Saturday, January 21, 2012

Things to Know About Cheerleading Star Stunts

Cheerleading is an intense sport that requires strength, agility and teamwork. Although some cheers are relatively simple, star stunts are complicated moves that involve a coordinated effort by the entire team. This type of stunt usually involves building formations like pyramids or tossing a team member into the air and catching her. Although teamwork is vital for star stunts, the crowd's focus is usually on the flyer -- the person lifted or thrown into the air.
Star stunts are complex technical moves that require practice and skill. The pyramid, log roll, liberty and scorpion are some of the most common stunts, but there are many others. These stunts involve lifting one or more team members into the air, where they perform a specific move such as a kick or flip. When evaluating a star stunt in a cheerleading competition, judges may deduct points for balance errors, falls and drops, going out of bounds or exceeding the given time limit for the routine.
Roles and Positions
Each team member plays a unique role in the execution of a star stunt. The strongest or largest athlete often serves as the base who stays on the ground and does much of the lifting. The flyer is the person lifted into the air during a stunt. Some stunts also call for a main or second base who provides additional support when lifting the flyer. Other positions include the spotter, back base and front spot.
Safety Precautions
When performing star stunts, cheerleaders must observe safety precautions to prevent serious injury. The Center for Injury Research and Policy says that sprains and strains are the most common injury in cheerleading, with most injuries occurring during practices and rehearsals. To prevent injury, star stunts should be done on mats or pads. In many cases, strength training and proper lifting techniques can prevent cheerleading accidents. Coaches can increase team safety by adopting a set of safety guidelines and enforcing these rules during practices and performances.
Cheerleading history is closely related to the history of American sports such as basketball, wrestling and football. It dates to the 1880s at Princeton University, where an all-male pep club was formed to lead chants and engage the crowd. According to the International Cheer Union, cheerleading was a male-only sport until about 1923. By the 1940s, women were in the majority. Today, more than 90 percent of all cheerleaders worldwide are female.

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