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Meet the Teams

The Cheerleader's Dictionary

Now with photos, to help you visualize all the moves.

AACCA The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. The group responsible for setting rules and promoting safety.
All-Girl A division of cheerleading where teams are composed solely of women.
All-Star A type of cheerleading based around gyms rather than schools and focused on competition rather than supporting an athletic team.
Arabesque A stunt in which a flyer, held in the air, extends one leg directly behind her, lowering her chest parallel to the floor.
Awesome A stunt in which a base holds both of a flyer’s feet in one hand.
Base A cheerleader, male or female, who lifts and holds flyers in the air.
Basket Toss A cheerleading move where a flyer is thrown high in the air by a group of bases and caught in the cradle of their arms.
Bid video A recording created by college teams to secure an invitation to Nationals. Done in lieu of regional or qualifying competitions.
Bloomers Opaque underpants with heavy duty elastic so that it does not budge while performing.
Boring A cheerleader who does not perform with energy. Characterized by a blank facial expression and a lack of style.
Build To climb and hoist to create a pyramid or stunt.
Castle, the

The stage at NCA College Nationals, which has a medieval facade.

Catch-On A dance where a leader begins a movement, the rest of the dancers or crowd repeating it. Common on Southern University campus.
Clean A cheerleading move performed with absolute precision.
Cleat chaser A girl who goes after football players, baseball players, and other athletes. Used in a derogatory manner.
Coed A division of cheerleading where men and women compete together.
Cowboy To open your knees when you do a Back Tuck to the point where a horse could fit between them.
Cradle An interlocking of arms that allows a safe place for a flyer to be caught after a basket toss or stunt.
Double Down A difficult dismount from a stunt in which a flyer twists two times before being caught in a cradle between her base and a spotter.
Drop When a base, or group of bases, fails to catch a flyer and she falls to the ground. Generally comes with a stiff punishment. See also, Eat Mat.
Eat Mat A severe drop where bases allow their flyer to fall face first to the ground or mat. Generally comes with a stiff punishment. See also, Drop.
Elevator A stunt in which two bases lift a flyer, each gripping one of her feet between two hands held at chest-height.
Extension A Stunt in which a base lifts a flyer, holding a foot in each hand and fully extending their arms.
Facials Winks, head bobs, open mouths, dropped jaws, surprised looks, and other expressions which can be seen from the back row of an arena.
Flyer A female cheerleader who is lifted into stunts and pyramids and thrown in basket tosses. Will generally be very small.

An elite tumbling move where a cheerleader flips while doing a full twist.


Headcase A cheerleader who constantly over-thinks a move to the point where they can’t make their body do it. See also, Mental.
Heel Stretch

A stunt in which a flyer, held in the air, kicks a leg straight up and holds it in place.



A stunt where three women, held off the ground, grip hands and are tossed high, spinning like a horizontal propeller.


Herkie A jump where a cheerleader reaches one leg forward and bends one back behind him or her. Also, the nickname of Lawrence Herkimer, one of the founding fathers of modern cheerleading.
High V A basic cheerleading position where the arms are held overhead and separated.
Hit To perform a cheerleading routine perfectly, where no stunts, pyramids, tumbling, or basket tosses falls. See also, Nail.
LCLM An acronym, like a fraternity’s letters, that symbolizes Stephen F. Austin cheerleader’s bond. Exact meaning unknown.

A stunt in which a flyer, held in the air, lifts one knee and places her hands above her head in a high V. Possibly named because from afar, it looks like the Statue of Liberty holding a torch.

