Stunts are defined as building performances displaying a person's skill or dexterity. Stunting in cheerleading has been previously referred to as building pyramids. Stunts range from basic two-legged stunts to one-legged extended stunts and high flying basket tosses. There are numerous variations of each basic stunt.
A stunt group usually involves up to four bases holding or tossing another cheerleader in the air. In general, all-girl cheerleading stunts usually involve up to four other bases while co-ed ("partner") stunts have only one base (usually male) and his partner (the flyer, usually female). Pyramids are multiple groups of stunts connected aerially by the flyers. This connection may be made in a variety of ways, from a simple linking of hands to having a multi-level pyramid, with the flyers already in the air acting as primary bases for another flyer or flyers on top of them.
Cheerleaders are the athletes that stay on the ground providing the primary support for the flyer during a stunt. Bases should be watching the flyer at all times in the case of a mishap. Bases can be male or female, but they are usually the strongest athletes on the team/squad. The bases are usually two females or one male.
The term main base only applies when doing a one-legged stunt. This base has the majority of the flyer's foot, and the majority of her weight. The main base will be directly under the stunt until it is cradled or brought down. In a one leg extension stunt, will lift the toe and heel of the foot to increase stability from moving forwards or backwards.
The term side base only applies when doing a one-legged stunt. The side bases help the main base lift the flyer up into the air. Her/His hands will be placed under and around the middle of the foot to create stability from moving side to side.
This is the person that is in the air during a stunt. This is the person that is commonly the main focus of the stunt. Flyers stay tight throughout the entire stunt. The flyer must control their own weight by squeezing everything from their thighs to their shoulders. If they don't stay tight, there is a greater risk of them falling. They must keep a steady focus on what they are doing. Coaches will usually have the flyer look at a wall to help them concentrate on staying tight. If they look down, there is a possibility they will either lose their balance or forget to stay tight. A strong core and good sense of balance are key qualities to possess when stunting.
Flyers are commonly extremely flexible and light. The littlest
people on the team will be put up in a stunt because it is easier for the
bases to lift. Flyers should also be good performers for the
crowd or audience.
Back Spot (Back Base, Third or Back in some regions)
This is the person standing behind the stunt. They help dip or jump the flyer into the bases hands. They do so by using their hands to support the flyer's butt, and then push it up into the air. Once in the air, they will hold the flyer's ankles, providing support. When the flyer cradles, they catch her under her arms. If the flyer falls backwards, it is the back spot's job to catch her.
Front Spot (Front in some regions)
This is the person standing in front of the flyer who will catch her ankles and prevent her from falling forward. The front spot often provides extra support to ankles and wrists in higher stunts such as extensions. The front spot has somewhat the same job of the back spot. Though the front spot is there, a flyer should never fall forward, rather backwards. There is not always a front spot in a stunt, so they should not learn to depend on them. The front spot will help to lift the flyer up into the air too. Great in basket tosses for extra height.
Additional (hands-off) Spotter
This person does not actually touch the stunt unless something goes wrong. The free standing spot can stand behind, in front, or beside the stunt. Arms are up in the air and eyes stay on the stunt at all times even though the stunt is not touched. This position is sometimes called a general spot.
Two leg stunts
Prep or Extension Prep
“Prep” defines a Stunt in which flyer stands with each foot in the hands of a base at shoulder level. The two bases, facing each other, hold the feet of the upright flyer at collar-bone level, so the flyer is standing about shoulder-width apart. The flyer controls every stunt, and can bring the bases closer together or push them farther apart, if desired, by simply moving his or her legs. The back spot holds the calves or ankles of the flyer. A front spot is optional and may be used to secure the stunt by the shins of the flyer.
Cupie or Awesome is almost identical to the Full Extension except that the flyer's feet are together, in one hand of a single base or with one foot in the hands of two bases. In a partner stunt the difference between a cupie and an awesome has to do with what the male is doing with his free hand. If the free hand is on the hip then it is a cupie, if the free hand is in a high V then it's an awesome.
Flyer stands with each foot in the hands of a base while her arms are in an extended overhead position. The backspot can either hold the ankles of the flyer, or support the wrists of the bases. In a single based stunt, the base will hold both of the flyer's feet above his/her head, with arms locked.
Two bases hold the flyer's legs at the knee area. They then slowly walk apart until the flyer is in a mid-air split.
