally, the fast-pitcher hurler must stand with her shoulders square to the plate and her hands separated, then she must bring her hands together in front of her body before starting her windup. The ball must be thrown underhand, using no more than 1 1/2 revolutions of her arm. At the release point, a pitcher¡¯s hand must be lower than her hip and her wrist may not be farther from her body than is her elbow.

Natural Ways to Reduce Swelling in Knees From Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that leads to pain, swelling and destruction of the joints. When it occurs in the knees, arthritis can make everyday activities like climbing stairs, kneeling and walking difficult. While anti-inflammatory medicines like naproxen and celecoxib (Celebrex) may be effective in reducing joint swelling, they can also cause side effects like gastric irritation and increased risk for internal bleeding. There are a variety of natural ways to reduce swelling in the knees caused by arthritis, many of which are as cheap and as effective as pharmaceutical treatments.
Heat and cold therapy are among the cheapest, quickest remedies for swelling and pain caused by knee arthritis. Heat therapy may include use of hot packs, paraffin wax, a heating pad or hot bath, while cold can be utilized by applying ice packs or submerging the legs in cold water. According to “Arthritis Today,” heat therapy is most effective for soothing tired muscles and alleviating stiffness in joints, while cold therapy can be used to reduce inflammation and swelling. Cold therapy is not recommended for people with circulatory disorders, as it constricts blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood to certain parts of the body.
While it may seem counterproductive, regular exercise is one of the most important components of an arthritis treatment plan. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, physical activity reduces joint pain and swelling, strengthen surrounding muscles, replenish lubrication to joint cartilage and decrease bone loss. It is also necessary for weight management, healthy cardiovascular function and prevention of obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Certain types of exercise may be safer and more beneficial for people with knee arthritis. Water aerobics, gentle stretching exercises like yoga and workouts that avoid repetitive use of the knees are most effective. Running, jogging and contact sports like football should be avoided, because they can cause further joint damage. Balance exercise with adequate rest, and avoid exercising during acute flare-ups.
Popular for its use in spicy Indian dishes like curry, turmeric is an excellent herbal remedy for swelling of the knees. It contains curcumin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric helps treat the pain and swelling of osteoarthritis when used in combination with Boswellia, winter cherry extract and zinc. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for other conditions that involve inflammation, such as uveitis (eye inflammation) and ulcerative colitis. The average dose of turmeric for treating swelling of the knees is 1 to 3 grams of dried root powder daily. Turmeric may be taken in capsule form, brewed into tea or added to foods for its anti-inflammatory effects. Like other anti-inflammatory agents, turmeric may thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding.

