Cheerleading has evolved very significantly over the years. It came from a male-dominated sport to a modern-day female-led competition. Women started cheerleading in the 1930s, and tradition remained the same until now. The chants, cheer, and pom-poms you see sprouted even decades ago.
Thus, it is customary to expect when watching competitions; we see plenty of female faces on the gym floor. Women overrule the bases, spotter, and flyer. It seems unusual for a male counterpart to be part of cheerleading nowadays.
However, males do become cheerleaders. They are an essential element of a successful cheerleading routine. Most of them serve as bases of a basket toss. The strength and agility they offer can deliver powerful tosses. Bases are the most common role of male cheerleaders in a routine.
Nevertheless, you can still see guys as flyers in cheerleading. In all-stars, it is not unusual to see male cheerleaders fly in baskets or even pyramids. When you watch open divisions of all-star, you can notice guys flying on an elite stunt.
It is interesting to see male techniques in the basket stunts. They play a special role to make every stunt a success.
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Can guys do cheerleading?
Of course, guys can do cheerleading. There is no law or policy prohibiting men from becoming a cheerleader. All-star cheerleading embraces men to be part of a cheer and routine.
Here are some of the most common roles of males in cheerleading:
- Group stunts
- Partner stunts
- Basket tosses
Male do participate in group stunts. The male upper body strength is helpful for successful stunting. They are the ones providing the right amount of strength to deliver a well-executed stunt. Males can also serve as bases when doing group stunts. Let’s admit it; they have incredible upper body power to make more stable and steady stunts. Without their strength and power, it would be harder to execute challenging stunts.
Male power is also crucial when making a partner stunts. In this type of stunt, there is a single base responsible for uplifting the total weight with strength. Without the strength and power, a dancer cannot lift his partner to do fly. Of course, some girls make partner stunts, but it is more common among guys. It will be easier if males serve as the base while females as the flyer. Partner stunting is one of the challenging stunts and may take more time compared to other moves.
Basket tosses are one of the most anticipated routines in cheerleading. Watchers can get amazed by how skillful a basket toss is executed. When doing a basket toss, a flyer will also be lifted in the air. The flyer will perform incredible moves like toe touch before falling to a cradle. Basket toss will be more brutal to deliver, especially without the strength of male bases. The energy they can exert and their upper body strength make the stunt possible. They can also execute explosive and higher baskets than their female counterparts.
Skillful, powerful, and impactful tumblings are an essential part of a routine. Several high schools and all-star cheer pay attention to how tumblings are made. They need to perform high-level and precise tumblings to score in the competition. Males also have full-body strength to do robust and accurate tumblings. They have strong arms and legs to pass energy to the ground and lift them for a rigid standing position. With this amount of strength, the routine becomes more interesting.
What are the positions in stunting?
In cheerleading, there are three significant positions you should know. These are the base, blackspot, and flyer positions. Each position has a corresponding function enabling a successful stunting move.
- Base position
- Backspot position
- Flyer position
First, let us talk about the base position. The base is the foundational position in cheer and the most crucial. They are the ones you often see at the bottom of the pyramid. The base is responsible for lifting the flyer or tossing her up in the air. The bases are generally male with immense upper body strength. They are also taller, more extensive, and more robust, so they can fully support the flyer. Moreover, aside from the upper body, they should also have powerful legs.
A backspot also plays an essential role in a cheerleading routine. Unlike the base, the backspot does not require substantial and powerful arms and legs. They are secondary in supporting the weight of the flyer. These dancers are usually taller than a typical cheerleader. They must be present throughout the stunt to helping the flyer maintain her balance. A backspot is a vital position as he is responsible for keeping the formation steady. He should also ensure that the flyer will not get injured during the stunt. They also keep the routine count in sync with the music.
Most of the time, the flyer position is the star of the cheer. They are the ones who get lifted, tossed, and on top of a pyramid. They are the face of the team, who are all smiles and entertaining the audience. Flyers usually are smaller as they are being thrown and lifted in stunts. They should also possess lighter weight, flexible, and more agile. Flyers should develop balance, coordination, and enthusiasm to execute stunts well.
