How to Perform a Tick Tock in Cheerleading
What is a tick tock? A tick tock is a stunt that adds the “wow” factor to any routine. If you can pull it off, it is sure to impress the crowd and judges alike!
The tick tock can be done as a group or partner stunt, both requiring a lot of practice. It is performed during a liberty, when the base(s) pop the flyer so that he/she can gain enough height to switch from one leg to the other.
The directions below are for groups who want to learn the difficult stunt, which should only be performed once you have mastered the liberty. You and your stunt group must be comfortable putting up and cradling from a liberty before you even attempt this advanced skill.
All stunt members must be in the correct position in order to perform a tick tock correctly. Once in an extended liberty position, the main base should have a majority of the flyer’s weight in his or her hands and be positioned under the flyer, while the secondary base should be slightly to the side for support.
The back base can either have one hand under the buttocks and one hand on the ankle of the flyer or both hands gripped around just the ankle. The flyer must have his or her supported leg locked and straight. The unsupported leg can be bent or in a more advanced position such as a heel stretch.
When all stunt group members are steady and stable, the stunt group should prepare as if for a cradle.
The back base will then call out “one, two, down, up,” during which time the side bases bend at the knees, with arms straight, and then pop the flyer into the air by flicking their wrists. On the call of “down,” the bases should be bending their knees; on “up,” they should be releasing the flyer upwards.
Hot Tip: Timing is Everything
Make sure that you and your stunt group are completely synced up for all stunts—especially a tick tock. All stunt members must know what to do and when to do it. To practice timing, go through the motions of the stunt before actually lifting the flyer.
Once the flyer’s foot has been released by the side bases, the back base must push upwards on the flyer’s leg to help him or her gain enough height to switch legs. This means that the leg that was supported at the beginning of the stunt will now be the unsupported leg and it will either be bent at the knee or in another flexed position. The flyer should make the switch at the height of the pop and keep their body straight and rigid (with arms locked) so that the bases can catch his or her foot on the way down.
After the flyer has switched legs, the main base then re-catches the foot. It is important to keep the same person as the main base throughout the sequence because it is very difficult to switch from main base to supporting base during a stunt.
The secondary base should be ready to support the hands of the main base once he or she has caught the foot. The back base can then resume his or her hand position at either the buttocks or ankle of the flyer.
Hot Tip: The Back Base is Key
The back base not only helps to propel the flyer upwards while they are switching feet, but also absorbs most of the weight so that the main base can catch the foot. By gripping the ankle, the back base supports the flyer and stabilizes the stunt.
The back base also calls out all commands and directions for the stunt.
Take it to the Next Level
Once the basic positioning of the tick tock has been mastered, the flyer can then start learning more advanced skills. For example, instead of moving from a left liberty to a right liberty, the flyer can tick tock from a left heel stretch to a right heel stretch. The bases will follow the exact same steps, but the flyer must learn new footwork and balancing skills.
The Wow Factor
If your team has practiced the tick tock and feel confident enough to safely pull it off, then start incorporating it in your routines. Remember that safety is key to a fun and entertaining routine, so make sure you have mastered all the necessary components of a tick tock first. Your team members should all be at their top form and feeling well-rehearsed before you introduce it to a live audience. Tick tocks are a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, so go and knock their socks off with a well-executed one.