Saturday, January 21, 2012

What to Know About Guy Cheerleading?

Although males were the original cheerleaders at the birth of college football in 1869, the sport took on a decidedly feminine quality over the course of the 20th century. Women took to the sidelines in 1923 and later took them over as men left campuses to fight World War II. Even today, females comprise 90 percent of cheerleading participants. As cheerleading became increasingly visual and gymnastic, however, men resumed participation, playing essential roles in myriad stunts.
Standing Back Tuck
Cheerleaders have traditionally conveyed spirit with their voices, but today acrobatics also are employed to elicit spectator response. A standard feat requested in college cheerleading tryouts is the standing back tuck. Essentially a reverse somersault, this maneuver is performed by women and men alike. From a standing position, the cheerleader bends at the knees and thrusts himself into the air, bringing his knees to his chest as his body assumes a horizontal position. Momentum then flips the body over so the cheerleader can then land on his feet. While this is a common sight on the sideline, it requires repetitive practice to make it happen competently and safely.
Running Tumbling
Running tumbling refers to the sequence of running a short distance, executing a cartwheel and finishing with a series of handsprings. This energetic succession communicates excitement and can be performed by each squad member as they take the field. Like the standing back tuck, running tumbling is standard fare among tryout requirements, calling for strength, agility and balance. Individual moves can be substituted for one another as long as forward momentum is preserved. It is executed by both men and women.
Toss Stunts
Men prove themselves to be assets to any cheerleading squad when they partner with women for toss stunts. On the whole, the upper-body strength of men gives an edge to cheerleading units, since they serve as bases on which the women can execute more daring feats. Such stunts include the chair, where the female – or flyer – is lifted above the base’s shoulders, sitting on one hand while the base grips her ankle with the other. Requiring more skill, a toss extension will see the base throwing the flyer above his head, supporting the soles of her feet with the palms of his hands. There she will stand, atop his fully extended arms.
Vocal Support
Despite the elaborate acrobatics and dancing associated with contemporary cheerleading, there remains the task of getting the fans to cheer. With their expansive lung capacities, men produce the volume to which the crowds respond. Yet being loud is not sufficient. The fans always should understand the content of a given cheer. “American Cheerleading Magazine” advises practicing articulation as well as projection, remembering the difference between screaming and yelling. Coaches place vocal performance on a par with gymnastic talent when evaluating prospective cheerleaders.

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