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Cheerleading Glossary

  • Accuracy drill: A motion sequence performed to music or counting
  • Aerial: A movement performed without hands touching the ground
  • Airborne: The moment an athlete is free from a surface or person
  • All Stars: Cheerleaders whose primary purpose is to compete
  • Assisted tumbling: Being physically aided to complete a tumbling skill
  • Awesome: Also called "cupie", the top person's feet are together and in the hands of a base or bases
  • Back walkover: Arching back and contacting the ground with hands, then bringing the hips overhead and landing on the performing surface one foot at a time
  • Backward roll: A non-aerial tumbling movement that creates the effect of rolling backwards
  • Ball-X: The tumbler goes from a tuck to an X position, often during a toss
  • Base: The weight-bearing position that supports, lifts, or tosses other performers
  • Block: Increased height caused by pushing off the performing surface in order to execute a skill
  • Block cartwheel: Momentarily airborne from pushing off a surface in order to execute a cartwheel
  • Brace: To stabilize the top person
  • Cartwheel: Non-aerial gymnastics skill executed by spreading the legs and arms out like the spokes of a wheel, and moving the body along by landing on one foot and hand at a time
  • Catcher: Person responsible for the safe landing of a top performer
  • Chant: A rhythmic phrase shouted or sung in unison that is repeated
  • Cheer: A short phrase shouted or sung only once
  • Connected tumbling: Physical contact between two or more performers tumbling simultaneously
  • Cradle: Catching a top performer by placing one arm under the thighs and one arm under the back, and performer lands face up in a 'pike' position
  • Cupie: Another word for "Awesome"
  • Dirty bird: A performer is tossed through the base's legs and lands in a laid-out X position
  • Dismount: Moving from a stunt or pyramid to a cradle or performing surface
  • Dive roll: A forward roll where feet leave the ground before the hands touch the ground
  • Drop: Falling from an airborne or inverted position to a certain position on the performing surface without first bearing most of the weight on the hands or feet
  • Entrance skill: The start of a skill or stunt
  • Flip: An aerial skill involving hip-over-head rotation without touching the performing surface
  • Flipping toss: Toss involving the top person rotating through an inverted position
  • Flyer: The performer at the top of a toss or stunt
  • Formation: The arrangement of athletes on a surface during the course of a stunt or routine
  • Forward roll: Non-aerial tumbling skill done by lifting hips over head and shoulders to create a forward-rolling effect
  • Front tuck: A tumbler generates upward momentum in order to perform a forward flip
  • Front walkover: A non-aerial skill in which a tumbler moves forward from an inverted to a non-inverted position, landing one foot at a time
  • Full: 360-degree twisting rotation
  • Ground level: Supported by, or at the height of, the performing surface
  • Half: Also called "extension prep", the top person is held at shoulder-level by the bases
  • Handspring: Springing backwards or forwards on the hands by pushing off from the shoulders
  • Handstand: A straight, inverted body position supported by straight, extended arms
  • Herkie: A cheer jump named after National Cheerleader's Association founder, Lawrence R. Herkimer, characterized by arms being in a position opposite that of the legs
  • Inverted: An athlete's shoulders are below the waist and at least one foot is above the head
  • Knee drop: Dropping from an airborne position without first bearing most of the weight on the hands or feet
  • Layout: A stretched-out body position
  • Log roll: A release in which the top person rotates at least 360 degrees while parallel to the surface
  • Mount: Also called "stunt", a skill in which a top person is supported by one or more bases
  • Partner: Also called "flyer", a person at the top of a stunt
  • Pendulum: The top person falls from a vertical axis and is caught by bases, usually in a flat position
  • Pike: Body bends forward at the hips while the legs are straight
  • Post: A person on the performing surface aiding a top person during a stunt
  • Power press: Bases take the top person from an extended position to prep level, and back to extended
  • Prep: Also called "half", or "extension prep", the top person is held at shoulder level by the bases
  • Prone Position: A face-down, extended push-up position on a performing surface
  • Prop: An object able to be manipulated, such as a flag, banner, sign, or pom
  • Pyramid: The grouping of connected stunts, including persons standing at ground level
  • Rebound: Also called a "punch", a position created by using the lower body to bounce off a performing surface from a skill
  • Release move: Base(s) and top person(s) let go of each other, and top person comes back to original set of bases
  • Reload: Coming back to loading position with the top person's feet in the palms of the bases
  • Retake: Reloading a stunt
  • Rewind: A free-flipping release used to enter a stunt
  • Round-off: A tumbler pushes off the performing surface with one leg, plants both hands on the surface, pushes off, and lands on the surface with feet together
  • Scooper: Entrance or transition into a stunt in which a person passes through the legs of another person
  • Second level: A person positioned away from the performing surface is supported by one or more bases
  • Shushunova: Straddle toe-touch jump landing in a push-up or prone position
  • Spotter: A person responsible for protecting the safety of the top person during a stunt
  • Standing tumbling: A series of tumbling skills done from a standing position, with no momentum
  • Straight cradle: Release from a stunt to a no-skill catching position
  • Straight ride: Top person is tossed straight up in the air with no tricks in order to achieve full height
  • Stunt: Also called "mount", a skill performed by a top person supported by one or more bases
  • Three-quarter front flip: A hip-over-head forward rotation from an upright position to the ground
  • Top person: A performer supported or tossed in the air by another person
  • Toss: A performer is made airborne by being thrown by another person
  • Transitions: Movements between formations
  • Transitional pyramid: Top person moves from stunt to stunt
  • Tumbling: A skill that begins and ends on the performing surface
  • Twist: A body's rotation around its vertical axis
  • Twisting mount: A mount beginning with a twist
  • Whip: A flip in which the feet come over the head while the body, in an arched position, rotates around the axis of the waist

