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Coaching Olympic athletes the Jesuit way

Coaching Olympic athletes the Jesuit way

Coach Kori Ade (BS '97) stands beside skater Jason Brown in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Ade's holistic coaching style, rooted in her years at Loyola, has helped athletes like Brown reach the top of their sport. (Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Coaching Olympic athletes the Jesuit way

How does Kori Ade (BS '97) help her athletes get to the next level?
By applying the values she learned at Loyola.

By Maura Sullivan Hill

Kori Ade (BS ’97) coaches figure skating just like the Jesuits educated her at Loyola—by focusing on the whole person.

“Being able to draw on my education—whether it’s something I learned in a philosophy or anthropology or sociology course—has given me a versatile knowledge base for explaining concepts to my students,” said Ade, whose star skater is 2015 U.S. Men’s National Champion Jason Brown. “Having to take the three required theology and philosophy courses, especially, broadened my horizons. I thank Loyola for furthering my quest for knowledge on a holistic level.”

6 TIPS FROM THE COACH

Follow Kori Ade's tips for approaching every day like an Olympic athlete:

  • Set a metric to measure achievement and growth—as well as complacency.
  • Make public what you are aiming for, because vulnerability equals accountability.
  • Be accountable. It is one of the best ways to demonstrate your integrity.
  • Never allow fear to lead you; it is the easiest way to paralyze your potential.
  • Face every day with the notion that if you aren’t a little better by the end of it, you haven’t made the most of your time.
  • Embrace the process and journey, and be present. Without the small victories and defeats along the way, none of the payoff really matters.

Brown, an acclaimed skater who will be an alternate on the 2018 U.S. men's figure skating team, has been coached by Ade since he was 5 years old. He, along with other national and international competitors, works with Ade at her 7K International Skating Academy in Monument, Colorado. Her program combines on-ice practice with off-ice training in mental toughness. She even asks her skaters to get involved in service projects in their local communities.

“Even if I can't teach them a better axel, I can teach them to be more compassionate, to have more gratitude, to have grit.” — Kori Ade (BS '97), U.S. FIGURE SKATING Coach

Ade knows what it takes to create a champion on the ice, but prides herself on equipping athletes with the skills to succeed in life off the ice. Her father, Tim Ade, a former professor in Loyola’s Fine Arts Department, always told her, “Keep your antennas up, so that you can best respond to the circumstances presented to you in each moment.” Ade says that approach had a huge influence on her coaching philosophy.

“He taught me to handle adversity, be resourceful, and make decisions based on the ability to be flexible and work with change, instead of allowing it to derail you,” she said.

Ade's coaching philosophy mirrors the Ignatian value of cura personalis, or care of the whole person. That is rooted in her years at Loyola, where Ade majored in anthropology and had three minors: criminal justice, sociology and Spanish. It has helped her to take a broader approach to coaching her athletes

Those factors have all shaped the way Ade coaches her athletes and has proven to be a recipe for success. “I want to enrich their lives in any way possible,” she said. “Even if I can’t teach them a better axel, I can teach them to be more compassionate, to have more gratitude, to have grit. I can show them that they have potential that they didn’t know that they had.”