All-Star I Need Advice!

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Apr 29, 2010
okay so im not an allstar cheerleader in the states but this forum seemed like the best place for me to get answers so here it goes...
i have recently made a coed team and i have been flying alot. however it has been really hard because some of the bases have been telling me and another girl that we need to loose weight. i am 5'5ish and i weigh 110ish (i kind of have a maddie gardner build) and the other girl is maybe 5'3 but she is a tumbler and she has a really athletic build. at first it started off as not a big deal but now they are bringing it up alllll the time. one guy even wrote on my facebook wall saying "hope you and your friend are eating healthier and in smaller portions" and more. while we both do eat lots of junk food, we definitely burn it all off and we have tried to stop as much as possible (no more fast food :( ) we dont know what else there is to do! we workout constantly, and if we eat any less we wont survive! they are putting so much pressure on us, comparing us to these other TINY flyers who are around 5 feet tall and weigh like 80 lbs. ofcourse we feel bad for our bases but the coach put us as flyers, its not our fault! and we cant really confront them as they are alot older and more experienced then us (the team consists of 15-late 20 year olds) we are both in high school and the guy bringing it up is around 23ish i think. any advice on what we should do?
Tell them to read these boards and see what people really think of tiny flyers. :( And I agree--if a 23 year old man can't lift a 110 pound flyer, HE is the issue, not you. He should be able to base you by himself. My daughter is 16, weighs 120 pounds, is 5'8" tall and is working on basing her flyer in one stunt by herself.

Talk to your coach. This is bullying, its harassment, and its disgusting.
Absolutely,talk to your coach. These comments to you and the other fly are ridiculous, not to mention way way out of line.
While recognizing that different people have different builds and carry weight differently, just based on averages, if you are 5'5" and weight around 110 there is no way you need to lose weight, especially considering that you probably have more than your average proportion of muscle. Nobody wants cheerleaders obsessing about their weight to the point they start adopting unhealthy eating habits. And as for the jerk who posted on your facebook for all to see - he definitely needs a talk from the coach. Teams are supposed to be supportive of each other, not harassing each other.
in college, i would have LOVED to have a flyer that weighed 110. i assume since you said ish, it is probably more. but still.
and there was a girl that was solid muscle on our coed team, and it was impossible for me to stunt with her. but i was really new to coed stunting.

either way, 110 is great, as long as you can fly well. cause i've stunted with girls that are less that just feel heavier.
It's not always weight, it's also how you hold yourself in the stunt. I've based girls at various weights, but if they're a noodle in the air or dead weight, you're gonna feel EXTRA heavy. If you're being healthy and 110-120lbs, it's time for your base to pick up the slack. If he's not lifting his share extra, you could be a small child and he will still be huffing and puffing afterwards.

Get your coach involved. Someone needs to set the record straight with this guy.
Proper basing is mostly technique, not size or pure strength. I know plenty of 12 year old level 5 bases who have flyers bigger than them. You being a flyer is the coaches decision, tell these bases if they don't like that decision they should talk to the coach and in the mean time you will holdyour positions and do your job, they should do theirs. Again, if they don't want to be a base anymore, they should talk to the coach, otherwise, learn the proper technique to do their job.

No one can post anything on your Facebook that you don't want. Delete the post and if they don't stop un-friend them or block them. When they ask "why did you block me" or any other silly questions, let them know it was because they couldn't respect you on YOUR Facebook.

These people are obviously being immature, don't let that affect your day.
I absolutely agree with what everyone has said so far! You are there for a reason, do not let anyone take what you have earned. Those individuals who are saying such negative things should absolutely be spoken to by the coach or owners if necessary and made to understand there is no room for such nonsense. Clearly the individual speaking out has other issues and you just may be the one he is taking it out on. Stay strong, keep doing what you are doing and above all else do not drop down to their level. You sound like an amazing little cheerleader and I wish you the very best in the air :)
Tiny Flyer Syndrome (TFS) is unfortunately common among the 'average' co-ed bases. This is a mental illness that has sparked great debates and is often exacerbated by pointed comments like "do you need a smaller top?" TFS often affects those mid-range stunters when they have mastered the basics (toss-to-hands, liberty, cupie) but are unable to progress much beyond these skills. Please understand that TFS can be cured through proper training and psychotherapy, but it's not an overnight process.

