ROCHESTER YOUTH CHEERLEADING ASSOCIATION CHEERLEADING SAFETY AND STUNTING (Revised 2003) RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 1 CHEERLEADING SAFETY THERE IS NO MORE IMPORTANT ISSUE IN CHEERLEADING TODAY THAN SAFETY. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU BECOME THOROUGHLY FAMILIAR WITH THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN RYCA’S OPERATING PROCEDURES AND IN THE AACCA SAFETY MANUAL. THE COACH’S ROLE IN SAFETY The cheerleading coach has responsibility for the safety of the cheerleaders. Here are some important points to remember when working with your squad. 1. CONSTANT SUPERVISION – A survey revealed that 8% of all cheerleading injuries occur in practice. The coach must be present at all cheerleading practices and make sure the cheerleaders area ware of and abiding by safety rules. 2. SETTING PARAMETERS AND ESTABLISHING ABILITY LEVELS – The safety guidelines established by RYCA are broad parameters for cheerleading activity. The coach must constantly evaluate her squad members to make sure they participate in activities within their ability level. An easy way to set specific guidelines for each cheerleader as well as the squad as a whole is to establish a qualifying system. In other words, before cheerleaders are allowed to perform stunts of skills without spotters (when specifically allowed by RYCA operating procedures and safety rules) they must do the stunt 5 times without difficulty. Qualifying should be done in the presence of spotters. See the qualifying sheet enclosed. 3. STAY CURRENT – Coaches should remain up-to-date on all new techniques and safety regulations. If there are questions, a knowledgeable cheerleading expert should be contacted. RYCA recommends the coach be familiar with safety procedures discussed in the AACCA Cheerleading Safety Manual and the RYCA Operating Procedures and Safety Rules. RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 2 CHEERLEADING GENERAL RULES, STUNTING RULES, AND CONDUCT The following safety rules, recommendations and guidelines are general in nature and are not intended to cover all circumstances. All cheerleading gymnastics (including tumbling, partner stunts, and pyramids) should be carefully previewed, supervised, and reviewed by a qualified and knowledgeable coach. RYCA makes no warranties or representations whether expressed or implied that the following guidelines will prevent injuries to individual participants. A) GENERAL RULES 1. COACHES AND HELPERS a. All cheerleading squads who wish to stunt must be under the direction of a Certified AACCA coach. b. Anyone giving stunting and tumbling advice or help to an RYCA squad must be AACCA certified, unless permission has been received from the RYCA president. c. An AACCA certified coach must be present at all practices and functions. 2. STUNTING a. An AACCA certified coach must be present when stunting is attempted. b. Absolutely no stunting is allowed without the presence, knowledge and approval of an AACCA certified coach. c. All partner stunts and pyramids must be mastered according to the “Partner Stunt Progressions” section of the AACCA manual. A written record of each cheerleader’s mastery of each stunt should be kept. d. Coaches must recognize the entire squad’s particular ability level and limit the squad’s activities accordingly. e. Absolutely no stunting while holding pom-pom’s or any other object. 3. TUMBLING a. No RYCA coach or representative may teach, or bring in anyone to teach tumbling skills (ex: handsprings, tucks, etc.) without prior approval of the RYCA president. b. Coaches must recognize the entire squad’s particular ability level and limit the squad’s activity accordingly. 4. SPOTTING a. Training in proper spotting techniques is mandatory for ALL members of a squad attempting cheerleading gymnastics (ex: tumbling, partner stunts, pyramids, and jumps). b. Training in spotting is also required for anyone (other adults, parents, etc.) who will be used as a spotter AT ANY TIME. RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 3 5. LOCATION a. All practice session must be held in a location suitable for the activities of cheerleaders (ex: use of tumbling mats when needed, away from excessive noise and distractions, etc.) b. The cheering surface, location, lighting and weather conditions must be taken into consideration before engaging in physical activity. c. The sideline area is restricted to registered cheerleaders who are cheering for that team, and their coaches. 6. APPAREL a. Accessories and apparel must be conducive to safe performance. b. Jewelry, including ANY earrings, is prohibited. c. Chewing gum and other food is prohibited while practicing or performing. d. Safety must be considered in the selection of hair ornaments. e. Medical alert tags are acceptable; however, they must be secured to the skin using tape. 7. WARM-UPS AND CONDITIONING a. Warm-up exercises and stretching MUST precede all practice sessions, parades, games, competitions, and any other physical activities. 