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progression importanceWhen I first started cheering I had two major enemies: the cradle and the extension.

As the tiniest person on the squad (and definitely the scrawniest), I didn’t have much of a choice on what stunt position I would have. Or any choice really. It was flying or … well, quit since we only had 8 people.

Eventually, I was tricked into an extension and found that I was okay, and later my favorite trick would be a cradle.

What I remember most clearly is that my coach wouldn’t let us move on until we mastered those stunts.

I’m so glad she didn’t because progression cheerleading stunts are so important, and today I’m gonna tell you why.

Foundation of all cheerleading stunts

If you look around at all the fancy transition stunts that are out there or the new inversions, you’ll start to notice something … they’re all built on the foundation of a progression stunt.

And that’s what makes progression stunts so crucial to the cheerleading experience (for a non-grounded squad at least)–everything else you do will require that knowledge, skill, and coordination that you build when learning progressions.


When it comes to stunting, your cheerleaders aren’t looking at safety. They’re looking at the fancy tricks they could do. But the great thing about progressions is that it kind of builds in habits of safety.

When you look at the list of progression stunts, you’ll notice that it’s just that: a progression. Unconsciously they’re being taught to break down stunts and take them a little at a time or do them a lower level before going all out to the actual level.

If you also focus on building other safe habits around spotting and catching while your team goes through progressions then they’ll start to build those into their everyday habits too.

Strengths and weaknesses

Progression time is a great time to form stunt groups because you’re getting to see them in action.

Through those stunt sessions you will start to see the individual strengths and weaknesses and how some of them may complement someone else’s.

You’ll also see the squad’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll know what level your stunts should be for the year and how far to push them. You’ll know how quickly they learn, and you’ll know if stunts should be a major focus in your routines or sideline material … and you learned it all while teaching progression cheerleading stunts.

Quick wins

You’ve seen this in cheerleading, I’m sure, if not in just life. You want to follow those who get you the results you want and who inspire you. That’s what progression stunts can do for you and your team.

Progression cheerleading stunts are a foundation, but they are also a place where you can get the “quick wins” that will build trust in you for the bigger ones.

As they go through the list and check off items that they knew before or are brand new, you’ll start to see some of them light up and get excited. As you guide them, they start to trust you with stunts and later with bigger matters like character.

Remember when I said heart + skill = hero? Well, progression stunts are part of the skill side of the equation. If you start to build your credibility in cheerleading (because the team is there for cheerleading) and you’ve got the heart to back it up, then your team will start to remember you as the hero.

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