Tips for Bases in Cheerleading
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Stunting, which is when a group of cheerleaders lifts or tosses another cheerleader into the air, can make your cheerleading performances more exciting. Any skill that can help you catch the crowd's attention and get them cheering along with you is a worthwhile skill to master. In stunting there are two basic positions: top person, the cheerleader being lifted, and base, the cheerleader doing the lifting. There are some basic fundamentals to be a good base.
Legs and Butt
The most important tip for bases is use your leg and butt muscles to initiate the power for a stunt. Because of how big your thigh and gluteal muscles are, they house a great deal of power. Using them during the load-in phase of a stunt to dip deeply and then explode up forcefully will give your stunt the power it needs to shoot up effortlessly. When the stunt is ready to dismount, use these muscles again to dip and pop your top person out of your hands and in a cradle dismount to absorb the force of the top person's landing. Always remember your legs and butt are your most useful basing tools.
Another important factor in basing is timing. If all of the bases in a stunt group do not perfect their timing, the stunt will not work. Take time to practice timing before the top person is in your hands. For an elevator, stand in your ready position with your feet hip-width apart and your palms facing up at belly-button level. Have your top person stand behind you and place her hands in your hands mimicking the motion her feet will complete in the stunt. Practice your timing until all bases lift up at the exact same time and to the exact same height.
A tight core will not only help keep a stunt steady, it will protect you from injury when you are basing. Pull your belly button in toward your spine to keep your back straight during the entire stunting process. When you are in the ready position, resist the urge to lean forward or slump. Keep your shoulders directly over your hips. Once a stunt is in the air, do not allow your back to arch under the weight of the top person. Activated abdominal muscles will make your core tight and create a strong foundation for the stunt. Finally, when you dismount, keep your back straight as you catch a cradle, protecting your back muscles and catching the top person in a sturdy hold.
Focus on the Top Person
It is important that you keep your focus on your top person whenever a stunt is in progress. Keep your eyes on her at all times. As she loads in, keep your eyes open and watch her foot land in your hands. When the stunt is building, focus on her to stay aware of any changes to her balance or shifts in her position. Never take your eyes off her when she is at the top of the stunt. It is especially important that you look at your top person if she is in an extended position above your head. Always remember, from the moment her feet leave the ground, until you set her gently back on it, you are responsible for the safety of the top person.
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.