The Lost Art of Technique

Navigating the fine line between holding a stunt and truly supporting a flyer in mid-air requires a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals. To delve into this vital aspect, let’s dissect the core concept of stunts.

True mastery of holding a stunt entails the base’s complete control over the flyer’s body position. This control hinges on the flyer’s ability to maintain a precise body posture that empowers the base to govern the stunt’s direction and equilibrium.

The question arises: where does this control originate? Let’s start with the grip—the foundation of it all. The positioning of hands on the flyer’s feet plays a pivotal role in determining the level of control. In coed stunting, a robust grip involves the right hand securely under the heel and the left hand firmly gripping the ball of the foot and toes. For all-girl formations, the main base’s right hand rests beneath the ball of the foot and over the toes, while the left hand is steadfast under the heel. The side base follows suit with the right hand gripping the midsection of the foot and the left hand firmly on the main base’s right wrist.

However, precise placement doesn’t necessarily guarantee effectiveness. The role of fingers is equally crucial. For coed and all-girl stunts, fingers are the linchpin of control. Coed stunts demand a focus on thumb and pinky engagement to exert optimal control. In all-girl formations, the main base maintains equilibrium between the toe and heel, while the side base is tasked with preventing lateral shifts. Using fingers for minute adjustments averts destabilizing the stunt, reducing the need for foot movement to regain control. It’s a fundamental principle of all-girl grips, adaptable with practice.

Grips are the linchpin of control in stunting. Reject the notion of “Never the Same Grip Twice” as a mantra. Consistently poor grips intensify the challenge, impacting your flyer’s performance. An essential test for active bases: practice stunting while lying on your back. Coed bases have the flyer step into the stunt from above your head, while all-girl side and main bases line up their shoulders and have the flyer step in from the side. Stunting on your back solely relies on grip, eliminating foot assistance. If holding a stunt on your back proves daunting, maintaining control while on your feet could present challenges.

Let’s address the ever-present topic of progressions. We’ve all been told, and it bears repeating—progressions are the cornerstone. They unlock the path to understanding and controlling stunts, all while enhancing upper and lower body strength. Amidst the competitive cheer arena, standing out necessitates showcasing not just the stunts thrown, but also their graceful catch and hold. Elevated skills fumble due to poor lines or grips, dampening the impact.

So, refine your foundational progression stunts, and here’s the secret: don’t rush to move on. Repeat these basics tirelessly. Create short sequences with the same stunts for variety. Engage in “P-I-G” games with teammates, focusing solely on basic skills. Surprisingly, even college newcomers often struggle with high school-level transitional stunts, showcasing their fixation on flashy rotations. Skipping basics hampers true understanding and adjustments for advanced skills. Savvy bases master those skills, which are more prevalent in college.

Stunting is an enthralling display when executed flawlessly, yet disheartening when it falters. In many ways, it mirrors a dance—the base’s weight shifts, gripping the flyer’s foot to create a steering mechanism. Two strong elements balancing, one controlling the other. This control distinguishes a holder from a base. It’s the nuance of catching a full-up stunt just beyond the base’s centerline and seamlessly adjusting the grip, subtly shifting to hoist the stunt back overhead.

Engaging in a stunt session is akin to watching an artist perfecting a masterpiece. Stunt couples converse in a language all their own, their hands and bodies mirroring adjustments during a session. This symphony of movement creates fluid transitions, awe-inspiring structures, an intricate design that seems effortless. A good base excels in holding stunts, but a great base lends an air of effortlessness that belies the true complexity.

Mastering stunts is challenging yet fulfilling. Refine your craft, grasping the art of controlling stunts rather than merely sustaining them. Smooth execution hinges on technique, not strength. Mastering technique allows for safe lifts and dismounts, conserving energy for other routines. Correctly executed stunts feel effortless—aim for precision in your grips. Enhance your advanced and intermediate skills before attempting the elite. Propel cheerleading’s future by embracing solid technique and shunning inconsistent grips.

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