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CHEERLEADING TERMINOLOGY
Home | BECOMING A CHEERLEADER - PART 1 | Learn How To Become A Cheerleader Part 2 | CONDITIONING FOR MANEUVERS | GYMNASTICS | IS CHEERLEADING A SPORT? | GOING FROM GOOD TO GREAT! | THE HISTORY OF CHEERLEADING | CHEERLEADING TERMINOLOGY | CHEERLEADING TRYOUTS | YOU KNOW YOU ARE A CHEERLEADER WHEN...

Aerial - A cartwheel without the hands touching the ground or floor. Sometimes refers to a walkover or roundoff without hands.

All Stars - A Cheerleading squad, which is not associated or affiliated with a school.

Arabesque - One leg is down straight and the other is behind you almost at a ninety-degree angle to your back.

Attack the Crowd - A technique used to get the audience involved in a cheer, dance, or song.

Awesome - Similar to an elevator except the bases bring their hands to the middle and the climber's feet positioned very close together. This is also known as a Cupie.

Back Handspring - Backwards jump onto your hands, then a quick push from your hands to your feet. Also known as flip-flop or flick-flack.

Banana - This is when you arch your back and reach upwards. You usually only do a banana when you are doing a combination jump or riding up a basket toss.

Base - This is the person/persons who remain in contact with the floor lifting the flyer into a stunt. Person/persons on the bottom of a stunt or pyramid.

Basket Toss - A stunt usually using 3 or more bases that toss the flyer into the air. Two of the bases have interlocked their hands. In the air, the flyer may do any jump before returning to the cradle.

Briefs - Matching undies that are part of your Cheerleading uniform, worn under your skirt. Sometimes called bloomers, spankies, tights, or lolipops.

Buckets - Buckets are performed when you hold your arms straight out in front of you, with your fists facing down as if you were holding the handle of a bucket in each hand.

Candle Sticks - This is a cheer motion where you extend your arms out in front of you with your fists facing each other as if you were holding a lit candle in each hand.

Captain - The leader of a squad or team.

Chant - A short cheer, with simple arm movements. A short repeated yell. Usually done on the sidelines.

Cheer - A longer yell that involves motions, pom pons, stunts, jumps, or tumbling.

Choreography - The set arrangement of dance steps and movements.

Coach - A person that instructs or teaches a performer, player, or team.

Competitions -An event where squads come to test their skills against others and compete for first, 2nd or 3rd place finishes.

Cradle Catch -An end movement where a base catches a flyer/flier after tossing her in the air. The base holds the flyer/flier under her thighs and around her back.

Cupie -One base holds up a flyer/flier with one hand. The bases arm is fully extended and both of the flyer's feet are in the base's one hand. Also known as a kewpie or awesome.

Deadman - when the flyer falls backwards or forwards out of a stunt. Three or four people catch the flyer and could possibly push the flyer back up to the bases hands.

Dismount - A way to return the flyer to the floor after a stunt. Returning to the floor position after a routine or mount.

Double Hook - A jump where one leg is bent in front of you and the other leg is bent behind you, your arms are in a high V. Also known as a Pretzel, Abstract, or Table Top.

Elevator - Two bases each hold a different foot of one flyer. The feet are both held at shoulder level.

Execution - To perform a stunt or routine, the way in which a stunt or routine is performed. The form, style, and technique of a stunt or routine make up its execution.

Extension - One of the basic stunts. Two bases each hold one of the flyer's feet at their chest level and a spotter stands in back. From this position, you can move into a full extension. The full extension is where the bases' arms are straight, holding the flyer above their heads.

Facials - Cheerleaders cannot compete with frowns on their faces! Facials help get the crowd excited and impress the judge's big time! The goal is: make it look like your having the time of your life...even if you are so nervous or scared you want to leave...facial tricks that score big with judges are: winks, cheesy smiles, occasional sticking out the tongue, and bobbin your head up and down...hey it sounds stupid, but it helps so much in a competition or game!

Flier/Flyer/Floater - The person that is elevated into the air by the bases; the person that is on top of a pyramid/stunt.

Full Extension -Two bases each hold one of the flyer's feet at their chest level and a spotter stands in back. From this position, the bases move into a full extension by raising the flyer with their arms up straight and holding the flyer above their heads. There are double based extensions and single based.

Handspring -Springing from your feet to your hands to your feet again. Used alone or in conjunction with other skills. There are forward and backward handsprings.

Heel Stretch -Same as a Liberty except your bent leg is held straight up with your hand. See Liberty.

Herkie - A cheerleading jump where one leg (usually your weakest) is bent towards the ground and your other leg (usually your strongest) is out to the side as high as it will go in the toe touch position. This jump is very similar to the Side Hurdler except for the position of the bent leg. There are right Herkies and left Herkies. In a right Herkie your right leg is straight with your left leg bent and the opposite is true for a left Herkie. Sometimes called a hurkie. Named after Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer.

