CROSSNET PODCAST: Playing pro volleyball in Europe and underdeveloped beach volleyball skills.


On this episode of the CROSSNET Volleyball Podcast show, USA Indoor Volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Millar, talked with me about my path through the game. It's always fun to talk shop with someone you haven't met but then you realize that all of your experiences are so tightly aligned.

"AVP beach volleyball professional and the owner of the Better At Beach YouTube Channel, Mark Burik. Mark and I discuss our experiences playing professional volleyball in Europe, different ways to compete at CROSSNET 😂, Mark’s #1 underdeveloped beach volleyball skill, and his deep desire to help as many people as possible become better players at beach volleyball. 

Enjoy this fun interview with a great ambassador of the game."

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Ryan Millar (00:00:00):

Mark. We're excited to have you on the show today. I'm looking forward to talking to you. It's good to meet you and you, and I don't think we've ever met.

Mark Burik (00:00:06):

No, no. I mean, I watched you on TV for years, but that's about it. I probably a Google search did 20,000 times. But aside from that, this will be our first time where you meet me.

Ryan Millar (00:00:18):

Yeah. I appreciate you taking the time. I, you know, one of these days we'll probably hook up somewhere around the word.

Mark Burik (00:00:25):


Ryan Millar (00:00:27):

Give me just a general sense of a little bit of your background. You know, where, where are you from? I mean, I don't have to go too far into it, but I know you played, you played college volleyball, you went on and played a little bit professionally indoors, just a little bit of backdrop.

Mark Burik (00:00:44):

Sure. born and raised in Queens, New York started playing volleyball. You know, I played like one year in high school my junior year and then I can, I gave up on it and then I found it again in college and play club at university of Delaware, then transferred to go play varsity at George Mason, went overseas for a few years, and then I was playing beach back and forth in between. And eventually just said I'd had enough of indoor. And when each full time I've been on the AVP now for, I guess for 10 years. And now I have a coaching company where we coach people online with tons of online courses and videos and content. And we also run training camps and classes every day in mostly beach, California.

Ryan Millar (00:01:33):

Yeah, not so much nowadays though. Unfortunately,

Mark Burik (00:01:36):

Not so much nowadays, but it's given us like a cool opportunity to really boost our online programs, which was really on the back burner while we were coaching people in person. So

Ryan Millar (00:01:47):

Yeah. What got you into volleyball in the first place? You know, you're a junior in high school, I'm assuming you're playing other sports. What kind of attracted you to the, to the game?

Mark Burik (00:01:58):

Yeah. I was baseball and football in high school and it, it had to be the, the people first I think, you know, a few of the guys like it, it was gym class and some people were like, Oh man, you can hit the ball so hard and you're talk, I'm play. And I think it just felt really appreciated there. And then I started thinking, well, not a lot of people play volleyball, so maybe that's an easy way to get a college scholarship. And I didn't realize at the time at all that, like there were 21 schools that could give that. So,

Ryan Millar (00:02:33):

And only four and a half scholarships at those schools.

Mark Burik (00:02:39):

All right. So no one really told me that I had 80 spots that I was buying for three years older than me. That was actually kind of a stressful time because it was like, all right, I had planned on either baseball or football, and then this wrench was thrown in for volleyball and gave it a shot my junior year. Cause lovely guys in the team, everybody was like busting their butts. And then I did pretty well that year, but when I graduated, I kept trying to organize all of these workouts, like extra workouts, extra reps and tournaments. I tried to turn my high school volleyball team into a club team so that we can play together. And every time I ran an extra workout or try to throw a tournament, none of the guys, my age would show up all of the seats.

Mark Burik (00:03:27):

All the seniors had graduated. And I was like, wait a second. Anybody who wanted to put in the work is now gone. And that, that was like really deeply upsetting to me. And I was like, okay, you know, I played volleyball. I was like one of the best players in the league my first year ever trying the sport in New York where there were like six teams in our league. And I wasn't being surrounded by people who were willing to put in work. And so those two things, I was like, I need to be in a bigger pool where no matter what the sport, I want it to be around like high caliber athletes who wanted to work. And so I made the decision again, I basically begged the baseball coaches. I was like, I want to come back and they're there. They're pretty hard on me about it, but they let me back. And then then I went to college for football.

Ryan Millar (00:04:17):

There you go. Seems logical. Right?

Mark Burik (00:04:22):

Yeah. And a few, a few offers for teams. I turned down a few like partial scholarships. And then I went to university of Delaware as an invited walk on. And after one year there, I was pretty miserable, but I found volleyball.

