Cheerleading is a very popular sport in America, and like many other sports, it has designated positions for its players. Cheerleading positions are only useful in cheer routines that require stunts to be performed, otherwise a cheerleader's position is where they have to stand on the mat, court, or field at any time in their routine! Though there are only three main positions in cheer, there are many cheerleaders that take on these positions during a routine; more than one cheerleader on a squad can be a flyer, backspot, or base! In this lesson, you are going to learn a lot of in-depth information about each position, so that you can be a more educated cheerleader or cheerleading fan.
The three main types of cheerleading positions are:
Each cheerleading position requires something different from the person in that role. Flyers are typically small and light so they can be lifted and perform stunts in the air, while bases need to be very strong to support flyers and catch them on their dismounts. Each position requires a lot of strength, skill, and practice, so they would all be difficult to someone who has never cheered before. In general, many people would argue that the hardest position is the base. Every stunt needs a solid foundation, so without a good base, no stunt would ever be successful! The bases need to have solid footing, solid holds, and be able to catch flyers at any moment during the routine. The bases also need to have incredible timing and be able to perform moves at the same times, since their support can prevent injuries or mistakes.
As you learned earlier, each cheerleading position requires something different from the cheerleader. Some bases may love being bases and would hate to be flyers! With such major differences between them, the positions are very hard to compare to each other. However, most people would argue that the flyer is the 'best' position to be in, since they are typically the faces of the squad. Flyers get to perform the eye catching stunts that fans love during routines- they fly through the air! Flyers are the faces of the routine and they typically get to interact with the crowd more and they get to show off their skills in the flashiest way. For people who like to be at the center of the crowd's attention, this is the perfect position!
Every stunt, routine, and cheer squad needs a solid base to be successful. The base is who you will see at the bottom of a pyramid or stunt, lifting the flyer up and holding him or her while they are performing their stunts. Bases are usually taller, bigger, and stronger than the other positions, since they need to lift, throw, and support the flyer. Bases should get their power from their legs and allow it to travel up to their arms, so they avoid any back or neck injuries from straining themselves. Bases should have great timing, so they can avoid any slips or drops, and should always make sure their feet are properly placed and spaced. Most importantly, a base should never drop a flyer!
The backspot is a very important position that includes many different roles within a cheer routine. Backspots do not have to be as physically strong as bases, since they do not provide as much support to the flyer, but they are typically taller in stature. Throughout the stunt, they are working to help the flyer keep his or her balance and should be the first to catch the flyer if he or she falls. He or she should always know how to properly catch the flyer so they do not injure their head or neck seriously during the fall, since safety should always be their concern. The backspot will also call things out during a stunt or keep the count so each cheerleader can stay on rhythm. While this position is not the face of the routine, they are absolutely vital to each stunt.
As you learned earlier, the flyer is the face of the cheer routine and the person who is working to get the crowd involved. Flyers are the cheerleaders that are lifted and thrown during various stunts in a routine. They are typically smaller and lighter than the other positions and are usually the most flexible and agile. Along with balance, coordination, and energy, flyers have to have trust in their bases and backspotters to catch them so that they are confident in their moves! They must stick to the count for each move and perform their stunts perfectly. A flyer has to gracefully do flips and twist in the air, land safely, and continue on with their routine. Being the center of the crowd's attention does not leave much room for mistakes!