Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Nadolna worked hard to set up the Murphy Wellness Center before its great reveal on Monday. And why not? The newly renovated facility is more than a weight room for Coach Nadolna. It’s his classroom.
Coach Nadolna works with teams during their competitive seasons, both during the day and immediately after school. In these sessions, he brings a unified and holistic approach to their strength and conditioning, instead of concentrating on a sports-specific protocol.
At the same time, he also promotes the values that separate Saint Viator student-athletes, namely character, gratitude, kindness, and leadership.
“I see the weight room as an educational platform,” Coach Nadolna says. “It’s where I can make the connections between what makes athletes successful in the weight room and how to bring them into real life.”
In building Saint Viator athletes into leaders, Coach Nadolna draws on his role as the assistant director of operations for the Good Athlete Project, whose mission is to help athletes realize their potential through athletics.
Before coming to Saint Viator, Coach Nadolna worked at New Trier High School with Jim Davis, coordinator of its Staff and Student Wellness Center. It was Davis who started the Good Athlete Project, and both he and Coach Nadolna now host coaches’ clinics and make presentations for teams and schools.
“The idea of maximizing the potential of athletics as a learning platform was one that really spoke to me,” Coach Nadolna says of his involvement, which started in 2015.
This spring, Coach Nadolna brought one of the Good Athlete Project’s service opportunities to Saint Viator: a spring diaper drive to benefit women and children served by the Chicago Infant Welfare Society.
“I was looking for ways to bring our athletes together for a great cause,” Coach Nadolna adds.
The initiative has drawn donations from nearly all of Saint Viator’s spring sports, including boys’ lacrosse, softball, girls’ track & field, cheer, dance, and baseball teams all bringing in donations.
Saint Viator is one of several schools participating in the drive. In all, the goal is to collect 10,000 packages of diapers to fight diaper needs in Chicago area communities. The Lions have pledged to collect 2,500 diapers. Contributions are being accepted through the first week of May.
“I’m not surprised we’ve had a good response,” Coach Nadolna says. “The students – and entire school community – are committed to service. That’s who we are as a school.”