Gender Discrimination in Sports

Gender discrimination in the athletics industry has long been a controversial topic ¡ª?even the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, said in 1896, ¡°No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks.¡± Since then, gender equality in sports has come a long way, including UNESCO recognizing sports and physical activity as a human right in 1978.
Statistics show that female sports do not carry the same weight as male sports. According to the Women¡¯s Sports Foundation, male athletes get $179 million more in athletic scholarships each year than females do. Additionally, collegiate institutions spend just 24 percent of their athletic operating budgets on female sports, as well as just 16 percent of recruiting budgets and 33 percent of scholarship budgets on female athletes.
Passed in 1972, Title IX was a landmark piece of legislations that banned sexual discrimination in all schools, including in athletics. It applies to all state and local agencies that receive education funds, which includes school districts, colleges, universities, libraries and museums. It focuses on giving women equal opportunities in the athletic arena to those of men. In terms of intercollegiate athletics, three categories are used in determining whether a school is complying with Title IX, according to the University of Iowa: athletic financial assistance, interest and abilities accommodations and other program areas. Compliance is determined on a program-wide basis, not by particular sports.
Research supports the notion that there is less value placed on women¡¯s sports. This leads to unequal wages and coverage when compared to men¡¯s sports. Although approximately 40 percent of sport and physical activity participants are women, only 6 to 8 percent of total media sports coverage is devoted to their athletics, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Additionally, in a study of four major newspapers–USA Today, the Boston Globe, the Orange County Register and the Dallas Morning news–women-only sports stories totaled just 3.5 percent of all sports stories. Women¡¯s sports also tend to be verbally and visually set apart, such as in the name of the Women¡¯s National Basketball Association (WNBA). In men¡¯s sports, gender is almost never mentioned.
Under the Office of Civil Rights, anyone–male or female–who believes he or she has been discriminated against based on gender at an institution that receives United States Department of Education funds can file a complaint under Title IX. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination, in the state in which it occurred. A complaint letter has to include who was discriminated against, by whom or which institution, how the complainant was discriminated against, when the discrimination took place and the complainant¡¯s contact information. Unless required to divulge information by law, the OCR will keep the complainant¡¯s identity confidential.
Multiple committees have been formed to improve gender equality in athletics. In 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, with the goal of providing policy recommendations on women, gender equality and sport. It called for accessible sports facilities at all educational institutions, establishment of gender-sensitive programs at educational, workplace and community institutions and equal opportunities for women to participate in athletics on the same basis as men. In stark contrast to the Olympics¡¯ founding father¡¯s remarks in 1896, the International Olympic Committee requested in 1994 that the Olympic Charter be amended to include a reference to progressing action on women and sports. The current charter, which was adopted in 2004, states that one of the committee¡¯s roles is to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport, as well as to give equal weight to men and women.

Reasons for a Low Red Blood Count of 7.7

Red blood cells make up a portion of blood. A normal red blood count is 13.8 to 17.2 grams per deciliter; women have a lower red blood count, between 12.1 and 15.1gm/dL, according to Medline Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health. Lower than normal numbers indicate anemia. A red blood count of 7.7 gm/dL is much lower than normal; physicians may consider doing a blood transfusion if levels drop to 7 gm/dL or less, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey states. A lower than normal red blood count can be caused by several medical issues.
Medical conditions that cause blood loss can cause the red blood count to drop down to levels of 7.7 gm/dL. While small amounts of blood loss, the most common cause of anemia according to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, won’t normally cause a large drop in the red blood count, acute or chronic internal bleeding can cause the red blood count to drop severely. Heavy menstrual periods are the most common cause of anemia in women of childbearing age, the University of Maryland Medical Center states.
One of the most common causes of decreased red blood cell production and red blood count as low as 7.7 gm/dl is iron deficiency anemia, where low levels of iron decrease the production of red blood cells. Impaired absorption or inadequate intake also decreases iron stores. Low iron levels also occur in pregnancy. Some cancers and chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer can also decrease red blood cell production and anemia. Some chronic diseases such as chronic inflammatory diseases can also interfere with red blood cell production, the Mayo Clinic says. Plastic anemia, which can be congenital or develop later in life, results in an inability to produce red blood cells. Thalassemia, an inherited disease, also causes decreased production.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia, in which the red blood cells produced are abnormally large. Sickle cell anemia, an inherited disease, causes sickle shaped red blood cells with a short life span, the University of Maryland Medical Center says.
Very low red blood counts can occur when the red blood cells are produced normally but then destroyed. Hemolytic anemias, which can be inherited or acquired, destroy red blood cells faster than they’re produced, which may result in a need for blood transfusion, the University of Maryland Medical Center states. Autoimmune diseases and some medications cause hemolytic anemia.

Which Cardio Workouts Burn the Most Calories?

