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Cheerleading Tutorials


Pop Cradle: dismount from a stunt in which the base/bases toss the top person straight up from a stationary stunt and then catch her in a cradle position.

Full Twist Cradle

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.

360 Elevator

The Load-In

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.

The 360

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!

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!

Double Take

Double Take

The most basic of the elevator transitions is the double take. This transition must be mastered before moving on to more difficult transitions, such as the 360 elevator, that require the double take technique to execute.

Begin in a normal elevator position with two bases, a back spot and a flyer.
On a designated count (one, two...), the bases and back spot take a slight dip to get their timing together, and then raise the top’s feet to eye level before lowering the flyer back to the initial loading position for the elevator. The bases feet should be shoulder width apart, their backs should be straight, and they should be squeezing their elbows into their sides while creating a 90 degree angle with their arms holding the top’s feet.

When the flyer hears the count, she stays tight while the bases take their timing dip, pulling up with her shoulders as they raise her to eye level and then spots for the bases shoulders, keeping her hips up, as they lower her to the loading position. The flyer catches herself on the bases’ shoulders. Once in the loading position, the top flyer has no weight in her feet. She is completely supporting herself.

The spotter begins holding the ankles of the flyer. She takes the timing dip with the bases and then lets go to reach as high as  she can to make contact with the seat of the top girl so she can begin to slow her down into the loading position.

From the loading position, the bases drive with their legs and the top pushes off with her arms back to the initial elevator position.

Once you’ve mastered the basic elevator to elevator double take transition, move on to elevator to extension, then extension to elevator, and, eventually, extension to extension. This technique is the foundation of all major transitions.

Stunt Basics

Stunt Dictionary

Base: the bottom person of a partner stunt/pyramid

Flyer: the top person of a partner stunt/pyramid

Spot: the person who is responsible for assisting and catching the top person in a partner stunt/pyramid

Step-up drill: the most basic stunting drill; top person steps up onto a base’s lunged leg

Shoulder straddle: stunt in which top person sits on a base’s shoulders

Shoulder stand: stunt in which top person stands on a base’s shoulders

Thigh stand: stunt in which top person stands on two bases’ lunged thighs

Elevator: timing stunt in which top person stands with each foot in the hands of a base at shoulder level.

All cheerleading gymnastics, including partner stunts, should only be practiced under the direct supervision of a knowledgeable adult. Participants should demonstrate proficiency in proper lead-up skills.

The following will break down the technique for elevators into simple steps.

To begin, the bases should stand as if they where holding the elevator at shoulder level. Their feet should be shoulder’s width apart, and they should be close enough to each other so that the top person’s feet are also shoulder’s width apart.

From this ‘ending’ position, the bases should squat down without moving their feet and their backs should remain upright. This is an uncomfortable position at first, but it will come to feel more natural.

The hands should be together and close to the body. Putting the elbows beside the body with make this easier. This puts the base in a stronger position to use their biceps.

Do not!...
This is a common error; the bases are too far apart to begin the elevator. They will likely stand up with the flyer and pull her feet too far apart.

If they do stand to a correct position for the flyer, they will have to move their feet to do so. In addition to potential injuries occurring from poor technique, this is wasted motion and should be avoided!

Next, have the flyer push down on the hands of the bases. The bases should practice dipping together without letting their hands drop. If the arms straighten, the bases will have to use extra energy to get the flyer back to this position - again, wasted motion. In addition, straightening the arms pulls the climbers feet apart, which in turn pushes the bases apart.

Next, the top flyer should load into the bases’ hands, keeping her weight in her arms. She should be able to hold this position without the bases’ support.

Her feet should be together, and she should not let her hips go below her knees.

The flyer stays tight while the bases dip together. As they stand, she will push through her arms and lift with her shoulders, keeping her feet close together.

The momentum created by the flyer lifting through the shoulders and the bases lifting with their shoulders should allow the bases to easily lift the climber above the head. This allows the bases to rotate their hands so they are supporting the entire foot from toe to heel.

This position should be achieved before attempting an elevator extension directly from the load-in.

For an elevator to shoulders, the bases will control the climber from the ‘lift’ position down to the shoulders. The feet should not have to move, as this was the position that the bases used to begin the elevator.

