March 30, 2012
UCLA Gymnastics coaches and team members will be answering your questions over the course of the season. To submit questions for future Q&As, CLICK HERE.
Faith: What is the most rewarding and challenging part of being a coach at UCLA?
Valorie Kondos Field: The most rewarding part is being able to work with amazing, talented student-athletes and being able to have a positive influence on their lives. It's scary because I remember little things that were said to me growing up that had significant influence on how I viewed myself. I always try to be really aware of not making sarcastic comments that could be taken the wrong way and possibly have a profound negative effect. The most challenging part is trying to help all of our student-athletes figure out how to reach their potential in school, gym, relationships, life. College is a great time to figure out exactly what kind of a person you want to be and then make the daily changes to BE that person.
Melbourne: Miss Val, when did you realize Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs could dance so well? Her sophomore year routine was such a delightful surprise! It seemed to come out of nowhere!
Valorie Kondos Field: I remember watching Elyse dance in the gym whenever fun music came on, and I thought ... "Dang, that girl can MOVE!" After that, her floor routines were choreographed by me giving her suggestions of movement and steps and letting her interpret them how she felt most comfortable.
Kelly: Our team was once asked how we would celebrate our accomplishments no matter how big or small. How do the Bruins celebrate? Is this ever discussed?
Valorie Kondos Field: Wow, another great question. After meets, we always debrief. We give everyone an opportunity to express how they felt during the competition, whether they competed or not. It's always interesting to hear from the girls what they were feeling, how they calmed their nerves, how they felt watching a teammate compete, etc. After meets we always invite our parents and fans to dinner with us. Regardless of whether we are celebrating or drowning in sorrow, it's really important to include our extended Bruin family in our post-meet activities.
Betsy (Providence, RI): Hi Miss Val. Congrats on winning the Pac-12s! Did the girls have tattoos on their legs? That seems a bit un- UCLA-like. ;) The judges don't mind them?
Valorie Kondos Field: All of the teams had to wear them; it's really helpful for TV when they are trying to identify athletes. Our conference is trying something different instead of the numbers on the backs. I am not a fan of either. Any suggestions?
Jon: You talked about the championship atmosphere at Utah at the Pac-12 Championships. Would you be for or against them hosting it on a more permanent basis?
Valorie Kondos Field: I don't believe any championship should be at a permanent site unless it is at a neutral site.
Hannah (Phelan): Hi Tauny! I am a Level 7 gymnast and recently saw a UCLA competition where you did a great floor routine. I really liked your music and was wondering if you might be able to tell me where I could get a copy of it? Thank you!
Tauny Frattone: Hi Hannah! Thank you so much, and thank you for coming to support. The music is "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin. Great music isn't it? Miss Val thought that since we were going back to compete in the Wooden Center she would give a couple of us classic songs as floor music. Definitely a lot of fun! Enjoy!