Progression Is Not a Straight Line

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Life moves quickly. We expect everything to happen within a 30 minute television episode- even better if it’s recorded and we can skip through the commercials! Unfortunately, the same is not true of our physical goals in stunting and tumbling. In this world, things take time.

Grasping and perfecting new skills takes time. Repetition is the key to learning, and that is definitely the case with stunts and tumbling. It’s not enough to simply hit a new skill, get a feel for it and then move on to the next skill. The more time spent at each level and on each individual skill, the more muscle memory the body creates for that skill. Because of this, it is vital that each repetition is done with great technique and focus. The saying “perfect practice makes perfect” is popular for a reason.

How long to spend on each skill varies; it depends on what new techniques are being taught. In general, each skill should be built upon the last one, so that your body is only learning a little at a time. For example, a heel stretch should only be attempted after you have a solid liberty and heel stretch on the ground that shows good flexibility and body control.

Once you hit your new skill, do it again. And again. And- you guessed it- again. Do it until you can hit it 10 out of 10 times on different days. Failure to follow these simple progression steps, or attempting to put them together before each is solid on its own, is a recipe for failure. Failures lead to falls and falls increase your risk of injury.

As you look up the mountain to where your goals lie, be prepared to take a path that goes up, stays flat for a while as you solidify that skill, and then goes up again. If you try to run straight to the top, you’ll find yourself sliding down more than you anticipated. Be smart, take your time and cheer safe!

As seen in American Cheerleader Magazine

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