Meet Alexander, The Next #CoachUpWay Winner!
Each month, we look at all the athlete-submitted stories to our #CoachUpWay contest and choose a winner that exemplifies all that we stand for. For us, it's been such a rush reading so many inspiring, incredible, and touching stories of success and progress. So far, we've met Stepan and Nathan, but who will carry on the #CoachUpWay Winner crown with honor and promise for this month? We're pleased to introduce Alexander, our third #CoachUpWay winner! Alexander's story was so fantastic, we just had to reach out for more information. Below is an extended question-and-answer session with Alexander's mother, Christine. Here, we dove into Alexander's training, hobbies, and work ethic with Coach Mike -- so, please help us congratulate the newest #CoachUpWay winner!
If you'd like to be considered for March, come tell us your story!
CoachUp: Hi Christine, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few more questions for us! Congratulations once again to Alexander, but we were actually curious if his passion for music continued as well!
If it has, has football and personalized coaching helped him in this area of his life or any other things off of the field?
Christine Polonia Gresh: Absolutely! Alexander’s passion for music certainly continues alongside his dedication to football and he learned how to play guitar (both acoustic and electric), saxophone, and drums all before 8th grade. He is a fast learner and picked up these instruments with ease.
As parents, we never pushed our children to do things they had no passion or interest in. However, that all changed for Alex in 8th grade when playing football became a hot topic in our household -- so we told him to try out. First thing's first, we knew that he had to lose some weight and he committed to that fiercely. Through his dedication to eating healthy and exercising, he found himself as the starting center at Linganore High School.
Even better, he was so good at it too! People would always ask: how long has Alexander been playing? And when we told everybody it was just his first year, they were simply amazed. At this point, we knew he had a talent and that we needed to help him with it. Neither myself or my husband had experience in football so we knew we'd have to look elsewhere for help -- that's where CoachUp came in. In a lot of ways, playing music is a sport too! It takes loads of dedication and practice, just as it does in sports.
Strangely enough, this is why I think Alexander found early success with football -- music already taught him the most important part of training: to be the best, you must stay focused and practice hard.
CU: When you were interviewing coaches, what kinds of questions were you asking? What specifically were you looking for?
CPG: First, I would ask about their experiences in football, both athletically and coaching-wise, and how would they help my son advance with his skills. I felt I needed to know about their previous goals and dreams, but also how they could use those to fuel Alexander's training as well. I also wanted someone strong, somebody that could discipline him if he lost focus. I spoke with six coaches to start and then narrowed it down to three, then I let Alexander pick his favorite.
From the get-go, I knew which one he would pick as Coach Mike is an All-Star and former graduate of Alexander's high school. Coach Mike knew how to get him to where he needed to be and has helped us majorly with the college recruiting process. Plain and simple, he was just the perfect fit for our needs -- we plan on using Coach Mike for a long time.
CU: Can you describe some of the changes you’ve seen in Alexander since he started working with Coach Mike?
CPG: Now, Alexander is so dedicated to working out and if he misses a day, he feels bad. His dedication and determination is beyond my expectations -- it's been such a wonderful transformation to watch. He works out every night with the treadmill, lifts weights, and does ab exercises as well. At school, he trains 3-4 times a week and then meets with Coach Mike every Saturday. He wants to play college football and, so far, he's giving it all he has to get there.
Ultimately, I would say that his focus, determination, and goal-setting is a big change in his life so far.
CU: How did you find CoachUp?
CPG: Our daughter wanted to be a singer and we eventually found her a vocal coach -- so, we knew it was only right to work with Alexander and his dreams. I started with friends and family, but really got nowhere, so I headed to the internet. I searched and stumbled across all types of things, but finally came across CoachUp.
We put in our city and state and, well, the rest is history. I loved the process and the simplicity of it all. I tell others about it and love seeing how much progress Alexander has made. As parents, we would love to teach our children everything, but sometimes it's important step back and let others help them accomplish their goals.
CU: Thank you so much for your time, Christine -- this was so insightful!
Thanks again to Alexander and Christine -- your story is wonderful and we love hearing about our coaches out there changing lives. Coach Mike has been working with Alexander nearly every week and the results show, so congratulations again for your spotlight and achievements.
If you have a story worth sharing, head over to the #CoachUpWay and submit your own! You could win a gift bundle from CoachUp worth over $250!