Find Your Perfect Stunt Position in Cheerleading
Stunting is one of the most important elements in cheerleading. As a member of a cheer team, you will be assigned a stunt position within a stunt group that you will most likely remain in for the entire season. The four main stunt positions are: back base, main base, secondary base and flyer.
It is crucial that you find the right stunt position for your body type and physical abilities. Many people want to be the flyer because it looks like the most fun, but unless you are a perfect fit, you will need to learn to love another position.
When it comes time to assign stunt positions, speak up! If you think you would do great in a certain position, tell your coach. Likewise, if you try out a position and it just doesn’t feel right, say something because the last thing you want is to be stuck in a position that isn’t right for you. The collaboration between you, your coach, and your teammates will make the process of choosing a stunt position go more smoothly.
This guide gives you some basic information about each primary stunt position. Check it out before deciding which one is best for you!
Hot Tip: Be Versatile
In every team sport, you must be versatile and learn to adapt to new roles. In cheerleading, you may have to step into a stunt position that you aren’t comfortable with, but give it your best shot. Prepare for this situation by learning the roles of the other stunt members so you will know what to do in case you have to fill in. Always be willing to do whatever the team needs, even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone!
As a back base you are essentially the captain of your stunt group. You call out directions and keep timing for your individual unit. You support both the side bases and the flyer, so you must be able to switch roles at a moment’s notice. When cradling from stunts, you have the vital responsibility of catching the flyer’s head and back. The flyer’s safety in your hands!
Typically, the back base is taller than the rest of the stunt group. It is helpful to be tall because you need to support the base’s wrists when their arms are fully extended. Also, the taller the back base, the higher they can catch the flyer when he or she is cradling.
Upper body strength is also crucial for all back bases because they provide most of their support with their arms. As a back base, you are constantly lifting the flyer and supporting the bases with your hands, so your arms have to be very strong and sturdy.
The downside to be being a back base is that you are at a greater risk for injury because you are the primary person catching the flyer. When a flyer is being cradled, especially in a full down, it is not uncommon for his or her arms to hit the back base since the back base catches all of the upper body, including the arms. But even if you get bonked on the nose, you still have to catch the flyer!
As the flyer you get to be the star of the show. You are the one being lifted and thrown into the air, and therefore, the one that everyone is watching. If you love attention, this could be the perfect stunt position for you!
On the other hand, you are also the one who makes or breaks a routine; meaning, if you fall out of a stunt, the failure is on your shoulders. If your bases lift you up, it is your responsibility to stay tight and hit your skill.
Usually a flyer is very small in stature because he or she must be lifted by the other stunt group members. That is not to say that you must be tiny, but it is best if a flyer is not very tall or on the heavier side. Also, a flyer must be extremely flexible since they have to perform stunts that require bending and twisting in all sorts of directions.
Flyers have to be able to focus and remain calm, even when performing in front of hundreds of people. Concentration is a key aspect to staying safe, because you can easily fall out of a stunt if you freak out. A good flyer is also determined and will make the stunt succeed at any cost!
So what could possibly be bad about being the star of the show? Well, if a stunt doesn’t hit, the first person to fall is the flyer—and that is who the crowd will notice first. You are also the face of your stunt group, so the pressure is on to make them proud and make every stunt look great.
Hot Tip: Build Trust
If you want to succeed at stunting, you must trust your stunt group members. You all work together and must be able to rely on one another. You are a mini team within the larger team.
Try out some team building exercises. Get to know one another and learn everyone’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can work as a unit to improve your stunts.
In group stunts there are two side bases: the main base and the secondary base. These two positions are very similar and work hand-in-hand as a team. The primary difference is that the main base supports more weight than the secondary base in one-legged stunts. The main base is also positioned to the right of the flyer, while the secondary base is to their left.
There is no set body type for a side base, except that, like the back base, you must be strong. A side base uses his or her arms and legs to support and lift the flyer, so overall body strength is imperative to the success of the stunt. And while there is not a specific body type required, the two side bases should be similar in height and strength so that the stunt group is balanced and in-synch.
As a side base you are the glue that holds the stunt group together. You and the other side base provide most of the strength and stability for the group, so this is a position for someone dependable.
The biggest downside to being a side base is that you get banged up quite a bit: You are always lifting and catching, so your chances of get knocked around are high. Also, if a stunt doesn’t make it off the ground, you are the first person to take the blame.
What's Right For You
Choosing a stunt position is one of the first things you need to do when you begin your cheerleading career. Although it isn’t solely up to you to decide, you will still have a lot of input. Be realistic about your abilities and choose a position where you know you can excel!