Too Big to Fly

I was recently in the warm up area of a competition.  The large room was filled with mats and those mats were filled with teams.  My team was stretching out and I had a moment to observe other teams on the floors.  Just then, one high school team marched right past me in a single file line.  It was either the bright red uniforms (I like bright colors) or the military-like precision of their movements that initially caught me attention.  But something else about this team captivated me.  Every girl who walked past our team seemed to be almost the exact same size. 

I caught myself trying to find “the little” girls in the back of the line.  Nope.  Every one of them looked like fit and healthy bases.  Each girl was between 5″6 and 5″10.  I’d guess they all weighed around 120 pounds, give or take 10 pounds.  After stretching (because a proper warm up is very important), the red team formed up into stunt groups.  The tallest of the girls lined up as back spots.  All 4 flyers appeared to be as tall as or taller than their bases.  Again, they looked fit and healthy, but anything BUT “stick figures.”

The red team has such a professional and serious approach to everything I had observed to this point (including walking into the room), so my expectations were relatively high for their skills.  But I was not expecting what I saw.  Squad Full-Up Liberties.  I think my jaw dropped a little.  Double Downs.  Not the one’s where the flyer lands sort of on her side and the bases have to “bounce” her the rest of the way.  These were full 720 degree rotations with room for the flyers to catch their bases shoulders in the cradles.  But they weren’t finished.  Reload to Crunch.  Full Up (from the Crunch!) to Heel Stretch.  Then they pulled Bow and Arrows.  By the way, there were no front spots on the stunts.

OK, you kind of had to be there to appreciate how much this team stood out.  This was not an all star team.  It was a high school.  The bases were not 200 pound guys, or even 160 pound girls.  They looked like average, athletic girls.  The smallest flyer looked 20 pounds heavier than almost every other girl in the air.  In fact, they looked heavier than some of the girls that were basing them.

By the way, this amazing red team went on the throw beautiful high basket tosses, an extensive pyramid sequence that was poetry in motion and ended the routine with 5 Single-Base Extensions.  No, not 4, like in their main stunt.  They did 5 stunts using 15 girls and the other 5 girls threw standing tucks.

Watching this team execute their skills, it would be easy to write them off as a fluke.  They are that rare “perfect” team that was somehow blessed with flawless technique.  However, this would be lazy.  If you’ve been around cheerleading long enough, you might just remember that this used to be the norm.  OK, maybe not the difficulty.  That has gone up exponentially.  I’m talking about the fact that flyers were not always freakishly small.  Somewhere along the line, we stopped putting “normal” sized girls in the air.  Somewhere along the line, instead of insisting on perfect technique, we started recruiting 8th graders in the hallways for varsity flying spots.  And over time, we have formed a mindset among coaches and cheerleaders alike that an otherwise athletic girl can be too big to fly.  We need to rethink that mindset!

It really is all about technique.  Think about a handstand.  If a 120 pound girl can hold her own body weight (comfortably) in a handstand, then she should be able to hold 120 pound flyer (comfortably) in an extended stunt.  And that is by herself.  For a Double-Base stunt, weight should not be a factor at all.  The key is to use good conditioning and to reinforce proper technique.

Speaking of conditioning, how many kids on your cheerleading team are unable to do a correct push up?  I’m serious.  I bet there are several.  Maybe even a lot.  Hey, I coached a varsity team recently where maybe 4 out of 20 kids could do a push up.  It happens.  It shouldn’t, but it does.  We need to fix this.  We need our cheerleaders to have at least enough upper body and core strength to do a push up, instead of going out looking for smaller and smaller flyers.

And speaking of technique, it comes from consistency.  It also comes from NOT giving up on a girl who has flown all through middle school and suddenly hit puberty and started growing.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are times when a flyer just isn’t working out and she needs to be reassigned to a different role.  However, an experienced and talented flyer doesn’t forget how to fly just because she turned 15 (or 14, or 13).

What has happened is we have been eroding our base of good flyers (that was a pun, by the way) by pulling the smallest and youngest kids off of their youth or JV team and putting them on the junior, senior and Varsity teams.  That means the flyers have never had to learn to be tight and hold themselves correctly because they’ve always just been muscled around by older bases.  It means bases have never had to learn correct technique because they’ve had Barbie Doll sized girls to stunt with.  Bases also have not been developing strength like they would with normal-sized flyers.  Over the years, even though difficulty has increased, technique has been getting worse.