[time to take tongue out of cheek...]

Most guys will at some point go through the phase where they are overly concerned with how much the girls they are tossing weigh. For some it's over quickly, for others it takes years to get through. I can still remember a time when I could toss a girl to hands and guess her weight to within 1 lb (most of the time I was dead on). I haven't been able to do that for a long time, and it's not because I don't stunt enough or with enough different flyers, it's because it no longer MATTERS to me. I'm past it :).

Before you go applauding me for such an enlightened attitude I will tell you that, everything else being equal, a lighter flyer is preferrable. Let's face it, pressing and holding 10 extra pounds overhead throughout a practice is (potentially) more work. BUT, the key here is everything else being equal -- that is so rarely the case that it is almost not worth considering.

The key factors that go into my evaluation of a stunting partner:
- level of trust
- power
- stability
- flexibility (but not at the expense of stability)
- muscle density (and core strength)
- height (if she's taller than me it makes tossing MUCH harder - regardless of all other factors)

The following is a Break down of each element so you can understand what I mean, what I look for and how I believe it can be improved.

Level of Trust:

This one is probably the MOST important factor. I don't care if you're an 85lb gymnast who can do a standing double and balance on one hand all day long. If you can't learn to trust me to throw you into the air, hold you up there and then flip you back to the ground we won't ever work well together. I have seen, time and time again, former gymnasts come into cheerleading, and while they have the body style, tumbling skills and more power than I can even imagine in such a small frame, they are unable to give up the 'control' necessary for elite partner stunting. As a gymnast it was always up to her to save a skill and protect herself when performing. However, to make stunts work the flyer has to be able to give over all control of whether a stunt stays in the air and just focus on hitting the correct positions and pulling clean lines on the dismounts. Having a flyer JUMP out of my hands from an extended stunt because she feels she is falling is a guaranteed way to give me a heart attack and put me in a position where I am unable to catch her safely.

To build trust you need to work with people who are trustworthy. Most bases will do just about anything to keep their flyer from getting hurt. Use spotters! And when learning your liberty, just hit the position in the air and then if you feel like you are tipping one direction or the other, just 'fall' with it (while still staying tight in the liberty position the whole time). Amazingly, most times the base will correct the problem and you don't actually fall (though sometimes it seems like you walk half the floor before it stabilizes).

Sadly, there are a few bases who are not worthy of trust. They are usually identified by a lack of focus when spotting others stunts -- big warning sign. I do always recommend that if you feel that someone is not going to do everything they can to keep you safe you should not stunt with them or have them spot you when you are stunting with someone else.


This one is easy. I define power as the ability to exert force quickly. A powerful flyer is one who has a quick jump; strong, quick flick; and can move explosively. Gotta love gymnasts for this, their early training is all about developing power, especially in the legs. Other powerful flyers I have worked with have come from backgrounds of wrestling, figure skating and even some dancers.

Building power comes from doing explosive movements, either with or without weight. One of the best ways of building power for stunting is to stunt! Great isn't it. Work on speeding up the jump during toss stunts. Do that while still retaining the same depth to the jump -- I don't want to see you speeding up your toss by just turning it into a little twitch, you still need to go down before coming up. The flick needs to be quick and sharp and focused through the triceps and not by dropping the shoulders down and back. Other than stunting, sprints, hills (downhill running is great but has a strong potential for injury) and of course plyometric exercises (if you don't know what they are do a search on the internet).


For me this is tied into trust more than a little bit. As a flyer you will need to hit your body position and STAY in that position until it is time to change (either transition to a new position or for the dismount). This means not trying to balance the stunt but rather quickly moving to your position of balance -- where your center of mass is directly over the contact point between you and your base, typically his hands and your foot, but not always.