Cardiovascular exercise — you know you need to do it to stay healthy and manage your weight, but you can never seem to find enough time between work, family and social obligations. The good news is you don¡¯t need to spend hours plodding away on the treadmill — you just need to choose the right workout. Activities that use more muscle mass and that involve some sort of resistance will be more taxing and burn a greater amount of calories. In addition, the higher the intensity, the more calories you¡¯ll burn. Take a look at our top 10 picks for cardiovascular exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.
Running, biking or swimming at a steady state is enough to burn some serious calories, especially if you¡¯re just starting out. But if you up your pace for periods of time during your workout and you¡¯ll increase the burn even more. ¡°Sprinting burns a massive amount of calories, but it can only be kept up for a certain amount of time,¡± explains American College of Sports Medicine spokesperson Jim White. A 155-pound person who runs at a pace of 7.5 miles per hour can burn 465 calories in 30 minutes. Try alternating between two minutes at an all-out pace (or the fastest you can sustain for that long), and then recover with one minute of jogging, White recommends.
Tabata training is a high-intensity exercise modality that burns a lot of calories in a short period of time. The protocol consists of doing 20 seconds of work at an all-out pace, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You repeat this eight times. Almost any activity can be done in a Tabata-training style. A typical Tabata workout might include four exercises — for example, push-ups, squats, jumping rope and crunches. Although the first round might seem easy, just wait. By round eight, your muscles will be screaming! A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise determined that a typical Tabata workout can burn an average of 15 calories per minute, or 450 calories per half hour (workouts usually don’t last longer than 20 to 30 minutes).
Every muscle in your body, from the tips of your fingers to the ends of your toes, is working when you’re climbing a rock wall — whether you’re in a climbing gym or in the great outdoors. The large muscles of the back and legs are the primary movers, requiring energy in the form of calories to get you from the bottom to the top. A 155-pound person climbing for 30 minutes burns approximately 409 calories. Climbing at a good pace or on a really challenging route can increase your total burn.
Your whole body works while you’re swimming. Your legs kick, your arms stroke, your core contracts to keep you afloat. With that much muscle recruitment, it ranks as one of the top calorie-burning cardio exercises you can do. But your stroke choice can make a difference. A 155-pound person burns 372 calories in 30 minutes doing the breast stroke — an impressive number. But that same person doing the butterfly for 30 minutes will burn 409 calories. Where you swim makes a difference too. ¡°Swimming in the ocean where you’re going against the current — that would be a really, really intense workout,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White.
Whether you’re biking or running, throw some resistance in the mix to significantly boost your calorie burn. ¡°Running up a steep hill recruits more muscle fibers,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. ¡°It’s going to be taxing, and it’s going to definitely burn more calories.¡± In fact, you’ll burn about 10 percent more calories for each degree of incline versus running on a flat surface. That means a 155-pound person running at a five-mph pace will burn 373 calories every half hour at a five-percent grade versus 298 calories at the same speed on a flat surface. Get those glutes firing even more and up your calorie burn at the same time by incorporating more hills into your workout.
You already know running is hard, which might be why you¡¯ve been avoiding it. But, barring any physical limitations like illness or injury, you should definitely make friends with running, because it¡¯s a top calorie burner. ¡°Because you’re moving your body over the ground, running typically has higher rate of caloric expenditure than a lot of other exercises,¡± says Andy Doyle, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise science at Georgia State University. Running at a steady pace of six miles per hour, a 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes. The faster you run, the more calories you’ll burn.
Although it may have seemed effortless as a kid, jumping rope is a highly taxing activity that most people can’t sustain for more than a few minutes at a time. It’s one of ACSM spokesperson Jim White’s top picks for big-time calorie burners. ¡°When you’re jumping like that, it’s almost like full sprinting,¡± he says. A 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes. But, because it’s hard to do for an extended period of time, White recommends doing it in intervals, where you jump rope vigorously for a few minutes and then recover by jogging in place for a minute or two.
¡°Rowing is one of the biggest calorie burners,¡± says ACSM spokesperson Jim White. ¡°You’re using your legs, which is a huge muscle; you’re using your shoulders, your back. It’s continuous; it’s one of the chart toppers.¡± In fact, rowing uses nine major muscle groups, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, lats, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps. Of course, it all depends on the intensity at which you row and the conditions. Rowing inside on an ergometer, where conditions are controlled, may be less challenging than rowing on a lake on a windy day. A 155-pound person rowing on an ergometer at a vigorous pace can burn about 316 calories per 30 minutes.
Cross-country skiing is a winner on professor Andy Doyle’s list of top calorie-burning exercises. He explains that like running, you’re moving your body over the ground when you’re cross-country skiing, which automatically makes it intense. ¡°But now you’re using your arms — poling — as well as your legs with the skis. If you look at doing that going uphill versus on the flat, then that increases the rate of energy expenditure even further.¡± A person who weighs 155 pounds can burn 298 calories cross-country skiing for 30 minutes.
If you don’t know what burpees are, first, be thankful. But to clarify: A burpee is a full-body exercise that entails squatting down, kicking your feet out into a push-up position, doing a push-up, jumping your feet back to your hands, then jumping up into the air and reaching your hands over head. Just doing one or two is no big deal, but doing them continuously for a period of time gives you one serious calorie-burning workout. Although difficult to quantify in terms of calorie burn because of all the variables, burpees involve all the ingredients for major calorie burn: full-body muscle recruitment, resistance and intensity. A 155-pound person can burn 298 calories per half hour doing vigorous calisthenics, similar to burpees, for 30 minutes. Do them continuously, if you can, or break them up into intervals interspersed with another activity such as jogging or jumping rope.
¡°If you’re short on time, your best bang for the buck is to go at as hard an intensity as you can for whatever time period you have,¡± says professor Andy Doyle. Use a heart-rate monitor,fitness tracker or an app like Livestrong.com’s MyPlate to get a more accurate estimate of calories burned. Even if you’re limited to walking because of a medical condition or injury, walk as fast as you can or walk up hills, and you’re going to burn more calories than if you stroll at an easy pace. Push yourself to your limit, and you’ll reap the rewards of a fitter, leaner body.
What is your favorite calorie-burning cardio workout? Do you do any of these from the list? Which are your least favorite? Were you surprised at how many calories your favorite cardio workout burns? Do you use a fitness tracker or heart-rate monitor to track your calorie expenditure during a workout? Share your thoughts, suggestions and experiences with the Livestrong.com community by leaving a comment below.

