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How to Do a Toss to Hands in Cheerleading

A toss to hands is commonly thought of as a coed stunt, with the male as the base and female as the flyer; however, it can be done with a female as the base. This stunt was strictly coed when it was first created since it requires extreme upper body strength, but many female cheerleaders have proven that they too are strong enough to be the main base in partner stunts.

What is a Toss to Hands?

A toss to hands is a stunt involving one base and one flyer, in which the base tosses the flyer from the waist upwards so that he or she can catch the flyer by the feet. The stunt ends with the flyer essentially standing on the hands of the base, which are positioned at shoulder level.

The toss to hands is a great skill to master and serves as the foundation for more intricate partner stunts, like a toss to extension or a rewind.

Get in Position

  • To begin, the base should stand directly behind the flyer with his or her hands on their waist.
  • The flyer’s arms should be bent, with elbows pointing backwards and hands gripping the base’s wrists.
  • The base should simply place—not grip—his or her hands on flyer’s waist until the stunt begins. This will help conserve the energy and power needed for the toss.

Hot Tip: Always Use a Spotter!

Although all stunts are risky, partner stunting can be especially dangerous since there are less people supporting the flyer. Beginners and advanced cheerleaders alike should always use a spotter when trying new skills to help catch the flyer if something goes wrong.

The Dip

  • The base and flyer dip down together by simultaneously bending their knees. Their backs should both remain straight.
  • From the dip, the flyer should jump up and slightly backwards towards the base, while the base explodes from the legs and tosses the flyer. It helps to use a designated count to ensure proper timing, since the flyer must jump at the exact same moment that the base pushes him or her upwards.
  • Both the base and flyer need to use the power from their legs to propel the flyer into the air.

The Toss

  • From the dip, the base should fully extend his or her arms upwards.
  • The flyer is released when the base flicks their wrists at the top of the toss. The flyer should push off of the base’s wrists for an extra boost.
  • While airborne during the toss, the flyer must keep their legs straight and feet together.
  • The base should toss the flyer straight up—even a slight angle could throw off the entire stunt.

Hot Tip: Master the Toss Drill

These first three steps outline the basic toss, which is important to practice before attempting the actual toss to hands. This will help the base learn to lift and throw and give the flyer a chance to practice the powerful jump while staying tight in the air. The goal of the toss drill should be to get the flyer as high into the air as possible.

If you master the toss drill, the toss to hands will be a cinch!

To the Hands

The flyer and base perform different, but equally important skills after the toss.

Directions for the Base:

  • From the flick at the top of the toss, keep your hands up and ready to immediately catch the flyer’s feet. It is important to always keep your eyes on the flyer so you know exactly when to catch him or her.
  • Try to catch the flyer as high as possible before bringing their feet down to shoulder level.
  • Do not bend low to get under the flyer in order to catch him or her, but once you catch the flyer, bend your legs slightly to absorb his or her weight.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and make sure that your hands are around the heels of the flyer’s feet.

Flyer:

  • Keep your body straight and tight while you are airborne.
  • Once you reach the peak of the toss, position your feet shoulder width apart to make it easier for the base to catch you.
  • Be sure to keep your head straight forward and chest raised—imagine that there is a string attached to your chest that is being pulled upwards.
  • Once the base catches your feet, keep your body rigid and legs locked out.

The Dismount

Now comes the easy part!

  • To dismount from a toss to hands, the base must bend at the knees and push arms straight up over his or her head. (This motion is called the “pop off,” since the flyer then pops off of the base’s hands.)
  • During the pop, the flyer should pull their hands down to their sides to re-catch the base’s wrists when landing.
  • The base should reach for the waist of the flyer and guide him or her slowly down to the ground.
  • The flyer must keep his or her legs locked until landing on the ground.

Final Note...

The toss to hands is a staple in many cheerleading routines and the foundation of many other partner stunts. Once you and your partner master the skill, you can move onto bigger and better things!

Remember, as with any kind of stunting, safety is key. Always practice proper technique and use spotters.

The toss to hands is a great skill to master and serves as the foundation for more intricate partner stunts, so read this guide on how to master it well.
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