Valorie Kondos Field ( or “Miss Val,” as she’s affectionately known by the scores of champion gymnasts she’s coached over her career) has no background in gymnastics. She never tumbled, flipped, or played any type of organized sport. And yet she has been able to craft a legendary, hall of fame coaching career through curiosity, creativity, attention to detail, and unwavering care for the overall well-being of her athletes. Miss Val, the UCLA Athletic coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams, 22-time Regional and 18- time Pac 12 Champion UCLA Women’s Gymnastics teams, has shaped her UCLA Gymnastics program as a life skills class. Now she shares stories and lessons-learned throughout her career in her new book, Life Is Short, Don’t Wait To Dance.
For Miss Val, it’s not about winning and losing, it’s about choreographing your life and owning the choices you make. Included are Miss Val’s favorite memories of her mentor, legendary basketball coach John Wooden, unforgettable stories of the Olympians and athletes with whom she has worked, and how her approach to her breast cancer diagnosis made that struggle into one of the best years of her life. “I have found life is much more fun when I stop waiting to see what it hands me and instead take charge without a concern about what’s deemed normal,” Kondos Field shares. “I invite you to be intentional with your choices and to choreograph your life one choice at a time.”