8. CHEERS AND CHANTS a. No degrading cheers, chants, or profanity are allowed. Please keep your cheers within the limits of good taste. b. Half-time cheers/performances should be limited to one minute in length. B) GENERAL STUNTING RULES 1. PROHIBITED ITEMS a. Use of mini-trampolines, springboards, or any other height increasing apparatus is prohibited. b. Absolutely no stunting while holding pom-poms, signs or other objects 2. PROHIBITED FLIPS AND TWISTS a. Toe pitch flips are prohibited. b. A forward 2/4 clip to the seat or knees is prohibited. c. Twists are prohibited. d. Free-falling flips or swan dives from any type of toss, partner stunt, or pyramid are prohibited. 3. PROHIBITED JUMPS, DROPS, AND KICKS a. Knee drops, front, back and side tension drops and rolls are prohibited. The hands MUST support most of the weight before contact with the performing surface is made by the knees or seat, or before the full split position is achieved. RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 4 b. Landing for all jumps must bear weight on at least one foot. (Ex: A toe touch to a hurdle position, to the seat, knees, or landing with both feet back is prohibited.) 4. PROHIBITED TOSSES AND VAULTS a. Helicopter tosses are prohibited. b. Basket tosses of any type are prohibited. c. Vaults are prohibited. d. Extended liberties are prohibited. C) REGULATIONS 1. STUNTS a. A partner stunts and pyramids are limited to two persons high. “Two High” is defined as the base having at least one foot on the ground. b. When one stunt is bracing another, one of the stunts must be at chest height or below. 2. SPOTTING a. Hands-on spotting must be used while a stunt is being learned. There are also certain stunts in each grade level, which REQUIRE you to use hands-on spotting at all times. b. Unless hands-on spotting is specifically required by RYCA for your Grade/Stunt level, general spotting may be used at the discretion of the AACCA certified coach, once a stunt has been “mastered” (can be performed safely and correctly 10 out of 10 times) by the people involved. c. Partner stunts and pyramids at or above chest level must have a continuous spotter for each person over chest level. d. Hanging pyramids must have a continuous spotter each chest level or higher flyer that is involved in suspending another person. e. Each extended stunt must have a hands-on spotter and an adult general spotter. 3. DISMOUNTS AND CATCHES a. Cradle dismounts from all stunts require three catchers. A spotter (Scoop), and two basses, or a scoop and two spotters. b. All backward dismounts from partner stunts or pyramids must use three catchers. c. All pendulum flyers must be caught with a minimum of 5 people, 1 which is responsible for the head, shoulder, and neck of the flyer. 4. HANGING PYRAMIDS a. Any flyer who is involved in suspending another person (ex: Hanging Pyramids) must be chest high or lower. b. A front and a back spotter must be used when a flyer is changing bases. 5. TRANSITIONAL STUNTS a. When a flyer is moving from a cradle position directly to another stunt, without coming to a standing position directly on the performing RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 5 surface before performing the second stunt, it is highly recommended that a front spotter be used at all time. b. A front and back spotter must be used when a flyer is changing bases. 6. LOCATION a. Any warm-ups, practices, or performances must be done in a safe environment. 7. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS a. Individuals or squads who do not follow RYCA safety guidelines and regulations (general, specific, or grade specific) will be suspended from stunting for a period of one week. An RYCA board member will attend and critique all squad practices and performances during that week. D) GRADE SPECIFIC STUNTING RULES A key to maximizing safety, regardless of the mode or level of participation, is that the coach and squad members hold a realistic understanding of their skill level and make reasonable judgments about appropriate levels of participation and proceed accordingly. 1. Seasonal RYCA squads are restricted by the following age level guidelines: (Remembering that each coach must recognize the entire squad’s particular ability levels and limit the squad’s activity accordingly). 