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Before beginning any type of routine for jumping (or any cheerleading activity) Stretch Out! This is very important. Without stretching your jumps are not going to hit there best position possible. Also, you can really hurt yourself! Make sure you stretch out your whole body, including neck and arms! You don't just use your legs to jump, you use your whole body! Once you are stretched you are ready to begin.

     Eagle.gif (2708 bytes) There are a lot of things you must do to get those jumps high, as well as having the legs hit a great position. Only doing one or two, won't get the hyper-extended legs in your toe-touch, or your jumps soaring off the ground. You must practice, practice, practice! Without practice it will be nearly impossible to get the best jump your body is capable of.  Do not get discouraged if you do not see results right away. You can not expect results over night. Do not give up!!

Parts Of The Jump!

Prep: The prep is what helps get the jump off the ground. There are several types of preps used in cheerleading today.   I will describe the prep that I use, and have my cheerleading squad use.
     Start with feet together, and hands by your side. Quickly bring your arms into a high V. Pull up through your shoulders.  At thehighv.jpg (3331 bytes) same time go up onto your tippy toes.  This motion should be done fast, and with a lot of power. Go STRAIGHT UP into a high V. Many times I see cheerleaders do a "cross over" motion before going into the high V. This causes them to arch their back, and hit a hyper-extended high V. Be sure not to do this, it will take power away from your prep. 
     Next, swing your arms in front of your body.  As your arms come down cross one over the other. Bend your knees at the same time. Be sure to stay tight throughout this motion.
     Now, swing your arms back up, lifting through your legs. Concentrate on pushing off the ground. Use your toes to get extra height.

Jump: When in the air keep your head up, and back straight.  If you look down, theAmy.jpeg.jpg (6804 bytes) rest of your body will follow!  Keep your toes pointed at all times! This is very important for the visual appeal of the jump. Do not reach for your toes in jumps. If you touch your toes, it will stop you from getting hyper-extended jumps. Instead reach for the inside of your shoe.  Many judges rather see great form over height with bad form. Keep that in mind when you are practicing. Always remember FORM OVER HEIGHT!  If you use the correct form NOW, it will be easy to keep the form when your jumps are higher! 

Landing: Landing seems to be one part of jumping that people do not put a lot of emphasis on.  However, the landing is a VERY important part of the jump.  Without a great landing, the whole jump can look awful!
    Whip your legs shut when coming down from a jump. Use the same, if not more power as you did going into the jump.  Do not float down from a jump. This could result in the famous "legs apart" landings!
     When hitting the ground absorb the pressure through the balls of your feet.  Avoid landing flat footed! If you hear a LOUD thump when landing, most likely you are doing it wrong! I have seen 200 pound guys land softer then some 100 pound girls. So it is all in the way you land.  Also, when landing bend your knees to absorb some of the shock.  Do not land with your knees locked. This is very dangerous.

Jump Drills!

     I do many drills to help my jumps. Jump drills help with form, control, height, and overall execution of the jump.  Jump drills are extremely important to improve your jumps. Try doing these jumps daily, or every other day!

     First I will explain a drill that I use with the cheerleaders I coach, and do myself on occasion.(Its a beginning drill) For this drill use the approach for your jump, but don't jump! This willteamjump.gif (7920 bytes) give you the idea of how to control your upper body. First put your arms in a high V, shrug your shoulders and raise your whole body up. Make sure you are TIGHT throughout your arms. Next bring your arms in front of you crossing them, then hit a T motion and go on your tippy toes. Do this a few times daily do get the feeling of the motion.

     The next drill is one that I do all the time! I find it helps me a lot, especially with those landings! (you know the famous landing with the feet apart) Hit a T motion and kick one leg up as high as you can, without losing the correct form (back straight, leg not bent, and toes pointed) Make sure you whip your leg back down, don't whip them up, than let them glide back down. Make sure it goes down just as fast as up, if not faster. Also, if you have a weaker (less flexible) leg. Do double on that side, this will even them out a little bit better.

     Next I will talk about the actual jumping! You want height in those jumps, but you are only going to get this if you have strength and power. Doing many jumps will help this. For example do 10Toetouch.jpg (7549 bytes) verticals, 10 tucks, 10 frogs, 10 verticals, 10 tucks, 10 frogs. Then move onto the more advanced jumps. Do one toe-touch, one herkie, one front hurdler...etc. Next,  move to 2,3 and 4 jumps in a row. You should be out of breath during these workouts(but not so you can't talk), that's the point, you get tired and build up strength. Also, I don't suggest doing all these jumps the first time you attempt jumping. Increase as you go along.(DON'T FORGET TO BREATH!)


cam4.gif (8350 bytes)Find a friend who will do jumping drills with you. You can encourage one another to hit one more jump! Also, video tape yourself jumping. You can go back and look at what you need improvement on. If you tape yourself save it, than tape yourself a couple weeks later, you will see an improvement in your jumps!

Jumps1.jpg (20128 bytes)Here are a couple pictures of me jumping.  These were taken during my practices last season.  




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