Cheerleading Stunt Glossary

  • Aerial flip: Hip-over-head rotation in the air
  • Basket toss: The top person is tossed and caught by bases with interlocking wrists
  • Bow and arrow: The top cheerleader keeps one leg straight while bringing the other leg up to a heel stretch, holding the leg up with the same-side hand. Then switches holding with the opposite hand, pointing the same-side arm straight out horizontally against the vertical leg
  • Chair: The top cheerleader, while in a sitting position and supported by base(s), lifts one knee up pointing the toe down, while the other leg is held by a base; arms are up in a V position
  • Cupie/Awesome: The top person's feet are together and supported in the hands of a base
  • Downward motion (inversion): The inverted top person's center of gravity moves toward the performing surface
  • Extended stunt: The top person's whole body, while in an upright position, is extended over the bases
  • Flat back: The top person, positioned horizontally, is supported by two or more bases
  • Hanging pyramid: An upright pyramid in which a top person's weight is mostly supported by another top person
  • Heel stretch: The top cheerleader keeps one leg straight while bringing the other leg straight up, arms are up in a V shape
  • Helicopter: Similar to helicopter blades, a flyer in a flat back or prone position is tossed upward and rotates 360 degrees while parallel to the floor
  • Kick basket: A flyer is tossed into the air and lands face up in a V position in the arms of the bases
  • L sit: A beginner cheerleading stunt in which one person, held by another person, extends one leg straight out, the other leg is bent, and same-side arm is straight up
  • L stand: A beginner cheer stunt in which one person, while being supported by three bases, keeps one leg straight, extends the other at a 90 degree angle, and one arm (straight-leg side) extends straight up and the other arm is straight out and parallel to the extended leg
  • Liberty: A beginner to intermediate stunt in which the top person assumes a one-legged standing position, the other leg is raised and bent at the knee
  • Multi-based stunt: A stunt with two or more bases, not including the spotter
  • Paper dolls: Identical single-leg stunts are performed at the same time, in a row
  • Pony mount: A beginner stunt involving three people: a base, a flyer, and a spotter. The flyer gets behind the base and sits on the lower part of the base's waist in front of the spotter
  • Reload: The top person returns to loading position in which both feet are in the hands of base(s)
  • Retake: Reloading a stunt in which the top person's foot touches the ground prior to reloading
  • Rewind: A free-flipping release used on entrance to a stunt
  • Scorpion: The top person keeps one leg straight while bringing the other leg up, and brings both arms up, using hands to hold the foot so the body takes the shape of a scorpion
  • Shoulder sit: A beginner stunt in which a flyer sits on the shoulders of a base and arms are up in a V position
  • Shove drop dismount: Also called "shove wrap dismount"; an intermediate stunt dismount in which bases shove the flyer, whose feet are together, then catch the flyer by wrapping their arms around the flyer's waist
  • Show and go: A transition stunt in which bases lift the top person through an extended level and back down to a loading position
  • Split catch: The top person is held in an upright straddle position and supported at the thighs by the bases
  • Sponge: An easy cheer stunt in which the flyer is pushed up from a sitting into a standing position by two or more bases, then dropped back down while supported by the bases
  • Stunt: A cheer skill involving one or more bases supporting one or more top performers
  • Superman: A stunt involving three groups of bases and three top performers; the main performer while supported by her bases begins in standing position, falls onto her back, then onto her front, and ends on her feet in the hands of her bases
  • Swedish fall: The flyer is facing down, arms are fully extended; one leg is held out straight while the other one is extended upward
  • Table top: A three-level pyramid stunt in which the top flyer stands atop the second level
  • Thigh stand: A beginner cheerleading stunt in which the flyer stands atop the thighs of bases
  • Tick-tock: The flyer holds a one-leg static position, then switches weight onto the other leg
  • Toss: An airborne stunt in which the top person becomes from free of the performing surface as the person is thrown by bases from the waist level to increase height
  • Twist cradle: The flyer rotates 360 degrees in a vertical position before being caught in a cradle position by bases
  • Two-leg stunt: Any cheer stunt in which the flyer is bearing the weight on both feet supported in the hands of bases