What Is a Pancake Block in Football?

No matter how talented your are as a running back in football, you won’t be able to help your team much if the offensive line doesn’t open holes along the line of scrimmage for you to exploit. When blocking for the running game, offensive linemen have to be very aggressive to knock defensive linemen and linebackers backwards or flat on their back.
The pancake block is a term that is used by offensive line coach and offensive linemen in football to describe a block that leaves a defensive player flat on his back as the running back goes through the hole. It represents a dominating victory by the offensive lineman over the defensive lineman or linebacker in order to open a sizable hole for the running back to exploit.
A pancake block is not an official statistic in high school, college or professional football. The term was first used by the Pittsburgh Panthers to describe All-America offensive tackle Bill Fralic’s blocking prowess in 1983 and ’84. As Fralic’s propensity for knocking opponents onto their back became known throughout the college football world, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff counted the number of times Fralic registered these type of blocks in a given game. The Pittsburgh media relations department labeled these blocks as “pancakes” and the term stuck. Nebraska started to use the term in association with its offensive line. When Ohio State offensive lineman Orlando Pace became the dominant blocker in the Big Ten, the team’s media relations department sent out magnetic pancakes to remind college football award voters of Pace’s remarkable talent.
Football is often statistically driven. Quarterbacks are lionized by their yardage totals and touchdown passes. Running backs are known for how much yardage they run and the average yards gained per attempt. Receivers are revered for their reception total. Offensive linemen have no official stats. As a result, publicizing the number of pancake blocks an offensive lineman records gives those underpublicized players a chance for some recognition.
The pancake block is always achieved on running plays. Offensive linemen with power, speed, agility and aggressiveness have a chance to put their opponent flat on their back. At the snap of the ball, the offensive lineman must fire out of his stance and hit the defensive lineman with a hard two-hand punch to the upper body. This must knock the defensive lineman off balance so that the offensive lineman can drive with his legs and put his opponent on the ground.

