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the most common stunt mistake“Use your legs, not your back!”

I wish I had kept count of the number of times I’ve said that phrase over the years. It would be outrageous.

When it comes to working on cheerleading stunts during practice, I see girls lifting the flyers with their backs and not their legs.

I say it at least twice a practice (or some variation of it). I try to assure my cheerleaders that they’ll thank me in ten years, but teenagers aren’t great at seeing that far into the future.

But this is a stunting mistake that could cost their bodies. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that your squad is stunting with proper technique, especially with regard to their backs.

How do you spot it?

There are two main ways this mistake manifests:

  1. When going for an extended stunt, it gets stuck before the top and gets “muscled” up.
  2. When a base stands with his/her back arched with their seat out.

They’ll think that because they still make it to the top, that it’s okay. But you can’t let that pass. If you do, it may hinder their ability to go further, and it increases their chance of injury and endangers the flyer.

It will be tough, and when you get mid-season, you may forget or just want to get the stunts done to move on. But I want to encourage you to hold the line and look out for it every day. Maybe, if it’s really bad, have a girl sit out for part of practice for not correcting it. They’ll change their form (or at least try a lot harder to).

Proper technique is vital to successful and safe cheerleading stunts. So keep your eyes open for cheerleaders using their backs to extend or hold a stunt … and keep working those core, arm, and powerful leg muscles so they have the strength to lift without taking shortcuts!

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