What makes a good Cheerleader into a great Cheerleader? Why do some people make it at tryouts and others don't? When you're watching that awesome squad on TV, what makes them stand out and look like a picture of perfection? Well, mostly these questions can be answered with "they know the basics." Sure, a terrific jump or stunt might wow a crowd, but when you're careless or lazy in your fundamental Cheerleading skills like motions, you're sure to lose points on any judging sheet.
Motions are one of the basic foundations of Cheerleading and a essential skill all Cheerleaders should master and more importantly keep mastered. So, whether you're a beginning Cheerleader just learning or an experienced one whose picked up some sloppy habits, get back to the basics, follow these tips and put the magic in your motions.
Tips on Motions:
- Sharp 'n Snappy - We've probably all heard this before when referring to motions, but what does it truly mean. It means your arms should be stiff and your muscles tight. Your transitions should be smooth, snappy and quick. You should punch your motions out with a lot of strength.
- Never bend your wrists - Your wrists should never be bent, cocked or out of alignment with your arms.
- Elbows - If you're in an extended motion, your elbows should be locked.
- Arm placement - Your arms should always be slightly in front of you and level. Know exactly where the spot is to hit a motion and don't settle for anything else than that spot. Again, keep your arms stiff and muscles tight. Don't let your arms bounce or jiggle.
- Shoulders - Your shoulders should be relaxed and not raised up like in a shrug.
- Fists - Know in what direction your fist should be facing (Examples: In a High V your thumbs should be facing towards the crowd. In a Touchdown your thumbs should be facing away from the crowd). Always keep your thumb outside your fist. If ever in doubt, ask your coach.
- Transition -Take the shortest distance to the next motion and wait until the last second to make it. Move quickly and precisely.
- Synchronize your motions - Your motions should correspond with the syllables of the words in your cheer/chant or the count of your dance routines and stunts.
- The clap or clasp motion - This simple motion is often overlooked. Your hands should be under your chin, your elbows in tightly and your fingers close together. It should look clean and neat.
Exercises to Improve Your Motions:
- Arm Strengthening - Do arm strengthening exercises like push ups and weight lifting. They offer some great ways to improve the strength in your arms and shoulders. Good motions are made with strong arms.
- Hit your motions quickly - Then hold it for about 30 seconds as tight as you can. One tip in the forum also mentions tightening your butt muscles when you do this. As that will tighten your other muscles.
- Work in front of a mirror or video yourself - Stand in front of a mirror and watch as you hit your motions. Look for arm position, fist position and any extra unnecessary movements. Then close your eyes and hit the motion again. Open your eyes and look in the mirror to see how you did.
- Even when practicing other things, be sure you're completing your motions. Don't get lazy and halfway do them. Always complete each motion to the end.
- Practice with your squad - Coordinate your motions and make sure you're doing them in unison.
- Most motions have an opposite or reverse corresponding motion. Be sure to practice both.
- Use your imagination, you can combine motions. Try different and unique sequences. Be creative.