The main difference between a regular elevator load-in and a 360 elevator load-in is that one of the bases will change her grip. In this case, the top girl is going to be spinning over her right shoulder (clockwise), so the base holding her right foot is going to use the 360 grip. We’ll call her the main base. If the top girl was spinning counterclockwise, the base holding the left foot would use the 360 grip.
The main base is going to change her grip by keeping her left hand in a normal load-in position, like she’s “reading a book”. Her right hand is going to be positioned so that her fingers are facing her body (poking herself in the stomach with all four fingers) and her right thumb is next to her pinky finger of her left hand. This position is going to be awkward, but it is necessary to successfully perform the stunt.
Now, with this new position, the top person is going to load in just like a regular elevator, keeping her weight in her arms. The main base is going to grab the heel of the foot like normal and grab the toe with the 360 grip.
Both bases are going to use their legs and shrug their shoulders to get the elevator as high as possible. At the top of their drive, the main base is going to release with her left hand and turn the stunt with her right hand. This is going to happen as the stunt is “floating” because both bases have driven the top person up high enough (and with enough power) to make her light. The top girl is going to ride up through her shoulders as high as she can staying as tight as possible. She is going to initiate the turn with her head once she is at the top of her ride, keeping her left leg in as close as possible so she doesn’t kick out her bases.
As the top girl gets about half way around, the main base will, by reaching up as high as possible (the hand should already be up there from releasing the foot at the top of her drive), be able to re-grab the heel with her left hand. Now, if she keeps the grip with the right hand, it’s going to be a little weird (her fingers will now be facing toward her stomach, but with her palm facing out). However, this grip can be changed during the stunt. The best time to change this grip is when the left hand grabs the heel (the left hand can support the weight long enough to change the grip with the right hand) and the stunt is coming down to the load-in position.
Recatching the Foot -- The Side Base
The side base will join the main base in driving the stunt up as high as possible. When she gets to the top, she will release the left foot and IMMEDIATELY spot for the left foot as it comes around the back of the stunt. It is very important for this base to grab that foot as soon as they can. Once the left foot has been caught, the top girl and bases simply use the technique they’ve already mastered to do a double take down to the original elevator load-in position...and then back up to elevator!
We care about your safety. All cheerleading gymnastics, including partner stunts, pyramids, jumps and tumbling should be learned and practiced under the direct supervision of a qualified adult coach or advisor. Prerequisite: Elevator extension double take to elevator extension.
The Back Spot
The back spot will grab the ankles of the flyer as the stunt loads in. Once the back spot has provided as much drive up (by lifting at the ankles) as possible, she is going to let go of the ankles just long enough for the stunt to rotate around and then reach as high as she can to start slowing down the top person’s seat to ensure that the stunt slows down to the load-in position.
A good practice exercise before trying this stunt is to get a pair of sneakers (or, specifically, a right sneaker) and have the main base practice her grip. She should be able to turn the foot (with her right hand on the toe and never losing contact with the foot) over her head, re-grab the heel with her left hand (her right hand will have that weird thumb-in grip), re-position her right hand, and then settle the stunt either in a doubletake position. Do this in slow-motion first, and then do it faster, making sure that the sneaker remains relatively flat (if it is off on an angle, that’s what’s going to happen to your flyer) throughout the turn.
A Few Pointers:
• The easy part is the spin, the hard part is slowing it down back to double take!
• The higher the side base catches the foot, the longer both bases have to slow the top girl down.
• The back spot’s job is going to be mainly helping with the height of the spin and catching the top’s seat as she comes down to double take -- the higher the better, so she can help control it on the way down, too...
Be patient with this one...It takes a little time to hit it consistently. Focus on technique and timing. Good luck!
Special thanks to Michelle, Jenny, Tara, and Anna from Cougar Cheer and Dance Company from Carrollton, Texas!