Technical skills should not be performed on concrete, asphalt, wet or uneven surfaces or surfaces with obstructions. Collected data indicates that skills such as single twists to a cradle or twisting during quick tosses can be executed on appropriate surfaces with minimal risk of injury and need not be limited to grass (real or artificial), mats and rubberized tracks. In addition, however, data indicates that specific airborne twisting and tumbling skills and higher risk tosses such as basket and elevator tosses should continue to be limited to grass (real or artificial), mats and rubberized tracks.
Prior to performance of any skill, it is the coaches’ responsibility to evaluate the immediate environment for the activity including, but not limited to, proximity of non-squad personnel, performance surface, lighting and/or precipitation.
The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Spirit Rule 2-1-7 states: “Performance surfaces and areas must be suitable and for spirit activities. Surfaces and areas must be reasonably free from objects and/or impediments. Stunts and tumbling must be modified to be appropriate for the surface and/or area and in relation to other participants.” Stunting would be permitted on grass (real or artificial), mats or a rubberized track. Concrete surfaces are NEVER allowed.
It should also be noted that stunting is NOT allowed on any surface if it is wet. Sideline cheer coaches must carefully consider the cheering surface in regard to safety, as even an all-weather track would be considered unsafe if it were wet.
Spirit coaches must be responsible for teaching and enforcing general risk management rules, identifying team’s ability levels, and following proper progressions in learning new skills. It is imperative that coaches insist upon ‘perfection before progression’ before advancing to the next skill level.