Personally, I am tired of seeing sloppy “elite” stunts.  I am tired of seeing 8th graders flying on 12th grade bases.  I am REALLY sick of seeing the same 6th grade flyer in the same all star gym’s Youth, Junior, Senior and Senior Coed routines.  But what I am especially sick of, and what I think is at the root of the problem, is the notion that someone is too big to fly.

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54 Comments on “Too Big to Fly”


  1. There need to be a “like” button. lol


  2. oh, there is, just found it lol

  3. Mina Tzenova Says:

    Great article! And I like how you changed your site’s background and header! Related to this, and from reading your “Age Appropriate” article, I was at a competition this weekend and my teammates and I all grunted in disgust when a senior team walked on with what was seemingly a baby – probably an 8 or 9 year old little girl at the front, while every single other girl was in her teens…it was strange to watch and seemed very out of place.


    • Mina, thanks for the great comment. That is an issue I didn’t even mention in my artilce; fairness to other teams. Hopefully the judges appropriately down graded that other team’s difficulty for having such a little flyer. I actually feel bad for that little girl. She is likely to never learn how to be tight and squeeze in her stunts because she will not have to with such older bases.

  4. Romeo Says:

    The article was a great read! Thanks! I agree with you 100%. It’s not the flyers fault that she is growing. If she was taught proper tech at a younger age she wouldn’t have a problem now. I will say the I believe the problem goes a little deeper. I remember a blog that you wrote a while back about something like “winning is great but at what cost?” Remember? Well, I think its really the coaches fault! They should know better! Do your job as a coach and COACH! Don’t find an easy way out! The athletes are the ones that get hurt in the end!


  5. I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVE this. As a 5’6″, 118lb flyer, I couldnt agree with you more. I feel so often that bases and flyers both become too dependant on their size, and let technique fall by the wayside. Instead of stepping up and focusing on the technique, bases complain that a flyer is too big or feels too heavy, and flyers assume that becuase they are small and fit, they dont have to do any work. And as Romeo suggests, so many coaches are guilty, too! Everyone needs to be fit for their roles, and properly trained. Safety should be the main consideration when putting together stunts, not how small someone looks.


  6. […] recently read an article entitled “Too Big To Fly”, on the blog Cheerleading Daily. It’s a great blog, with some really thought provoking opinion […]

  7. Anna Says:

    I weigh 170 lbs. I have the best shapes in the squad but I don’t get to fly. I’ve been put in the air like 2 or 3 times and I have heard that I’m really tight. Weighing 170 lbs, I KNOW I’m too heavy to fly. It breaks my heart because all the flyers in the team are tiny! 😦

  8. Kayla Says:

    I completely agree. I used to be on a team where the flyers were around the same size as the bases. Even I was a flyer and I weigh 117 although I prereferred to base (less pressure!) Our stunts were very difficult and hit solid 99% of the time. Now I’m at a gym where they won’t put up any of the talented, athletic girls (who at the most weigh 100 lbs) because “they’re too big”. Instead the coaches are pulling 70 pound girls off of other teams to come fly. These flyers have no technique and the bases throw them around like rag dolls. Our stunts look very loose and often fall. I want to base a big flyer who deserves her spot!

  9. Julia Says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve wanted to fly for years. But being 5’7 I’m “Too Tall” to fly. I weigh 115lbs. and have a size 7 shoe size. I have all of my pulls (my heel stretch is better than most of the little girls) and have opposite leg libs. I’ve never been put in the air. I watched my friends who are 5 ft. 100lbs. up in the air with bad pulls, not being tight at all and not pushing off. But thanks to you I’m going to talk to my coach. I want to fly and I would hold my own weight and push off and be the tightest flyer on the team. I would be the happiest person in the air. This article has given me the strength that was taken from me by tiny people and you’ve given it back. Thank you so much for this, and to any other tall cheerleader wanting to fly out there,
    You show them your just as good if not better!


    • Thank you so much for leaving your comment. I am so glad to hear that you feel empowered and motivated. I admire you for your decision to speak to your coach. Please, remember to do so at the appropriate time and in a respectful manner. As a coach, I am always appreciative of my athletes who want to communicate their ideas and opinions. I am extra appreciative when they do so before or after practice or during a break. Good luck and have a great year!

