Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance – a review

Expecting to enjoy this book, it was even better than anticipated.

This book is must read for any Beam / Floor coach.

Life Is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance is a thankful celebration of Gymnastics, a refreshing respite in an era where conversations are often dominated by the crimes of an evil doctor.

Miss Val is one of the most successful College coaches all time. Yet, as a dancer, she doesn’t pretend to be a technical expert or biomechanist. Her specialities are artistry, musicality, dance and choreography. A non-gymnast, she became one of the greatest NCAA Beam coaches in history learning on the job.

Even more interesting to me is her skills set of all those MANY things that coaches need outside Gymnastics.

Miss Val is a case study on those MANY other things.

Surprisingly, I also recommend the book to non-Gymnastics readers. Life lessons for all. I learned a lot.

She discusses one issue I hadn’t seen addressed before: the awkward words ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’. She tells of Jordyn Wieber’s dislike of both words. I use victim as much as possible over survivor.

I loved the section on face tattoos. UCLA does NOT wear face tattoos. As an old dinosaur, I agree with Miss Val on this. Can we start phasing those out? Please.

For once an author openly admits her ghost writer is a contributor. That’s Steve Cooper, one of the GymCastic team.

Aly Raisman doesn’t do that, for example. Her co-author is journalist Blythe Lawrence.

I enjoyed hearing her team rules at UCLA. It’s a challenge to motivate young women away from home for the first time.

Miss Val didn’t talk enough about the high rate of injury in College Gymnastics, in my opinion. UCLA has had more than their share. I’ve always attributed that to her tendency to recruit Elite gymnasts over Level 10s. Elites tend to arrive with more injuries, I suspect.

Miss Val reads the audio book. It makes the content more personal. Get the audio version if you can. 

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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