Ryan Millar (00:04:36):

You found your way back. Once you get the bug, it's hard to get rid of it.

Mark Burik (00:04:40):

It's tough. You know, those open gyms, people just out there just banging and is like, let me play for a little while now. I got, I got practice in 30 minutes

Ryan Millar (00:04:52):

Then how'd you find your way to George Mason though?

Mark Burik (00:04:57):

My second year at Delaware after playing a year and a half of club with the men's I, the same thing kind of came around, whereas like club athletes, aren't all of them, aren't like the best, you know? And again, with the extra workouts that I was trying to put in, cause I brought that D one football mentality into volleyball and they're like, we play club because we don't want it to be a full time job. And in my mind I said, how can you expect or want to win? Like if we lose and you're upset after we lose, then you're just like a liar, you know? Cause he didn't work is wired to win. Right. So that, that upset me again. And so I sent out tapes to every college. And one of them after a really long time, Mason, who's like, you can come try out, but you know, you would have to transfer to us before you even try it out. So there's no promises. I was like, I'm there.

Ryan Millar (00:06:00):

Well, luckily you did. So. Yeah. And then you went and played professionally. Tell me, give me some, some thoughts on, on playing overseas. And I mean, obviously I, I played as well, so I know, I know very often a very real how it is, but give me just a couple of your thoughts on, on your experience over there.

Mark Burik (00:06:21):

Have you ever read the book playing for pizza? First of all,

Ryan Millar (00:06:25):

I liked the title though.

Mark Burik (00:06:30):

It's a really short, easy read and it's about a ex college football player who goes in and plays in Italy. And I read that after my first year overseas and I was like, this guy, this author either played overseas or he talked for hours with a guy that did you know, or you're like paid by the local restaurant and meals. Nothing to do.

Ryan Millar (00:07:00):

It's funny. I remember I had, I had two buddies that went over and played and you know, they played in kind of a lower league and they, when they got over there, their teams was like, Hey, do you guys want to another job to make some additional money while you're here? And they're like, they look at their paychecks and they're like,

Mark Burik (00:07:20):

Yeah, sure. We'll take another job. They ended up working at this chicken coop where they'd have to like, do you remember Napoleon dynamite where he had to like

Ryan Millar (00:07:29):

Chickens to do like the other part of the cube? That's what they were doing. They like these special gloves and they'd have to go

Mark Burik (00:07:38):

Free time. They would have, they'd be at the chicken farm.

Ryan Millar (00:07:42):

I mean, you gotta love volleyball if you're going to do that for any period of time. Right?

Mark Burik (00:07:47):

Yeah. It just makes sense to you because you're like, it's the only way you can play right now after college, it's like, alright, I can play for a competitive team and we practice four or five, four or five times a week if you're lucky. And then, you know, you get a couple of matches a week since like, if that's what you want to do. And then if you're in that situation, you're thinking that there's like some kind of light at the end of the tunnel where, Hey, if I perform for this team, there's team, that'll treat me like a real professional. And that was the whole goal. And, you know, cause I wanted to go on the, bring it towards you, you know what that is. And Kelly and those guys, and I was thinking about going there. I signed up, but a guy who had graduated two years ahead of me in my school or three years ahead of me and in my school, he was the player coach in Sweden continued being Walker's volleyball club.

Mark Burik (00:08:40):

And he was like, Hey, we got a bunch of young guys. And they're not like coach the best, you know, is I know setting and I know offensive design, but as far as serve, receive, I know someone who, I want someone who knows the in and out and uses the same language that I use. So he basically brought me into VD outside hitter and to lead a crew of younger than 22 year old guys in serve, receive. Cause you know, like they're overseas as you know, like professional could mean that you're playing with like 16, 17, 18 year old guys, because that's just throw for them is just the highest level of their club program. Right.

Ryan Millar (00:09:26):

It's like their developmental program pretty much. I mean, it's like, oftentimes it's like our college system, but they're just doing it in their, in their proteins, their club teams. Yeah. So tell me, so you, so you played Sweden. Was that, how long did you play there for?

Mark Burik (00:09:44):

Well I played there one year next year. I needed surgery on my shoulder that a lot of swings that year. Again, as you probably know, like outside hitters overseas, they're feeding you every ball, they hired you to be there and you're not on a team of studs. Like we were three full time pros. They're giving you every ball. So, you know, you're taking a lot of swings every day. So my shoulder paid the price. I had to take a year off and get and get surgery. And that really sucked because the top team in the league recruited me back. So I played for like the number six, five, we finished fifth or fourth, whatever it was the top team in the, in the league next year. They're like, Hey, come play for us. That was stoked. And then the shoulders never got better. Can you, can you hold on til Christmas? Like, cause I can come for Christmas, like by the half of the season and then playoffs and they're like, yes, my shoulders still didn't get better. So big bummer there. But then the next year I ended up going to play in Norway, there was a team that needed players. So my second year playing pro third year to college, I was the head coach of a professional club team in Norway.

