Skills and Drills - Advanced Stunts

Skills and Drills - Advanced Stunts

Full Twist Cradle

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.

Once you’ve mastered a pop cradle from both an elevator and an extension, it’s time to add a twist! The full twist cradle can be used to dismount from most partner stunts, including liberties, heel stretches, and arabesques. Here’s a breakdown of the full twist cradle from an elevator extension. (A full twist cradle from an elevator must be mastered before attempting the dismount from an extension, liberty, etc!)

I. Beginning Position -- The Extension
Before attempting a full twist cradle from an extension, have the bases do a few straight cradles from extension to perfect their timing.

Check for mastery of these skills:
• Both bases are both looking up at the top girl and at the foot that the other base is holding.
• Both bases dip only with their legs, never bending their arms.
• The bases keep their arms up to catch the top person as high as they can and then pull her into their body, never stepping away from the stunt.
• The top girl waits for the pop, keeping her knees locked. She pulls her shoulders up and rides the pop as high as she can before piking for the cradle.
• The top girl catches herself by wrapping around the shoulders of her bases.
• The back spot maintains eye contact with the top girl’s head and neck, and catches her by scooping her arms under her shoulders, never stepping away from the stunt.

If the stunt group is not demonstrating these skills, do not move on! Master these skills before attempting a full twist cradle from an extension!

If the stunt group has proven mastery of these skills, add the twist!

II. The Twist
Bases and Back spots! The good news is...nothing changes for you! You do a nice high pop cradle every time (Do not sweep cradle -- it forces the top girl’s chest to fall faster and leaves your arms too far away from her head and neck). Your technique stays exactly the same. The bad news is...there is a good chance you might get hit in the face the first few times a new top girl tries this. Be prepared! Stand your ground! It’s your responsibility to catch your top girl, so make sure this is your top priority!

Tops! It’s all you...
Start in a high “V”. The count should be a standard “one, two, down, up.” On “up” (don’t move until then), pull your shoulders up to your ears to ride the pop, leaning back slightly so as not to “pencil” the twist (twist straight up and down). Look over your left shoulder sharply, keeping your shoulders and hips in line by keeping your midsection tight and maintaining a hollow (opposite of arched) body position. As you twist, pull your arms into the sides of your body and squeeze your legs together to increase the speed of the twist and not injure your bases.

III. The Cradle
At the end of the rotation, catch yourself by wrapping your arms around the shoulders of your bases, pulling your legs up in a pike and making a “V” with your body.

For Beginners...
The most effective way to teach a full twist cradle is the “T to Touchdown” method.

Prerequisite: Elevator Extension and Pop Cradle

Start in an elevator with arms in a “T” motion. As the bases drive up for the pop, pull your arms up into a touchdown motion (this forces you to ride up before twisting) and then throw your face into your left armpit, keeping her body tight and pulling your hips around with your upper body.

This is the easiest way to twist for beginners. After the full twist, re-catch your bases by wrapping your arms around their shoulders and pulling your legs up into a cradle.

Special thanks to Kristin, Erika, Michelle, and Jenna from Spirit Explosion All Stars in Marlton, New Jersey!