Be SAFE: With all stretches you want to be sure to only push until it’s uncomfortable… Not PAINFUL! Work slowly and consistently and you will be there in no time. And remember, don’t bounce!
Splits: The best place to start working on flyer flexibility is getting right, left and center splits. You’ll find that if you do them every day (while watching TV even!) you can get them in no time.
-Super Splits: Once you’ve got your splits flat on the ground, work on super splits. This can be done by placing your front foot on a slightly elevated surface (folded mat, stair step, etc.)
-Lean forward: While in the splits lean forward & grab your foot in a “stretch” hold.
-Lean back: While in the splits lean backwards and arch your back.
-Back knee bent: While in the splits bend your back knee and grab your back foot. Pull upwards towards your head.
-Wall straddle sits: lay on your back with your feet in a pike position against a wall. Be sure to keep your bottom touching the wall and let gravity pull your feet into a straddle position. Push up onto your elbows and then hands to get into a good stretch position for a Toe Touch Basket Toss.
Back stretches: All back stretches will help you get the flexibility needed for scorpions, Nikes, arabesques & scales
-Seals: While on tummy place the palms of your hands next to your shoulders. While keeping elbows by your side press up until your arms are straight.
-Arches: In a backbend position work on straightening your knees and pushing your weight over your hands & shoulders.
Ankles & Calves: Always Stretch ankles and calves when flying since these joints and muscles get a lot of stress placed on them
-Stretch: Stand with your back against a wall with your partner facing you a foot or two in front of you. Rest your stretch leg on your partner’s shoulder and have them lean in towards you
-Besques: Stand facing a wall an arm’s length away. Place both arms against a wall, keep one foot flat on the ground and have a partner lift the other leg keeping it straight. You may need to have them kneel and rest your leg on their shoulder. You can also do this stretch using the kitchen table (just don’t tell your mom!)
-Nike/Scale: Very similar to besques, but turn your body perpendicular to the wall and use one hand on the wall and the other hand to grab your knee
-Scorpion: Similar to besques, use one hand on the wall and have your partner lift and stabilize your leg until you can get the right grip. When you are comfortable in your scorpion hold work on lifting your foot as high (vertically) as you can.
-Hang drill on parallel bars (can find them at many school playgrounds)
-Toe or heel on the edge of a step or other ledge, practice balancing in a lib
-Stand with one foot on the floor, the other on a chair in a load position. Practice standing up onto the chair and balancing (in a lib, besque, etc.) for a second, then keep your weight on your chair foot and bring your other foot back down to the ground
-Trampolines are great to practice basket toss techniques! They give you height and time to work on elements that you couldn't just jumping on the ground. Pratice sharp movements from the ride position, wait 'till you get to the top, pull toe touch, then snapping together.
-All connected pyramids you should be able to hold your own weight (national rules!) so practice hitch, Stretch, L, Besque, etc. without a bracer!!!
-Everything in the air practice on the ground! Elevator position, lib position, kick to stretch, scorp hold, besque body position, etc.
General Tips: Be considerate of your bases, & back/front spots! Yes, you are trusting them with your life and they are earning it every day with hits and bruises and super sore muscles- thank them by always doing your part to hold your weight, stay tight, fight to keep stunts up, catch yourself and by following these general tips:
-Hair up, nails cut, no jewelry...
-Wear tighter fitting athletic clothes and always bring shorts/capris (& spankies!)
-Bring tape, braces, etc - come prepared!
-Wear proper cheer shoes! Most other athletic shoes have serrated or sharp soles that turn your bases’ hands into ground beef!
-No lotioning right before practice/game
-No lotioning right before practice/game
Do you have any other flyer training tips? Leave a comment!