Ryan Millar (00:11:08):

And you were playing to play or coach?

Mark Burik (00:11:10):

Yeah. Oh wow. Which is kind of, kind of cool bonus because they paid me like salary and a half. So I was making more than any player in that league because I kind of had two rules. Yeah. And then like you said, I was personal training,

Ryan Millar (00:11:29):

At least you weren't at the chicken coop,

Mark Burik (00:11:34):

But people love getting trained by like in American personal trainers, they found it to be like so motivational. So you gotta buy,

Ryan Millar (00:11:41):

They love that you loved those Northern European countries out there.

Mark Burik (00:11:45):

No, I hate, I hated it.

Ryan Millar (00:11:48):

Plus you're over there during the winter too, which is a rough

Mark Burik (00:11:51):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, no.

Speaker 3 (00:11:57):

Right. Cause like, cause I went to cause it's cause you're so far North that you get limited amounts of daylight during the day, right?

Mark Burik (00:12:05):

Yeah. Well during the winter, yeah. During the winter, right? Yeah. Yes, no, it was, I remember like feeling bad for the kids because they would go into school and it was still dark. And then while they're in school, their window of daylight happened and then it closed before they got out of school. They never got to, aside from a lunch hour, they never got to go outside and enjoy daylight and it was rough. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:12:30):

Oh gosh. Yeah. That does not sound fun.

Mark Burik (00:12:33):

No, but I, I ended up putting another year in, in Sweden a couple of years later and weird story, but I ended up like, okay, I stopped the job in Norway then finish, finish that season. And I went to, I went on the, bring it tour. Finally. I was like, I want to get introduced to some new teams. And I did that and I got, didn't get picked up on tour. I get a few offers where they're like, you're, you're sitting in your dorm room after all these tryouts, basically. It's you just playing back road threes against everybody else, you know, backward threes forever. And they just want to see who's got the biggest swing. And didn't get picked up, but they're like stay around because we got a lot of tape on you and we know that we can put you on a team. Like we know we'll get you there. I'll just go backpacking and I'll keep updating you with my route. And if you know, any punk teams along the way, just let me know so that I can stay in shape or introduce myself. And I went through Croatia, like I went through Italy and Croatia and

Speaker 3 (00:13:36):

Those are two good spots to backpack. They're beautiful.

Mark Burik (00:13:39):

Unreal. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:13:41):

People don't know Coratia man. Courageous. Beautiful. When you go down the coast is amazing.

Mark Burik (00:13:47):

Warm water, like dumping everywhere into this clear, clear sea. Yeah. I was shocked at that. Croatia was just absolutely gorgeous. And so I I found a team along that route. Like I was just like, Hey, you know, can I, can I work out with this team? They're like, Oh, I know that there's a club team in split. You know, I mean maybe I'll ask them and they were in their preseason and they need an extra guy. Cause a couple of their guys hadn't showed up for practice yet. So I just started doing their workouts and practicing with them. And after it was after five days there cause I, I loved split. I just loved hanging out in that town. They asked if I wanted to play the whole season, they paid me. And that was like the best contract that I had at the point.

Speaker 3 (00:14:32):

Wow. Yeah. It just so happened that you were like there. Right? That's crazy. Wow. What a journey, man? What do you, what did you like thinking back on all that now? Like what, what did you learn about yourself or about life or whatever? I'm just curious. Cause I mean, that's,

Ryan Millar (00:14:52):

You know, that's a good chunk of your, you know, twenties, mid twenties, ish years. So what are you, what are you thinking now as you look back on that

Mark Burik (00:15:01):

Number one, I guess from that is just to show up. Like I actually, it's funny because before that I had an experience where I didn't have a job and I was told that no, you don't have this job. It was an internship with the San Diego fire department for their wellness program. I'm going to be in San Diego. So like that's what I wanted to do. And they're like, no, no, no. Like we have people who already have their master's degrees who are just like begging for this internship. And I was like, at some point, one of you is going to need coffee. Right. And you're going to be upset that no one's there.

