Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance is a nonfiction work by Valorie Kondos Field about her life, beliefs and coaching philosophy. This book covers her history as a coach, how she ended up as a member of the UCLA hall of fame and brought the best out of her athletes.
This book is worth the read. Even if you read this whole post, I won’t do it justice.
Valorie is special. She led a team of female gymnasts to a national title without ever being a gymnast. Coaching something you’ve mastered is one thing, coaching something you’ve never done is a whole level up. Valorie talks about how she got into the field and how she learned how to be a better coach. How she realized that skills she needed to teach her athletes weren’t quips, but were the same life skills she had used to be successful in her life.
If you want a taste Valorie before committing to reading this book, I would recommend her appearance on The Finding Master Podcast at Valorie Kondos Field, UCLA Gymnastics Head Coach | Finding Mastery.
Here are some of the key concepts I took away from the book:
- Choose Happy – You can choose to be a happy person or a sad person. Instead of looking at all the faults, choose to be happy.
- Act “As If” – Acting as if you are a healthy person can lead you to be a healthy person. Sometimes stepping into the role before you actually are the role will help you get there.
- Gratitude – This one is huge for me. Everyone I know has been talking about gratitude recently. I’ve started a 10 things a day list and am pretty happy with how far I’ve come in reframing my life here.
- Personal days – This is a concept that I have at work but have never thought about in athletics. Respecting the athlete to have personal practice days where they need their time. I believe Coach Val gives athletes 3 days per year, but the athlete can ask for the day or the coach can suggest an athlete takes the days and there are no consequences for missing it.
Just to wrap this review up. Reading this book was very inspirational to me as an athlete, coach and human. I would recommend this book. I’m not sure if it will be the first book I’d recommend to everyone, but Miss Val has lead a very inspirational life and I enjoyed getting to know more about her experiences, coaching beliefs, and funny stories.