Ballet and football: many people may depict these two sports as complete opposites and may never think that one would benefit the other. Junior Dino Kaliakmanis believes differently; he breaks this stereotypical thought by participating in both football and ballet. Kaliakmanis believes that ballet helps him improve all of his football skills.
Many athletes work hard to go above and beyond for their sport. They might do anything to maximize their skill set to enhance their performance in any way possible. Others may not have the same passion and drive, however. Kaliakmanis pushes himself by participating in ballet on his own time, outside of school. Ballet works his body in ways he did not expect; flexibility, balance, speed and agility have all greatly improved.
“I have a lot of respect for ballet as a sport,” Kaliakmanis said. “It helps with a lot of skills, especially flexibility and balance.”
Kaliakmanis’ coaches say he performs well during football practices and shines during the games. He plays both offense, as a wide receiver, and defense, as a defensive back. His ballet experience has helped him improve agility and route reading for both of his positions. Mitchell Munda, receivers’ coach for the ACHS football team, believes that Kaliakmanis has great footwork. Munda claims Kaliakmanis goes through the dynamic warmup easily because of his flexibility and skills generated from ballet.
“Dino is already an elite athlete, but what continues to separate him from others is the extra work he does outside of football, like ballet,” Munda said. “It only reinforces those essential skills you use to be a great athlete.”
Kaliakmanis started ballet because he was inspired by former National Football League players that participated in the sport as well. He believes it is a great way to supplement the weight room and off-season training. Kaliakmanis has been participating in ballet for about a year and plans to continue on with the sport in order to improve his skills for his future football career.
“To go to the next level and to continue your physical and mental growth, you always have to figure out how to get better and improve your level of play,” Kaliakmanis’ mother Colleen Kaliakmanis said. “Weight room, speed and agility, and ballet all play a key role in Dino’s training that has elevated his level of play. The physical and mental conditioning that it requires has done wonders for Dino’s overall training regimen.”
Kaliakmanis goes to ballet practices twice a week and is never complacent toward any of his skills. He strives to be the best football player he possibly can be and works hard for a successful future. Kaliakmanis encourages athletes to try new things to strengthen their physical and mental growth.