Mark Burik (00:15:40):

So I literally walked in the door with a huge box of donuts and a huge set of coffee had no idea how many people were working there. And they're like, what are you doing here? I was like, well, if you guys need anything, if you need me to like clean anything or do anything, you know, like there's gotta be something else you can do or go. And I was like, I just really want to be here and learn from you. You guys hung around their office. And by the end of the summer, I was the one who was running and recording all of the wellness tests for the, for the firefighters. Just like showing up. And even though somebody kind of says, no, you know, to anybody who has stalker tendencies out there, that's not what I mean, but like get in there and just say like, Hey, you know what, you're the person that I want to learn from, or this is what I want to do. So this is where I have to be. Regardless. Even if you tell me no, I'm going to hang out and find out what I can do for you to help out. And that was it. That's what I did a bunch of times in my life that somehow worked out,

Ryan Millar (00:16:43):

Oh, that's a cool lesson. I say, I have a, so like my house is right next door to my house. I'm looking at it right now is our, it's a fire station. And so I always an out my window in my office, I can always see the guys out doing their laps. And sometimes they're in like the full gear with like the machine so they can cruise around and I'm always like, Oh yeah, it must be exercise time.

Mark Burik (00:17:05):

Nice. Where do you live?

Ryan Millar (00:17:07):

I live in South salt Lake city right now. So, but we're, we're actually, there's some things happening where I might be coming back to Southern California. So I grew up in Southern California. And so it might be coming back. I've lived in Utah a long, long time now

Mark Burik (00:17:24):

Do I get first dibs?

Ryan Millar (00:17:27):

Yeah, you're probably not going to want me right now. I would need some time. And the job that I have now is doesn't allow me to dedicate that time. But but I appreciate the confidence.

Mark Burik (00:17:39):

Yeah, man, let me give you one that I can get, I can bring a pizza every day and that's what your salary as my partner pizza. I love it.

Ryan Millar (00:17:47):

That'd be, that'd be a great another podcast title play for pizza. Yeah,

Mark Burik (00:17:52):

That would actually be awesome. Just, just to hear everybody's experiences

Ryan Millar (00:17:57):

Just to have guys on and just talking about playing overseas and yeah,

Mark Burik (00:18:01):

Just did that for forever, right? I mean he just stopped, but yeah.

Ryan Millar (00:18:04):

Well it's one of the reasons why I started this was to kind of live cause you know, I, I was on the net live a long time ago and Barney and I have obviously known each other forever Reed and I and rich and I and everybody. And so so I'm like, no, man, this can't stop. So I got hooked up with these guys from the, I don't know if you ever, have you ever played cross net? Do you know what crossing that is?

Mark Burik (00:18:27):

I know what it is. I haven't played it yet.

Ryan Millar (00:18:32):

You'll enjoy it. It's cool. You know,

Mark Burik (00:18:37):


Ryan Millar (00:18:37):

With multiple people, so it's kind of cool. I'm interested to see like really good guys, play it and see how they can tweak the rules in the game. And I know when we were on the national team, like for practice, we have numbers of guys playing short court just to warm up and it would be, it would literally, they would step on the court and it would be automatically okay, who serves it? Lets let's go. And it would be short court right away.

Mark Burik (00:19:02):

Never thought I think for, for crossing it, you gotta play with like, and no tools. Like if you tool it, like nobody gets a point or something. It's interesting because that's like, that's, that's a small cord. That's like, that's how he always played. You know, like the hand, let them try to throw it out.

Ryan Millar (00:19:21):

It's interesting about it. That I'm curious is the rules that the, the real rules of the game only give you one touch, which, which is interesting. Cause I'm thinking if you went three touches, if you had three touches, it would be, it would be pretty intense. I'm wondering how it would look if maybe you could do your two touch game, you only get two touches. And so I don't know, there's a number of different things I think you could do. That would be really interesting on how to play the game, multiple people in a square maybe. So you got, instead of just four people, you got eight people that would be interesting.

Mark Burik (00:19:57):

Let's change it.

Ryan Millar (00:19:58):

Yeah. so I read about this. I, I, you know, I, I Googled you, I got on as much information as I could. So you coached you coach for gold medal square too, right?

Mark Burik (00:20:10):

Technically I still coach for them. It's like if they ever need, if their schedules is ever full, cause I'm like, all right, like I got my own coaching company now we'll do my own things. And with what they paid me out of college, I was like, I'm trying to build my own business and my own legacy. So for me to give up a full five days of that stuff. But I said, if you're ever in a bind, let me know. And then I'll, I'll just give you, you know, my schedule and that company, every one of those guys has been like an unreal company in terms of like people, what they do their, for their employees, what they do for the people that they work with. And I try to model everything of what I do around how they treated me.

