All sports and physical activities offer a unique set of benefits to its participants. In the sport of All Star Cheerleading, you develop a variety of physical skills and celebrate your individual talents and successes, yet you also benefit from an environment of team cooperation, support, and collaboration. In All Star Cheer, there’s a unique bond and a sense of camaraderie that comes from every individual doing their best to support the greater success of the team. The best part of All Star Cheer is that there truly is a spot for EVERYONE! It takes all different skills and strengths to put together a successful teams. Everyone is critical to the team’s success, and unlike other sports, no one sits on the bench!
There are three main roles on an All Star Cheer team- base, backspot, and flyer. Each of the positions is critical, and no one spot is more important than another- they’re just different. So, where do you fit?
Bases are the foundation of the stunt! Most stunts use 2 bases, but some more difficult stunts use only 1. There isn’t an ideal height or size requirement, but you must be strong! One common misconception is that bases need good arm strength, but actually they use both upper and lower body strength simultaneously to create enough momentum to lift their flyers off the ground. Stunts work best when the two bases are similar heights, so usually if you're one of the shortest or tallest members on the team, you would be selected for a different position. Besides having physical strength, we look for members of the team who are hardworking, resilient, dedicated, and loyal. As a base, you are one of the team members who is responsible for ensuring that your flyer is safe. This means that you must be trustworthy, and you can’t be afraid to get hurt. You must be willing to throw yourself under your flyer for the save!
The flyer is the person who "flies," or gets thrown around in stunts. While flying is a lot of fun, it’s also a lot of work! A wet noodle is hard to pick up, and it doesn't go very high. When we choose flyers, we’re looking for someone who can keep their muscles tight while they are in motion. They must be flexible and confident, always keeping a smile on their face and charming the crowd. Confidence, charisma, coordination, and stability are essential to being a great flyer, as is not being afraid of heights. Flyers aren’t necessarily the most petite person on the team, but it does help for them to be smaller in size. It’s much easier to toss a smaller person in the air than it is to toss someone taller or heavier! Also, you must have a positive attitude and be able to trust your teammates 100%. Falls will happen, and you must be able to brush yourself off and keep trying after falling.
A backspot is the person in the back of a stunt, who coordinates timing for the stunt group to help get the flyer into the air. The backspot is the person in control, so they must be able to show leadership and communication skills with their bases and flyer. They’re the person who will push the flyer off the ground into the stunt or add extra strength to that basket toss to make sure it goes high. They’re also the most important protector of the flyer’s safety, responsible for catching the flyer and protecting the head and neck. Backspots must be able to think on their feet, often having to react in an instant when a stunt falls. Because the backspot must be able to reach, support, and lift the flyer’s ankles at the top of stunts, the backspots we choose are often some of the tallest members of the team. They must have strong legs, quick instincts and responses, and be able to keep timing and rhythm within their stunt group.
As tryouts are approaching and we look to build our teams for next season, we look at each athlete’s talents, skills, and body type, as well as their size in comparison to other members of their team. While you may tall enough on one team to be a backspot, you may be an ideal base or flyer on another team. This is why stunt roles can change from year-to-year, as athletes grow and develop in their size and skills. Remember that versatility, work ethic, and a positive attitude are always assets to any of our teams, regardless of your stunt position!