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Written by: Stan Spencer

(Tanya Berenson is a former Junior Olympian and is now the General Manager of The Los Angeles School of Gymnastics. Please visit, http://lagymnastics.com/tanya-berenson/, to learn more about her many accomplishments.)

Tanya Berenson grew up in Beverly Hills, Ca. The fact that Gymnastics turned out to be her career is not surprising. Tanya’s mother, Alla Svirsky, is a 3-time USA Olympic Judge, USA Inductee into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and founder of the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics.

Tanya started her Gymnastics career at the age of Seven and she competed successfully through the Junior Olympic level. “I wasn’t always a great gymnast and never was the 1st to win a competition” recalls Tanya. “However, I was always the person in class that helped a team mate when they were struggling and offered what I could to make sure they would do better in the class. I always felt that gymnastics was my strong point and it was a natural progression for me to move from being a gymnast to a gymnastics coach and ultimately operating a gymnastics schools for kids, teenagers and adults.”

Although she grew up in a Gymnastics atmosphere, Tanya did try other interests. “When I went to college, I started working there (LA School of Gymnastics) part-time and tried a few internships. I wanted to be a sports manager; however at the time when I had interned in this field it was around 2001, almost 11 years ago. I didn’t feel that it was a good fit for me and I didn’t have the existing talent to sustain a viable career. But I always trusted my gut and what my father told me so I continued with LA School of Gymnastics and trusted one day that I would run and operate the company. 17 years later, I now operate one of the largest gymnastics centers in Los Angeles .”

The reason Tanya loves her job is easy. “Im inspired on a daily basis because when I come in to work, its not just a desk job but I know that I will have an impact on the life of a child. If I were to ask anyone in the room who won the World series of baseball in 1998 or who beat the New York Jets in a playoff game 3 years ago, most people would not be able to recall the impact of such a widely known sport or event other than the time when a teacher, administrator or mentor changed them or inspired them in a permanent way. Working with kids and families in Los Angeles by providing classes that help strengthen the body and mind makes me feel that I am making an impact in the community.” Although there are many aspects of her job, Tanya states one thing that she like the most. “I really enjoy when families come up to me and tell me that their child had a wonderful time in class or that they are very pleased with the service that they received. It brightens up my entire day.”

When preparing for a career as a Gymnastics Coach, Tanya says it’s best to start young, but it’s never too late. “I always hoped to work with children at a very young age but it’s never too late to become a gymnastics school director or coach. It’s always great to have some classes and understand the sport but starting young is always best. Becoming a coach is easy if you enjoy working with kids. Start by visiting the national governing body web site (www.usa-gymnastics.org) and then get the USA gymnastics safety-certification book to study. This could take as little as a few weeks to a few months to be ready for the online test. Once you have completed this part continue with additional education, seminars, and clinics and attend local meets. I started with an early childhood degree from UCLA and completed this program successfully and can work at academic schools or athletic centers.”

“I would highly recommend students to follow this (career) direction” says Tanya. “Most schools have cheer teams, dance squads and most girls and boys express basic tumbling activities at a very young age such as bouncing around the house or outside at the park. Some of these very basic skills can lead into a great gymnast or athlete. Once you have the introduction to gymnastics, you can do everything from getting a college scholarship in the NCAA, coaching at a gymnastics school part-time or going into administration and having a gymnastics career. All-around gymnastics is an awesome career.”

Tanya thinks that a career in Gymnastics looks good going forward. “My career will always have challenges but I think that physical exercise and benefits of gymnastics have been around since the first Olympic Games they began in 776 BC in Greece and it’s the basis of all sports utilizing upper body strength on events such as the bars, coordination and balance on the beam, tumbling and acrobatics on the floor and strength along with conditioning for the vault. It is my duty as a gymnastics director in our community that these high quality programs are overseen taught and implemented at the highest caliber possible to the next generation and one day pursue the Olympic Games.” She goes onto say, “the demand for gymnastics coaches is very high. It is a very specialized field and is always growing; I would highly recommend this area for someone looking to work with kids, families and athletics.”

Tanya says her father is the most influential person in her life. “He always taught me when doing gymnastics. Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”

Tanya has some good advice for kids. “I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. When I started taking a class, I always felt that I would be able to take what I have and make it into something bigger. The average person does not settle and for settlement is that you accept being average. Use creative and critical thinking; no one will ever fault you for thinking and utilizing creative ideas. I can say follow your dreams, but I will tell you to fight for them and think your way into your future.”

(Thank you, Tanya, for giving your time in giving me email interviews so I could make this article happen.)

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