Mark Burik (00:20:57):

Like what can we do for him to, to, to make it easier, you know? And it wasn't always that they just paid you like as much as you wanted and threw you a ton of money, but whatever they did, they made you super comfortable. Like for me it was, they would, instead of buying a round trip flight, I was like, Hey, there's an AVP tournament. Or there's this like big tournament in Florida right after that. So instead of returning me to New York, can you just give me a travel stipend? And I'll just like fly to New York to the camp and camp to Florida. And they're just like, yeah, no problem. You know, go ahead and do that. So that they made for me and Hudson Bates, who's now associate head coach or assistant coach at Ohio state university. They made a lot of things for us possible when trying to start our beach career and and the pay was great and the people were cool. So

Ryan Millar (00:21:48):

Yeah. Did you ever get to, did you ever get to be with, or coach with Carl? Did it, Oh, that's too bad. Yeah. Yeah. How about Chris?

Mark Burik (00:21:59):

I actually, this is the funny part. I've never been to a gold medal squared clinics, like my session, right. My first throw in was like, okay, here's the book, read the book. And then we're going to put you as a low, low, low coach without you with our more experienced coaches and right away, they're like, Oh, he's super comfortable with it. He learned it like that. And he's good with people. So I think it took me like my third camp. I was in the lead coach position.

Ryan Millar (00:22:29):

Cool. Yeah. I just had a quick, I didn't know if you'd ever been with Carl at all. And we wanted to know if you had any good McGowan stories. He's a, he was an interesting guy. I'll tell you what it was a magician when it came to volleyball, I'll tell you that much, but just, he just an interesting guy, anybody that ever knew Carl would, would tell you the same thing. I remember, I remember one time we were at practice and then we were at BYU and you know, we're going at it pretty hard and there's one guy on the team and I will, I won't divert divulge names or anything, but he was struggling a little bit that day. And, and Carl is one that just, he's just, doesn't beat around the Bush. Like he's just the guy that will tell you exactly how it is. So he goes up to him, he stops practice. We're all watching. This guy hits another ball out of bounds or something like that. And then he goes out to him and he goes, he grabs him by the face and he slaps him on the face and he goes, you really suck today. And then he goes, but there's always tomorrow.

Ryan Millar (00:23:34):

You can see the guy, like he was a little perplexed, like, man, like, well, how do I take that? Like, I feel terrible. Cause he just slapped me and told me how much I sucked. But he's also has confidence in me that I'm going to come back tomorrow and be a better player. So it was just like, those are the types of things that he would do and just kind of get under your skin. And he's just a funny, interesting dynamic with my in trouble. There that's exactly how it was. Stacy's like, how should I take that? I'm not a hundred percent sure. But anyways, so you, you've got, you've got your YouTube channel, better beach. W what do you hope people get out of the content that you guys are producing there?

Mark Burik (00:24:15):

Oh, man. Coming up like through beach and trying to learn or find ways to improve at beach volleyball, like easy set up, like tons of videos where you can just keep looking and keep absorbing didn't did it doesn't exist. And for me originally, you know, when I went out to California from like playing over from playing indoor college and overseas, and then like saying like, okay, I got to go to California. Cause that's where volleyball players live. Right. So I went over there here, and as you just show up at the beach and you don't, nobody wants to play with you. So you get to California, like nobody wants to play with you. It's kind of competitive. It's closed group. They got four. And they're like, no, no, we have a four. This is our court. And so you ended up like serving to yourself a lot with your one ball, you know, and like you bumped yourself and you hit a cut shot and you go and you chase that, which sucks.

Mark Burik (00:25:16):

And knew when I first got out here, coaches in beach volleyball just flat out didn't exist. I think like Jeff Zena was a revolutionary because he was like the first beach volleyball coach. And then Reese brought him over to coach them and everything. So when I create Bali camp, Promosa like the camps. I said that there has to be an easier way for people to find a coach, find players and like find a place to sleep. So they don't have to sleep on like kitchen floors and stuff. So I want to create that and easier way for you to come out in California and just get better. Like if you want to get better beach volleyball, here is one click easiest way we got everything set up for you. And then I realized that my real goal was getting as many people helping as many people get better at the game as possible.

Mark Burik (00:26:05):

Cause I I've always loved the idea of a coach. Like, it's incredible that like we're talking about Carl now and how many of you guys, you got to work with him. And I worked under his systems, like now his reach and the ripple effect that he's had in other people, like he lives on for centuries now just because of like the seeds of knowledge that he planted. And so I've always loved that about coaching. I always thought like, man, what a special thing that somebody lets you into their athletic journey and okay. So it's, it's really about me. You wanting to help as many people as I can get better at beach volleyball. How do I do that? And I realized I could not do in person. Like I can only coach eight, 12 people at a time. Yeah. So it became a thing where we posted a couple videos on YouTube.