2. Squads are limited to the specific stunts listed under their grade level 3. See attached sheet to see the legal stunts for each grade level. RYCA Legal Stunts ***REMEMBER: Absolutely NO STUNTING on the sidelines. During play, you must always be facing the game. GRADE 4 GRADE 5 GRADE 6 GRADE 7 & 8 Step-up drill Step-up drill Step-up drill Step-up drill Arm Stand Arm Stand Arm Stand Arm Stand Chair *with approval Chair *with approval Chair Chair Cradle *with approval Cradle Cradle Cradle ---- Cradle pop*with approval Cradle pop Cradle pop Elevator (double-based) Elevator (double-based) Elevator (double-based) Elevator (double-based) ---- ---- Elevator (single-based w/post) Elevator (single-based w/post) ---- ---- Extension (double-based) *with approval Extension (double-based) *with approval Hitch – ground level Hitch – ground level Hitch – ground level Hitch – ground level Hitch – thigh high Hitch – thigh high Hitch – thigh high Hitch – thigh high Hitch – chest high Hitch – chest high Hitch – chest high Hitch – chest high L stand L stand L stand L stand ---- ---- Liberty – chest high Liberty – chest high ---- ---- ---- Liberty heel stretch – chest high ---- ---- Pendulum Pendulum Pony Sit Pony Sit Pony Sit Pony Sit ---- Shoulder Stand*with approval Shoulder Stand Shoulder Stand Shoulder straddle (sit) Shoulder straddle (sit) Shoulder straddle (sit) Shoulder straddle (sit) ---- ---- Split extension w/post Split extension w/post Split chest high w/post Split chest high w/post Split chest high w/post Split chest high w/post Straddle sit (triple-based) Straddle sit (triple-based) Straddle sit (triple-based) Straddle sit (triple-based) Swedish roll (1 base, 1 post) Swedish roll (1 base, 1 post) Swedish roll (1 base, 1 post) Swedish roll (1 base, 1 post) Swedish roll (2 bases, 1 post) Swedish roll (2 bases, 1 post) Swedish roll (2 bases, 1 post) Swedish roll (2 bases, 1 post) Table Top Table Top Table Top Table Top Thigh stand (double-based) Thigh stand (double-based) Thigh stand (double-based) Thigh stand (double-based) Thigh stand – side Thigh stand – side Thigh stand – side Thigh stand – side Thigh stand – rear Thigh stand – rear Thigh stand – rear Thigh stand – rear Thigh stand heel stretch Thigh stand heel stretch Thigh stand heel stretch Thigh stand heel stretch Transitional stunt – same bases Transitional stunt – same bases Transitional stunt – same bases Transitional stunt – same bases ---- Transitional stunt – changing bases Transitional stunt – changing bases Transitional stunt – changing bases *with approval (must seek approval from Lynette Harberts, RYCA President) STUNTING DEFINITIONS AERIAL – a stunt performed free of contact with a person or surface (ILLEGAL). exception would be an aerial cartwheel. ARABESQUE – a stunt in which the flyer is standing on one leg, with the other leg extended straight behind her. ARM STAND – a stunt in which the flyer stands on the bases’ forearms. The bases’ arms are bent at a 45 degree angle, with the elbow kept tight against the torso, with the palm (should be fisted) facing upward. BACK ARCH – a stunt in which the top person is held by a base(s) in a extended position. The top person is face up and is held by the hips, and arches her back and lowers her head and shoulders (ILLEGAL). BASE – a person who is in direct weight-bearing contact with the performing surface and provides primary support for another person. BASKET TOSS – toss involving 3-4 tossers, 2 of which have their hands interlocked (ILLEGAL). BIRDS – a stunt in which the top person is held by a base(s) in an extended position. The top person is prone (face down) and is held by the hips (ILLEGAL). BRACER – a person who stabilizes a stunt by direct contact with a top person. The stunt should remain stable without the bracer. CHAIR – an extended stunt in which the flyer is supported by one base whose arm is extended over her head. The flyer sits on the base’s extended hand, keeping one leg straight, and bending the other leg to bring the foot to the other knee. CRADLE – (cradle catch) – occurs when the catchers, with palms up, catch the top person by placing one arm under the back and the other under the thighs of the top person (requires 3 catchers) DIAMOND HEAD – a hanging pyramid in which a shoulder stand flyer is supporting two hanging flyers (ILLEGAL). DIVE ROLL – A forward roll in which the person loses contact with the performing surface (jumps, leaps, etc.) before her hands make contact with the performing surface (ILLEGAL). ELEVATOR – (also called an extension prep, or a half) – a stunt in which the flyer is supported by two bases, who hold her feet at their chest level. Must have a back spotter. EXTENDED STUNT – one in which the supporting arm(s) for the base(s) is fully extended above the head. EXTENSION – A stunt in which the supporting arms of the bases are fully extended above the head and the top is standing in the hands of the bases. FLIP – an aerial stunt, involving head – over – heal rotation (ILLEGAL). FLYER – a person on top of a mount. FRONT DROP – dropping forcefully from an airborne position to a horizontal, face-down position on the performing surface (ILLEGAL). HANGING PYRAMID – a pyramid in which a top person suspends another peson in the air who does have the support of her own base(s). RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 