How Dancing With The Stars Will Help Von Miller On The Grid-Iron

Von Miller is still celebrating his Super Bowl MVP offseason, enjoying his run on Dancing With The Stars, while skipping the Broncos' voluntary workouts. But could his dancing still benefit him on the football field?

Offense sells tickets, defense wins game. That’s what they say. For the Denver Broncos this was definitely the theme of their 2015 Super Bowl Champion season.

It was the result of the defense’s relentless hard work that boosted them into an almost unexpected playoff bid and eventually it was the defense that facilitated their Super Bowl win.

More specifically, the performance of Von Miller, Denver's 27-year-old All-Pro outside linebacker, was the key to smothering Cam Newton, shutting down the 17-1 team’s hopes at the title.

Miller notched 2.5 sacks, six total tackles, two quarterback hits, a defended pass, and two crucial strips of the Carolina Panthers quarterback.  He was able to consistently pressure Newton throughout the night and as a result, Miller become the 10th defensive player in Super Bowl history to take home the coveted MVP trophy.

This outstanding performance left many Broncos fans excited for what could be next for the Texas A&M alum and many were shocked by his next move.

On the heels of his Super bowl and MVP win, Von miller decided to join Dancing With The Stars.

Known for his elaborate post-sack dances, Miller’s decision still shocked and surprised fans across the country. Switching up his cleats for dancing shoes left fans wondering — is the star linebacker opening himself up for the opportunity of injury? Or might Von Miller have a million dollar idea up his sleeve?

It is no news that cross training in any sport can help an athlete bring diversity to their athletic abilities and pairing dancing with football is not as entirely uncommon as it seems. For years, professionals have speculated on the ability of dance to improve football skills both on and off the field. 

In fact, Lynn Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steeler and 2001 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, attributed the success of his career to his ballet training and the direct correlation it had on his athletic skills. Lynn is quoted as saying,

“I felt more comfortable on the dance floor than the football field.”

Additionally, Al Toon, the former New York Jets wide receiver, has been known to credit his training in dance to the accelerated development of several skills throughout his career.

“Dance helped me learn to position my body to help me break tackles.”

Coming out of Super Bowl 50, and after the Broncos applied their exclusive rights franchise tag, Miller knew the expectations of his future performances would be high. So what’s an MVP do to make sure he stays ahead of the game?

He joins Dancing With The Stars.

In fact, Miller is not the first Denver Bronco to turn to ballet in the offseason to improve his game. It is a well-known fact that former Broncos wide receiver Vance Johnson used ballet to improve his overall success on the field.

Dance and football might appear at first to be the furthest thing from a 'match made in heaven', but once under the microscope you can see that the similarities are in the DNA. From targeted muscle groups to core fundamentals, dance and football statistically have a lot in common, which is what makes ballet the perfect cross training to improve a player’s performance on the turf.

Ballet training is known to increase several key skills, such as flexibility, strength, precision, control, and mobility. The micro-control that is developed through ballet training on both the body and the mind of the athlete increases the player’s ability to pass, leap, rush, tackle, break and  juke. The athlete is able to obtain a level of physical awareness that allows the player to gain better self-control and self-discipline, which allow them to start and stop more accurately and more meticulously. 

So at the conclusion of his DWTS career, when the time comes for Miller to dust off his cleats and get back on the field, what should Denver fans expect to see?

Let’s just say Von Miller will be coming into the 2016 NFL season with a heightened body awareness, an increased hip joint range of motion, and an ability to transfer his weight more effortlessly and in such a way that will put fear in the eyes of any seasoned quarterback lucky enough to see him coming. 

Jeannae Elyse Bierstedt is a Columnist for Mile High Huddle. You can find her on Twitter @JeannaeElyse.

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