How to Backspot

How to Backspot

Backspotters are crucial members of your cheer squad! They initiate stunts, provide support, and monitor for mistakes so every stunt goes off without a hitch. If something does go wrong during the stunt, it's the backspotter's responsibility to catch the flyer's head and shoulders so they don't get injured. Backspotting is a fun position, but keep in mind that your team's safety is your main priority!

Method 1 of 2:
Responsibilities

1
Stand at the back of the group to get into position for the stunt. For most stunts, the backspotter stands at the back of the group and is the backbone of the entire stunt. As a backspotter, position yourself between the bases and behind flyer. Once everyone is in place, begin the countdown. [1] X Research source Some advanced stunts may also need a front spotter in addition to the backspotter.
2
Do the countdown to initiate the stunt. Once everyone is in position, the backspotter usually counts down for the team so everyone is ready to move at the right time. You can word this any way you want as long as everyone is on the same page and knows their cue. [2] X Research source For example, you might say, “3...2...1...go!” to initiate the stunt. Be consistent with your countdown for every stunt so your teammates aren’t caught off-guard.
3
Support the back of the flyer’s ankle(s) during standing stunts. The bases hold the flyer’s feet and push the flyer up into a standing position. Once the flyer is up, the backspotter grabs and supports the back of the flyer’s ankle (or ankles, depending on the stunt) to reinforce stability and help the bases. [3] X Research source For example, if your team is doing a straight-up extension, support the flyer’s ankles firmly.[4] X Research source Push up as you're supporting the ankle(s) so you can take some of the weight off of the bases.
4
Catch the flyer’s upper body during a basket toss. The bases may ask you to help them throw, but in most cases, you’re just there to support and catch the flyer. When the flyer is tossed in the air and on their way down, stick both arms out straight and catch the flyer under the shoulders with the middle of your forearms. [5] X Research source It’s the backspotter’s responsibility to support and protect the flyer's head, neck, and spine.[6] X Research source
5
Monitor in-progress stunts and alert the team if anything goes wrong. Backspotters have the best view of the stunt, so it’s their job to make sure everything is going smoothly. If something starts going wrong, communicate it calmly to the bases so they’re prepared. [7] X Research source Keep your eyes focused on the flyer’s hips. If the flyer’s hips aren’t centered between their shoulders and ankles, something is going awry.[8] X Research source For example, if the flyer veers a bit to the left or right during a basket toss, let the bases know they need to shift slightly to the left to get underneath the flyer for the catch.
6
Step in and catch the flyer’s head and shoulders if a stunt goes wrong. Flyers know that if something goes wrong during their stunt, they’re supposed to lean back and fall. The bases catch the sides of the flyer’s body and the backspotter steps in to ensure the flyer’s head never hits the ground. Reach your arms up and cradle the head and shoulders to complete the catch. [9] X Research source When a flyer starts falling, it’s a normal reflex to step back and get out of the way. Resist that urge, though! The backspotter needs to step in, almost underneath the flyer, and be ready to catch the head.
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Method 2 of 2:
Training

1
Build trust with your flyer before doing advanced stunts. Backspotters are responsible for supporting the flyer during a stunt and catching them if the stunt goes wrong. Your flyer needs to trust you completely to pull off the stunt without fear. Practice as much as possible to get comfortable with each other. [10] X Research source If you don’t know each other well, try a few team building exercises. For example, grab one of the bases and stand behind the flyer. Tell the flyer to fall back and catch them before they hit the ground.[11] X Research source
2
Maintain communication and establish commands for your team. Communication between the backspotter and flyer is really important. Chat with your flyer frequently to find out what you can do to make them feel safer and stronger for the next stunt. It’s also helpful to agree on a set of command words that the team can use while performing stunts to keep things on track. [12] X Research source For example, you could have a command like “Pivot” or “Center” to let the bases know they need to reposition themselves.
3
Practice a stunt until you can do it perfectly 10 times in a row. If your team can’t do the stunt with technical precision 10 times in a row, your team hasn’t mastered the stunt yet. Never attempt a stunt during a performance or competition unless you've mastered it! Someone could get seriously hurt. [13] X Research source
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Method 1 of 2:
Responsibilities