Some people use the term ‘settle’ to describe how the bases bring the flyer to their shoulders. It should be a controlled, cushioned landing.

Take it up!
For the elevator extension, the bases continue the momentum created by the lift and extend the arms to a locked position. They should keep their eyes on the flyer through the entire lift.

Again, the feet should not need to move from the beginning position. This creates a very clean elevator with very little, if any, wasted motion.

The spotter can help load the flyer into the elevator, but she should not “lift” the climber on the way up. This causes the flyer to come down too hard on the bases’ hands. The flyer should be able to load in by herself!

At the top of the extension, the spotter can assist the bases by holding the arms of the bases or the ankles of the flyer. This helps to stabilize the stunt, minimizing the chance of a fall.

Notice that the spotter is still in a position to catch the top person if she fell backward, by pushing the feet forward and catching under the arms.

The spotter should never hold under the feet of the flyer (between the hands of the bases). This clearly puts her out of spotting position. If the top person fell, the spotter would not be able to free her hands in order to catch the flyer.

Elevator Extension: “second level” of an elevator; top person stands with each foot in the hands of a base with arms extended

Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising Ideas

Spirit Chain Fundraising

This is a great fundraiser for high school students, but could be used with other groups. Have a competition within the different classes in the school (senior, junior, sophomore, freshmen) to see who has the most school spirit. Each class has two colors that their paper chain consists of. Sell each strip of paper for 25 or 50 cents. Keep the chains hidden and then at an assembly have class representatives bring out the huge paper chains that have accumulated over time. Which ever class’ chain is the longest receives bragging rights for the rest of the school year. This is a great activity to do right before homecoming or other school functions when school spirit is high. The only thing you have to pay for is the paper and staples/glue/tape.

Submitted by Melissa S.

Carnival Fundraising

My helping hands club wanted to host a fundraising event that also included community involvement. That is why we hosted the WINTER CARNIVAL at one of the local elementary schools. First of all announce in your school what clubs would like to participate in such activity. From then on announce that the clubs participating will be able to keep whatever profits they make at the carnival. Hold the fundraising carnival in an open space or the gym or auditorium at school and place the booths all over the place with enough space for people to walk by.


The booths can consist of simply an arrangement of tables with poster boards on the side of your table advertising what your booth is all about. Advertise as well to the community!!! Get permission from local libraries, schools, and businesses to see if you can post up posters and flyers asking your community to drop by. Our booths included friendship bracelets, pie in the face, face painting, tattoos, candy sweets, picture with Santa, etc. Be creative! If High School juniors like myself could achieve this then there are endless possibilities as to what YOU can do.

Contributed By: Veronica Ochoa

Donation Container Fundraising

This is a straightforward cash collection fundraising at local merchants. Here's what you do. Save old coffee cans and cover them in bright color paper with your organization's name and logo prominently displayed. A catchy slogan never hurts. Visit all local merchants and ask if you can leave a can at their cash register.  Don't forget to visit all participating local merchants once a week and collect all proceeds. Your organization gets 100% of the profit.



Specify on the can where fundraising donations will specifically go.  Example: "to purchase school supplies for under privileged children".  This helps those donating feel like they can associate their donation with an ongoing program, and if it happens to be one that warms their heart, they'll be more likely to give!

There are several commercial companies who sell fundraising donation containers in different materials and styles. They look "nicer" but reduce your profits.  However, the printed labels can help 'legitimize' your drive.  People tend to believe printed labels mean what they say.

Submitted by Mary M, Atlanta, GA

Pajama Day Fundraising

Students pay $.50 to $1.00 on a designated day and get to wear their pajamas to school.  It's a very easy fundraising idea.  All you need is someone to go the classrooms and collect the money.  Everyone at our school likes it so much that even the teachers participate! Consider having a contest for the ugliest, weirdest, etc. pajamas.


Source: Anna T, Cypress Elementary (Kissimmee, Florida)

Community Service Fundraising

The youth group gets people to sponsor them for each hour of community service. Then, they schedule 20 hours of service over an eight week period. There are many organizations to choose from. On a national level, you can choose from many organizations such as Red Cross, The Salvation Army, or even needy people in your own church. In most communities, there are several local organizations also. The positive side of this fundraising idea is raising money by serving others.