    • Ellen Says:

      I can really relate to this post, because I’ve experienced both ends of it. Last year was my first year of highschool, and my second year flying. I weighed 95 pounds soaking wet and I was 5’4. Then, at the end of the season I had a growth spurt and gained ten pounds. I also built a ton of muscle and have better technique in the air than I ever have. My coach keeps commenting on how heavy I’m getting. After reading this, I wanna have a little chat with her and remind her that puberty and growing is normal, and that I’m healthy and strong, and that if I feel heavy in the air, it might not be all my fault and my stunt group might need to just bulk up.

  10. Peyton Says:

    I totally agree with the article, but next time you watch that Sr. Coed team hit the floor and there’s a small flyer, your thinking 8-9 you think there cheating -stop and make sure she is… I am 4’6 and I am just small, so please be kind 🙂


    • Thanks for posting a comment. I am sire you have the consistent technique and maturity of an experienced flyer. Not that a young flyer can’t be poised in the air. But age appropriate flyers, like yourself, stand out.

  11. sarah Says:

    i totally agree with you! i am 5’4″ and 107 lbs. and have been a flyer since i was 5, and am very flexible and always tight, and now im 13 and on a level 4 team and they say i’m “too big to fly.” and my team has little 6-10 year old flyers, some that have never even been flyers before.

  12. cheerleader for life Says:

    This is so true there is a girl on our squad that is suposidly a ‘level 4 base’ she is in a stunt group with a 10 year old flyer and she is about 15 but don’t get me wrong this 10 year old flyer has been a gymnast at a really good gymnastics school since she was 4 so she joined our cheerleading squad when she was 8 and took to cheerleading like a duck to water, she was imediatly a flyer on juniors back when we were level 1 so I think she does deserve to fly and she is at junior level, also she is one of the best tumblers, she is light but not as light at she looks proberbly because she is so strong. So this 15 year old girl bases with an experienced back spot and an experienced main base and they do level 3 stunts well and some level 4 stunt well.

    However I am flying in a level 2 stunt group with her basing and you’d think a level 4 base should find level 2 stunts a peie of cake right? Well she lifts me reasionaly well, the other flyer is 13 nut rea;;y heavy because she is a gymnast and our best tumbler so she is incredibly strong (also this 13 year old can base better than the 15 year old I’m 17 but I’m small for my age and quite naturally petite framed but I’m the same height an build as the 13 year old but she is so strong and can base me in an extention) so anyways the ‘level 4 base’ struggles to base the really athletic girl in extensions, prep libs, split lifts etc and this really athletic girl is actually a decent flyer. It really annoys me I don’t think this girl is at the right progression stage fo level 4 basing if she is not consistant with level 2 basing, she just needs to condition and be drilled for technique, I mean I think I can fly really well inan extention I hold my weight on their shoulders and squeeze every muscle really tight I use good flying technique such as pulling up with my tummy and pinching a penny so I’m in really good allignment nut a lot of the time she is slower than the other base who is really good and experienced and I also luckily have a great bac spot as well.

    Thank you for reading do you agree with me about this ‘level 4 base’ that is inconsistant basing level 2.

  13. Courtney Says:

    I tell you a good saying is the flyer too big to fly or is the base too weak to base? No one ever says too weak to base and that is the actual problem so instead of getting a rag doll of a flyer that will keep the base weak why not get a normal sized flyer and make the base condition.

  14. Isabel Says:

    I agree! I’m 5’4″ and about 115lbs (max). I tried out late for my team, so they said I could only be on JV, and because two of the girls are really small (as in like one is really short and the other is really skinny) they are automatically the flyers and I am a base. I LOVE flying, but never really get the opportunity to fly. My coach says I need to be tighter and hold my weight more, which I understand I need to work on, but I flew with some varsity girls and they said I was light… so I don’t know whether I’m inconsistent, they’re lying to make me feel better, or the coach just doesn’t see me being tight?

    The small girl on our JV team has an older sister who is a flyer at another school, and seems to be pretty talented at flying. One of our flyers got injured, so they took her to put her in the competition squad. I guess it’s because she’s a good flyer, but she’s really quite unflexible. I’m one of the most flexible girls on the team (I’m the only one who can do a scorpion) and can hit every flyer position, whereas she can’t even hit a scale.
    The flyer who got injured was actually a base before, and was pretty muscular (one of the “bigger girls”) but then she was really tight and got a lib on her third try, because she had flown before (not in competition though). So it’s possible to fly if you’re “bigger.”

