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Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance: Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame Coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams
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Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance: Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame Coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  348 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Highly acclaimed UCLA Women's gymnastics coach of 7 NCAA championships Valorie Kondos Field shares insights on how to use uniqueness and authenticity to achieve success.

Former professional ballerina Valorie Kondos Field--or Miss Val, as she's affectionately known--has never tumbled, flipped, or even played any type of organized sports, and yet she has been able to craft a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Center Street
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Start your review of Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance: Advice and Inspiration from the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame Coach of 7 NCAA Championship Teams
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports, non-fiction
I loved some parts of this book and didn't love others. I'll start with the positive after some brief background. I am what Miss Val refers to as a gym nerd. I grew up doing gymnastics through high school before "retiring" due to excessive injuries and covering it for the student newspaper in college while also interning for a gymnastics magazine, as well as the national governing body. After graduating, I also started a college specific website, College Gym News, that covers the sport. So you ...more
Jacqui Gunn
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At a risk of sounding like an absolute cliché, I learnt a lot about myself from this book. It has some great life lessons!

The audiobook is read by Miss Val herself, if you like audiobooks I would recommend it!
I rolled my eyes so many times listening to this book (especially the last 45min of it) that I thought they would get stuck! I'm giving it 2 stars because there were a few good things I got from this book but I found most of it cliche and cringeworthy. The author mentions she's a bit narcissistic... really? A bit??? Narration didn't quite work for me either, I swear I'll here that high pitch "whaaat?" in my nightmares.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am in the middle of reading this book....

First, in the prologue Valorie harps on how she teaches her SAs that their choices will dictate the life they lead. This ribbon involving the ability to dictate what happens in your life seamlessly flows throughout your book, like watching Kyla transition from the high bar to the low bar. Its something that she narrates as being so obvious, yet in my opinion is something people need to acknowledge, celebrate, and discuss more. Everyone can make choices
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the book as it brings me back to the heart of the matter- the attitude. It also brings a host of techniques to bring about better discipline and change. I would recommend it!
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cant wait to receive this book!!!
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The contents of this book are something that each individual should experience on their own, in their own time. Once, twice, alone or in a group setting, in the wee hours of the morning as the alarm clock threatens to ring, or in the middle of the day, in your favorite chair. The stories, which some may assume can only be used as advice for athletes, students, or sports fans, have little to do with upping ticket t-shirt sales. Delving into the carefully selected words, allowing the passages to ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Ok, I actually got this for my daughter. A 12yo gymnast, level 6 trying for level 7, who thinks UCLA is *amazing*. While I agree that UCLA is amazing, I firmly believe that it is because of the unique coaching of Miss Val. Particularly with the current issues that USAG is having, and knowing of coaches who are rude and cruel to their gymnasts, it is both heartening that a program can excel and show the world that it is possible, and sad that Miss Val is leaving and that far too many still ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My mission is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Valorie Kondos Fields infectious charisma translates onto the page in this authentic, relatable, and inviting memoir.

I have long been inspired by Valories commitment to using sports as a platform for life lessons. Valorie is distinct from many coaches due to the great care she puts into instilling values in her athletes that will inspire them to be the best versions
Caelea Armstrong
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just love her and wish that everyone could have a person like this in their life.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I admit I'm hardly impartial with reviewing this book. It brought back some delightful memories since I worked for UCLA Athletics waaaaaaaay back when Valorie was first hired by my dear friend, Jerry! Aside from that, this really is quite an interesting and very inspirational read. It's very easy to pick up and enjoy, and as I would put it down, couldn't wait to pick it up to continue on this very nice relaxing journey. It is filled with nice insight, and loads of inspiration. Not fair to Val, ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
While a fan of the powers of positive thinking, I felt the book was very rushed, trying to include too many names of too many talented athletes rather than focusing on any particular issue. A little too self serving for me. ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I respect Coach Val. The book overall was nothing too special.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's really 4.5. I've always loved watching the UCLA gymnastics team and the energy and 'aura' that emanates from it season after season. I also have been a fan of Miss Val's philosophy and musings for a few years now, so it's only natural I wanted to read her book the minute it came out. I'm really not into self-help books, but it's from one of my favorite coaches ever, so I had to!
I really liked it. It was an easy and quick read, it highlights some of the life lessons she teaches to her
Sean Talbot
I first came to hear about this wonderfully string and resilliant lady when I started to watch in 2016 the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.
Miss Val they call her and she is one of the truly great coaches in womens gymnastics. Though never a gymnast herself she has managed to win 7 championships for her school UCLA.
She is one of those strong willed people who you gravitate to. So many of the top elite gymnasts have came to her team.
In her time a lot of Canadians have also became members of her team
Amy Erickson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a quick, easy read that packs a POWERFUL and PROFOUND punch! Miss Val has a unique way of drawing you into her world--and not just the world of dance or gymnastics, a world that is relevant to ALL of us. Being a teacher of junior high students, so much of this book resonated with me. I have already used some of Miss Val's tips and tricks in my classroom, and I'm excited to incorporate more as we work through the year. One of the best pieces of advice from the book that I have taught ...more
Darcy Anderson
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Im not a gymnast, athlete or coach, but I consider myself a leader. I work in a politically charged, high-stress organization where winning is the ultimate goal. Leading with gratitude, kindness and authenticity is difficult, to say the least. So, I began a search for someone, anyone, who was doing it differently and with integrity. Enter Miss Val.

