About

My name is Mary Reiss Farias. I am a gymnastics club owner, head coach and program director, and writer.

Growing up, I did gymnastics and had “natural talent.” I competed throughout grade school and became a level 10 during my freshman year of high school. I stayed at level 10 for my four years of high school, then earned a scholarship to compete for the University of Arizona in Tucson.

I began coaching in high school, and did so throughout college. After college, I became the program director of a local gym, taking kids to meets, and navigating what is USA Gymnastics in Arizona.

After a hiatus from the sport (although I still did choreography) I worked as a lobbyist for a few years. Then I began writing. I started a series of books for young gymnasts called Gym Rats. The characters are loosely based on me and my best friend in gymnastics, and it’s fun to relive those funny memories from when we were kids. There are now four books in the series, and another set to be published in November 2019.

When my husband, Marc, and I had our daughter, the question came up: where would she do gymnastics? I had worked in many gyms, and competed against many more, and didn’t want to enroll her in any of them. We began talking about opening our own.

In August of 2012, we opened Tucson Gymnastics Center. We do things differently in our gym. We practice what we preach, and we provide our gymnasts with a safe and positive atmosphere. We brought USAIGC to Arizona, and our gymnasts are thriving.

As my gymnasts have gotten older, and in listening to my readers (mostly gymnastics parents), I have come to find that there aren’t many books written for the older gymnast. What they encounter after years in the sport is much different from what the newbie younger gymnasts experience. I have addressed this void with the first in my “older gymnast” series, Mental Block. The next is slated to be out in May of 2020.

I cover many gymnastics topics in this blog, including a series of articles about the toxic and dangerous culture of USA Gymnastics. I know many people in the gymnastics world, including coaches, elite-level gymnasts, everyday gymnasts, and parents. A great number of coaches are in the sport for good reason and to help children realize the positive benefits that involvement in the sport can provide. Many others, however, are in it for the fame and ego feeding frenzy that coaching an elite athlete can bring.

Becoming a better coach is something that I try to do on a daily basis. A section of my blog is devoted to the lessons I’ve learned by coaching gymnastics and working with the many kids in my gym.