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The Warm up
The warm up is possibly the most under rated part of the training schedule in Cheerleading and just about every sport for that matter. Just consider the following questions for a minute, try to understand why these things happen and what is causing them;
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a lot have minor injuries?
Or why others train for a few weeks then stop?
Ever wondered why some people have horrific injuries such as snapped tendons & torn ligaments?
Any ideas yet?
Put simply, it’s all due to the warm up or rather the lack of a proper warm up.
The Elastic Band Theory
Image for one minute that the ligaments and tendons in your legs were Elastic bands after all they are very similar and perform the same way.
When you reach out, or stretch your leg the ligaments and tendons stretch just like an elastic band, so what do you think would happen if they are not warmed up correctly before you begin your exercise?
Answer: They snap!
The proof, try this out
1. Find yourself two elastic bands
2. Stretch one band as far as you can and measure the distance it reached.
3. Take the 2nd elastic band and put it in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes take the elastic band out of the freezer and stretch it just like you did with the first.
Did it stretch as far as the 1st band? No
Did it snap? More than likely.
But you only stretched the elastic band once! Imagine if you stretched it 1000 times, every three or four minutes, do you think it will snap now. Well during exercise you use several different muscles, hundreds if not thousands of times.
You see when we use our muscles to move our limbs the ligaments stretch, allowing for this movement. Not just that but each ligament is made up of lots of stands, which is like having lots of different elastic bands connected to each joint.
As we move, these ligaments stretch and then return back to normal again, continually stretching and shrinking.
Now consider a cheerleading move such as the splits
It’s only one move and it only takes 2 or 3 seconds to complete but imagine how many of them elastic band ligaments are stretched to the MAX, pulled to the very last sinew almost to the point of breaking.
You know this is true, that’s why it hurts at the top of your legs – It’s the ligaments being pulled to the point of tearing them from the bone that causes this pain.
Now imagine what happens when you don’t warm up properly?
The ligaments tear
And if it’s a bad tear, then it can be worse than breaking your leg.
Remember: you can put a broken leg in plaster and walk on it but the only thing you can do with a ligament tear is rest until it mends.
This can take up to six months!
Don’t be a moron & don't wait for your coach to tell you either - It’s your body, protect yourself, WARM UP FIRST!
Among some of the hardest things to learn in Cheerleading are the Jumps. Not always because they are the most difficult but usually because it seems to be a case that some people can just pop a jump at the first time of asking whilst others work for years and never manage one decent toe touch.
The reason: we are all different,
Some people are more flexible than others whilst some cheerleaders struggle to get beyond that physiological block that prevents them from getting off the ground properly.
- Before attempting any jump, warm up and stretch - ideally with a 5 minute plus routine.
- Keep your head up and your back straight.
- Don't bend your body to reach your feet, instead try to bring your feet up towards your head.
- Always, point your toes, your feet should be turned up towards the sky.
- Snap your legs down with as much force as you brought them up with.
- Land with a slight bend in you knees on the balls of your feet - never land flat footed.
- Work on building up the strength in your arms, shoulders, abs and legs.
- Work on all aspects of the jump: prep, lift, execution and landing.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Don't be frightened of asking for help, everybody has to learn at some point.
Never give up, you will never succeed if you stop after ten minutes with the attitude "I can't do it", remember you need to work at it; for some it can take a few weeks and others a few months, it all depends on the individual.
The Preparation - Counts 1, 2, 3, and
The preparation or (prep) for short, is the beginning of the jump. It is what starts your momentum and gives you the boost to help you leave the ground, a sloppy prep can lead to a sloppy jump so spend time working on your prep.
Although there are variations of the prep, these instructions cover the most commonly used method. Jumps can be divided into either 3 steps or 4, depending on who is instructing.
For simplification, we'll use 3 steps (prep, jump and landing) in this example, but knowing that sometimes there are 4 steps (prep, lift, jump and landing) might prove helpful.
Keep in mind that all jumps are done to an 8 count. On count 1, your body should be very tight, your legs should be straight, your feet together and your hands should be clasped in front of you. You will hold this position through count 2.
On count 3, you should step up on your tip toes and bring your arms into a high "V" position (hands in a fist). Hold this position through count 4.
The Jump - Counts 5 and 6
On count 5, you will bend your knees while using all your strength to swing your arms down in front of you. Your arms should cross each other some where between your elbows and wrists when they reach your mid section or upper thighs. Your body should be a bit forward, but not too much. On count 6, you will propel or spring yourself into the air and hit the arm and leg position of the jump you are doing.