How to Develop Your Opposite Soccer Foot

Just as most people are either left-handed or right-handed, they also have a dominant foot. In soccer, most players tend to rely on their dominant foot for tasks that require precision and power. While perfectly natural, this means that players may miss opportunities to shoot or pass with their weaker opposite foot. With practice, though, it’s possible to improve the performance of the opposite foot.
Many players don’t notice that the way they touch the ball with their opposite foot, even in routine actions such as dribbling, is different from the way they touch the ball with their dominant foot. Watching this difference during ball-control drills or dribbling can help to close the gap between the two. Try imitating the motion of the dominant foot using the opposite foot and observe how this changes performance. It isn’t always easy to monitor the foot while dribbling; recording the action may be useful.
A simple drill can improve shooting with either foot. A small group of players or coaches is needed. A player begins by running and receiving a pass from a player to the right of the goal, then shooting. Without waiting, she continues running to the left to receive a pass from a player standing by the side of the goal. The first player then shoots with the left foot. The drill should be reversed for players whose dominant foot is the left.
Shooting isn’t the only skill that needs to be developed for both feet. Passing, trapping and even dribbling can all benefit from extra emphasis on the opposite foot. Practice simple drills such as juggling the ball in the air using the opposite foot or bouncing the ball from a wall and then trapping it. Most soccer players do these drills regularly; the only real difference here is that you are concentrating on using them to develop the opposite foot.
Most people spend their lives favoring their dominant foot. This isn’t limited to the soccer field but occurs in all walks of life. As a result, the opposite foot, and the opposite leg in general, are not going to be as strong or coordinated as the dominant leg and foot. It’s important not to expect immediate results; it will take time and practice to produce stronger skills with the opposite foot. The dominant foot may always be stronger, but an improved opposite foot will help make you more versatile.

Football Warmup Drills

Warm-up drills help prepare football players for practice by getting their blood flowing and their muscles stretched. Michael J. Arthur and Bryan L. Bailey, authors of “Complete Conditioning for Football,” advise that players warm up for eight to 10 minutes at the start of practice. An effective warm-up session will prepare players physically and mentally for the rigorous practice ahead.
The High Knees warm-up drill helps players develop the muscle tone necessary to sprint more quickly, Arthur and Bailey write. Create a 10-yard course. Have players sprint the course taking fast, short one-foot steps. Players must bring their knees up high so their thighs are parallel to the playing field and keep the opposite leg fully extended and slightly behind them. Players perform two repetitions of the 10-yard course.
The Bull-pen Pitch helps quarterbacks warm up their arms while also practicing the accuracy of their passes, notes the American Football Coaches Association, creators of “Offensive Football Strategies.” Create a target and place it on the playing field. Instruct the quarterback to line up several yards away from the target. Hand the quarterback a football and tell him to throw the football as hard and as fast as he can while trying to hit the target. Encourage quarterbacks to loosen their muscles and concentrate on hitting the target accurately. Consistent use of this warm-up drill will help quarterbacks improve their throwing skills.
Cariocas increase the flexibility of the hips and prepare players to turn quickly as they attempt to catch the ball. Have players line up with their knees flexed and their shoulders facing straight ahead of them. Players move to the left for 20 yards by crossing their right foot over their left foot and then moving the right foot behind the body. Reverse the steps and move in the opposite direction returning to the starting point. Players should remain in position with knees flexed and shoulders forward while they move back and forth. Complete two repetitions before beginning practice.
Arthur and Bailey note that 40-Yard Build-ups help players sprint effectively and improve their acceleration. Players line up on the goal line and run down the field for 30 yards. As players advance down the field, they increase their speed. When players reach the 30-yard line, they stride for the next 10 yards. Players walk back to the starting line for another round. Conduct this drill at least twice during the warm-up session.

