Cheer stunts definitely add a lot of excitement to any routine, but they can be difficult to execute well. Learn what it takes to put those flyers in the air.
About Cheer Stunts
If you're into cheerleading, you've probably seen a number of pyramids, lifts, and tosses. It's the team's job to make these stunts look effortless, but they really do take quite a bit of coordination to pull off. To understand how this is done, here are the basic components of stunting:
Generally speaking, cheer stunts fall into two basic categories.
- Partner stunts are smaller acrobatics that usually involve just two people in a lift move.
- Mounts are the larger productions that produce pyramids and other stunts involving all or most of the team.
Cheerleaders fill various roles in cheer stunts:
- Bases: Bases are the foundation of any stunt. These are the people who keep their feet firmly planted on the ground and provide a solid foundation for the flyers. A base must be strong enough to handle the weight of the flyer in lifts and poses, and still remain stable throughout the stunt.
- Flyers: Flyers are the fearless souls who are elevated to the top levels of any stunt. Sometimes this means posing on a base, but sometimes it involves incorporating various jumps into the routine. Flyers are generally smaller and highly flexible. They must have great balance and core strength, and they must be supremely confident in their capabilities. Flyers must be aware of their position and center of gravity at all times in order to avoid contact with other flyers, as well as put the least amount of strain on the base.
- Spotters: Spotters hold an extremely important position during cheers stunts. These are the people who watch the flyers. They are ready to keep a flyer's head from hitting the ground if a stunt goes wrong. Spotters must be able to focus on the stunt being performed, and be capable of handling the flyer's weight if a catch becomes necessary. Although spotters aren't directly involved in performing the stunt, it's crucial that they know every count of the routine. They must be prepared for anything that may happen. They remain alert and watchful until the flyer is safely back on the ground.
Now that the various roles filled by cheerleaders during a stunt are defined, it's time to talk about actually performing stunts. There are many ways to put a pyramid together. Whichever way your team does it, you can be sure that those moves are carefully counted out. Everyone's movements must be coordinated to reach the end goal. The entire squad needs to know exactly which move to perform on every count to make all fall into proper position. One person who is hesitant or can't remember the next move could easily send everyone tumbling to the ground.During cheer stunts, it's typical for the majority of the team to remain quiet and focused while one person counts out the moves. However, it's the practice of some teams for all members to count out the moves together. Whichever method your team follows there should be no individual conversations going on. Everyone's full focus must be on the business at hand so no one winds up getting hurt.
To be completely honest, there is an element of danger to performing cheer stunts, and people have been injured during the course of a performance. However, you can lessen your risk by following these guidelines.
- Never attempt stunts without the direct supervision of a qualified coach.
- Participate in strength increasing exercises to become as fit as you possibly can.
- Always warm up before practice and events.
- Stay focused on each and every routine. Letting your mind wander for a moment can lead to a wreck, so be disciplined and alert.
- Practice your moves until you can perform every count by yourself. Don't depend on watching someone else to know what to do next.
- Do make sure that the appropriate equipment is on hand for performing stunts, especially safety mats.
Cheer stunts take work, but they can also be fun to perform. There's nothing like executing a perfect stunt and hearing the crowd cheering for you. It's a feeling that's hard to match on the ground.