Spread Eagle Jump
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Also known as X Jumps and Star Jumps!

spread eagle cheerleading jump
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Strong motions make for great cheer jumps!

These are popular jumps for cheerleaders who are just starting out. If you have a beginner cheerleader, the spread eagle is an important jump to learn before progressing on to harder skills, like the toe touch.

A great spread eagle cheer jump has these 4 things:

  • Height
  • Sharp motions
  • Straight legs
  • Clean landing

Let’s talk about how to do the Spread Eagle Jump, then how to be sure you have all 4 things down pat.

Progression: know these first: pencil jump, tuck jump.

Jump “Whip” Approach: Hit a high V feet together on count 1. As you swing your arms across your face, crossing in front of your knees, while taking a big dip with your legs on count 2. Then, spring into the air,  lifting your arms into a high V during the jump on count 3. You’ll land with your knees bent, and hands clean by your side on count 4.

Spread Eagle position: To hit your spread eagle jump on count 3, you’ll need to create an “X” in the air, but extending both legs out straight in a straddle position, shoelaces forward. Usually, arms hit a high V at the same time, to complete the “X” shape.

1. Height – To get height for your spread eagle cheer jumps, you’ll need a good approach. It’s important to practice your approach so that it becomes second nature. Each time you practice, concentrate on using your legs to jump as high as you can….try to stay in the air for 2 counts, instead of just 1!

2. Sharp motions – As you get used to your jump approach, it’s important to keep arms stiff, and not let them “bounce” while you’re working on your jumps. Hit a sharp motion in the air, just like you would on the ground. It’s important that your legs snap up and snap down sharply and crisp.

3. Straight legs  – in the spread eagle jump, you lift off the ground with pointed toes, and legs stay straight as you hit the straddle “spread eagle” jump position. Keep legs straight while snapping them back together for your landing.

4. Clean landing – a clean landing has feet together, landing toes first, then heels. continue to absorb the landing by bending at the knees and holding that bent knee position for 2 counts before standing back up to ready position.

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8 Most Common Cheer Jump Mistakes
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Mistakes to avoid in cheerleading jumps
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Can you spot the DONT's in this jump?

Are you making one of the 8 mistakes most common in cheerleading jumps?

Don’t practice bad habits! Coaches, watch out for these cheer jump DONT’s at your squad’s practices:

1.) DON’T start with your feet apart- Start feet together for the most power and lift off the floor (feet together is also clean when you perform jumps as a squad).

2.) DON’T double prep – Tendencies to “double-bounce” or add and extra bend of the knees before taking the big dip is a big no-no. You’re cutting off momentum, wasting energy, and worst of all – you won’t match the rest of your squad’s timing.

3.) DON’T flex your feet – Keep toes pointed! (It’s every cheer judge’s pet peeve to see flexed feet!) Don’t be the one.

4.) DON’T drop your chest – Dropped chest = low jumps. Don’t cut yourself short, keep chests up in jumps and show off that smile (and good form) to the crowd.

5.) Toe Touch? DON’T actually touch your toes – Reaching down to your toes brings your chest down and makes your jumps low. Practice good technique, and work your flexibility up to hyper-extended toe touches, and kick your legs behind your arms for that “WOW!” factor.

7.) DON’T bend your legs on the way down – You’ll need to snap your legs and feet together for the best landings. Bent legs on the way down looks like you only concentrated on the first half of the jump, then left the rest to gravity. Snap legs up, and snap them down to keep it clean!

8.) DON’T land stiff – Always land with your feet together, with bent knees to absorb your landings. Do this EVERY time to save your joints from pain and injury.

Last but not least….don’t forget about good motion technique while performing your jumps. Be sure your arm motions are just as sharp and snappy as your cheerleading jumps!

 

 

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