    My coach said she wants me to fly, because “my flexibility would be valuable” but I “need to be tighter.” I get it, but how can I get enough practice if they never let me fly?


    • That’s a very good question. You can’t exactly get a group of friends together without supervision and practice on your own. I suggest asking your coach if he or she would meet with you and some bases before or after practice to get a chance to improve. It’s hard to give up limited practice time when you already have established stunt groups. Taking this initiative should show your coach and teammates that you’re serious about working hard and improving. If that doesn’t work, your only option might be to get stunt lessons at a local cheer gym.

      • Isabel Says:

        Thank you so much for replying! Good news though—I’m flying now! I’m still a beginner, obviously, but my coaches consider me a flyer now. 😀 I’ve been one of the few JV girls attending Open Gyms, and on my first time really flying (as in not just like 1 stunt, 1 try), I got my lib and full down (which took a lot of the flyers the whole season to get)! I’m really working on being tighter 🙂 and my coaches are impressed ^^

        It just proves to you guys not to give up!! 🙂

        PS Just because you’re tiny and light doesn’t mean you’ll feel that way in the air! Apparently I was holding my weight better than this girl who’s my height but probably 10-20 lbs lighter. 😛 She’s TINY!

  15. Alix Bigelsen Says:

    I completely agree! I have always been a base, and over the years I have became really strong and good. I am 15 and am worrying that I will be too heavy to fly in college which will limit my choices of schools because if the school has a coed team, I can’t do it. I am 5’2 and 125 pounds. I have become so self conscience and aware of how much I eat, I also work out a lot. In two years I need to weigh at least somewhere between 115 and 120 pounds so I can learn how to fly for college. I am so jealous of all of the flyers on my teams. I am on a level 4 and 5 team and I wish I were as small as the flyers so I could do what they do. I am also very flexible and tight. I think that if I was taught how to fly I would be pretty good. Im trying really hard to lose weight and be small, but I just don’t think my body is like that. I think I should just give up and look for a school with an all girls team.

  16. Breanna Says:

    I definitely agree on this topic, i’m a 12 year old girl with a lot of skill. But, I am 120 lbs. Trust me, I’m NOT fat! I am very lean and have a lot of muscle.. that’s why I weigh so much.
    I’m a backspot (tallest on the team) and my team and I were working on stunts for competition. Our coach wanted to see the flyer’s scales, she said she wanted them to be straight and balance on a bleacher to see if you can at least keep balance. None of their scales were straight, they couldn’t keep their balance.
    I wanted to try what they did so I stepped onto the bleacher and did a scale, turned out it was perfect and straight! I kept my balance for the longest time.. I have the most flexibility, I am strong, lean, and have great skills. But no, people think im too “tall” or “big” to be a flyer.. This stinks.. If I was on another team, maybe an allstar team I would be a flyer. 😛


  17. “Too Big to Fly Cheerleading Daily” was in fact a great post.
    If solely there was more personal blogs like this
    specific one on the cyberspace. Anyways, thanks a lot
    for ur precious time, Terrence

  18. BabyDoll Says:

    We have the same problem in our club. Only the smallest girls get to fly, even if this means taking the tiniest 12 y.o. girl off her junior’s team (we’re 17- 25 y.o.). I just don’t find this challenging at all. I’m 5’7″ and weigh 118 pounds, I could definitely lift bigger girls. I’m not very muscular… but I’d like to increase my strength and improve my technique, which doesn’t happen as long as we have such tiny girls in the air.

    It has even happened that we’ve had 8 year old girls as our flyers! It’s actually pretty horrible because some of them have been so scared on their way up that they’ve leaned back and kinda sat on the backspot out of fear going up in the air. And I’m wondering… why do we even let those girls fly on our team?! It’d be better if they could practice flying with girls their age and size, to learn proper technique, and then we on the senior team could practice with someone older, taller and heavier.

    The “Barbie doll ideal” is also worrying because people doing sports are already under much pressure and some of them might be at risk of developing eating disorders. This risk only increases when you have to be super tiny to be a flyer.


    • Thanks for your comments. Those are all good points. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine if a team’s flyers happen to be the smaller girls. However, I think it is lazy coaching, and bad for the skill development of a program if coaches pull younger girls up from their age appropriate team to fly on older girls. It’s much better to coach technique. It’s just harder so a lot of coaches don’t do it.

