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Bow and Arrow Stunt

The Bow and Arrow cheerleading stunt is an advanced skill that requires a great deal of both flexibility and balance in the air. Proper execution of the Bow and Arrow stunt is characterized by the top cheerleaders’ ability to gracefully master a vertical split in which the toe or heel of the extended leg is held within the opposite hand, followed by stretching the free arm horizontally past the extended leg. When done properly and in good form, the flyer’s belly will naturally curve like a bow, hence the given name for this stunt is fitting and aims to be quite literal-the more limber, the better. Keep in mind the bow and arrow is more difficult than a heel stretch or liberty due to the cheerleader being required to change the hand that is holding the foot, while placing the other arm in front of the extended leg. Don’t let the increased difficulty bog you down though. Whether being introduced to this skill for the first time or experienced, we have the answers and training aids to make the bow and arrow stunt attainable with greater ease, safety and adeptness for all cheerleaders striving to conquer a bow and arrow that other squads will bow down too!

How to perform a Bow and Arrow

Cheerleaders must stretch before practicing or performing a bow and arrow. Failing to stretch can easily cause a muscle strain or other types of injury. If you’re a newbie to the bow and arrow, practice pulling the scale while lying on the ground or using a stable object for support while standing upright. The technique should be practiced every day once the cheerleader has attained the flexibility required to pull and stabilize a proper bow and arrow on the ground. For safety reasons, a bow and arrow should be mastered on the ground prior to attempting the skill in the air. Practicing on the ground gives cheerleaders the opportunity to recognize and fix any issues regarding form or technique before taking it safely to the air. Cheerleaders can also practice in front of a mirror to visually see for themselves what needs to be corrected or tweaked in order to achieve a flawless bow and arrow from start to finish. For even greater improvement, seek feedback from a coach or other cheerleading critique and whole-heartedly put expert advice into action. It may take a lot of practice to balance the bow and arrow properly, but it will come with time and persistence. Be patient with yourself as you follow the steps below.

  • To begin with, the cheerleader will prepare the body by adequately stretching to help gain needed flexibility and aid in the deterrence of injuries.
  • The cheerleader will initiate carrying out a bow and arrow by standing upright with legs and feet together, arms at sides and facing forward toward the audience.
  • Maintain proper posture throughout entire execution (hips, chin and chest up at all times).
  • All of the cheerleaders’ body weight will be placed on the leg that is not being raised, (specifically on the inside of the foot being held by the bases in the air) and will slightly bend at the knee as the other leg is lifted straight up and out (with toes pointed) while simultaneously reaching the same arm out to grip the foot with the hand.
  • The hand should wrap around the inside of the foot with the fingers resting on the bottom of the foot and thumb resting on the top of the foot.
  • Using the arm, the cheerleader will assist the leg up further and begin lifting the opposing arm up toward a Touchdown position.
  • As the height of the foot reaches the cheerleaders head, the free arm being held in the Touchdown position will crossover the front of the body, placing that hand next to the other hand on the foot.
  • Continue to pull the leg up until full extension is reached, at which point the cheerleader will release the foot with its matching hand and pull that arm through the body, crossing it in front of the extended leg and holding it in a T position.
  • Once the cheerleader is able to successfully maneuver and maintain the positioning described above on the ground, with a stabilized base leg, raised leg reaching full extension and the arm locked in a full T motion, the cheerleader can begin practicing this skill in the air, given the coach and other stunt mates are confident in doing so.
  • The cheerleader can interact with the crowd and create engagement while the scale is being held by lifting the head with confidence, gazing directly at the audience with an enthusiastic smile.

Taking a Cheerleading Bow and Arrow to the Air

Having already covered how cheerleaders on top can properly fulfill their position during a bow and arrow stunt, the following steps are provided to include all positions of the stunt group and the roles they play during the execution.

Bow and Arrow Stunt

  • The flyer will start by putting the foot of the balancing leg in the hands of the main base, while the side base grips both the top and bottom of the foot at the arch. The back spot will stabilize the flyer by gripping the ankle with one hand, while the other hand is on the flyers bottom.
  • On a squad determined count, the bases and back spot will lift the flyer into the air above their heads, with the arms fully extended.
  • Once the flyer is safely balanced in the air they will begin the stunt with a heel stretch.
  • The flyer will use the opposite hand to reach over the head to grab the extended foot.
  • The flyer will then place the arm previously holding the foot in front of the leg in a T motion. This results with the flyers body in the shape of a bow and arrow.

How to Improve a Cheerleading Bow and Arrow

Increasing flexibility and balance are vital training for cheerleaders who strive to master the bow and arrow. There is no shortcut to become skilled in the areas of flexibility and balance - it takes hard work! - and a bow and arrow is impossible without those techniques.

Myosource Cheer Kinetic Bands provide a great opportunity for both cheerleading bases and flyers to build strength in the legs, hips, and core. The resistance provided by the bands will help increase the flexbility and balance of cheerleaders, making it easier to perform a bow and arrow with stability for an extended period of time. Myosource Kinetic Bands will also proliferate the momentum and endurance cheerleaders need to perform safe and successful cheerleading stunts like the bow and arrow, Cheerleaders can improve their individual skillset by warming up, stretching, and practicing while wearing the Myosource Kinetic Bands. Cheerleaders will quickly reap the benefits that come from using the resistance to target, challenge and strengthen the essential muscles needed to powerhouse a stunt from start to cradle.

The Flexibility Stunt Strap is included in our Moysource Cheer Kinetic Bands pack and is a great stretching and warm-up tool used by cheerleaders to increase their flexibility, as well as provide them with a greater range of motion, for better jumps, stunts, and tumbling. The Flexibility Stunt Strap is designed to help cheerleaders stretch without putting any unnecessary stress on the joints and provides immediate guaranteed results. These inexpensive and easy-to-use stretching straps are extremely helpful for flyers trying to perfect certain stunts, especially the bow and arrow.

Link Back to Cheerleading Main Page for resistance training information, tips, aids, and videos

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