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Tricks to Get a Full Down in Cheerleading

A full down, also known as a twist cradle or a full-twist cradle, is an advanced cheerleading dismount in which the top person is popped out of a stunt and executes a 360-degree spin prior to landing safely in the arms of her bases. You can use a full down to dismount from a shoulder-level stunt or an extended stunt, in which the top person's feet are extended above the heads of the bases. As always, stunt only under the supervision of a qualified cheerleading coach.

Straight Cradle

The first trick to mastering a full down is perfecting your straight cradle technique. Start in a half-elevator with two bases holding your feet at shoulder level. Safety regulations require a back base for all cradles. As the bases pop you out of the stunt, ride the cradle as high as you can. Keep your arms glued to your sides and your legs squeezed together. Shrug your shoulders up and lift your belly button toward the ceiling. After you reach the peak of your ascent and begin falling, allow your rear end to fall slightly faster than your feet so your body naturally pikes as you hit the bases' arms. While you still are above the bases' heads, open your arms to catch yourself around their shoulders.

Learning to Twist

Learn how to twist by twisting into a thick crash mat. Place a chair in front of the mat and stand on it with your back toward the mat. Have someone brace the chair by holding the back of the chair to keep if from tipping. Start with your arms in a high V motion above your head and pick a place on the wall in front of you to focus on. Jump off the chair as you forcefully swing your arms down to your sides and look over your right shoulder, initiating your twist. Spin quickly, keeping your eyes open. When you see the same place on the wall, pike your hips, landing on your back on the mat. Keep your body straight as you twist at a slight angle to the ground. Do not twist in a vertical or horizontal position.

Twist Cradle

Master a twist cradle from a half-elevator. Start with your arms in a high V. As your bases pop you out of the stunt, bring your arms down to your sides as you ride the bounce from their pop. At the top of your ascent, forcefully look over your right shoulder to start twisting. Keep your body tilted back at a slight angle. You should hold your body straight with your abs pulled in tight to keep a hollow shape to your body. After you complete your rotation, open your arms as you start to descend into the arms of your bases. Catch yourself around the shoulders of your bases and pike as your body lands in their arms.

Common Errors

Avoid the common pitfalls of a full-down dismount. Bases, make sure to pop the top person straight up. Do not push her feet forward or try to help her twist by tossing her feet in the direction of her twist. Top person, ride the bounce from the pop your bases give you. Avoid the temptation to twist as soon as you leave the bases' hands. Do not anticipate the twist. Wait to reach the top of your ascent. Finally, hold your body tight as you twist. Keep your abs pulled in tight, your feet together and your arms on your thighs. A loose, flailing body will not twist as quickly as a tight body.

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About the Author

Based in Wisconsin farm country, Jami Kastner has been writing professionally since 2009 and has had many articles published online. Kastner uses her experience as a former teacher, coach and fitness instructor as a starting point for her writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from Trinity International University.

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