  19. Kerry Says:

    I completely agree I’m on university squad I weigh no more than 120 pounds and am 5″1 iv tried flying and apparently I’m really good nd light but because I’m a strong base. And the other flyers that are the same size as me refuse to base as they say they are too “weak” i don’t get to fly. The funny thing is some of them are bigger than me or refuse to do certain stunts or constantly complain f vein scared. It annoys me. In one practice I got to fly I exicuted every stunt first time which all the others took months to get and I stay really tight as I’m strong. However when I asked of I could fly my coach said not everyone can fly. I’m the most flexible person on our team and can pull all the stretches when none of the other flyers can but still she says I can not fly even for fun. And I’m finding it hard to understand why you would pick flyers that are really bad and unflexible and complain just because they refuse to base or say they are too weak. It saddens me that coaches focus on lifting the lightest than the best.

  20. Miranda Delazar Says:

    What also bothers me is that the smaller flyers get the biggest bases. I know a girl who’s 98 lbs. and has the biggest and best bases. The other flyer and myself are over 100 and I got stuck with the smallest bases. She can hit with them whereas I can’t because I’m too big for them. It aggravates me so much. Should I tell my coach?

  21. lincy Says:

    I feel like size is an issue when you get to a college level team. I love cheerleading and want to continue cheerleading in college but have found it a bit impossible when looking through the requirements or types of grils they have on the team. Im a base for an all girls team and can also fly and do simple stunts but the weight requirements of 120pounds throw me off. My body is not made to be skinny, I’ve always been a little of the thick side around 135 or 140. Any advice here?


    • Thank you for visiting the blog and for all of your comments! Please come back often. 🙂

      As to your question about continuing into college, it really just depends on your goals. You certainly don’t want to attempt to maintain an unhealthy weight just to fly. If the schools that you are considering have size requirements that don’t work for you you might consider seeking out an all girl open team at an all star gym. Another alternative is to get into coaching or even judging competitions. Remember, cheer ends for everyone eventually. Make the most of it while you’re in it but stay honest and realistic about your life after cheering. 🙂

  22. Joy Says:

    I have a question, my daughter is a junior in high school and this is her third year cheering. She is 4″9 and 90 pounds and has always been the flyer. A couple weeks ago the coach decided that she is going to be a base from now on. The next person closest to her height is 5 feet tall. Is this normal? Every year they have had a new coach and this one does not like my daughter, so I was just wondering what other people think. Normally my daughter is a pretty good flyer, but every practice the coach is changing the stunt group, so she does better with some girls than others…she says it is hard to get used to a different group. Anyway, she thinks the coach got mad when my daughter could not perfect a stunt after three trys and she hasn’t been allowed to fly ever since.


    • I think that is a fair question. Honestly, you should ask the coach. There is almost certainly a reason the coach would take a tiny girl out if the air. Is it a flexibility thing? Is it a fear of twisting cradles? Is it z personality issue? Any of those could impact that decision. Also any of those are correctable. I suggest calmly and respectfully approaching the coach after practice and ask her what the situation is. Also be prepared to accept the reason if it is valid. Learning to base might not be a bad thing for you daughter. 🙂

  23. Tyra Says:

    i am tall and weigh like 46.2 kilos and i am 11 i reallly want to fly but i dont do cheerleading (hoping that im about to though) and i am proboly to tall for the age division

  24. cheerislife30 Says:

    It really is sickening… I am thirteen and cheer is my life but I probably won’t be able to cheer past high school because in college, all girls have to be flyers. This kills me, because I know I can never be a flyer; I’m 5’10 and weigh over 140 (oh the horror!) This was a great article, by the way. People like you are what’s keeping society from completely corrupting. Keep up the good work!

  25. Victoria Says:

    Wonderful article!
    I once was a flyer, then my coach said I was to tall to fly anymore. I love flying and it really hurt me, but it is a team sport and its not like you just sign up to be in special “position”. I try to think its about the team not you. 🙂

  26. denise Says:

    I love this article. As the head coach of a varsity team I get very frustrated with this problem. My favorite girls to put up in the air are not my stick figures. I think my most beautiful flies are the girls that are fit they are 110-120 lbs and when they get in the air no matter what I have them doing they are super tight and hold their own, where as my few stick figures can hardly lift themselves into the load position. I have made a vow that next year I will spend months just doing conditioning and if the girls cant perform as any position (base, fly, back spot) they can go on the performance team until they are able. It sounds mean but really it is reasonable because they need to be able to lift themselves if they want to lift someone else and they need to be able to lift someone else if they want to be lifted. I just think it will put out a whole new level of a team.