The Landing - Counts 7 and 8
Do not forget this part of your jump; as the landing is the most important part of the jump. A bad landing can cause you injury. So take the time to get this part right.
Practice your landings as much as you do every other part of your jump and your efforts will result in a clean, well rounded and balanced looking jump that will earn good marks with the judges.
On count 7, you should snap your legs down and land on the balls of your feet; ensure your feet are together and your knees slightly bent. The bend in your knees is just as important as landing on the balls of your feet as the two things combined are what absorbs the shock of your landing.
Your arms should be straight at your side with your fingers straight and the palms of your hands facing your body. You should have a slight forward bend in your body to help you balance when you land.
You will hold this position for count 8. Then you can straighten up your body and be ready for your next jump.
Used to describe a cartwheel without hands touching the ground or floor, sometimes used to refer to a walkover or roundoff without hands.
A Cheerleading squad that is not associated or affiliated with a school
One leg is down straight and the other is behind you almost at a ninety degree angle to your back.
A position in which the back is curved.
Attack the Crowd
A technique used to get the audience involved in a cheer, dance or song
Similar to an elevator except the bases bring their hands to the middle and the climber's feet are positioned very close together. This is also known as a Cupie.
Backwards jump onto your hands, then a quick push from your hands to your feet. Also known as flip-flop or flick-flack.
Hitch, Heel Stretch, Liberty, ‘L’ etc
This is when you arch your back and reach upwards. You usually only do a banana when you are doing a combination jump or riding up a basket toss.
This is the person/persons who remain in contact with the floor lifting the flyer into a stunt. Person/persons on the bottom of a stunt or pyramid.
A stunt usually using 3 or more bases which toss the flyer into the air. Two of the bases have interlocked their hands. In the air the flyer my do any jump before returning to the cradle.
A person who stabilises or touches a stunt by direct contact with another person. Although in direct contact, the bracer does not carry any weight. The stunt would remain stable without the bracer.
Matching undies that are part of your Cheerleading uniform, worn under your skirt. Sometimes called bloomers, spankies, tights, or lolipops.
Buckets are when you hold your arms straight out in front of you, with your fists facing down as if you were holding the handle of a bucket in each hand.
This is a cheer motion where you extend your arms out in front of you with your fists facing each other as if you were holding a lit candle in each hand.
The leader of a squad or team. (see squad leader)
A short cheer, with simple arm movements. A short repeated yell. Usually done on the sidelines.
A longer yell, that involves motions, pom pons, stunts, jumps, or tumbling.
The set arrangement of dance steps and movements.
A person that instructs or teaches a performer, player, or team.
An event where squads come to test their skills against others and compete for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finishes.
An end movement where the catcher(s) catch a flyer/flier by holding her under the thighs and around her back after tossing her in the air.
A competition category similar to Seniors, at least one member of the team must be 16yrs and over on the day of competition.
One base holds up a flyer/flier with one hand. The bases arm is fully extended and both of the flyer's feet are in the base's one hand. Also known as a kewpie or awesome.
When the flyer falls backwards or forwards out of a stunt. 3 or 4 people catch the flyer and could possibly push the flyer back up to the bases hands.
A way to return the flyer to the floor after a stunt. Returning to the floor position after a routine or mount.
A jump where one leg is bent in front of you and the other leg is bent behind you, your arms are in a high V. Also known as a Pretzel, Abstract, or Table Top. Elevator Two bases each hold a different foot of one flyer. The feet are both held at shoulder level.
Example: Scissor Kick & Twist Down in Basket Toss
To perform a stunt or routine; the way in which a stunt or routine is performed. The form, style, and technique of a stunt or routine make up its execution.
A stunt in which the arms of each base are fully extended above the head, supporting the mounter/flyer standing in the palms of the base(s).
One in which the supporting arms(s) of the base)s) is fully extended above the head. Stunts such as chairs, Russian lifts and T-lifts are extended stunts.
One of the basic stunt’s. Two bases each hold one of the flyer's feet at their chest level and a spotter stands in back. From this position, you can move into a full extension. The full extension is where the bases' arms are straight, holding the flyer above their heads.
Cheerleaders can't compete with frowns on their faces! Facials help get the crowd excited and impress the judge’s big time! The goal is: make it look like your having the time of your life...even if you are so nervous or scared you want to leave...facial tricks that score big with judges are: winks, cheesy smiles, occasional sticking out the tongue, and bobbin your head up and down...hey it sounds stupid, but it helps so much in a competition or game!
Cards that show which words the spectators should shout back.
