The art of topping stunts is a skill that’s difficult to master and complex to understand. Top girls are the face of stunts and pyramids, and with that honor comes responsibility and pressure. By no means are we complaining about being lifted in the air (and we’d be nowhere without our incredible bases and back spots!), but let’s be honest: being a top is harder than it looks. For instance. . .

1. Body control and flexibility are not natural.
As a top, you are required to know which part of the foot to stand on. You must be able to flip and spin with your hips while keeping your core tight and legs together. You need to have a good sense of timing, with the ability to pull your foot above your head on a single count. These things are almost impossible to learn overnight. They take time and repetition. How else would you be able to hit a Heel Stretch without moving the leg you’re standing on, or make a Full Up spin consistently to the front every time?

Top Girl Tip: Body control and flexibility take more practice than given credit for. Practice strength and stretching every single day (even at home!) to master this type of muscle control.

2. There’s a lot to remember in the air.
When you have to jump into a stunt with your weight in your arms, stand up quickly before initiating the spin, squeeze your legs while shrugging up through your shoulders, and land with less weight in your left foot until your base has secured a grip, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Keeping track of your many top girl duties takes extreme focus.

Top Girl Tip: Concentrate on executing your skills the same way every time so that your body becomes familiar with the precise movements and proper technique. This will allow you to focus more on performing, as your skills will happen naturally.

3. The pressure’s on!
Confidence doesn’t always come easily. You have to work hard to show poise in the air, especially for skills performed in front of an audience. If a stunt goes well, it’s up to you to smile and make the skills look sharp. If a stunt is struggling, everyone’s eyes are on you to see how you will recover, regardless of the reason the stunt is struggling.

Top Girl Tip: Simplify stunts by breaking them down into steps, and give each step its own mental reminder (shrug up, lock out, look right, etc.). You’ve followed proper progressions to get to the skills you’re performing, so keep a clear mind, and do the jobs you know how to do.