How Cheerleaders Can Perfect Their Toe Touches
In cheerleading, a toe touch is a basic jump that all cheerleaders learn. It is probably one of the most popular jumps. It is incorporated into most routines, so it is important to learn and master the skill as outlined in a few simple steps below. It takes a lot of practice.
Some say that you must practice something for 10,000 hours or six to eight years before you master a skill. There is no consensus on this, but all agree that repetition is how you succeed at most anything.
Before starting cheerleading practice or performing any jump you need to stretch. If you forget to stretch, you are putting yourself at risk for torn ligaments and pulled muscles. You want to make sure your muscles are warmed up before you get started.
Any easy way to start a good leg stretch is to sit on the ground in a straddle position and slowly crawl your hands towards your toes. Go slow. Hold the stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Practice Leg Lifts
Do three sets of leg lifts. To do this, sit in a straddle on the floor, hands are behind you for support (hands should be on the floor, under or near your tailbone), slightly lean back and lift both legs about a foot off the floor, keep your legs straight, without your legs touching the floor, count to 10, then release for a breather and repeat. Do a total of three sets. Leg lifts are hard but it will strengthen your legs and improve the height of your jumps.
Side High Kicks
After leg lifts, do side high kicks. For proper form, have your arms in a T motion, alternate legs. Start with the right leg, kick up to your hand five times. Take a five-second breather, then switch to left leg. Do the left side five times.
Throw Your Toe Touch
Get ready to jump for your toe touch. Get into position with your feet and legs together, bend your knees, keep your back straight. You will need to concentrate on using the muscles in your legs. Begin by bending at your knees while keeping your hands clasped together. From the bent-knee position, move onto the balls of your feet and lock out your legs while bringing hands into a high “V” position. Your position on the balls of your feet will serve as the springboard for the jump. Throw your toe touch, count 5-6-7-8, throw another, then repeat.
Drill Tips for Each Part of Your Body
- Arms: When you are in your toe touch position, do not reach for your legs. Your arms should be in a “T.” Bring your legs to your arms, not arms to your legs.
- Legs: Keep your legs straight. Bent knees make a toe touch look sloppy.
- Toes: Point your toes, and when landing, make sure your feet are together.
- Back: Once in the air, the easiest way to get higher jumps is to keep your back straight and avoid reaching towards your toes.
- Face: Don’t forget to smile.