The person that is elevated into the air by the bases; the person that is on top of a pyramid/stunt.
Two bases each hold one of the flyer's feet at their chest level and a spotter stands in back. From this position, the bases move into a full extension by raising the flyer with their arms up straight and holding the flyer above their heads. There are double based extensions and single based.
Springing from your feet to your hands to your feet again. Used alone or in conjunction with other skills. There are forward and backward handsprings.
Springing from your feet to your hands and holding your body in an upright position balancing on you hands alone
Similar to Liberty except your bent leg is held straight up with your hand. For more information see Liberty.
A cheerleading jump where one leg (usually your weakest) is bent towards the ground and your other leg (usually your strongest) is out to the side as high as it will go in the toe touch position. This jump is very similar to the Side Hurdler except for the position of the bent leg. There are right Herkies and left Herkies. In a right Herkie your right leg is straight with your left leg bent and the opposite is true for a left Herkie. Sometimes called a hurkie. Named after Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer.
A motion where both arms are locked and hands are in buckets, both arms are up forming a V. Hurdler A jump similar to the Herkie except your bent leg is level with your hip instead of pointing down. There are left Side Hurdlers and right Side Hurdlers. There is also a Front Hurdler which is a completely different jump. In a right Side Hurdler, your right leg is straight and in the Toe Touch position; your left leg is bent, level with your hip and pointing forward.
An action where both feet leave the ground; A coordinated placement of the arms and legs while the feet are off the ground. There are three parts to a jump; the prep/approach, the lift, and the landing. Examples of jumps are toe-touches, side hurdlers, front hurdlers, pikes, around-the-worlds, and double nines.
Age group for cheerleaders, all competitors must be 12yrs and under on the day of competition Junior B Age group for cheerleaders, all competitors must be 15yrs and under on the day of competition
Same as “Herkie” A jump where your weak leg is bent towards the floor and your strong leg is out to the side as high as it will go. Some call it a herkie. Named after Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer. Judge The person or persons delegated to score you at tryouts or your squad at competitions.
A Cheerleading motion. One arm forms a High V and the other arm comes across your body. There are left and right K motions.
One base holds up a flyer/flier with one hand. The bases arm is fully extended and both of the flyer's feet are in the base's one hand. Also known as a cupie or awesome.
A straight or arched position. Leap A moving spring position in the air from one foot to the other.
A Cheerleading motion. Both arms form an L shape. The up arm should have your pinky facing the crowd and the side arm should have your thumb facing the crowd. There are left and right L motions.
The base holds up a flyer/flier with one of her feet in both of the base's hands. The flier's other leg is bent. There are also one armed Liberties. The arms can be in a high V or one arm in a high V and the other on your hip.
An animal, object or person adopted by a group to bring them good luck or be symbolic of their association, organization, group or school.
70% of the team must be at least 30yrs and over on the day of competition
A funnel shaped device used to amplify and direct your voice. Mini Peeps Similar to Teenies, all competitors must be 9yrs and under - oldest team member can be 9yrs on the day of competition.
A set position of a Cheerleader's arms. Motions include T motion, L motion, K motion, hands on hips, diagonals, touchdown, daggers, High V, Low V, and variations of them.
When one or more people are supported in the air. Another word for stunt.
Referred to as double stunts; a maneuver in which at least one mounter is supported by one base.
When a squad is divided into two or more groups to do the same motion, skill or step at different times. Usually used to give a good visual effect.
Similar to Junior A, all competitors must be 12yrs and under - oldest team member can be 12yrs on the day of competition.
A position in which the body is bent at the hips and legs are straight out in ninety degree angle.
A turn in standing position on one leg to a different direction. Pom Pon A hand held ball of plastic strips connected by a handle. Also called Pom Pom.
A dismount method of freeing the top person from a stunt by pushing the top person forcefully off the bases’ hands
Multiple mounts or a group of stunts next to one another.
Somersault - Hip over head rotation
A basic beginner tumbling skill, once perfected it is used as a setup for combination tumbling skills (back handsprings etc.)
A continuous show of talent in the squad by use of cheers, chants and dance steps. Can last from 2 min. 30 sec. up to 4 min. depending on the time limits of the competition or showcase.
While in a Liberty you grab the toe of your bent leg and bring it up to almost behind your head.
A term used when facials or attitude is exaggerated to make the cheer, motion or dance step have more appeal.
Age group for cheerleaders, one or more competitors must be at least 16yrs on the day of competition
Example: Toe Touch in Basket Toss
Another word for briefs or undies. Also called lolipops, bloomers, and tights.
