Ask The Bruins Chat Wrap: Coach Valorie Kondos Field
Jan. 29, 2004
Q: Congrats on your performance at Minnesota. What is Aimee Walker not getting credit for on floor (9.8 SV)? I'm excited to see her in the future at UCLA! I was sorry to see her have such a rough night versus MN, but she never stopped smiling! (Brandon, Minneapolis)
Q: You often quote Coach Wooden's philosophy in your articles or interviews. Is there one over-riding principle of his that has helped you achieve the coaching success you've had, and if so, what is it? (Jones, Laughlin)
Q: Hey Miss Val, I was wondering how is Jamie doing, and when will she be back in the bars line-up? I miss her so much; she was my favorite. And also how is Mo doing for her goal on trying for the Olympics? Thanks. (Brian)
It is extremely frustrating for all, especially Jamie. We've talked about red-shirting her, but she's planning on retiring from gymnastics after April. She's excited about the next chapter of her life, post-gymnastics. Hopefully, we'll have a breakthrough between now and April, and we'll all get to enjoy Jamie Dantzscher's amazing gymnastics again.
Mohini is doing incredibly well. If you can imagine it, she is in better physical and gymnastics shape than she's ever been in. She just got back from a U.S. training camp, where she got rave reviews. We're hoping to have Mo do some exhibitions for us in our next few home competitions."
Q: I would like to know if the decision of Kate (Richardson) to train for the Olympics to represent her native Canada will affect the performance of the UCLA team during the regular season. (Daniel Smith)
Q: Aside from the continuous preparation of actual elements and routines, what are the other types of preparation and activities that your student-athletes participate in? Your team members always seem to have a great mental preparation for meets. (Stephen, Tampa)
Contrary to all of this 'calm confident' talk, I do get very upset in training or competition if an athlete is not giving 100% effort. If you're going to do something, then do it with 100% integrity and effort. If you're not able to do that, then someone else should take over that position."
Q: Despite individual personalities and egos, your gymnasts always meld into a "team" where the team comes first, rather than any individual. This is truly a sign of a great coach. Is this something you work on, or is it something that comes naturally? (Tom, North Hollywood)
It's really refreshing to find with our 'higher profile' athletes, that they absolutely don't want special treatment. This is the one aspect of our team, above all others, that Coach Wooden brags about constantly. He is always quick to comment on how much he enjoys our gymnastics meets because it takes an emotionally and mentally strong individual to be able to compete individually on an event - there's no one to pass the ball to. And yet, when the athlete comes off of the apparatus, they meld right back into the team without bringing further attention to themselves."
Q: How successful are your gymnasts in their classes? How difficult is it for them to succeed athletically and academically? (Stuart, Los Angeles)
Like most things associated with our program, if the majority of the team buys into something, then the rest of the team eventually buys into it as well. Fortunately, it works the same with our team's study habits, which, in my opinion, are very good. Our team not only has had the highest team GPA of all of the 22 UCLA sports for the past five years, but they have a substantially higher GPA than the average UCLA student."
Q: Miss Val, what is your strategy in creating your line-ups, or do you have a strategy at all? Also what do you look for overall in recruiting an athlete? (Adam AhQuin, Cedar City Utah)
Q: What part does a walk-on play on a college team? How does one become a walk-on? (Denise, Lakewood)
Our first 10.0 at UCLA came from a non-scholarship student-athlete. Amy Thorne earned a 10.0 on floor in 1993.
If you've been reading any of the Between the Bars I've written lately, you've heard of the great job Jamie Williams is doing for us. She is a non-scholarship student-athlete who turned down scholarship offers at other universities to be a UCLA Bruin. We LOVE our walk-ons."
Note from Miss Val: I've gotten a lot of questions regarding our music. Each new season I receive CD's with a variety of music artists and choices, I then pick the selections I like. The artist's name is not usually included in the demos that I get. If you would like information on a particular piece of music, please contact Eric Larsen at Wolfjump Music at Wolfjump@earthlink.net.
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