Mark Burik (00:26:53):

Like they got like 7,000 shares off of our first few videos and I was like, this is what people are missing and this is how I can connect with the entire world. And so it's just trying as hard as we can to go from there, but you know, there's two and a half of us and the money doesn't come fast in beach volleyball. Right. So you're, we're just kind of always like riding the edge of bankruptcy, able to pay rent and then like, okay, we created another product that helps sell, but now we have to reinvest into the next product. So we'll see, hopefully turn or there's a flywheel syndrome there.

Ryan Millar (00:27:34):

Yeah. And then with, with volley camper Mosa so what's, what's your purpose there? Are you taking what you're trying to do virtually and providing people a platform to actually come do it live or is there, is there something,

Mark Burik (00:27:51):

Yeah, so that was first and that's kind of like now I realized that the volume or muscle was the testing ground for better at beach. Like yeah. Okay. I've coached a lot of hours in the last five years in person and you know, tried to get other coaches on board and we've had a few coaches who didn't survive the rounds. And so now I know like what gold medal squared went through and we're creating our own protocol of what we think is important and how we teach the game. And that's, that's really it. But for, for, for me create like volley camp was always originally you have to come to California. If you want to go to the pro tour. Like if you want to, if you want to get on the ADP boom and today 98% of the people on the pro tour or in California, one guy in Minnesota, you got a couple of guys in Florida and a couple of guys and girls in Texas and like, that's it. So it was always like that, Hey, if you want to try it, like, I was like, I was trying to be like the, bring it to her. Like we will take you, we will show you what pro volleyball and training is about. And we'll introduce you to the right people. That's what it was originally. And then it blossomed into that beach.

Ryan Millar (00:29:13):

Yeah. Yeah. Gold metal square. Wasn't always go about a squared. I remember when I used to coach with, for Carl way back, when, and before it was gold metal square, it was called Canyon volleyball. You probably didn't even know that. Yeah. So yeah, but you know, when, when like Doug Beal jumped on and like Marv Dunphy jumped on and, and I think Jim McGlaughlin was one of the original guys to jump on and just powerhouse coaches.

Speaker 3 (00:29:42):

And of course, Carl and Doug and Mark kind of developed this system of how to play ball all the right way and being able to extend that through their system. It's a, it obviously has just blossomed from there. So let's, let's dig a little bit on coaching for, for a bit. So what do you feel like is the most underutilized, but most critical beach volleyball skill?

Mark Burik (00:30:05):

Oh, setting. Nobody knows until you're in the game for like a year of full time in the game and by full time, I mean, you're putting it two hours every day, right? You don't realize how crucial setting is because it's so hard to like adjust. And if you, if you have a set that kind of puts you a little bit awkward, you can, you can't power your, your way out of it. Cause you don't have like the adjustment footwork that you might have an indoor rod jump to a ball can just significantly less than indoor. And so setting, I'm continuing to argue that setting is significantly more valuable than passing on beach. I think that if you have a bad passer who is a fantastic hitter you might've played with a young David Lee, you know, he's like his setting and passing are, we're going to call him the top 1% of the world, but he's not the top 1% of the, of the 1%. Right. But he can get himself out of anything because he's so athletic and so physical, you know, so long as you have a setter there who can then put him back in that window. Right.

Speaker 3 (00:31:30):

And not be the best ball control guy. Right. As long as you got somebody that's willing to put a ball somewhere where he can go up and get it and do what he does then, then the past becomes not quite as, or the ball control and the initial pass becomes doesn't, it's not as critical is what you're saying. Right.

Mark Burik (00:31:50):

Right. And if you have a Senator who can't fix a play, you'll never win a transition point. You know, and I think like indoor went that way as well with, I guess, Brazil and maybe early on Dominican Republic and Cuba where they're training all of their young players to play every position for like a certain period when they were young so that anybody on those teams can create a hidden will, second ball, you know? And I, I think maybe 10, 10, 15 years ago was when that transition happened of like no, every everybody on our team needs to be able to set something good. In case our center's gone. So I think that the number one thing that people need to focus on is becoming a fantastic setter because that's, anybody will love playing with you. Cause like the good feeling that you get from a great spike and from like being in a perfect hitting position is we'll say that the bad feeling that you get, when somebody doesn't doesn't get you into that situation enough, you just start hating them. It was like, there's my perfect pass. There's another dig. And now I don't get to swing. It's like apologies for whoever hears this, but like it's blue balls. Right. You get like so excited and everything's right. And then it's gone. So I think that setting has to be a primary skill.

