Tag Archives: almaden

Don’t Be Afraid To Fly

13 Jun

Many parents enter the gym and quickly say “I don’t want my child to fly”. We understand, flying can seem scary to many parents and kids, but the truth is, if everyone does their part flying is no more dangerous than basing in a stunt or tumbling.

While many assume the role of flyer is dangerous and a slightly passive role, the truth is flying requires a strong level of athleticism that is just as dangerous as basing or doing gymnastics.

Every person has a very important role in stunting, but for now we are focusing just on the flyer for the purpose of this article. The flyer, those lifted during stunts, must perfect the art of lifting her/himself, perfecting the load in jump, have the most solid ability to balance, extreme flexibility and strong tumbling skills.

By learning proper body position & technique a flyer makes themselves the most valuable player on the team. Here are a few tips to flyers to help them grow and become stronger performers and lessen their chances of injuries.

Keep It Tight

As a flyer you must perfect the act of locking it out and keep it tight. At our Fremont Bay Area Cheerleading gym we have adopted a body plank drill to help flyers be more aware of what it means to be tight. The drill our flyers work on gives them a better ideal of proper body alignment when they are in the air. Our flyers also perfect their skills on the ground first. So often our coaches are hired to come in and help a team that is struggling with stunts and when we get there we find that the flyers can’t hold the stunt on the ground. Many inexperienced coaches think that its ok if you can’t hold the heel extension steady on the ground, but the truth is you MUST be able to hold your stunts on the ground before you can put them in the air. 

LOCK IT OUT

In the above paragraph we talk about locking it out. So, you may not know what that means, well locking out is keep your knees locked straight. Even the slightest bend in your leg can lead to a failed stunt. A flyer who stays locked out is a flyer who will most likely have the most successful stunts. If you lock those legs straight and the bases are off (uneven), they can correct their issues without losing the stunt. But if the flyer bends in anyway, the stunt is almost certainly over. So LOCK IT OUT!

Flexibility

In our program flexibility is important to ALL OUR MEMBERS. Our bases, tumblers and flyers all must work on scales, heel extensions and other traditionally “only flyers” skills. We do this to maximize the use of the whole team. Never under estimate the power of flexibility. You MUST stretch at least 5 days a week. Trust me, your coaches can tell if you are not stretching, it will always show in your weekly practices. By not stretching you are only hurting yourself and letting down your whole team. If you are part of a team, you must stretch. Again flexibility is key to your success as a flyer, base, team member.

In the end, its important not to be afraid to fly. As a base and a gymnast you can be injured just as quickly as a flyer can be injured. I have seen bases loose teeth because they caught a flyer wrong, I have seen bases break legs from not having the proper stance in a competition. In gymnastics, I have seen major back and neck injuries. These injuries can happen in any sport, don’t let fear get between you and flying!

Soar High!