There are a few basic cheerleading motions that nearly all cheerleaders use, whether they cheer for their school squad or do competitive cheer. You can learn new routines more quickly and easily if you know each motion. It is important to perform the motion correctly during performances in order for the entire squad to appear uniform and sharp.
Basic Cheerleading Motions
Cheerleaders learn and use a few motions right from the beginning. Throughout your cheer career, you will still use these basic motions over and over again.
There is a basic starting position for almost every routine. Both hands are in fists and resting just below the hips, feet shoulder width apart. You should keep your elbows straight out to the sides and not pointed forward.
In spite of the fact that a cheerleader may appear to be clapping, she is most likely clasping her hands together. The cheerleader uses this technique to create a sharp look for the routine and make the clapping more dramatic.
The arms should be straight out to the sides at shoulder height, and the hands should be turned in such a way that the thumbs face forward and the pinkies face backwards. Hands are tightly fisted. The feet are usually together, but this can vary depending on the routine.
Raise both arms so that your fists rest on your chest at shoulder height to create a broken T motion. You should place your thumb toward the back of your hand, closest to your body, and your pinky finger toward the front of your hand, facing outwards. Keep your elbows raised and do not drop them.
Your fists should be close to your body for a tight, sharp movement.
Intermediate Motions for Cheerleaders
You can perform a touchdown motion by straightening your arms and bringing them up on either side of your ears. A fist is made with the pinky finger forward. There is a connection between the feet. The low touchdown is also a motion.
Straighten your arms and bring them straight down so they are on either side of your thighs to perform a low touchdown. In a low touchdown, the thumbs point forward.
It can be done as a high V or a low V. Start with your legs shoulder width apart. When performing a high V motion, the arms should be straight up and out from the head by about 45 degrees. You’ll be very close to a perfect high V if the arms are about the same width as the legs.
If your thumbs are facing forward, you’ll be very close to a perfect high V. If you want to do a low V, reverse the motion and move your arms 45 degrees from your legs.
Right and Left Punch
The alternating motion of one hand on the hip and the other punching up can be confusing for very young or new cheerleaders. Nevertheless, if you stick with cheerleading, you’ll learn this motion fairly early on. Using your left hand, place your elbow straight out to your side while performing a right punch as shown above.
Straighten out your right arm and place it beside your ear. Put your right hand on your hip and your left arm straight up in the air when performing a left punch.
You should be able to perform this cheer motion by imagining that your arms are forming the letter “L.” To be an advanced cheerleader, the cheerleader above needs to move her arms into better position, even though she has the right idea with her right arm straight to the side and her left arm up.
Put your right arm straight out to the side at shoulder height (the cheerleader above needs to raise her arm a bit). The thumb should be facing forward. The cheerleader above needs to straighten her left arm and bring it closer to her head.
Left L is performed by putting the left arm straight out to the side and the right arm straight up next to your head.
Right and Left K
It takes a lot of practice and coordination to perform the K correctly, especially when you are trying to remember multiple moves while performing a routine. In performing a right K, the right leg is to the side in a partial lunge and the left leg faces forward with your toes pointed forward as well.
Straighten the right arm and place it at a 45 degree angle away from the head. As a general rule, if your feet are shoulder width apart, then the width of your arm will match the width of the outside of your right foot.
Left arm is lowered and crossed over chest to right side. When performing a left K, place the left arm up and the right arm across the body.
Putting it All Together
You should practice each cheerleading motion until you are able to perform it without thinking. Make sure your moves are sharp and snappy. After you have perfected the positions, create drills in which you move from a ready position to a high V to a low V, and then from a right K to a left K to an L motion.
You’ll soon find that these moves are almost automatic with practice.