Ryan Millar (00:33:23):

I don't know if you remember this, but in Oh eight when we won gold on it for gold metal point we rallied and I actually had to step out and set the last ball because Lloyd so I went up, I tried to hit it down and overpass and the Brazilians blocked it back to us and Lloyd Lloyd played the first ball. And so that meant I needed to step in and set and I set it to clay. And that's when we that's, when we won gold is I was setting out of position. And so, but, but what a lot of people probably don't know when they see that is because I would come into practice early. What's that? Where are you serving? No Brazil. We have one side out to win. So it's Brazil serving us the ball.

Mark Burik (00:34:06):

Oh. Cause I thought you came in at the end of, at the end of one of the games, there was a big prominent game that I remember you coming in to serve towards the end.

Ryan Millar (00:34:15):

Nope. It wasn't that one, what I was, what I was saying was people don't really realize is that, so when we would practice the liberals and the outside hitters would go in early to practice to just pass balls. So they would be, you know, people would be hitting spinners at them and they would just be passing balls and what I would do. And pretty soon after a lot of the other middles would come in and do is I would actually set off of their passes instead of them like dumping and going into a ball cart or something, I tossed the ball cart or I'd put the ball card on the outside or put it back and I would go in and I would set balls that they would pass off of early, knowing that there was going to be times when I needed to step into that role and deliver sets. Right. And so it just so happened that the moment is when I needed to be able to rely on not the most. And of course I, you know, I set clay and he hits it. He hits it at 12 feet and goes and crushes everyone. Like he always does. So because he's a beast,

Mark Burik (00:35:14):

Oh man, I love that. You, you went and you got those extra reps and that you prepared for like the, you know, the 5% scenario, like that's, that's way outside your 80 20, but you're like, there's yeah. There's a time where I'm going to have to make this play. And then you went into practice early, you did it. And then it paid off and then that was infectious for other, you know, I shoot, I remember seeing a couple of our middles set in college. And any time you knew that they had to set, everybody held their breath. And if like it wasn't a double, it was like, like that's all that we were hoping for. We weren't hoping for a good set. We're hoping for not double

Ryan Millar (00:35:57):

That's funny. Oh, I hope I hope the other guys on our team when, when like be, or Dave would set, weren't like, like, Oh no, you know what I mean?

Mark Burik (00:36:07):

That's maybe

Ryan Millar (00:36:10):

I think what did people that want to get better at playing beach need to focus more on the, besides that what we just talked about? Is there anything else that you, you think if like, if I want to get better at the game, what, what should I be focusing on?

Mark Burik (00:36:24):

Hmm. You know, there, there's a couple of skill things that I do want to touch on, but something happens in beach volleyball that doesn't happen in indoor, like indoor, you kind of always start by getting coached. So a lot of your skills, like you don't have too much of an opportunity to get into really bad habits. And just have them kind of ignored. There's always some kind of leader on the side. That's that's pushing you through that. And that's why I think these 30 year olds right now, we're getting their butts. Can't bite these 15 year olds because the 30 year olds started playing beach when they were 20, but never got a coach to help them make these things. But the 15 year old girl who's been playing since she was 12, she has not been on a court without a coach helping her.

Mark Burik (00:37:15):

So, you know, her hours are worth three times, whatever, the 30 year olds hours are worth because they're not able to make these mistakes, somebody guiding them. So for me, one thing is like, get a few lessons. Like every, you know, if it's not about like money or whatever, it's getting every few months to make sure that you're on the right path, you know, like ask those questions. Cause beach volleyball coaches, now they're becoming more prominent, but they definitely have not been like now they're all of a sudden popular and trendy and there's clubs popping up everywhere. And I'm like, where did all these beach goats come from? But so for me, it's about find, finding somebody that can help you and say like, can you just look at me, play for a little while and just give me some notes so that I'm not making it up because so many of these adults they get into it.

Mark Burik (00:38:05):

They love it. It's a fun game, but you just kind of make it up. So I think finding a coach and keeping like in regular, like every couple months or three months, go ahead and give me that. And then other than that stop blocking throughout like all of the amateur levels, right? People just waste their time at the net when that's not what creates points. Like the only reason why you, why we have like filled out Hauser and animal is because you have such extreme athletes who can bang from half court. That's when you need a blocker. But if the person on the other side of the net, if they take 10 swings and you don't think that like they swung as hard as they could at you 10 times, if you can catch three of them with them and on an open net stop walking. Like if you think that that, that would be their statistic, like stop blocking. Cause you should be able to ball control that. And if they're short and they're weak and they can't jump and they can't hit hard and consistently, and you block with them, well now you've given them. They're only out. Like they can shoot around your defender. Right. So I think people need to stop blocking and really start like looking and locating more than they try to hit.

