I've been trying to get my roundoff backtuck recently and was wondering what I could do to jump higher and complete my backtuck better. I soon realised from watching videos of myself that I wasn't allowing myself enough time todo a good jump, and I was pulling my tuck as soon as I touched the ground. This led me to formulate what I call:
Joe's Timeline Principal of Cheerleading (Trumpet fare)
In the learning process of cheerleading, be it a new stunt or tumble,it is often frustrating to know that one has the strength and flexibility to do a move, but for some reason it isn't working out. There are many reasons why one cannot pull a move e.g. the legs aren't locked in a round off, not hitting the sweet spot for the single liberty.. the list goes on.
However, many problems can be attributed to the length of time we allocate to certain parts of the stunt. Some moves we allocate too short a time, and others we allocate too long, and sometimes we are not even fixing the length of time, and that causes the stunting/tumbling to be
Every time we pick up a new stunt, or even think of one, try to imagine the timeline you apply to the stunt. Lets take, for example, the toss to hands for a base. Lets say if the base had a timeline that looked like this:
What would be a problem with such a timeline? Evidently he would not be completing his toss. With too much focus on his catch he would stop his toss short, and with no height the toss hands would be low, and may not even hit. A more suitable timeline would look like this:
Where he dedicates more time to his toss, with a technique note that his legs and arms straighten together. Do note that "more time" does not mean "slower". It means having the subtle patience to complete the motion, and to do it as hard and fast as possible where necessary.
How about in tumbling? Going back to my moanings of my round off back tuck, I guess my old timeline looked a little bit like this:
It may not be too obvious from the image, but my point is that the time I allocated to the punch off the ground (the jump) is too short. This did not allow me to do complete a powerful jump with a good hollow, sky-reaching posture. A better timeline would be to:
Again I must emphasise that more time does not mean slower. It means to give the motion enough time to be complete, hard and fast where necessary.
There are many motions, for bases and flyers alike, which are hell scary. And so often in these intense situations we carry out our motion in ways that our instincts lead us, and as we all know, in this sport, our instincts will lead to us getting face-planted on the floor. This technique allows us to consciously remember that some moves must be completed as an investment for the rest of the motion to run well, so that we don't over rotate, so that we don't end in a squat.
It also allows teams to standardise and synchronise their moves. For example, in tumbling chains, some tumblers will complete their chains faster due to rushed jumps, and it will not be synchronised if two were to be sent to do a round off back tuck together.
This principle, is of course, somewhat incomplete. There is also the strength needed to perform the toss to cupie, the flexibility to pull that toe touch, and the technique of twisting into the round off full. These other aspects also need their appropriate attention and efforts.
We are always looking for new perspectives to approach cheerleading. The way we absorb a stunt and process it in our minds is very personal, and there isn't a one size fits all to everyone. This is just one perspective that one can approach and I hope everyone benefits from it. Do comment if you feel there is any way to improve the perspective! I hope everyone hits awesome stuff in March!