Life is Short, Don't Wait to Dance
Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame Coach of 7X NCAA Championship Team
Veteran UCLA Gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field—known affectionately as Miss Val—has never done a flip or played an organized sport. Yet the former ballerina somehow became a celebrated, seven-time NCAA coaching champion, mentoring Olympians such as Simone Biles over the course of her legendary 29-year career. In talks, she shares her unorthodox coaching methods—championing gratitude, ownership, and joy—for leaders, athletes, and anyone who wants to lead a high-performance life.
“Valorie Kondos Field, known to many as Miss Val, has created something of an oasis in a sport often characterized by intense turbulence.”— The New York Times
Valorie Kondos Field began her career as a professional ballet dancer and choreographer for the Washington DC and Sacramento Ballet Companies. Although never a gymnast herself, she’s transferred to her student-athletes all she learned in the world of classical dance. The result? Nearly three decades of coaching one of the premiere athletic programs in any sport, and mentoring hundreds of elite athletes, including Olympic champions Simone Biles, Jordan Wieber, Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian, Laurie Hernandez and Nastia Liukin.
A four-time “National Coach of the Year,” and member of the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame, Kondos Field’s reputation is only one reason that 46 former US national team members came through her program, and why half of the last two Olympic teams committed to UCLA. Her coaching success can be attributed to her extraordinary leadership and mentorship of young student-athletes, and the way in which she used gymnastics as an avenue through which to teach valuable life lessons, all while encouraging individuality and joy.
As a recent breast cancer survivor, Kondos Field’s positive outlook and hope-filled message is especially impactful. Throughout her treatment, she empowered her athletes to use their voices, celebrate themselves, and to enjoy the elite sport that has damaged so many in the past. Kondos Field shares her professional insight and motivational message in her book Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance: Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame Coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams.
Also known as the nation’s foremost gymnastics choreographer, Kondos Field’s other credits include choreographing and directing a myriad of live variety shows, such as the NCAA Opening Ceremonies for Women’s Basketball, a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar roast, CBS’s “Jump, Jive & Thrive” Breast Cancer Research Foundation benefit, and 26 years of cirque-type shows for SeaWorld’s Summer Nights and the San Diego Zoo. Her current projects include additional live stage shows, TV specials, events and the development of a theatrical musical. A dynamic and charismatic speaker, Kondos Field has also developed a corporate coaching program for national organizations, including JP Morgan Chase.