Basing cheer can come with one (or multiple) badges of honour: BRUISES! However, there is one main culprit for bruising and base injury: poor technique and body condition. Here are some of the major issues in basing:
Grannies / ducks basing: Butt sticks out, or shoulders are rounded into a hunchback. This decreases strength/power of the basing and increases back injury rates.
Clunking heads: A.K.A. the ‘cheer kiss.’ Can lead to facial injuries and concussions.
Small pop/dip: The flyer doesn’t have enough time to hit the shape in the air and risks being caught low.
Low energy: Bases stunt little power, so the stunt has no chance of hitting.
Bent legs or arms: If the bases’ legs and arms are bent while locking out the stunt, their joints will take the effort of the weight, causing it to be unstable.
Catching low: The main cause of flyer falling through the cradle or bases getting injured through stunting.
Bad grip: happens when bases mistake "strong"with "stiff - a lot of the times a bad grip is not because of a lack of understanding, but because bases are clutching too hard and contracting their muscles in the wrong way, making a stiff but fragile grip.
Bases apart: a bad body alignment causes the bases to push out away from each other, weakening the stunt.
For the majority of the issues above, there are five main areas that we can focus on:
Posture and core: Bad posture (over-arching or rounding out) can cause lower back injuries and is one of the main reasons why bases find stunts harder than they should be. Good posture will align the stunt's center of gravity to the base of support so that the momentum flows straight from the ground to the top of the movement. Good posture will also make a stunt more stable once it has reached the top.
Using legs: Legs have larger muscle groups. Therefore, the majority of the effort should come from the legs, channeled to the upper body via correct alignment and the core. Arms should only be used to stabilize and finish the inertia of the movement.
Catching high and absorbing: learning to absorb the catches better to minimize the impact of the catch. This prevents bruises, heads clunking, lower back and shoulder injuries, as well as reduces the risk of the flyer being dropped after the initial catch.
Grips: Grips need to be strong, but also fluid. If a grip is stiff (especially in baskets), the muscles become more vulnerable to injury. It also leaves little room for grip adjustment to fix the stunt if needed.
Staying close: Staying close and aligning the body ensures that the momentum comes from under the stunt rather than from opposing sides. A fully vertical push will give more power to the stunt. As a result, it will go up more smoothly and with more stability.
Using the right muscle contractions: does the stunt involve an eccentric, concentric or isometric muscle contraction? Do your athletes know the difference and how to use them effectively?
Interested in finding out HOW to fix the above issues, drill, and condition for these six key points of basing? Become a member of the CheerConditioning.Academy for video tutorials, conditioning videos, detailed articles, and training programs!