Skills and Drills – Basket Toss

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Prerequisite: Elevator extension with a cradle dismount. The basic basket toss is not a difficult skill, but it is one that involves significant risk if not performed properly. As with any cheerleading gymnastics, partner stunts such as this one should only be practiced under the supervision of a knowledgeable adult.

Loading in:

– Keep your feet about shoulder’s width apart.
– Stand close to the other base.
– Keep your back upright to throw with your shoulders and legs.
– Stay low to make it easier for the flyer to load in.
– Notice the basket toss grip demonstrated below
– If a front base is used, they should be in a position to support under the basket. Once the toss is executed, they step away from the stunt.

– Stand close to your bases
– Place your hands on their shoulders
– Jump and use your arms to load into the basket

Landing in the Basket

– Follow the timing of the flyer as she lands in the basket. Continue this timing as you dip.
– This dip should be smooth and your hands should go below your knees for a good toss.
– Explode through the legs and lift through the shoulders to initiate the toss and build momentum.

– As your feet land in the basket, you should have your toes in the center of the basket and your heels off of the back. This helps to minimize the chance of slipping off of the front as you lift up on your toes.
– Your weight should be in your arms and you should barely touch the basket with your feet.
– As the bases dip, do not let your hips sink below your knees. This is the reason for many basket tosses that travel backward.

The person behind the base is designated as the ‘scoop’. While they assist with the toss, their main responsibility is to spot the flyer and protect her head and shoulder area during the cradle catch.

– You may assist the flyer into the basket, but do not ‘lift’ her too high. She should be able to get in the basket by herself.
– Once the flyer is about to place her feet on the basket, your hands should go under the basket to provide better support and lift.
– Following the flyer’s timing, throw with the other bases.
– Be careful to throw straight up. Do not pull the basket back towards you as you throw.
– Your arms should remain in the air to catch the flyer as high as possible.

The Takeoff

– Continue the explosion created at the bottom of the toss.
– Follow through with your arms and release with a ‘flick’ at the top.
– Notice in the photo below that the bases are lifting throughout the body, including the toes.
Once you release, keep your arms up for the cradle.

– Lift up through your shoulders and arms to ‘pull’ yourself off of the basket.
– Do not try to push down too hard with your legs. This will stop the bases’ momentum.
– Stay in this position until you feel the top of your height, then pike into a cradle position in a controlled manner
– Do not throw your head and shoulders backward into the cradle position. This will cause you to over rotate.

Once you have practiced straight tosses without any additional skills (called ‘timers’), you can attempt a toe touch. The skill should be performed at the very top of the toss. It is important to perform timers until they are perfect. If your timers are low or move off-center, adding any skills will only increase the risk of injury to the flyer and the bases.

The Catch

– Note in the photo above that the bases’ arms are extended up for the cradle catch. The bases must catch high to absorb the landing of the top person safely.
– Be sure to stand close together and keep your back upright
as you catch the flyer.
– Catch with one arm under the flyer’s lower back and the other arm under the thighs.
– Resist the flyer’s weight as she lands and use your legs to
provide more cushion.


– Land in a strong open pike position with pointed toes.
– Do not allow yourself to ‘fold’ into a full pike.
– Catch the bases around their shoulders for added safety.
– Do not catch on the lower backs! This may seem more comfortable, but it provides no additional safety!

– The scoop should also catch high and use their legs to slow the flyer, just like a standard cradle.
– Catch under the shoulders of the flyer with the middle of your forearm.
– If you catch with your elbows under the shoulders of the flyer, you risk injuring the flyer by being too close.

That’s it! Make sure you have the lead-up skills of an elevator extension with a cradle dismount, then take your time to perfect each step along the way. Good luck

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