  27. akmom Says:

    A competitive team in Alaska called black ice just got a full paid bid to worlds with their 5’10” flyer, she looks amazing in the air and tends to be center flyer in most stunts… so it is possible my daughter is tiny tiny smaller than everyone on her team including the 7 year olds so people assume she’s younger. Be careful assuming, people think she only flies because she’s tiny but she’s also the most flexible on the team, at the top of the tumbling, and a daredevil.

  28. Sydney Newton Says:

    Love this article! It’s so frustrating to see a 5’3.5 fourteen year old who is a phenome and extremely flexible flier not get to fly on a senior aged team because they use 11yo ‘s who are a bit smaller and are easier for bases to manage (fliers are same 7/8 yo flew on jr teams as youth). What happens when that 11 yo hits puberty? They are now the 5”3 fourteen year old that never learned to base. My daughter has crossed over for 3 yrs and learned to base on her younger team so she’s well rounded and able to do both, but still frustrating.

  29. Ashley Says:

    this is a great article it gave me a lot of hope that i might be able to fly again

  30. Amanda Says:

    My daughter has been a flyer on an all star cheer team since she was 6. Now she is the little one ion JV but she is also one of the tightest flyers on the squad. She did not earn her spot on the team because she was small. Before they did any stunting they had to learn dance and show their tumbling skills. She has the highest level of tumbling skills on the team as she recently started throwing and landing her full. I think that it is important when making judgmental decisions that all sides be evaluated. She has beautiful positions and has had an over extended needle since she was 8. I agree that often teams choose the easy way out but my daughter will always be small so will she always be the easy choice? I have noticed that she is not always the easiest choice even though other teams may think so. She is very fit but short and weighs little. When bases switch from 110 lbs to 75 lbs, it is an adjustment and at times can look like a rag doll is being thrown in the air. You can tell the difference though as a tight flyer doesn’t flop around. My daughter struggles with the opposite issues as she looks as girls with long legs and who are tall in stature and feels that she will never looks as pretty in the air as them. She feels that she has to over compensate because of this. Just remember there is always two sides to am issue,


    • Thanks for the comment. I certainly wasn’t intending to offend anyone who happens to be a small flyer who is on an age-appropriate team. I was warning against the cycle of pulling up younger girls just because they’re smaller, and then not teaching them technique. Based on your comments about your daughter, this does not apply in her situation. Having said that, understand that being small IS a natural advantage that your daughter has. I’m sure she works hard and deserves her place on the team. But it would be silly to deny that her size works in her favor as a flyer. Denying that would be like saying a 7 foot tall person doesn’t really have a natural advantage in volleyball. Of course they do. The same is true for flyers in cheerleading who happen to be small. It’s not a put down, but it is a fact.


    • Hey Amanda. Thanks for your comment. If I understand your post you are defending your daughters hard work. FYI, I wasn’t saying small flyers don’t work hard. I am saying being small is an advantage for a flyer. It’s just like being tall is an advantage for a volleyball. It’s not a put down but it is a fact. Doesn’t mean a small flyer didn’t earn her spot, though.

  31. Katie Says:

    Thank you! It’s time someone said it! I’m an 8th grader who weighs about 110 and is 5’5″ish. I had been a flyer all through elementary. But as soon as I got in middle school, back spot it is. There’s nothing wrong with being a back spot but I had never been one. Ever. Everybody on the squad was about the same size. The worst part was the girl who replaced me as flyer was our best base who had never flown a day in her life. I hope the drama gets better in high school.

  32. Jubilee Says:

    I wish I could fly but I’m 5’9 and 200lbs
    I”ll never be a flyer only a base

  33. megan Says:

    i feel that i am too tall to be a cheerleader so i gave up after i didn’t make the team but this post gave me hope thank you!