Types of Table Tennis Rackets

Recreational table tennis players often do not care about the type of racket they are using in a game; they are happy as long as the racket doesn’t look too worn and they can hit the ball over the net. Players looking to improve their game can choose from a variety of table tennis rackets, each of which produces different results when hitting the ball.
Prior to the 1950s, table tennis players had two racket choices: hard rubber or sandpaper, according to USA Table Tennis. Hard rubber rackets were used by advanced table tennis players until the invention of sponge rackets. The rackets are still a good choice for beginning players who do not want to spend extra money on more advanced rackets. As the name suggests, a strip of hard rubber is placed on wide area on each side of the racket, providing a surface that increases control of the ball. Sandpaper rackets had a strip of sandpaper on each side of the racket. A major problem of sandpaper rackets is that they damage the ball. Sponge rackets made hard rubber and sandpaper rackets obsolete. A layer of sponge is placed underneath a layer of rubber and provides increased ball control and speed. Sponge rackets also allowed for specialty rackets, which cater to your desired style of play.
The two most common table tennis rackets are inverted and pips-out, according to USA Table Tennis. The layer of rubber on inverted table tennis rackets has rows of small pimples, or pips. The pips face inward and create a flat surface that increases the amount of control you have on the ball. Pips-out rackets are similar to inverted rackets except the pips point outward, giving the racket a rough texture. A pips-out racket does not allow you to place as much spin on the ball, but you can hit it harder. Both types increase the racket’s grip on the ball, allowing for increased spin and harder, accurate hitting. These rackets allow you to make stronger offensive shots in your attempt to win rallies.
You may choose to use a defensive racket in a game, depending on your opponent’s playing style. Defensive rackets do not allow you to place your own spin on the ball, but reverse the type of spin put on the ball by your opponent, according to USA Table Tennis. For example, if your opponent placed backspin on the ball, hitting it with a defensive racket would return the shot with topspin. The two types of defensive rackets are antispin and long pips. Antispin rackets, according to USA Table Tennis, have a slick surface made of soft sponge. The surface makes it so you cannot create spin on the ball. You do not have many offensive options with antispin rackets and may leave yourself open to attack. Long pips rackets have longer, thinner pips than standard pips-out rackets. The texture of the paddle changes each time you hit the ball with a long pips racket, which may lead to unexpected shots for your opponent.

Can Ballet Lessons Improve Your Football Skills?

The skills required to master the game of football include strength, flexibility, agility and mental preparedness. Many football players exhibit strength, but may be lacking in other areas. This is where ballet enters in. Ballet lessons can improve your strength, increase flexibility and make you more agile, while providing a mind-body connection and reducing your risk of injury.
Strength is a key component of playing football. If you are not strong, you will not have much success in the game. Ballet provides a total body workout that targets muscles few other exercises use. For instance, ballet strengthens the muscles in your feet. Ballet lessons will additionally strengthen your back, legs and arms, with a great emphasis on strengthening your core muscles, which are useful while playing football. Working a variety of different muscles makes your muscles more adaptable, according to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Being flexible may not seem like a key factor in football, but increased flexibility has many benefits to the game. Ballet provided the flexibility necessary for NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann to become famous for his graceful, entertaining and successful football career. Increased flexibility can also reduce your risk of injuries, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
In addition to making you a stronger, more flexible football player, ballet can make you more agile, moving quickly on your feet, changing directions with greater balance, stability and a greater range of motion. Ballet can also help increase your speed, as it did with Dallas Cowboys running back Herschel Walker. Walker credits his speed and agility to his diverse exercise routine that included ballet.
One of the most important components of playing football is concentration, another benefit Walker credits to his ballet experience. Dance lowers your stress, stimulates you intellectually and helps you recognize and deal with patterns, spacial issues and sequences, which are essential to football strategy. Dance also trains you to perform in front of an audience, an aspect that can frighten athletes into poor operation at game time. Dance stimulates a connection between your brain and your body that helps you do your best in all activities, including football.