To improve this, practice hitting positions on the floor and then holding them until you fall (at which point you drop your leg or step out, I don't actually want you to crash onto the floor). This should happen almost immediately and if you find that you are able to stay in that position for 10 seconds or more then you are balancing yourself! Most likely at the ankle. For stunting with a single base this is the worst thing you can do as it does one of two things.

1. Balancing at the ankle: This it what guys talk about when they say a girl feels 'heavy'. The constant small adjustments require the base to make constant adjustments as well. It's very easy to burn a guy out quickly doing this with overhead stunts. The shoulders, triceps and upper back get fatigued much more quickly than if you stay solid like a rock and we can adjust by moving underneath you to save the stunt.

2. Balancing at knee, waist or above: When a flyer does this the base feels like everything is stable even though he can see you are out of position. If it continues to get worse there comes a point where the flyer can no longer lean/bend/twist far enough to keep stable, at that point she stops. For the base it suddenly feels like your center of mass has shifted by a foot or more in an unexpected direction. Unable the make the sudden adjustment, the stunt comes quickly down.

The worst case scenario is balancing both at the ankle and above and is always part of the learning process. Every flyer starts out doing it. It's just a matter of how quickly do you overcome it and become that stable flyer that 'holds her weight'.


Pretty obvious, but our sport requires that the flyers demonstrate a certain level of flexibility that is far beyond the average. Hips, lower back and shoulders are called upon to get into positions such as scorpions, scales, arabesques, heelstretches and bow-and-arrow (I'm sure that there are more but those are the basic ones these days). A flyer who is not flexible is unable to hit these positions while maintaining her center of mass over her contact area with her base. That is the key. Having to reach forward and down for holding a really bad heelstretch means that the center of mass is likely forwards (unless of course her butt is pushed back to compensate and we all know how pretty that looks in the air) making the stunt difficult or impossible to stick.

Flexibility is one of those things that needs to be addressed constantly. Give up on stretching for too long and you get to join the rest of humanity with only limited flexibility.

With flexibility there is too much of a good thing. Hyper mobile joints allow for some pretty extreme positions but that often means that intermediate positions, such as a simple heelstretch, may be compromised. Some girls can have an amazing overstretched bow-and-arrow but a simply sloppy heelstretch because of lack of control. Combine flexibility with core and static strength to be able to hit each air position sharply and cleanly and you have an elite level flyer in the making.

Muscle Density (and Core Strength):

If you're soft you know it. (I'm a bit soft right now but I have 7 more weeks until Worlds to change that!) Carrying extra fat doesn't do you any favours when performing athletic feats. I'm not saying be 6% body fat and look like you're ready to step out on the stage of Ms. Universe. What I am saying is that you need to be the best athlete you can be -- which means working in ways that give you those strong, hard muscles. There is a line that flyers have to tread between being strong and flexible, and muscle density plays a part in that. Too much and you may sacrifice flexibility. It's HARD to build dense muscles that are still pliable and stretch to the extreme, but it can be done and the younger you are the easier it is.

Having a strong core (not just abs, but lower back and obliques) is a key to all those flipping and twisting mounts and dismounts. It also is part of the package that goes into making you stable when held overhead.

All of this is just training, most often with weights but not always. Gymnasts manage most of it with just body weight exercises.


This one is something you can't do anything about. You are as tall as you are. I find that stunting with flyers who are taller than I am makes it difficult for me to utilize all the power in my legs for tossing. Also, the taller the girl, the further her center of mass is ABOVE my hands (the same factor that makes a one-handed heelstretch harder to hold than a cupie). The look of a really tall, leggy flyer holding a scale is amazing, but the simple truth is that she will have to excell in most of the other areas to be on par with a shorter girl who is simply very good in all other aspects.

So, after thoroughly dissecting the qualities of a good flyer, I will go on to mention that it is PARTNER stunting. The guys need to develop certain aspects to complement a great flyer.

