Beginning Cheerleading Stunts
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Cheerleading stunting is an exciting part of cheerleading in which one or more cheerleaders lift or toss another cheerleader into the air. While there is a risk of injury when stunting, it can be greatly reduced by following safety regulations. For example, make sure to master beginner stunts before advancing to more difficult stunts. Perhaps the most important safety rule for beginners and advanced cheerleaders alike is to stunt only under the supervision of a qualified cheer coach.
Prior to learning any stunts, every cheerleader should master a step-up drill. This drill helps teach proper stunting form while preparing cheerleaders to fly and base. Use one base, one top person and one spotter for this drill. Have the base assume a deep lunge with the knee of her bent leg over her ankle. The top person should gently place her foot in the pocket formed by the base's thigh and hip. As she places her foot, the base should reach under the top person's leg, grabbing her thigh. With her hands on the base's shoulders, the top person dips down and jumps hard off the ground, pushing up with her hands as well. As she steps up, the top person should lock her supporting leg and balance in this position. During the entire drill, the spotter should hold the top person by the waist, assisting with the stunt and steadying her.
A thigh stand incorporates the skills learned in a step-up drill and requires two bases and a top person. A spotter should be used until mastery of the stunt is exhibited. Have the bases lunge toward each other with their feet overlapped and their toes lined up with the other base's heel. With her hands on the base's shoulders, the top person should place her right foot on the base who is standing on her right side and that base should grab her thigh. The top person should dip deeply, push off the ground and step up onto the right base, locking her leg. Once her supporting leg is locked, the top person should gently place her left foot on the left base's thigh and lift her hands off the base's shoulders to hit a high "V" motion above her head.
An elevator, also known as a half-elevator or an extension prep, should be attempted only after consistent mastery of a thigh stand has been exhibited. When learning an elevator, use two main bases, a top person and a back base. After mastering this stunt, you can do it without a back base. The top person jumps into the hands of the main bases while the back base supports her by grabbing her waist. Bases dip down and lift the top person up to stand on their hands, which are held just under their chins. The back base steadies the top person by pulling up on her calves.
It is important to have a safe and clean dismount for your elevator. There are two beginner ways to dismount from an elevator: a walk-down dismount and a pop-down dismount. In both dismounts, the bases release the toe of the top person, taking all of her weight in their back hand. The top person leans forward, keeping her eyes up, and grabs the hands the bases are offering her. In a walk-down dismount, the top person steps one foot forward and then brings her other foot to meet it as she hits the ground. In a pop-down dismount, the bases dip and pop the top person out of their back hand and she lands with both feet on the ground. In both dismounts, the bases should grab the bicep of the top person with their back hand to help her land on the ground, and the back spot should reach for her waist as soon as possible and assist in the top person's descent.
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