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Cheer & Dance Terms ... explained!

We realise that the world of cheer is ALOT for those starting out.  There are new terms to understand, systems to work out and schedules to manage.  


It can all get a little daunting!  


So we have pulled together some of the basics for you to help guide you along the way.  

We hope this helps navigate the landscape for you a little more easily.  And if you have any questions, we're always here to answer them.

Cheer Age Groups

There are 7 main age groups referred to in cheerleading.  


For each age group we refer to the age the athlete is turning that calendar year.  


So whilst they might not quite be say 8 yet, if they are turning 8 in the year of registration, they are included in that age group still.

Tiny:  3- 6 years of age 

Mini:  4 - 8 years of age  

Youth:  5- 12 years of age  

Junior:  7-15 years of age 

Senior:  10 - 18 years of age 

Open:  14 years of age & older

Adult Non-Tumble:  18 years or older

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Dance Age Groups

There are 7 main age groups referred to in dance.  


For each age group we refer to the age the athlete is turning that calendar year.  


So whilst they might not quite be say 8 yet, if they are turning 8 in the year of registration, they are included in that age group still.

Tiny:  4- 6 years of age 

Mini:  5 - 9 years of age  

Youth:  7- 12 years of age  

Junior:  9-15 years of age 

Senior:  11 - 18 years of age 

Open:  14 years of age & older

Adult:  18 years or older

Cheer Divisions

In addition to age groups, cheerleading has numerous divisions / levels with skill requirements that need to be met.  Each level focuses on developing essential skills to level up to the next division.


No prior skill requirement

Level 1 (Novice):

  • Forward Roll

  • Straddle Roll

  • Backwards Roll

  • Handstand

  • Cartwheel

  • Bridge

  • Bridge Kickover

Level 1 Elite:

  • Back Walkover

  • Front Walkover

  • Round Off

Level 2:

  • Standing Back Handspring

  • Front Handspring

  • Cartwheel - Back Handspring

  • Round Off - Back Handspring

  • Back Walkover - Back Handspring

  • Backwards Roll - Back Handspring

  • Round Off - Back Handspring 

  • Front Walkover - Round Off - Back Handspring

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Level 3:

  • Standing Back Handspring Series

  • Jump Back Handspring Series

  • Aerial

  • Punch Front

  • Round Off Tuck

  • Back Handspring - Jump Back Handspring

  • Round Off - Back Handspring - Tuck

  • Front Walkover - Round Off - Back Handspring Series to Tuck

Level 4:

  • Standing Tuck

  • Standing Series to Tuck

  • Jump Series to Tuck

  • Cartwheel Back Tuck

  • Round Off - Layout

  • Round Off - Back Handspring -Layout

  • Front Handspring - Punch Front

Level 5:

  • Jump Tuck

  • Round Off - Full Twist

  • Round Off - Back Handspring - Full Twist

  • Standing back Handspring to Layout

Cheer Terms

There are MANY words in the world of cheerleading, many with completely different meanings than that of the world as you currently know it.  To help guide yourself and your children through this new world of cheer, here are some terms and their meanings to help you along the way...


A cartwheel or walkover without hands touching the ground or floor.​


The athlete stands on one leg and lifts the other behind them as high as they can.  

Back Spot:

Stunt position in the back of the stunt group responsible for maintaining contact with the flyers angels and calling the counts for the stunt.


The athletes that hold the flyer in the air during stunts.  They must be in direct contact with the performance surface at all times.

Basket Toss:

Stunt where 3-4 bases toss a flyer into the air.  2 bases use their hands to interlock wrists. 

Bow & Arrow:

The flyer grabs her foot with the opposite hand and pulls her leg up into a vertical split. The free arm is then stretched horizontally past the extended leg to create the arrow.



A foundation tumbling skill where the hands and feet maintain contact with the ground while the belly button extends towards the ceiling.


Foundation tumbling skill where athlete moves sideways in a straight line alternately placing hands and feet on the ground and finishing with the body in a lunge landing position,


The beginning position – feet together, hands down by the side, fingers together with thumbs tucked in.


When bases catch a flyer after tossing them in the air, the flyer lands in the arms of the bases who support them by wrapped their arms under the flyers back and thighs.


This is a foundational stunt where 2 bases and a backspot hold the flyer at shoulder level on both feet.


The flyer stands with their foot or feet in the hands of their bases who’s arms are extended fully above their heads.


The person that is in the air during a stunt. Flyers must stay tight throughout the entire stunt and control their own weight by squeezing everything from their thighs to their shoulders.

Front Spot:

Stunt position that provides additional support in the front of the stunt by grabbing the flyers shins or the bases wrists.   

Full Out:

In class, stunts, pyramids, jumps, tumbling and dance are focused on individually. In a full out, athletes put their entire routine together and focus on executing it in full with 100% energy.



A front or back tumbling skill where an athlete takes off from one or two feet, jumps onto their hands and lands on their feet.  



Control skill where athlete supports the body on both hands with arms straight and body vertical.

High V:

A motion where both arms are extended up forming a V. Arms are out straight, on a 45 degree angle from their head.


Hitting a skill means an athlete has executed a skill with great technique. When a stunt hits it means the entire group has worked together to successfully execute the stunt. 

Hitting Zero:

All stunts, tumbling, jumps, dance in the performance of a routine have been executed without any deductions from the judging panel. In other words “HIT ZERO” means ZERO deductions in a routine.


Flyer is tossed in a prove position and rotates on the horizontal axis before being caught again, resembling the blades of a helicopter.


Body position in stunting where a flyer stands on one leg while the other leg is bent and connects to another stunt group.


Any stunt where the flyers feet are higher than their head.


A rotating skill in which the athletes body is stays completely straight ​(not bent at hips or legs) for the duration of the skill.

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The flyer balances weight on one straight leg. The flyer’s other leg is bent with the foot positioned at the knee level. The name of this body position is often shortened to ‘Lib’.


Athlete body position used in jumps with the body bent forward at the waist with legs kept straight.

Punch Front:

A front flip wth take off from two feet.  


Two or more connected stunts

Round Off:

Similar to a cartwheel, but with both feet landing at the same time.  

Running Tumble:

Tumbling that involves a forward step or a hurdle to gain momentum as an entry to a tumbling skill


Stunt body position where the flyer grabs one leg with one hand and pulls it up behind them at an angle.  The leg should stay straight and the stunt group should face the side.


Athlete who stays in contact with the performing surface whose primary responsibility is to prevent injuries by protecting the head, neck, back and shoulder areas of a flyer during a stunt, pyramid or toss.

Standing Tumbling:

Tumbling skill performed from a standing position without any previous forward momentum.

Teddy Bear:

Stunt in which the flyer is held in a straddle at shoulder level.

Tic Toc

The flyer switches feet in a stunt.


A tight body position.  Not simply staring or extended, but taught,  Muscles are squeezed and positions are held rigid to assist body moving together.

Toe Touch:

A jump where the athlete brings both legs up to their outwardly extended hands (in a T-shape) and snaps their legs down with as much force as they came up with.


Athlete bends knees and hips, drawing knees into the chest with hands holding the knees.  


An acrobatic skill where the athlete turns shoulder first from head to toes.  


Athlete moves from a standing position through a handstand position to a standing a position while "walking" through the air with their feet. 

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