The factors that go into making a good co-ed base:
- level of trust
- power
- core strength
- technique
- strength and muscular density
- shoulder flexibility
- height
- mass

Some of the same factors as discussed for the flyer (trust, power, core strength) apply to the base. Without trust both ways the stunting will be mediocre at best. Power is required for all the tossing aspects of stunting and the core strength is even more important for the base to help protect his lower back from injury -- weak core often leads to poor posture, which leads to overworked muscles in the lower back and then onto (potentially) chronic back pain.

For the guys, being strong is king. Yes, you need to focus on technique and you can do an awful lot with the best technique. But marry great technique to pure physical strength in the legs, arms (particularly triceps), shoulders and upper back and you have a beast of a stunter. Being either just really strong or just having great technique will only take you half-way to awesome.

Shoulder flexibility is a key to making overhead stunts work without by having your skeletal structure support the flyers weight rather than relying on muscular endurance. If you have to hold her out in front of you all the time rather than directly overhead, or with bent elbows rather than being completely locked out, you are going to burn out the smaller muscles in your shoulders and arms long before you should.

Height, once again not something you can change, but the taller you are the greater distance you can apply the force to launch the girls into the air. Yes, you have to toss her higher because you are taller, but the trade-off is on the side of more relative height to the toss.

And finally down to mass. There is actually something to being significantly more massive than your flyer. Which is why some of the really big boys are carrying a bunch of extra fat around and it doesn't seem to hurt their stunting. If my mass more than doubles the flyer, then it becomes much harder for things she does to move me out of the position I want to be in. Ideally that mass is lean muscle because then you are likely very powerful and strong, but any mass that doesn't impede your movement or cause you to be unable to perform due to being unable to sustain performance levels of energy can help. The best thing to remember though is that "you can't flex fat", so it won't help you toss or hold a stunt -- at best it will let you be a little more stable and lower your center of gravity by a bit. Do yourself a favour and build the mass by hitting the weights.

So @mattiemill, my advice to you is to look at all the other aspects (besides weight) and see if you measure up to your own best standards. If there is room to improve then do it. If you have maxed out all aspects of your physique (power, flexibility, stability, core strength and muscular density) then there really is nothing more you can ask of yourself -- but be really honest with yourself when you evaluate your condition.

You can also print this off and give it to your partner to read. Unless he has maxed out in the physical standards there is no reason for him to be pointing fingers at you yet for not measuring up! People who live in glass houses and all that...

On a side note, the girl I'm stunting with in my avatar picture is 5' 5" and between 110-115lbs. She has an amazing level of fitness, is strong, fast and flexible and won the Canadian Nationals partner stunt competition a few years back. I can easily toss her to extended stunts and do a lot of generally fun stuff.

I'm not one of the big guys myself. At 5'7" and 185lbs I'm usually the smallest 'stunter' on a given team -- typically the only guys smaller/lighter than myself are purely tumblers. However, I pride myself on the ability to stunt with just about anyone. If a girl can consistently hit a stunt with 3-4 different partners then I am confident that I can do that same stunt with her too (though give us a few practice tosses to synchronize our timing).

If anyone is around on the Monday after Worlds, I'll be hanging out for the day probably just stunting, swimming and having a good time. I will stunt with anyone, pretty much anywhere (provided it's safe) and I am pretty sure will teach a few tricks (as I always look to learn new ones myself). Look me up. :)
thank you guys so much! i think were definitely talk to the coach before the next practice. thank you so much for all your advice it means alot :)
Wow, @StuntMonkey I'm going to read that post in sections. I just got through to the breakdown part. . .
According to the BMI index, at 5' 5" and 110 lbs, you are classified as UNDERweight.

My 4 ft 8 in 11 year old daughter can base flyers that are bigger (taller and heavier) than her in elite level 4 stunts. It sounds like your bases are using your size as an excuse for their lack of technique.

Get your coaches involved. I hate to see you getting body image issues as a result of these obviously mis-informed boys.