Lingo: Cheerleading, Tumbling and Basic Gymnastics (Part 2) Stunt Basics…
A typical cheerleading stunt may consist of up to 5 members in a group. The 5 athletes are known as a flyer, base (main base or side base), back-spot, and in some case a front-spot.
- Flyer- Usually the smallest of the stunt group members, the flyer is the athlete that is lifted or tossed through the air.
- Base- A normal cheer stunt consists of 2 bases. A side/assist base and a main base. The main base in most cases stands completely under the flyer when performing stunts. The side base typically stands next to the main base to assist her/him with the stunt and should bear the same amount of weight as the main base.
- Back-spot- In most group stunts the back-spot is the athlete who assists the flyer from the ground to the elevated stunt and holds the ankle(s) of the flyer to help maintain stability and reduce weight on his/her bases. The back spot is usually the tallest member of the stunt groud
- Front-spot- In some instances a front-spot is required or needed to add an extra hand. A front spot’s tasks may be limited but can also vary greatly from stunt to stunt. At any moment a front spot may be added for extra power, safety or stability depending on the situation.
Stunts are also performed at various levels relative to the bases. Below chest/ belly button level or on the leg of a base kneeled on the floor, chest level, over the head stunts, and in some instances 2 and a half people high stunts. The following are a few of the main terms or phrases one might hear in a basic stunt/ cheer class or team.
- Prep– Usually consisting of 4 athletes; a flyer, backspot and 2 bases. In this particular stunt the bases face each other as they each hold the flyer by one of her feet at chest level with the flyer’s feet shoulder-width apart as she stands up tall. The backspot assists the bases by holding the flyer’s ankles and continually lifting.
- Extension– Consisting of the same group make up as a prep(see above), an extension takes the flyer above chest level, over the head. The bases and backspot stand fully erect with arms straight up, standing under the flyer.
- Two Man– Any stunt performed at any level consisting of only 3 cheerleaders; a flyer and 2 bases or 1 backspot and 1 base.
- Pyramid– A series of stunts performed by a whole team with multiple stunt groups coordinated and connecting.
- Cradle(dismount)– The toss and release of a flyer by her stunt group followed by them catching her in their arms.
- Lib/Liberty(Body Position)– A stunt performed at any level while the flyer stands on 1 leg with the opposite leg bent to where her foot touches the knee of the leg she is standing on.
- Bumpdown/Retake(Dismount)– A dismount performed without the release of the flyer to where she returns to the starting position of the stunt.
- Body Positions– There are various body positions which are performed by the flyer while in a stunt. The first body position most flyers learn is the Lib, however they quickly introduced to many more. The following are a few of the most common body positions, which will be detailed in a later post. Front Stretch, Heel Stretch, Scorpion, Bow and Arrow, Needle, Over Stretch and Arabesque. All of these positions require considerable strength and flexibility to be performed correctly and in a stunt.