The Basics of Cheerleading Stunts

Think you have what it takes to throw someone over 15 feet in the air? Can you defy gravity and soar way above the ground? There are a few basic fundamentals of stunting that every cheerleader must learn in order to perform every stunt safely. There are four basic positions in every stunt group, with an optional fifth position.

First Position

The first person, but not necessarily the most important, is called the flyer. This is the cheerleader who is on top of each stunt. Before even going into the air, flyers must learn how to hold their own weight and keep their chest up. This can be done by straightening your arms on the shoulders of the bases (those individuals who are standing shoulder-width apart.)

Flyers must also have their legs in a tuck position so that their feet are off the ground. Once you have mastered this drill, you can move into stunting. In each stunt, the flyer must remember to stand up as fast as possible, stay tight, and keep their legs straight!

When cradling or performing a basket toss, the flyer must first ride the bases pop--do not bend your legs to jump for the bases will throw you--put his/her arms in a T motion, catch the bases around their shoulders, and land in the bases arms in a tight, laid- back, but slightly piked position.

Second and Third Positions

People in this stunt group are called the bases. On two- legged stunts, the bases responsibilities are the same. On one- legged stunts, each base has a different task. The main base will hold the flyers foot with one hand on the heel and one hand on the toe. This is how each base will also hold the flyers feet in two- legged stunts. The side base for a one legged stunt will hold the middle and top portions of the flyers foot.

When stunting, each base must remember to use their legs and not their back when lifting a flyer into the air. Also in stationary stunts, (excluding basket tosses) while the flyer is in the air its very important for the bases to stand as still as possible. When performing a cradle, the bases catch under the flyers back and legs when she lands in their arms.

Fourth Position

The fourth stunting position is the back spot. The back spot will first call a universal stunting count before performing any stunt or dismount. This count is one, two, down, up. Then the flyer will either begin a stunt or a cradle. During each stunt the back spot must have a firm hold on the flyers ankle(s).

Also, its important for the back spot to pull up on the flyers ankle. This will help take off some of the flyers weight from the bases. During a cradle or basket toss, the back spots eyes must never leave the flyer. After calling the universal count, the back spot will raise his/her arms straight up until the flyer begins to descend from the air. The back spot must then catch the flyer under the arms and make sure the flyers neck and head are protected at all times.

Fifth Position

The fifth position is the front spot. This position is optional and is only used when extra help lifting the flyer is needed. The front spot can find any spot on the flyers leg or foot that is available to hold and help lift some of the weight off of the bases. Sometimes a front spot will hold the main bases wrist to provide extra support.


Kelly Fitzpatrick is a cheerleading and gymnastics coach for PJC Gymnastics. She is also a summer and competition staff coach for Cheerleading Technique Camps (CTC). If you have any questions regarding cheerleading or for more information, visit www.cheertumble.com.

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