They should also give their trust to the bases and backspot to put more confidence in the moves. The count of the flyer must be right and precise to avoid any form of injury. The pressure is also on them, as they should avoid getting off-balance, messing up the routine.
What is the hardest position in cheerleading?
All positions in cheerleading is hard. The base, spotter and flyer have corresponding roles in every stunt. These cheerleading positions work together to deliver flawless and impactful stunt.
To know these stunts better and how these positions work, we provided the following for you:
Basic two-leg stunts
- Thigh stand
- Cupie or Awesome
- Split-lift or Teddy Sit
- Shoulder stand and shoulder sit
If you a beginner cheerleader, a thigh stand is the firsts one you must learn and master. The bases usually male kneels on one leg or can be in a lunge position, and the flyer stands on them. The thigh stand is easy to learn and ideal for starters. It is also a low-level stunt in cheerleading.
Prep is more complicated than the thigh stand. There must be flyers and two bases to be able to execute the moves. The flyer will stand in the hands of two bases and will be held up high. It usually is at the chest or even chin height. The prep requires more strength and balance compared to the thigh stand.
For extension, you will also need a flyer and a base. The flyer, which is usually a female dancer, will stand on the hands of the base. Then, the base will stretch the arm and block out the shoulders to make a steady and rigid formation. The flyer should be able to control and hold the weight to deliver a successful extension.
If you are looking for another variation of extension, cupie is the move. This time, the flyer will be held just about the head of the bases. Her feet shall be held closely together for more solid formation. You can also make a partner stunt in cupie. The feet of the flyer will be entirely land on one hand of the base. The other hand of the base is free.
The split-lift or known as the teddy sit, is another complex move under basic two-leg stunts. There must be one flyer and two bases to be able to execute the move. The flyer will be in a seated straddle position while the bases hold one hand on the flyer’s thigh. The other hand will support the flyers ankle or foot.
The other bases will be responsible for supporting the back area of the flyer.
He will hold the waist for a more stable form.
This stunt is being performed in NFL or lower cheer levels.
Shoulder stand is riskier among all the basic two-leg stunts. In this movement, the flyer will stand on the shoulders of the base. The shoulder seat is where the flyer will sit on the base’s shoulder while wrapping her feet around the waist.
One Leg Stunts
The most basic one-leg stunt is liberty. The stunt is also called the ‘lib.’ In this position, two bases are required to grip the flyer’s feet. The main base usually holds the heel and toe of the flyer, while the other base is for the middle foot. It can be both execute at the chin and extended level.
Other variations are the following:
- Scorpion – the scorpion is a variation of the liberty stunt. There are one or two bases needed where they hold up the flyer by the foot. Then, the flyer should be able to balance the weight using one leg. The free leg will be grabbed by the flyer and bends upward. The flyer should ensure that the toes are close to the back of the head to mimic the scorpion’s tail.
- Scale – another tricky stunt is the scale. In this stunt, the bases will extend both feet of the flyer. Then, the flyer will take one leg by hand to extend it during the formation fully. You can also call the scale as skate or skater for other cheerleaders.
- Heel stretch is a smile variation of liberty where the base holds one foot, and the flyer will grab the other foot. The other foot will be extended, the same as the hand of the flyer.
Tick tock is an extended variation of liberty. The dancers will start with the liberty stunt while standing on one leg. Then they will quickly release to form and transfer to the other leg. To deliver a good tick-tock, there should be two bases, a back spot and a flyer. This movement should be quick to entice and interest more the audience.
Transition stunts are also a thrilling and decisive move. The flyer will be tossed up in the air as quickly and sharp as possible. One base will throw the first foot of the flyer, while the other one catches the free foot in an extended position. The flyer controls this movement, where she does the switching and lifting the foot for the base to catch. The flyer must be quick and focused on executing the stunt flawlessly.
Cheerleading will never be just as thrilling without the stunts. The male presence in the routine is equally crucial as the female ones. The strength and power provided by men enable them to deliver difficult stunts. They usually play as bases, but being a flyer is not restricted to the female ones.