Source: Youth for Christ/USA (Englewood, California)

Custom Town Calendar Fundraising

To create your own fundraising town calendar, you need to sell advertising. Local merchants and supporters become the calendar's ad sponsors. Collect logos from local businesses and sell each business ad space on the calendar pages. You may want to limit ads to 3 or 4 per calendar page. Price ads reasonably at $25 to $35 dollars, depending on the size of the ad desired.

Sell individual calendar dates (squares) to recognize individual birthdays, anniversaries or other special events for $3 to $5 each. This will create additional sales interest for those who want to see their "event" on the calendar.


Collect volunteer artwork to feature in the calendar (one piece per page or a collage on each calendar page).  Photos of town landmarks or a collage of pictures from Founder's Day, Four of July or Christmas Parades, or other local events make good choices. Select a theme related to your school, town or organization to guide you in choosing the pictures or artwork.

Work with a local printer to produce the calendars (they may do this at a reduced cost in return for an ad!)

Once printed up, sell the calendars for $10-$15 at sporting events, school functions, and door-to-door. Try to get local book stores and restaurants to display the fundraising calendars for sale.

The amount of money you'll raise depends entirely on the fundraising sales effort of your volunteers. Many community members won't hesitate to support a good cause! Profits can be quite high, depending upon which services you can have donated in return for ads. Selling ad space is the hardest part.

Be sure when selling the calendars to let people know how/where the proceeds will be spent.

Submitted by Mary M, Atlanta, GA

Arrest A Fan

A high school group sold tickets all week at school before the homecoming football game and during the game for $5.00. The tickets were papers they printed out with the students name that was purchasing and the students name that the purchaser wished to have arrested. During the game they would have a volunteer police officer in uniform with the helps of students randomly arrest the students during the game. They set up a section on the track where the arrested students had to sit for 20 minutes. The students that were arrested could pay $3.00 to find out who had them arrested and an additional $2.00 to have that person arrested. It was a lot of fun and they made a lot of money cause the students had a blast having their friends arrested. They even had fans from the other team that were sitting on the home side arrested and most were good sports about it.

Submitted by Carley, South Louisiana

College Fundraising Ideas From
Associated Students of the University of Arizona (AUSA)

Cedric Dempsy Cancer Center Fundraising Run: The Cancer Center run is a great fundraising event to earn money for your club while earning money to assist cancer research. this event is held each year in the fall. Clubs receive 25% of the money that they raise from the Run and each participant receives a free t-shirt. For more information and to receive Fundraising packets call the Cedric Dempsy Cancer center run office at 626-5521.

Clean-up at McKale Center Fundraising: Clubs and organizations can earn fundraising money by cleaning up McKale arena after events. McKale must be cleaned immediately following the basketball games therefore, the time commitment and the manpower is quite high. In the past such programs have been attempted, but due to lack of commitment they were canceled. A Very serious commitment is needed from the organization before the Staff will agree to let the club clean up. ROTC cleans up after the football games and has been doing so for a while now. If your group is seriously interested, please contact Steve Kozachick of athletics administration at 621-2129

Raffle Fundraising: Raffles can earn an extensive amount of fundraising money for clubs and organizations with few costs to initiate the raffle. you can obtain items to be raffled through contributions from area businesses (the more tickets you sell, the more free advertising they will get). You must also comply with the Raffle policy as outlined in the Department of Student Programs (DSP) club handbook (please see the insert in the back of this packet).

Spring Fling Fundraising: Spring fling is the largest student run carnival in the country and is designed to help clubs raise money. Clubs and organizations can raise money by selling items or conducting games at Spring fling. For more information about obtaining fundraising booth space at spring fling, please contact the Spring Fling office in ASUA at 621-2782.

Tucson Convention Center concession sales Fundraising: Groups can raise money by selling concessions at the TCC for events like hockey games and the like. This requires a time commitment of an evening and a sizable group of people. For more information about working concessions at the TCC, please contact Debbie Kellison, Associate general manager of TCC catering, at 882-9820.

Las Vegas Night Fundraising: Casino night fundraising is a relatively easy and an inexpensive way to raise funds. The members of your organization can be the dealers and run the other games of chance you wish to run. Since it is illegal to gamble real money, you can charge a cover and give out funny money that may be used to gamble. At the end of the night the funny money can be used to bid at a silent auction or to by door prizes. Such prizes can be donated by area vendors or each member of your group could contribute a prize to the pot. Funny money may not be redeemed for us currency after it has been purchased as that would be a violation of state gambling laws.

