Q&A with junior Alex Barney

Barney has earned national recognition in the sport of tumbling


By Photo by Miranda Miller

What exactly is tumbling and trampoline?

Tumbling and trampoline is a variation of gymnastics that is less hard on the body and is more geared towards power and spring rather than dancing and things like that.

How long have you been competing in tumbling?

I have been competing in tumbling and trampoline for seven years.

How do your practices work?

My practices are kind of inconsistent. We start out with jumps and then we stretch. Then we split up into our different events, and every 25 minutes or so we rotate to a different event.  We leave 15 minutes at the end of class for conditioning.

Why did you start competing in this sport?

My head coach Miss Maria [from Miss Maria’s Acrobat and Dance Studio] pulled me aside and saw me tumbling during a private lesson with my other coach and requested I try out for the team.

How does a competition work?

Competitions are long days. You get up early, sometimes you spend the night depending on how long the trip is, get up early, you go to the competition arena, you watch people compete and then they’ll call you down, you stretch for 30 minutes and then they’ll call you out to your events and then you get two warm-up passes, sometimes three. And then you start competing and then you’re finished with that event and later that day you go down for your next one and then you’re finished and then you go down for the next one.

Where have you traveled to compete?

I’ve traveled to Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Texas and California.

What is your favorite part of the sport?

My favorite part of the sport is definitely having the friends at the gym. You know that you can talk to them about stuff and they’re more like your sisters because you spend so much time with them.

What is your favorite memory of competing in tumbling?

My favorite memory was 2012 nationals in California. I was suffering from a mental block all year, and I went down to competing tumbling and I completed my pass, which I had only done at two meets that season. My coach started crying and that was one of my favorite memories.

 Explain your experiences at the national championship in 2011.

Nationals in 2011 were in San Antonio, Texas. I was a level 6 on double mini and I went down to compete and my coach was nowhere to be found. I looked around and I found a coach that I’ve become close with and his name is Teddy, he and I had worked together before, so I grabbed him and asked him if he would coach me and so he said yes.  Once he did that then I went down and I did my pass and I ended up getting national champion. I scored 9.9’s on my first pass and 9.8’s on the second.

How did you feel after you won national champion in 2011?

I felt like I had worked hard that year and that everything felt paid off, it was kind of a relief to see the success, and that year double mini was not my year most of the season and then I worked really hard all summer and it started becoming my event, and now it’s definitely my favorite.

How do you work tumbling around schoolwork?

It’s complicated. Not only do I compete on the team, I also coach [at Miss Maria’s Acrobat and Dance Studio] so a lot of times there’s late nights and early morning homework getting done. In between practices I bring my homework to the gym and work on it here.

What are some life lessons tumbling has taught you?

This is going to sound cliché, but never give up. You have got to push through until you absolutely cannot anymore. That’s how I started living my life and it’s just, you never give up, you work hard and in the end it’ll pay off, it’ll be worth it.

What is your overall goal for this sport?

I just want to get to the best that I can be and I want to be the highest level that I could possibly be. I don’t want to say ‘Oh, if that wouldn’t have held me back, I could’ve been this.’ I just want to be able to say ‘That is where I need to be and I’m proud that I got here.’ Another national champion wouldn’t be too bad, either.


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