How to do the Herkie

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"How to do the Herkie"
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Lawrence Herkimer, born in 1925, is credited with being the inventor of the "Herkie" or "Hurkie", (a cheerleading stunt jump) and is considered the father of the modern cheerleading camp.

According to "The jump was invented accidentally, because Herkimer wasn't able to do an actual side-hurdler." Mr. Herkimer became a cheerleader while attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, the alma mater of former first lady Laura Bush and actress Kathy Bates. While at the university he personally formed a national organization for cheerleaders and created Megaphone, a cheerleading-oriented magazine.

To perform this jump, extend one arm straight up in the air and place the other hand on your hip with the elbow pointing straight out to the side. Leap into the air, lifting one leg straight out to the side with toes pointed. The other leg is bent, knee pointed towards the ground and foot back behind, by the hip. It's not necessary for the foot to touch the backside. Arms may also be held straight out to the side, a little lower than the shoulders, with hands tight, fingers straight, or rolled up in a fist.

To practice this jump, start by practising jumping straight up in the air, with just your dominate leg straight out to your side. Pay attention to the knee. The straighter the better. Be careful landing. Always land on both feet. When you can do this comfortably, add your arms and then after you are confident you have mastered the stunt so far, add the your non-dominate leg. Always start practising by using your dominate leg as your straight leg and you non-dominate hand as your straight arm. Always practice on grass or approved tumbling mats. Once this has been accomplished, try practicing with the jump with opposite leg straight. Most cheerleaders will tell you, a good cheerleader can do this jump using either leg.

If you're looking to gain some height, The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisor's safety rules and guidelines allow for a floor based bounce board to be used, but not a floor trampoline.

In cheerleading competitions, the Herkie is considered a high level jump - both feet are off the ground. Once the jump has been mastered by the cheerleader and if performed, starting with both feet on the ground, spotters should not be needed. For more information, or to see the jump in motion, a video showing the proper "herkie" leap or jump can be seen on compliments of Youtube member, "expertvillage".


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