Yard Sale Fundraising: Have each member of your organization clean out their closets and contribute the items they no longer want for a fundraising yard sale that would benefit the club. The cost for the event would be for the advertising and a time commitment from each member to mind the store as well as contribution of items to sell. A yard sale can help your club raise money and help your members get rid of those hideous gifts they got years ago and never use.

Yogurt night Fundraising: Contact local ice cream parlors of yogurt shops to see if they would be willing to give you a portion of their profits for every customer you bring in on a given night as a fundraising event, the members of your club can have fun socializing and the shop will gain publicity and name recognition on the university campus. No one loses. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CONTACT THE MANAGERS WELL IN ADVANCE SO AS TO FILL OUT ALL THE APPROPRIATE PAPER WORK.

Sports Tournament Fundraising: Setting up a fundraising sports tournament such as a softball derby can be great fun and good way to raise money. Invite other clubs or organizations on campus or even ask local groups to participate and charge a entrance fee. Your club can make money and have a great time playing a sport.

Source: Associated Students of the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)

Rappin' Teacher Fundraising

Several teachers volunteered to rap with the Wildcat, our school mascot. About a week before our pep-rally, we put the teacher's names on jars and sold tickets to our classmates for a dollar a ticket. On the day of the pep-rally we counted up the totals & called out the name of the teacher that had the most tickets. The “winning” teacher went in front of everyone and lip-synced to "rapper's delight" (the one where the granny sings it) and Wildcat, our mascot, did it with her! It was hilarious and it was a great success! We raised a lot of money too.

Submitted by Anonymous

50-50 Raffle Fundraising

50-50 raffle fundraising simply involves the sale of raffle tickets with the proceeds being split evenly between the winner and your organization. Many clubs include a 50-50 raffle at all their regular monthly meetings.  Tickets are sold throughout the 'get acquainted' or informal  portion of the meeting.  The profits can be earmarked for an individual ongoing project, or included with other funds raised for your main charitable goal.


Your only fundraising expense is the raffle tickets (a double ticket roll, a single ticket roll that you tear in half or a board with the numbers for sale).  Winners are always happy with a cash prize.  All you need is one or more ticket sellers. Raffle tickets normally sell for $1 a piece, with an incentive for multiple purchases such as 3 tickets for $2, or  5 tickets for $4, etc.   Using a price incentive for multiple tickets can often increase your total sales and builds a larger 'pot' to split with the lucky winner.

All ticket stubs (or duplicate tickets or numbers, depending on your style of raffle tickets) are placed in a hat or other container from which one lucky number is drawn. The 'take' is tallied and one-half awarded to the holder of the lucky number.  The drawing is normally held toward the end of the meeting or event, and the lucky number holder must be present to win.  If not claimed within a set time limit which can be as short as a minute or two, a second number is drawn and awarded the prize.  Generally speaking, the larger the prize, the longer time allowed for the original winner to claim his or her prize.  At a large function, with a sizeable pool of money expected, multiple prizes of perhaps $100 or more could be awarded.  Whatever the prize split, it should be determined ahead of time and used as a sales incentive. (i.e. "Buy a $1 ticket and get 5 chances to win $100). You can also consider a 60-40, 70-30 split, etc but 50-50 seems to be the most popular split.

Variation: One group uses a numbered grid, including numbers from 1 - 45, and sells them for $2 each. Once all of the spaces are sold, they draw just 2 prizes - 1st prize is $30 and second prize is $15. This gives a 50/50 split between the total prize pool and the profit that retained for their charity - i.e. $45 each. The winning numbers are the 'supplementary' numbers drawn in the Australian State Lotto, which is telecast live on TV and published in the newspaper. The State Lotto has a total of 45 numbers, and so that is why they only sell that many squares. The benefit of using the telecast/published Lotto results is that everyone can watch the draw from home, and it saves the trouble of drawing numbers themselves.

Sources: Maureen H., Northern Virginia Association of Government Accountants
and Trevor, Murray Bridge, South Australia

Find many, many more fundraising ideas at http://www.fundraising-ideas.org/index.html

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