The cheerleading scorpion is amongst the more challenging flexibility feats in a cheerleader's repertoire. Perhaps more basic than the bow and arrow, the scorpion depends heavily upon lithe limbs and good balance.
Cheerleading Scorpion Basics
To launch quickly, smoothly and effectively into a scorpion you will need to extend your back leg and grasp the toe of one foot with your hand, pulling this portion of your foot towards the back of your head. Ultra-flexible types will accomplish a cleaner-looking scorpion by moving the ball of the foot closer to the top of the head.
YouTube videos can be extremely helpful for determining how best to transition into this stunt. You can see the scorpion in all its elevated glory by accessing this video. Remember, the main goal of any scorpion is to be exhibited in an elevated position. As always, it is very important for a flyer to be proficient in her flexibility stunts before she moves to the lift stage. There are countless videos displaying hardworking cheerleaders who log their attempts at a decent scorpion.
A Focus on Flexibility
The cheerleading scorpion requires excellent flexibility, particularly in the legs and lower back. Some cheerleaders and dancers are born with top-notch muscle elasticity, but the majority of dedicated cheerleaders will have to engage in a daily stretching regimen in order to build up to the cheerleading scorpion.
Heel stretches are the foundation of stunts like the scorpion and bow and arrow. However, heel stretches are not as effective for the lower back and hip muscles. There is a yoga stretch, aptly entitled the "Scorpion Stretch" that can aid the hip flexor muscles. However, you can achieve a more flexible lower back by doing mat exercises and a variety of stretching routines. Ideally, an individual begins her cheerleading career at a younger age when muscles are more pliable. Those who develop an interest in cheerleading post-childhood will need to maintain their stretching routine and build into stunts like the scorpion slowly. The keyword "slowly" cannot be stressed enough as many of these gymnastic feats result in severe muscle strains and torn ligaments in individuals who are poorly trained.
A "stunt strap" can be used to promote cleaner heel stretches and control the gradation of the stretch. This YouTube video demonstrates how to use a stunt strap in order to promote a smoother transition into your scorpion. The stunt straps are also called kinetic bands and can be found online at Myosource.com as well as a variety of cheerleading retailers. For cheerleaders who are very serious about improving their strength, balance, and flexibility, a stunt strap is an indispensable tool.
The Importance of Proper Instruction
Stunts such as the cheerleading scorpion are often initially attempted by cheerleaders in their own homes. Perhaps they viewed this stunt when executed by their more experienced peers. Nothing can stop an avid athlete from attempting the cheerleading scorpion on her own. However, many cheerleaders learn these complicated maneuvers while attending cheer camps. The advantage of learning your cheerleading scorpion during a camp experience is that you are instructed in a safe environment by professional coaches. These trained individuals can teach you the little hints and tricks regarding proper execution. This is extremely important for flyers attempting an elevated scorpion. During a reliable camp experience, hours are dedicated to the execution of a single stunt, such that cheerleaders are made aware of the proper scorpion transition as well as common errors that can lead to injury.
Watching scorpion videos on YouTube can be helpful in streamlining your learning process, but it is not the same as acquiring proper tutelage. Bad or absent coaching can, and usually will, eventually lead to injury. It is very important that stunts such as the cheerleading scorpion be learned and practiced in safety-conscious environments.