1
Stand at the back of the group to get into position for the stunt. For most stunts, the backspotter stands at the back of the group and is the backbone of the entire stunt. As a backspotter, position yourself between the bases and behind flyer. Once everyone is in place, begin the countdown. [1] X Research source Some advanced stunts may also need a front spotter in addition to the backspotter.
2
Do the countdown to initiate the stunt. Once everyone is in position, the backspotter usually counts down for the team so everyone is ready to move at the right time. You can word this any way you want as long as everyone is on the same page and knows their cue. [2] X Research source For example, you might say, “3...2...1...go!” to initiate the stunt. Be consistent with your countdown for every stunt so your teammates aren’t caught off-guard.
3
Support the back of the flyer’s ankle(s) during standing stunts. The bases hold the flyer’s feet and push the flyer up into a standing position. Once the flyer is up, the backspotter grabs and supports the back of the flyer’s ankle (or ankles, depending on the stunt) to reinforce stability and help the bases. [3] X Research source For example, if your team is doing a straight-up extension, support the flyer’s ankles firmly.[4] X Research source Push up as you're supporting the ankle(s) so you can take some of the weight off of the bases.
4
Catch the flyer’s upper body during a basket toss. The bases may ask you to help them throw, but in most cases, you’re just there to support and catch the flyer. When the flyer is tossed in the air and on their way down, stick both arms out straight and catch the flyer under the shoulders with the middle of your forearms. [5] X Research source It’s the backspotter’s responsibility to support and protect the flyer's head, neck, and spine.[6] X Research source
5
Monitor in-progress stunts and alert the team if anything goes wrong. Backspotters have the best view of the stunt, so it’s their job to make sure everything is going smoothly. If something starts going wrong, communicate it calmly to the bases so they’re prepared. [7] X Research source Keep your eyes focused on the flyer’s hips. If the flyer’s hips aren’t centered between their shoulders and ankles, something is going awry.[8] X Research source For example, if the flyer veers a bit to the left or right during a basket toss, let the bases know they need to shift slightly to the left to get underneath the flyer for the catch.
6
Step in and catch the flyer’s head and shoulders if a stunt goes wrong. Flyers know that if something goes wrong during their stunt, they’re supposed to lean back and fall. The bases catch the sides of the flyer’s body and the backspotter steps in to ensure the flyer’s head never hits the ground. Reach your arms up and cradle the head and shoulders to complete the catch. [9] X Research source When a flyer starts falling, it’s a normal reflex to step back and get out of the way. Resist that urge, though! The backspotter needs to step in, almost underneath the flyer, and be ready to catch the head.
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Method 2 of 2:
Training

1
Build trust with your flyer before doing advanced stunts. Backspotters are responsible for supporting the flyer during a stunt and catching them if the stunt goes wrong. Your flyer needs to trust you completely to pull off the stunt without fear. Practice as much as possible to get comfortable with each other. [10] X Research source If you don’t know each other well, try a few team building exercises. For example, grab one of the bases and stand behind the flyer. Tell the flyer to fall back and catch them before they hit the ground.[11] X Research source
2
Maintain communication and establish commands for your team. Communication between the backspotter and flyer is really important. Chat with your flyer frequently to find out what you can do to make them feel safer and stronger for the next stunt. It’s also helpful to agree on a set of command words that the team can use while performing stunts to keep things on track. [12] X Research source For example, you could have a command like “Pivot” or “Center” to let the bases know they need to reposition themselves.
3
Practice a stunt until you can do it perfectly 10 times in a row. If your team can’t do the stunt with technical precision 10 times in a row, your team hasn’t mastered the stunt yet. Never attempt a stunt during a performance or competition unless you've mastered it! Someone could get seriously hurt. [13] X Research source
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