High V - A motion where both arms are locked and hands are in buckets, both arms are up forming a V.

Hurdler - A jump similar to the Herkie except your bent leg is level with your hip instead of pointing down. There are left Side Hurdlers and right Side Hurdlers. There is also a Front Hurdler, which is a completely different jump. In a right Side Hurdler, your right leg is straight and in the Toe Touch position; your left leg is bent, level with your hip and pointing forward.

Judge - The person or persons delegated to score you at tryouts or your squad at competitions.

Jumps -An action where both feet leave the ground; a coordinated placement of the arms and legs while the feet are off the ground. There are three parts to a jump, the prep/approach, the lift, and the landing.

JV - An abbreviation for Junior Varsity. Underclassmen.

K Motion - A Cheerleading motion. One arm forms a High V and the other arm comes across your body. There are left and right K motions.

Kewpie - One base holds up a flyer/flier with one hand. The bases arm is fully extended and both of the flyer's feet are in the base's one hand. Also known as a cupie or awesome.

L Motion -A Cheerleading motion. Both arms form an L shape. The up arm should have your pinky facing the crowd and the side arm should have your thumb facing the crowd. There are left and right L motions.

Liberty - A base holds up a flyer/flier with one of her feet in both of the base's hands. The flier's other leg is bent. There are also one-armed Liberties. The arms can be in a high V or one arm in a high V and the other on your hip.

Mascot -An animal, object, or person adopted by a group to bring them good luck or be symbolic of their association, organization, group, or school.

Megaphone - A funnel shaped device used to amplify and direct your voice.

Motion -A set position of a Cheerleader's arms. Motions include T motion, L motion, K motion, and hands on hips, diagonals, touchdown, daggers, High V, Low V, and variations of them.

Mount -When one or more people are supported in the air. Another word for stunt.

Peel Off/Reload -When a squad is divided into two or more groups to do the same motion, skill or step at different times. Usually used to give a good visual effect.

Pom Pon - A hand held ball of plastic strips connected by a handle. Also called Pom Pom.

Pyramid - Multiple mounts or a group of stunts next to one another.

Roundoff -A basic beginner tumbling skill. Once perfected it is used as a setup for combination tumbling skills (back handsprings etc.)

Routine - A continuous show of talent in the squad by use of cheers chants and dance steps. Can last from 2 min. 30 sec. up to 4 min. depending on the time limits of the competition or showcase.

Scorpion -While in a Liberty you grab the toe of your bent leg and bring it up to almost behind your head.

Sell it -A term used when facials or attitude is exaggerated to make the cheer, motion or dance step have more appeal.

Spankies - Another word for briefs or undies. Also called lolipops, bloomers, and tights.

Spotter - A person that stays in contact with the performing surface and watches for any hazards in the stunt or mount. The spotter is responsible for watching the flyer and to be prepared to catch her if she falls.

Squad - A small group of people organized for a specific purpose; an athletic team.

Stunt - Any skill or feat involving tumbling, mounting, a pyramid, or toss. Usually does not refer to a jump.

Suck it up -When a cheerleader says suck it up, it means while a flyer is up in a stunt, to try to hold it and not fall.

T motion - A motion where the Cheerleader's arms form a T with the thumb side of her fists facing the crowd. There is a half or broken T where your elbows are bent and the pinky side of your fist is facing the crowd.

Tabletop -A jump where it appears the Cheerleader is sitting in the air. This jump is sometimes referred to as an Abstract or Double Hook, depending on where you live. Sometimes the dagger motion is also called a tabletop.

Tick-Tock - This is when a flier switches feet in a stunt.

Toe Touch - One of the most widely used jumps in Cheerleading. A jump where your arms are in a "T" motion and your legs split to the sides, toes pointed with your knees up or pointed back. Hands do not touch the toes, as the name implies, but instead your hands try to reach to the insides of your ankles. You should keep your back straight, your head up, and rotate your hips to perfect this jump.

Touchdown - Cheerleading motion where both arms are held directly overhead, tight against the head/ears. Hands have palms facing each other, pinky side out.

Try Outs - The way to narrow down potential cheerleaders for a squad. Usually conducted by the coach and/or trained or accredited judges. Special skills are named by the coach to perform and be judged on individual performance.

Tuck - Jump where you bring both knees up to your chest. Can be used as a jump or for flipping.

Tumbling -Any gymnastic skill used in a cheer, dance, or for crowd appeal. Can be done as an individual or as a group in unison.

V Motion - Cheerleading motion where both arms are up forming a V. Thumb side for fists faces the crowd.

Varsity - The main squad the represents a school, college or university. Upperclassmen.