In this episode, Laurenn Cutshaw interviews Valorie Kondos Field, also known as Miss Val, the former Head Coach of the UCLA women’s gymnastics team. During her 29-year career, she led the Bruins to seven NCAA championship titles and 18 Pac-12 championship titles. Miss Val is a published author, speaker, breast cancer survivor, and faculty member at UCLA, where she teaches transformative coaching. 

Miss Val and Laurenn dive into her philosophy on coaching and leadership, definitions of winning and success, and the impact of COVID on college sports, and more.


Official Miss Val Website
TED Talk: Why winning doesn’t always equal success
Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance by Valorie Kondos Field

Podcast Highlights

3:38 – Being mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared: “I prepared simply for the joy of being able to be on stage and feeling fully prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically.”

4:05 – Importance of a cohesive culture: “In any great team, there is a team culture that is accepted by all, by the coaches, the owners, and by the athletes. When that culture is really healthy, that’s when the magic happens.”

9:20 – Don’t waste time waiting for COVID to be over: “I felt from the very beginning, I’m going to grow through this. I’m going to find a way to really work on all the things that I didn’t have, quote, unquote, time to work on before and grow through this time, regardless of how long it’s going to take.”

17:34 – Integrity: “Integrity is knowing what you stand for, knowing what your personal moral code and foundation is. Then making sure that every action that you have is in line with that goal.”

28:08 – Change happens only through education: “I believe the only way change happens in anything is through education. Otherwise, if you’re not educating somebody to be motivated to change, they’re just being compliant.”

30:28 – ‘The After’ of an athlete’s career: “The after starts, when they’re no longer viable to medal for the United States, that’s when they go into the category of the after. And they’re not really coached much, they’re not addressed much. They’re not treated even as human beings.”

37:23 – Damage of the ‘win at all cost’ culture: “Change will not happen unless parents really start seeing the damage that a win at all costs culture is doing to their children.”

49:46 – Miss Val’s Book and Films: “I’m writing another book based off of my Ted talk which is all about, is winning at all costs acceptable? And defining success. I’m actually working on a few different films, gymnastics related, I am excited.“