A movement or sitting position in which the legs are spread apart in alignment or sideways one in front of the other.
A person that stays in contact with the performing surface and watches for any hazards in the stunt or mount. The spotter is responsible for watching the flyer and to be prepared to catch her if she falls.
A small group of people organized for a specific purpose; An athletic team. Stag A leap or pose in which one leg is bent and the other is straight.
Any skill or feat involving tumbling, mounting, a pyramid, or toss. Usually does not refer to a jump.
A position where the legs are straight out and apart.
A fusion of different styles of dance predominantly being a mixture of Cheerleading and Street Dance with influences from 1970s styles such as Krump and Hip Hop.
Suck it Up
When a cheerleader says suck it up, it means while a flyer is up in a stunt, to try to hold it and not fall. Also a term used to encourage a person to be brave.
A somersault performed in the air by the flyer with constant hand to hand contact with the bases
Age group for cheerleaders, all competitors must be 9yrs and under on the day of competition
A motion where the Cheerleader's arms form a T with the thumb side of her fists facing the crowd. There is a half or broken T where your elbows are bent and the pinky side of your fist is facing the crowd.
A jump where it appears the Cheerleader is sitting in the air. This jump is sometimes referred to as an Abstract or Double Hook, depending on where you live. Sometimes the dagger motion is also called a table top.
This is when a flier switches feet in a stunt.
A method used where one or more bases use their hands as a stepping platform to toss the flyer into a hip over head rotation (i.e. Somersault) Prohibited (BANNED under UKCA/British rules)
An accepted method used to mount where one or more bases use their hands as a stepping platform to toss the flyer up (Can be used in a partner stunt)
One of the most widely used jumps in Cheerleading. A jump where your arms are in a "T" motion and your legs split to the sides, toes pointed with your knees up or pointed back. Hands do not touch the toes, as the name implies, but instead your hands try to reach to the insides of your ankles. You should keep your back straight, your head up, and rotate your hips to perfect this jump.
Top person being free of continuous contact from the base(s) (i.e. Basket Toss)
Cheerleading motion where both arms are held directly overhead, tight against the head/ears. Hands have palms facing each other, pinky side out.
Involves a top person moving from one stunt to another. The transitional stunt may involve changing bases.
The way to narrow down potential cheerleaders for a squad. Usually conducted by the coach and/or trained or accredited judges. Special skills are named by the coach to perform and be judged on individual performance.
where you bring both knees up to your chest. Can be used as a jump or for flipping.
Any gymnastic skill used in a cheer, dance, or for crowd appeal. Can be done as an individual or as a group in unison.
Vertical Rotation (No hip over head rotation)
Similar to Junior B, all competitors must be 15yrs and under - oldest team member can be 15yrs on the day of competition.
Cheerleading motion where both arms are up forming a V. Thumb side for fists faces the crowd.
A stunt in which the hands of the top person are used to assist in clearing a base(s) or prop(s)
The main squad the represents a school, college or university. Upperclassmen.
Daily practices are the best way to perfect your jumps. I always do jump lines at every practice working all jumps. As your stamina increases, try doing 2 jumps in a row then increase it to 3 jumps in a row
|1. Jump lines
Cheerleaders stand in 3 or 4 lines. Start some music and every-time a cheerleader gets to the front of the line, she must execute a jump in time with the music. It helps to have counts such as "clasp on count 1, 2; high-V on count 3, 4; bend on count 5; execute jump on count 6; land on count 7, 8.
2. Hang from a bar and lift legs in a v-up movements
3. T- kicks
4. Assisted jumps : 2 cheerleaders face each other. One cheerleader supports under other cheerleader's forearms. Base cheerleader pushes up on arms as jumping cheerleader. This is a good exercise to help cheerleaders get the feel of a toe touch plus perfecting pointing their toes.
5. Leg throws: Lie on back on floor. Another person stand straddling at the head of the person on the floor. The floor person holds on to the standing person's ankles. The floor person lifts legs and the standing person "throws" the legs to the floor and right and left. The floor person resist letting them touch the floor.
6. Straddle Hold: Sit on floor in a straddle position. Point toes and hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat process.
7. Straddle Lifts: Sit on floor in a straddle position. Lift both legs up, keeping them straight. Hold for 3 counts. Relax. Repeat 5 times. (hint: legs will not lift very far off the floor)
8. V- Up sit ups
Here you will find articles relating to session training and other aspects of cheerleading taught in training sessions such as techniques, tips and tricks. For more information select one of the categories from the menu on the left.
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