  34. Emma Says:

    I am one of four flyers on my varsity high school squad. The other flyers weigh 98, 105, and 113… I weigh 125. I was a gymnast most of my life, so I’m pretty muscular and have an athletic build. I can out run my entire team on the mile, and I’m the most flexible one (I have needles and bow and arrows), thanks to gymnastics.I mainly based and tumbled last year, but I sometimes flew when a flyer was sick or injured. This year, my coach wanted to pick the most experienced girls to fly, since nearly half the team had never cheered before. The other three had been main flyers in all the stunts we had done last year, while I had been an alternate.I was sooooo surprised and excited when I got picked… that didn’t last long…

    Me, being the tallest and heaviest flyer, was given the smallest bases both under 5′. One had never based before and the other use to fly. No one expected me to even get into a prep!! But when we got to camp, we proved everyone wrong. I was doing exstensions, and full down cradles, and even libs!!!! While the super tiny flyers were struggling on their preps and bump downs. My coach and the UCA instructor were so impressed!

    This just goes to show you that size shouldn’t be more important than skill. A tight 125 pound girl can feel lighter than a loose 90 pound girl. Flexibility,strength, focus, balance, and attitude should all be main factors when a flyer is being chosen, not just size.

  35. Megan Says:

    My coach used to have me fly in simple stunts my first year of flying I used to be good but then she started to put her daughter up. He daughter doesn’t stand and trembles really bad. She also doesn’t jump. After that I never flew again until our last show when I was supposed to fly but after not flying for a year I lost my talent I am trying out for highschool but I don’t think that they will put me in the air if I make it I am 5’7″ and weigh about 120

  36. Anna Says:

    I completely agree with you! I was a flyer myself, but recently I’ve just been spotting for everything. I’ve been in cheerleading for over 3 years now, yet I’m still just a spot! Pretty sure it’s because I’m “too heavy to fly”, however, the other girls are clearly underweight! Some of them are only 80 pounds. It really frustrates me how weight is such a big factor in my team.

  37. Hailei Says:

    I mean I really want to cheer but my weight is kind of bad. I really need advice. 😦

  38. Yeliada Says:

    This is a very good article. Im 50kg 110 pounds, im 164cm. My weight is healthy weight. Im called too heavy and too big to fly and coaches put me to base which is something i feel sad about. But nothing held me back i learn to base and observe how to fly while coaches train the flyer. I stretch more than I usually does to get even more flexible. But when im seeing what my friends are learning that i wanted to i get jealous. I eat lesser portion than I normally does and starting to feel bad when i eat and started starving myself. Sooner i got bulimia puking after every meal, binging after that. I scale myself 4-6 times a day or maybe more. I keep telling myself i have to loose weight in order to become flyer. I used to workout daily to get tone. But I stopped cause of muscle weight. Im tired and afraid to hear those sentence every training i went to” you are too heavy/ you are to big/ you might hurt the base” when i say i want to fly, all this just got me even more desperate to loose those weight. But reading this article it makes me feel better. So whenever i want to puke i will search for this article and read if again and again.

  39. Nicole massey Says:

    I could not agree more! My daughter is an all star cheerleader and has been a level 4/5 flyer for 3 years. She has beautiful lines and hits her stunts. This year she switched to a bigger gym that flies VERY small and very young girls on their Sr. Teams half of who are not as flexible and are not hitting. They have yet to offer my daughter an opportunity because she is a little more muscular and older than these other girls. Just sad!

  40. Teresa Horler Says:

    OMG! This needs to be shouted to the world! I have a daughter who is 15 and a beautiful flyer. Everyone keeps telling her she can’t fly anymore! She’s too tall (5’5″ & 110lbs) but all strong! Thank you for writing this.

  41. Dhshdh Says:

    Do not loose hope guys! If you really want to fly you can most likely make it happen if you really commit to it and put in the time at home. So all throughout middle school cheer they just lined us up tallest to shortest and threw the shortest girls in the air, I was always in the average height group and not really stick skinny, just healthy athletic average body type. I committed to the idea that I wanted to fly so bad that I looked up flyer body positions and stretching and I got super flexible so that I’d have pretty body positions in the air if they did decide to put me up. I stretched for year until I had my needle and consistent clean and pretty body positions and worked on squeezing everything in those body positions and being able to hold my weight evenly in them and just did lots of flyer drills and eventually it all paid off and I was given the opportunity to fly. Just commit to it guys, if you want it work for it. Don’t just comment your height and weight and ask if you’re too big to fly, work for it!


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