If you have ever cheered on or coached a level two team or higher, you probably know all about basket tosses. However, has your team been using the right technique? Today, we are here to give you a quick refresher on the basics of a basket toss, as well as encourage you to sign up for one of our national cheerleading competitions to show us how high those tosses can get!
This is the setup for your basket. Bases should keep their feet about shoulder width apart and remain as close as possible to the other base. Their backs should be straight and upright to allow for the bases to throw solely with their shoulders and legs. Chances are that your flyer is probably pretty short, so be sure to stay low to make it easier for the flyer to load in. The two bases should grab their left wrist with their right hand and then connect with the other base to create the “basket.”
Flyers should stand close to their bases with their hands on their shoulders. Jump and use your shoulder strength and arms to load into the basket! As the flyers feet land in the basket, they should aim to land their toes right in the center of the basket with the heels off the back. It is common for the flyer to slip off the front if the toes are too far forward. The flyers weight should be entirely in the arms with barely any weight on their feet. Finally, as the bases begin to dip for the toss, make sure the flyer’s hips stay above her knees. Otherwise, she is likely to fly backward.
Backspots can assist with the toss, but their main responsibility is to spot the flyer and protect her head and shoulders during the catch. These athletes should place their hands under the basket to provide support and lift. Be sure they throw straight up into the air, and not behind their heads, as this can change the direction the flyer goes during the toss.
Bases should explode through their legs and shoulders, driving their arms upward together and flicking their wrists at the top. Lifting all the way through the toes and driving up the arms quickly are essential to getting the height the flyer needs to pull various body positions at the top! Once the bases release, they should keep their arms high in the air to guide the flyer’s cradle.
Flyers lift through their shoulders and arms to push themselves off of the basket. They should avoid pushing down with their legs, as this limits the bases’ momentum. At the top of the basket, flyers should lift their toes slightly and create a hollow position with their bodies to cradle. Instruct them not to throw their head or shoulders back, as this will likely lead to over rotation.
Once the flyer starts coming back down, the bases need to be prepared for the catch. Bases should be catching high to absorb the landing of the top person. Have the bases remain close together and keep their backs upright as they catch. One arm should be under the flyer’s lower back, and the other arm should be under the thighs. Instruct your bases to use their legs to absorb the weight as she lands. The backspot should catch under the shoulders of the flyer with the middle of their forearms.
Perfecting the Skill
Once your team has perfected a straight toss (also called a “timer”), then they are ready to begin adding skills at the top. These can range from a simple toe touch to a kick double full, or something even more creative if you’re up for the challenge! We highly recommend ensuring that your straight tosses are always thrown straight and caught correctly. The better technique your athletes have, the more likely you are to minimize the risk of injury.
If your team has perfected the basket toss and their other skills, then it is time to compete! Bring your athletes to one of WSA’s national cheerleading competitions to prove that your team is the best of the best. Reach out to us today to sign up. We look forward to seeing your team become champions!