Miss Valorie Kondos Field podcast

029: Miss Val on coaching a positive culture in gymnastics

In Part 1 of this Podcast Special we have Head Coach of UCLA Gymnastics and orchestrator of THAT viral gymnastics’ routine by Katelyn Ohashi, Miss Val Kondos Field. Miss Val and I discussed; how she was a ballerina originally but transitioned into coaching in gymnastics, the culture of gymnastics in the United States and how it has gone rotten, we unpacked her philosophies that have been galvanised by real life experiences such as her battle with cancer, her book “Life is Short Don’t Wait To Dance” and of course we spoke about Katelyn Ohashi’s unbelievable routine. Next week, Katelyn herself will join us on the podcast.

5:20 – Miss Val had a long and successful career in ballet. She studied classical ballet and piano for 17 years. Her first transition into gymnastics came by first becoming hired to play piano for floor routines before moving into coaching.
7:50 – Miss Val sees her job much more as a life skills coach, a mentor than a coach.
9:50 – Coaching is all about motivating change, not dictating change. Coaching from the ego takes the joy out of learning.
13:00 – Miss Val explains her philosophy, her faith and values and how she believes gymnastics teaches discipline like no other sport.
17:08 – Using success in sport as a platform to spread a message with impact. Example of the voice that Michael Phelps has now in spreading message about depression.
21:30 – Miss Val discusses the role of her parents and in particular being brought up without a fear of failure, how this now influences her coaching style and successes.
24:30 – Initially Miss Val quickly made some lessons in coaching after some mistakes and losses.
31:15 – The importance of a shared philosophical base with her athletes and fellow staff.
34:20 – One of Miss Val’s lessons in leadership is to surround yourself with people that you trust, rid your ego and when the time is right, allow your team to act and take charge with freedom.
41:45 – Gymnastics is in recovery and Miss Val states the need to educate coaches and parents
43:45 – Miss Val speaks of the abuse cases in US gymnastics and offers some of the issues within the US culture and systems.
49:00 – Miss Val’s reports that UCLA alumni all reported that they are stripped of a voice, made into robots and verbally and physically abused.
52:20 – “The after” – athletes report that after you are no longer able to win medals and money, you are forgotten about and no longer valued as people or as athletes.
57:50 – Miss Val discusses the conversations she has had with senior figures in changing American culture, not just sport and gymnastics.
59:50 – Active listening, high performance habits and getting out of the desert so that you can better serve other people.
1:08:25 – Gratitude is a critical component to UCLA’s gymnastic success and is engrained into their daily practice.
1:10:40 – Life is an adventure that requires you to learn, adapt and move fast
1:12:05 – Miss Val shares with us the moment she was told she had an aggressive form of breast cancer.
1:15:20 – Miss Val shares her insanely positive and infectious outlook on being diagnosed with cancer and of her trips to the chemo spa!
1:22:20 – Val describes how she used time at chemo spa to plan for her next ventures including her book “Life is Short Don’t Wait To Dance”.
1:27:30 – Miss Val tries to bring out childlike qualities in her athletes and their routines, first, by helping them find their unique voice. The best performers are joyful, spontaneous and loving in what they do.
1:31:56 – Steve and Miss Val discuss Katelyn Ohashi’s phenomenal routine that recently went viral
1:32:25 – Katelyn’s evolution into the woman embodies her journey and pays tribute to significant influences.
1:35:50 – Miss Val shares why she believes Katelyn’s routine has gone viral.
1:41:50 – What is next for Miss Val? Retirement, the transition of her identity, learning and experiencing new things.


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