In a world that is more divisive than ever, we need a new roadmap, new tools, a new way. Life is Short, Don't Wait to Dance is my new roadmap.

Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I heard Miss Val speak last into at UCLAs Velocity conference and found her inspiring. This is an easy read and you certainly dont read it for the writing but rather the message. I think that too often inspirational leaders like to talk about themselves too much and give advice that is way too broad to be meaningful (eg never give up). By the way, I would love for someone to get up and say I actually gave up but then I got lucky. I digress.

One important message she talks about (although not as
Heather Mill
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of the sport of gymnastics for many years, but I have come to NCAA gymnastics just in the last two seasons. From the very first UCLA meet that I watched, coach "Miss Val" was infectious. I wanted to know more about her, and was delighted to find that she was, like me, a former dancer. In a time when fans of gymnastics have little to feel hopeful about, Miss Val has consistently been a guiding voice and advocate for athletes and the sport. However, this book is not just for ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
As a gymnast myself I was ecstatic to hear that Miss Val wrote a book. I was not disappointed at all throughout reading this novel. Her courageous life stories and advise scattered throughout brings some peace to your own problems. This book is not just for gymnasts or athletes but for anyone seeking a new outlook on life with some helpful tips. She voices her opinions in such a respectful way that you can't help but stop to think about them instead of arguing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Knowing Miss Val for a number of years, her stories are timeless and since I have to admit to some bias I rounded up to 5 stars. I also should qualify the rating as one for this particular genre of self-reflection and self-help, a genre that I have happen to have read a number of books from recently. But perhaps what put me over the top was her thoughts about choices. "Life is a choice". For those who know me, that life is about the choices you make, shouldn't be surprised. In my own small ...more
Sufen Fong
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up on a whim at the library and was pleasantly surprised by the coaching and life lessons that "Miss Val" had. Key takeaways for me:
(1)different folks require different cues to get them to access their best
(2)coaching is an art and can be learned (through experience)
(3)"be anxious about nothing and grateful for everything" - after her cancer scare
(4)"I get to do ___" versus "I have to do ___" dramatically shifts how you view tasks you don't like
(5) you don't have to like every part
Webb Hubbell
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Valorie Kondos Fields, Life Is Short, Dont Wait To Dance, and I immediately want to read it again. Every page is filled with sound advice, entertaining stories, and inspiration. I certainly know what my children and friends are getting in their Christmas Stockings her book.

This is not your run-of-the-mill successful coach or athletes memoir. Fields experiences and insights as a dancer/choreographer turned Hall-of-Fame coach have application far beyond the gymnasium, and leave
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! Miss Val definitely tried hard to make this book not just about gymnastics, and to make it a more well-rounded self-help-ish book.
My interest for reading the book came from the fact that I am a gymnast, and so I enjoyed the tidbits about UCLA and the gymnasts the best. (Personally I wish that it had been more of a UCLA-tell all).
At the end of the book I found the positivity and religious aspect to be a little overwhelming. She was very positive, and I am happy for her for
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I put off reading this book twice at the library. I have no idea why. I started it once and it just didn't speak to me (but i stopped about 10 minutes in so that tells you how much of a chance I gave it.) I know nothing about gymnastics or dance and I had never heard of Valorie. I checked this book out because the title spoke to me and I can always use advice and inspiration around living more fully.

And this book delivered in spades. There's a lot of great storytelling here but there's also a
Wande Salako
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. Though it took me a bit longer than I wanted to finish it because life, it was actually a quick read. While its some things youve heard before in other books and maybe life, its still something about this book that touches you some. Its not too heavy and it just Miss Val being who she is and understanding how to be her and making it work as a coach and as a human being. So many relatable things that happened to her in life spoke to me. For a women who was a dancer, ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just for Gymnasts.

I grew up in a different sport, but coaches are coaches. Some I loved and inspired me. Others got the results but left me shredded. I didn't know Miss Val or her story. I bumped into her because I am a Madison Kocian fan.

This book covers life territory. Many of the axioms and adages can be heard multiple places but Miss Val's take on them was energizing for me. I began reading a bit in the morning and evening as a life motivator. Human skills I had forgotten returned.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was extremely interesting and the author shared her own personal story in a captivating way, without excessive wordiness. It is not necessary for you to have a background in sports or gymnastics for you to enjoy or appreciate this book. I finished the book in a short amount of time and felt very inspired and motivated after reading it. The lessons that the author portrayed in her story were applicable to my own life and are for the most part universal.
Marie Clark
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: coaches
Shelves: biographical
Loved Valorie's stories, connection to coaching techniques, and honesty about her journey through coaching and achieving success with UCLA's gymnastics program. I've looked up to her for years and to hear her story of how she got there just reminds me of how unpredictable and beautiful life unfolds to be. I'm grateful to have read her story and feel confident with new found advice because of her.
Elizabeth Bertucci
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This might be one of few books I can give a confident five stars before completion of the actual book. Val Kondos Field is an incredible woman who, throughout the course of her book, gives readers advice on how to live fully. The most powerful of the chapters in the book is 18, where she discusses her cancer diagnosis and how she embraced and overcame obstacles in her path.
A great read or gymnastics fans, sports fans, and fans of life in general. We should all aspire to be like Miss Val.
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Valorie Kondos Field--or Miss Val as she's affectionately known--was a professional ballerina who has become one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history... even though she has never tumbled, flipped or ever played any type of organized sports.

Miss Val has been able to craft a legendary coaching career through curiosity, creativity, intention to detail, and unwavering care for the overall

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