Wednesday 26 October 2016

Top NFL prospect's unique way of perfecting his footwork - Irish Dance

Published 28/04/2016 | 13:11

One of the top running back prospects in the NFL has discovered an unusual means of honing his fancy footwork off the field – Irish dance.

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Alex Collins, of the Arkansas Razorbacks, started Irish dancing in 2011, when he heard about it through the daughter of his former high school coach.

He trains weekly at Atlanta’s Drake School of Irish Dance, and has even assumed an alter ego in homage to his Irish dancing hero.

“My alias is Mitchell Finley, he’s the best,” says Alex, who describes himself as “a big fan of Michael Flatley”.

In the video, he practices some of his moves, explaining: “It crosses over well for me because the footwork aspect of it helps me on the football field.

“It’s a lot of rhythm and timing with Irish dance, as it is for a running back as well.

“I really love it because it builds my lower calf muscles and my lower body muscles. It translates in the field, I’m more explosive on the field.”

His classmates, who range in age between 10-17, were impressed to have the 21-year-old running back join them for a jig, but Fiona Shanley (10) notes with a giggle that he still needs some practice to nail the steps.

“At least I’m better than him at something!”

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