A thigh stand is a beginner level stunt and is one of the simplest stunts. The bases kneel on one leg and have their feet touching each other by the sides of their shoes. The back spot will hold the flyer at the waist. She will dip and jump onto the bases thighs.
All of the variations can be done at prep or extension level.
One or more bases hold up the flyer by the foot and the flyer balances weight on one that straight leg. The flyer's other leg is bent with the foot positioned at about the knee level of the flyer nestling it alongside the standing leg's knee. The name of this stunt is often shortened to 'Lib'.
This is a liberty variation facing the side. One or more base hold up the flyer by the foot and the flyer balances weight on one that straight leg. The flyer then grabs the loose foot and bends that leg upward behind the body until the toes are close to the back of the head, a position resembling a scorpion's tail. The foot is secured in place by the opposite hand. A more advanced variation of the scorpion is the "Chin-chin," where the flyer tucks her foot underneath her own chin.
This is a liberty variation facing the side. One or more bases extend one of the flyer's feet. The flyer's other leg is held by the flyer's hand to the side and the leg is fully extended. A Scale is also called a Skate or Skater in some regions.
A Crazy Eight is similar to a scale, but the ankle is supported by the flyer's wrist while her hands clasp to form a circle above her head. The resulting pose is resembles an Eight, due to the two circles, one formed by her arms, and the other by her leg and side.
While executing a Torch the base group faces forward holding the foot as a side base would. While the flyer is holding a one-legged extended stunt while facing 90 degrees sideways from the base.
Heel Stretch is a variation of a liberty. It is a stunt in which the base/bases holds one foot of the flyer while she holds the other foot in an elevated stretch position with her same hand.
Bow and Arrow
The Bow and Arrow is a variation of a heel stretch. The flyer grabs her foot with the opposite hand. Then she pulls her arm thought and puts it in front of her leg, holding it straight. Or if flyer is not flexible enough to have her hand in front of her leg she can keep it behind, but that's known as an "overstretch"
A Needle is a variation of liberty facing the side. The main difference in a regular scale and a needle is the flyer's position in the air. Where in a normal scale the chest is either parallel or higher than the hip on the supporting leg, a needle scale the chest is down beside the main support leg. Also, the leg that was supported by hands in a regular scale is now "free" and is pointing to near as north or "12 o'clock" as flexibility allows the flyer to obtain. The flyer also maintains balance by holding onto the bases hands and her own ankle. A Needle is sometimes called a spike.
An Arabesque is a variation of liberty facing the side. From a lib, the flyer points their leg out behind them and their arms are in a "T" position.
A hitch is a variation of the prep or extension. One of the side bases turn to face forward and lifts the flyer's foot in an extension; or high enough so that the flyer's knee is bent at a 90 degree angle. So this doesn't leave all of the weight on the other base, the back swiftly moves her hand so that both of her hands are supporting the non-bent leg.
Transitions, Tosses, and Dismounts
A basket toss is an advanced stunt in which the bases propel the flyer upwards (10-30+ feet) from the loading position. It is a toss by a maximum of four bases of a top straight up in the air so the flyer can perform a trick (toe touch, ball-out, kiss-out, pretty girl, twist, tuck, kick twist down, pike, etc.) and then land back in a cradle position. It gets its name from the basket, or square, the bases get from locking wrists. The basket is assembled by each base grabbing their own right wrist with their left hand, then using their right hand to grab each others' left wrist. The flyer, with some assistance from the back spot, will place her feet on the square created to minimize pressure. There will also be a front spot (pumper) which places hands under the stunt and helps to toss the flyer into the air. The bases dip, stand up, dip again, and then throw using all of their power.
Basket Toss variations include:
· Toe Touch basket toss - During the basket toss, when the flyer is thrown into the air she stays in the "pencil" position. Once starting to fall, she does the toe touch jump, quickly pops back into pencil, and then into the cradle.
· Pretty Girl/Show off basket toss - When in the air, the flyer will do her legs like in a Liberty and put one hand on her waist and one behind her head, laying down.
· Kick twist basket toss - When starting to fall, the flyer will kick one leg up then twist her body into a cradle. The flyer may twist however many times she wishes, the more the more advanced.
· Tuck basket toss - while in the air the flyer will perform a tuck (front or back) then pop into cradle.
