Understanding Our Thresholds – Part 2: Moving Them (Kori Ade)

Olympic coach Kori Ade continues a discussion with her competitive skaters regarding their thresholds for various stressors.  In Part 1, she introduced the topic and covered the examples of thresholds for physical pain and thresholds for handling success.  In this video, she provides more context and a list of stressors and coping mechanisms that we all can use to help us move these thresholds.

Kori begins this part of the discussion by acknowledging that most of her skaters have made sacrifices to move to Colorado and train with her.  And she notes that these kinds of sacrifices can cause a skater more stress.  It can put added pressure on skaters to progress rapidly and have success.  But Kori makes it clear that the goal is to acknowledge the added pressure but not put so much pressure on yourself “that you crumble.”  She says, “You don’t want the sacrifice to be the reason that you failed.”

This concept applies to all skaters to some extent, as all skaters and skating families make sacrifices in order to skate.  Even if a skater doesn’t relocate to train with an Olympic coach, skaters often sacrifice other activities in order to skate, and skating families often make huge sacrifices to allow a skater to follow their dreams.

As an exercise for the group, Kori asks them to write down 3 thresholds that they feel they have expanded over the previous 3-4 months that they can rely on as a means for success in the coming skating season.  She clarifies this as “3 areas where you have expanded your threshold and you’re closer to what an elite person would do versus what an ordinary person would do.”

Next she shares a list of thresholds they had all come up with in an earlier discussion:  criticism, discomfort, vulnerability, change, failure, success, instability, autonomy, physical pain, and emotional pain.  Next she offers a list of coping mechanisms or methods to expand one’s thresholds in these areas: tolerance, participation (acceptance), pro-action, reaction, grit, desire, tenacity, and perseverance.

Most skaters never really address the stress they feel in regards to their skating.  But Kori is asking her skaters to understand what causes them stress and work on ways to help them cope with it in ways that will not hinder their success on and off the ice.


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