8 HEEL STRETCH – a position in which a person stands on one leg, the other leg is held up at least a 45 degree angel from the other leg. HELICOPTER – a top person in a horizontal position is tossed by the bases, then rotates like helicopter blades before being caught by the original bases (ILLEGAL). HITCH – a position in which a person stands on one leg, the other leg is held up with the knee being bent at least at a 45 degree angle. INVERTED – head below the waist. KNEE/SEAT/HIGH DROP – dropping forcefully to one knee(s), seat or thighs onto the performing surface from a jump or stand without first bearing most of the weight on the hands/feet which breaks the impact of the drop (ILLEGAL). LIBERTY – a position in which a flyer is supported on one leg. The classic liberty position has the other leg being bent with the knees facing forward with the foot at the knee of the other leg. 7th and 8th grades may do chest high classic liberties and chest high liberty heel stretch. LOG ROLL – a top person in a horizontal position is tossed then rotates parallel to the performing surface before being caught by the original bases (ILLEGAL). MOUNT – any skill in which one or more persons are supported by one or more persons. PENDULUM – a stunt in which the top person falls forward/backward to at least a 5 person catch while maintaining constant hands-to-feed/legs contact with the base. It shall be performed from shoulder height or below. POP – a controlled pushing motion upward by a base(s) to release the top to a cradle catch. PYRAMID – multiple mounts. RUSSIAN – an extended stunt in which a base extends her arms over head. The flyer, who is behind the base, is supported, by the base, under the armpits. The flyer then raises her legs into a straddle position and supports them with her hands. RUSSIAN JUMP – a jump in which the legs are in a straddle position and the arms are brought down in front in the classic “buckets” position. The only difference between this jump and a “toe touch” is the position of the arms. SPLIT DROP – dropping forcefully to the performing surface from a jump or stand, landing with legs extended in a split position without first bearing most of the weight on the hands/feet which breaks the impact of the drop (ILLEGAL). SPOTTER – a person who is in direct contact with the performing surface and may help control the building of, or dismounting from, a mount. This person(s) shall not provide the primary support which means that the mount or pyramid would remain stable without the spotter(s). The primary responsibility of a spotter is to watch for safety hazards. Therefore, an inattentive person is not considered the spotter. The spotter shall be in a position to prevent injuries with special emphasis on protecting the head, neck and back areas. RYCA Cheerleading Safety & Stunting Procedures (Revised 2003) Page 9 SUSPENDED ROLL – involved head-over-heels rotation with the top person having both hands in a continuous hand-to-hand/arm contact with the bases. SUSPENDED SPLITS – a top person who is in a split position suspended between two bases. STUNT – any tumbling skill, mounts, or pyramid. SWAN DIVE – an aerial stunt in which the top person is in a prone (face down) position as she comes off the base and is cradled in a prone position (ILLEGAL). SWEDISH ROLL – a stunt in which the flyer is in a prone (face down) position. She supports herself on locked arms on a post’s shoulders. Bases then lift her hips and legs until she is in a prone position (head may not be below the waist). The flyer then raises one leg higher. SWEEP – a controlled pushing motion forward by a base(s) to release the top person to a cradle catch. TENSION DROP – a pyramid/mount in which the bases(s) and top(s) lean in formation until the top leaves the base without assistance (ILLEGAL). TOE PITCH FLIP – a flip in which the top person places her foot in the hands of a base who then tosses that foot upward thereby assisting the top person in executing a flip (ILLEGAL). TOSS/PITCH – is a throwing motion by the base(s) to increase the height of the top person with the top person becoming free of contact with the base(s) (ILLEGAL). TOTEM POLE – a multi-base stunt which creates a tiered appearance by connecting stunts of increasing height, one behind the other. TRANSITIONAL STUNTS – involves a top person moving from one stunt to another. TUMBLING – includes rolls, cartwheels, handstands, walkovers, handsprings, etc. TWIST – is an aerial stunt involving rotation perpendicular to the performing surface (ILLEGAL). TWO HIGH PYRAMID/MOUNT – all individuals in the pyramid/mount who are not in contact with the cheering surface must be primarily supported by one or more individuals who are in direct weight-bearing contact with the performing surface. VAULT – a stunt in which the hands of the top person are used to assist in clearing a base or bases. (ILLEGAL).