· Simple Ride-Up basket toss - usually the first bascket toss ever practiced. The flyer's legs remain together like in a cradle, but the arms can go anyway such as in a "touch down" motion, pointing up/at the crowd, or blowing a kiss.
Almost like a basket toss except hands are in formation of a prep or extension.
Pop Cradle or Cradle Out
Dismount from a stunt in which the base/bases toss the flyer straight up from a stationary stunt then catch the flyer in a seated position pike-like position.
Teddy Sit/Teddy Bear
The bases have the flyer in a Prep. They dip (the flyer sits, or bends her body in half, and ends up in a straddle position) and with one hand catch the flyer's thigh. With the other hand they catch the flyer's foot. The back uses the same motions she would in a sponge.
Dismount is a way to return the flyer to the floor or complete a stunt.
Squish (or Sponge)
Two bases will each hold a different foot of a flyer at their waist level. The flyer is squatted down so the flyer is not taller than the bases. This is how the flyer loads in to the stunt, before jumping and pushing off the bases shoulders, and the bases drive their arms upwards and extend the flyer. Also called a Sponge, load, or Scrunch in some regions.
Retake or Double Take
When a stunt is extended in the air, and then goes back down into a load-in position placing both feet in the bases hands, if previously in a one-footed stunt, and being pushed back upwards into another stunt.
Show and go
Two bases will each hold a different foot of a flyer and bring it up to a full extension. The flyer only stays up for two counts and returns back into a squish position. Also known as 'fake-outs' or 'flashes'. Depending on the stunt, the flyer can throw any number of tricks in a show and go. If loading in with both feet, most times the flyer will "show" a Cupie, and after reloading, come back up to a Cupie in either a prep or extension level. Another variation is the one-legged show and go, where a flyer starts as if in a one-legged stunt, and "shows" one leg kicked up to the heel stretch position (without grabbing the ankle or instep). As this variation is brought back down, the flyer brings in her leg from the flash and reloads in either a two or one legged sponge, "going" back up to prep or extension level.
When a flyer switches the foot being stood on in mid air after being popped by bases.
College cheerleaders doing as flipping transition
Full Down (Twist Cradle)
Full Down is a variation on a pop cradle. It is a dismount from a stunt in which the base/bases toss the flyer straight up from a stationary stunt, the flyer does a 360 degree turn in the air, and then the bases catch her in a cradle position. Called a Single Down, Single, or Full Down in some Regions.
Double down (Double Twist Cradle)
Double down is a variation on a pop cradle. The same as a full twist cradle, but two 360 degree turns are completed before cradling. There are also increasing numbers of twist downs possible, often as many as five, witnessed especially when four males are basing a basket toss.
Leap Frog or popcorn
This is usually a transition where the bases "hop" top person over the back spots head and catch her in either a crouch position or cradle.
A Reload is a transition that connects two stunts when a flyer cradles out of the first stunt, and the bases dip and pop the flyer back into a load position. A similar stunt is a barrel role. A Reload can sometimes called a 'cradle pop'.
Seated in a pike position, as if she had just cradled out, the bases toss the flyer, she lays flat and does a 360 degree spin in the air.
A variation on the double take in which the flyer does a full turn in the air to the right in between stunts while staying in contact with the bases. Also called a Full up in some regions.
Rewind is a dismount where the flyer does a full turn to the left in a standing position while having her right foot in contact with the bases.
When the flyer falls backwards or forwards out of a stunt where 3 or 4 people catch the flyer and could possibly push the flyer back up to the bases hands.
Center bases face each other, legs shoulder width apart, arms straight and hands on each other's shoulders, a flyer stands behind each base, facing the bases' backs. Flyers place hands on bases' shoulders, each flyer has a second base. These bases squat in between the other base and the flyer. They hold the flyers' waist, third base holds the flyers upstage leg--one hand on her thigh and the other on her ankle.
On 1, 2, down, up, the flyer bends her knees and jumps. The second and third bases lift the flyer up, fully extending their arms. The flyer's arms are also fully extended. The center bases have the flyers' weight on their shoulders. They support each other to maintain balance. Both flyers lift their downstage leg (the base is only holding the upstage leg). The second and third bases lower the flyer on the dismount.
This can also be executed with only one base lifting, rather than two.