Little Girl Syndrome A condition whereby a small flyer relies on her base to do all the work in a stunt and doesn’t jump hard or squeeze tight to get and keep herself in the air. Often abbreviated, LGS.
Load in When a cheerleader steps onto her bases’ arms and steadies herself before a basket toss.
Make the Castle Southern cheerleaders’ terminology for making to the Finals at NCA Nationals.
Mat The safety surface, generally 42x54 feet of blue foam, on which cheerleading is performed.
Mat Room Talk  A cheerleading version of a “Come to Jesus” meeting. Common among SFA cheerleaders.
Mental A condition where a cheerleader has over-thought a move to the point where he or she can’t make their body do perform the move. See also, Headcase.
Middle Layer The flyer, or group of flyers, who are in the middle row of a pyramid.
Nationals The showdown of teams from across the country that cheerleaders look forward to all year. Term is slightly deceiving because many cheerleading organizations hold their own Nationals annually. See also, NCA and UCA.
NCA The National Cheerleaders Association, the original cheerleading organization founded by Lawrence Herkimer.
NCAA The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Does not currently oversee cheerleading.
Oldhead An alumni of Southern University cheer who still spends a considerable amount of time watching the team and advising the current members.
One Man

Also called a One-Man Walk-In. A stunt where a single base boosts a flyer overhead. A hallmark of the Memphis All-Girl squad.

Pom-poms A ball of colored nylon, paper, or other material held by cheerleaders during sporting events.
Pyramid A cheerleading formation created by stacking bodies vertically, often by one person climbing or being thrown on top of others.

A difficult stunt where a flyer does a back flip as her base or bases hoist her into the air and catch her feet.


Ringchaser A cheerleader who switches colleges often in hopes of winning a National Championship ring. Usually used in a derogatory manner.
Scorpion A stunt where a flyer, held in the air, brings a leg behind her and reaches back overhead to grab her foot, creating a circular body line.
Sharp Cheerleading moves performed with absolute precision.
Shoulder Stand A stunt where a flyer climbs or is tossed onto their base’s shoulders.
Spotter A cheerleader who stands in the most effective place to prevent injuries.
Standing Back Tuck A tumbling move where a cheerleader bounds from standing into a back flip.
Stunt One of the basic building blocks of a cheerleading routine where a base or group of bases lift or toss a flyer overhead to perform tricks in the air.
Stunt Group In All-Girl cheerleading, a flyer plus three bases (a main base, a side base, and a back spotter) who perform stunts together.
Stunt Partner A flyer and base pair who stunt together, often entering individual competitions.
Squeeze What a flyer must do to make stabilize herself in the air.
Superman A stunt where a base stands with his legs apart and brings his flyer between them before throwing her overhead. Name derived because the flyer’s body is held parallel to the ground, resembling Superman in flight.

A stunt where a cheerleader, held overhead, quickly switches legs, her base catching the new foot to keep her in the air.

Tight What a flyer must be in order to remain tossable and liftable. Attained by squeezing all muscles. See also, Squeeze.
Toe Touch

A jump where a cheerleader swings their legs in a split, touching their toes in the air.


Toeing When a flyer points her toes during a stunt, shifting her weight-line and making the stunt hard to hold.
Top Flyer The flyer who is the point on a pyramid. Often the lightest member of a squad.
Toss When a base grips the waist of his or her flyer and throws them upwards as the flyer jumps. Often added in front of a stunt’s name—so Toss Awesome, Toss Liberty, etc.
Tuck Check Like walking a straight line or touching their nose, a test to make sure a cheerleader is not too inebriated.
Tumbler A cheerleader who specializes in gymnastics passes.
Tunnel, the Before performing at UCA Nationals, teams line up backstage in a narrow corridor of curtains.
Two-a-days Intense training where two practices are held in one day. Term adopted from football.
UCA The Universal Cheerleaders Association. Founded by Jeff Webb, it was the first organization to hold a national competition.
1-1-1 A pyramid where a middle layer stands on a single bases shoulders, and a top flyer is tossed to standing on her knee.
2-1-1 A pyramid with two bases on the bottom, one person in the middle, and one on top. Forms an Eiffel Tower shape.
2-2-1 A pyramid where two Shoulder Stands are side-by-side. A top flyer is tossed through the center and held in place.
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