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5 Tips for Being a Terrible Spotter

By following these 5 tips you are sure to be the worst spotter in your community.

1. Don't be Over Informed


Quite often the base or flyer will try and tell you what move they want spotting. Simply shush them while exclaiming “I got this”. Not knowing what is going on will give you a high chance of standing in the wrong place.

For example: transitioning from star to backbend. A skilled spotter will stand either behind or to the side of the base, ready to support the flyers weight from the hips if they fall. A terrible spotter will stand at the base's head, a location where the risk of injury is lower because the flyer can land easily on their feet. On top of that, they now obstruct a safe exit route. Perfect for terrible spotting.

Spotting 1.jpg

Star to backbend.

Spotting 2.jpg

Falling out with no assistance form the spotter.

2. Spot from far away

For anyone interested in physics (or anyone who wants to quantify their terrible spotting) lets talk about moments. What is that? Whether you know it or not, moments play a significant roll in all of acro. Careful manipulation of moments within a system can make acro effortless or impossible. Of course here we want to be closer to the impossible end of the spectrum.

So what is the moment of a system?

Expressed mathematically it looks like this: M = d*F


Alternatively - the moment of a system is the force times (perpendicular) distance

All you need to know is, the smaller the moment the easier things are, the bigger the moment the harder things are. We can make the moment bigger in 2 ways:


1. Increase the size of the flyer.


2. Increase the distance.

Translating this into acro - Spot at minimum an arms length away. If you are too close the moment (difficulty) will be reduced and you might accidentally spot well. You want to be so far away that you stand no chance at actually slowing down the flyer’s fall.

Below the spotter is so far away any effort they may make (or pretend they are making) will be diminished due to the physics of moments.

Spotting 3.jpg

Spotter standing over an arms length away.

3. Stand with feet together & have straight legs


Going back to physics, in particular mechanics 101. A structure is unstable if: a) it has a high centre of mass, & b) it has a small base of support.


Applying these to our terrible spotting: make sure your "go to stance" is feet together with straight legs.


Bonus points for being creative with your unstable stance.

Spotting 4.jpg

A perfect example of how to stand.

Bonus points for being creative with your unstable stance.

Spotting 5.jpg

Standing on 1 leg.

Spotting 6.jpg

Standing on tip toes.

Spotting 7.jpg

Standing on one leg, on tip toes.

4. Make sure you are as distracted as possible


A “good” terrible spotter makes sure they only half pay attention to the acroing duo. Looking across the room in the other direction is great; however in this situation scrolling Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest: really any social media, is really the best use of your time.

5. Keep walking away


Most things in nature have a natural oscillation, so why not your presence as a spotter? To maximise your terrible spotting, periodically don't be there. This will create uncertainty in the base & flyer, which in turn will negatively affect their Acro.

Need an excuse to periodically walk away? Taking pictures for your own social media feeds, without telling them is, in terms of terrible spotting, a completely valid reason to walk away.


Bonus Tips

6. Over spot


If either base or flyer keep commenting on your lack of attention while spotting, over spot! Be extra close, get in the way of swinging legs, press your bodyweight against the flyer to throw off the base, make sure they can smell your breath from last night’s garlic bread.

7. Grab extremities


When a flyer begins to fall, “help” by grabbing onto wrists or ankles (the tools used by the flyer to land safely). This way they are less able to fall without injury.

8. Communication


There are many ways to be terrible at communicating as a spotter, and it is encouraged to be creative here. However, one way that has proven to be effective is to constantly tell the acro duo how to do the move. The less you actually know about it the better.

9. Be a watcher


This is as good as simply not being there. Possibly the best way to be a terrible spotter.


A watcher is so captivated by what is going, they are in a dream like state and are unable to react to anything. 

These are the tips we absolutely avoid in our practice. Spotting, just like basing and flying, is a skill. It takes time to cultivate a good practice. We hope this article (and the corresponding video) will help you avoid some of these beginner pitfalls.

Also, check out our 5 Tips for Flying & 5 Tips for Basing articles.


We hope they help you out too, enjoy.

Joshua & Natalia

Images 1 through 7 are taken from the 5 Tips for Being a Terrible Spotter - AcroYoga video.


Social media feed images are also taken from the 5 Tips for Being a Terrible Spotter - AcroYoga video.

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