Cheer jumps are a great way to show your flexibility and athleticism during cheerleading performances. For all star athletes, they’re also an opportunity to contribute to the scoresheet even if you’re not the strongest tumbler or stunter. Here are some tips to get you started and ensure you’re improving at your jumps.
First, make sure you’re properly warmed up before attempting any jumps. Do some dynamic stretching and light cardio to get your body ready for the physical activity. Not only will this warm your body up, but it will help increase flexibility as your muscles will be prepared for static stretching. You should also make sure you’re wearing proper cheerleading shoes that provide enough support and cushioning. We don’t recommend practicing jumps in bare feet as they can be painful to the heel and arch of the foot and aren’t reflective of jumps in an actual routine.
Secondly, practice your jumps often. When I was in the Air Force, by training instructor said the best way to get good at push ups was to do more of them. Jumps are the same. You can do tons of drills and stretching, but the number one way to improve your jumps is just to do more of them. Video yourself or use a large mirror so you can see what your jumps look like. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my approach correct, and am I disconnecting my clasp at the correct time?
- Am I maintaining a hollow position with the chest up?
- Am I landing with feet together (both heels and toes)?
- Are my arms in the correct position when I am in the air?
- If someone counts, am I hitting on the correct counts?
- Is my double jump using a proper prep between jumps?
- Is my landing smooth, but in an athletic stance?
- Are my knees straight and toes pointed?
- Does my jump look controlled?
It’s important to practice the same jumps over and over again to get the form and technique right. If you find yourself making the same mistakes time after time, consider asking your coaches for drills. Repeating improper muscle memory isn’t good, but drills can help if you find yourself doing a bad habit and having a hard time breaking it. Start off slowly and gradually increase the intensity and height of your jumps. Remember – at Twisters, we care about all the other drivers before we attempt to increase our height.This will help you gain body control and proper technique.
Third, focus on your core and leg strength. Having strong core and leg muscles can help you jump higher and land more securely. It will also prevent injury as you work on the height of your jumps. Incorporate exercises such as oblique pulls, squats, hip flexor rotations, and flutter kicks into your weekly routine to help build strength.
Fourth, practice with a partner. Having someone to critique you while performing your jumps can help you stay safe and motivated. Ask a fellow cheerleader or coach to help you out and provide feedback.
Finally, remember to have fun! Cheer jumps can be intimidating, but with practice and determination, you can perfect them. Take the time to get to know the basics of each jump, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Have a positive attitude and enjoy the process!