Ryan Millar (00:39:25):

It's so funny that you say that because I would, I remember when I used to coach even indoor and you know, I'd coach like these high school girls and I would tell them if it's, if it's not a perfect pass, just, just get off the net immediately. It's like, why would you, why are you guys you're going to block one out of a thousand balls, first of all, cause you're like this high over the net. Right? And then I'm like, so what's the purpose of you blocking?

Mark Burik (00:39:54):

And by the way,

Ryan Millar (00:39:55):

Percent of the balls that are be coming at you are either going to be free balls, which you're not going to block anyways, or they're going to be roll shots, which you don't want to be at the net because who knows, maybe they're using the tool you or whatever, but I'm just like, if it's not a perfect pass immediately getting your hitting position and got low. So your background hitters can pass the ball. And I would tell them all the time, I'm like, why are you guys blocking? You're not gonna,

Mark Burik (00:40:19):

I did the same with my juniors team, but so I have a question for you. Cause I did do that with my juniors team. We, we had one, one front row player. They were our middles and they blocked the entire front row. So we played like one middle who could try to block as much as he could. But I trained my outside, my opinion blockers to just peel off and play on the team. Right. But where where's the line where you're like, I need to train them the movements so that they are ready when they're strong enough and big enough. Right. And you know, where do you find that line? Like, am I training them for the next level? So do I need to prepare them to block right now? Or is this beneficial for them? Because they're learning how to read and see the game and have more block control worked for that. You stand on that.

Ryan Millar (00:41:07):

It's a good question. I, you know, I would probably, I would probably put the cause really in essence, what you're doing is you're just training them from a footwork standpoint because again, most of them aren't even getting a full hand over the net. So you're not doing any hand work. You might be doing some, I work in regards to getting them to be more effective at reading what's going on, which of course is really valuable. But you know, so from a footwork standpoint, I think you could designate some solid footwork blocking footwork, time in practice, but not a huge chunk, but just so they know what the steps are, how to get certain places here or there. But I'm just like when you know that the ball's coming at you and it's not coming fast and there's, you know, you're not gonna have anybody crushing the ball at you and you're, you're having the girls jump up straight up and some of them are even like going backwards and it's like, why are you even there? You know what I mean? And so  

Ryan Millar (00:42:06):

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To me, it's more valuable for them to play those balls out and, and, and develop their competitive spirit and wanting to try to win and strategize around how to win than it is for them to be perfect in their blocking form during a time when it's not even that critical to them. So carve out a little bit of time, but I'd say dedicate most of it around ball control, you know, how it is at that age, it's ball control and serving. Those would be like, those are the two things that I'm working on all the time with the girls, if I've got them or even guys at that age and it's ball control and serving.

Mark Burik (00:42:44):

Yeah. I I think, I think I totally agree. Use like a warmup time, you know, you work time should be, I mean, do a little drams, but then in between your drams of footwork matter, right. Just make those things unconscious. Right. what do you worry about, about Mark? Actually,

Ryan Millar (00:43:09):

I like a good Marv story.

Mark Burik (00:43:13):

So like when I started playing volleyball in college, right. That, that summer, I was like, I have no idea how to play the game and I'm going to spend a summer not getting coached. So I did the same thing. I called and emailed as many coaches as I could. And I said, Hey, can I come work your camp? Cause I know you're coaching. And maybe you need a counselor that you can pay me if you want, but I don't need pay. And it'd be nice to have a free place to stay and send some food. And they all provided that, which is cool. But I said you know, I wanted to learn how all the other coaches coach, because I missed out on the whole junior club program. So I'm, I always felt behind like a good five or six years from everybody with me.

Mark Burik (00:43:57):

So I had Pepperdine, boys camp got invited, went there. Barb was happy to have me and I didn't know anything about gold medal squared, footwork and golden scored was just something that I kept hearing that I just ignored. And he had one of his counselors, I think it was one of his, a really good college player. And he had him doing transition hitting forward. Right? Like you had to get on the net transition foot, work off, go and hit. Yeah. He would not let this player off of the court in front of 180. Wouldn't let this like 22 year old kid off of the court because he didn't do the exact footwork, correct. 10 times in a row. And you would get to like six and be like, Nope, start over. And my mind was going he's, he's wasting all of these boys time, like just watching this guy struggle and die on the court and like be embarrassed in front of a bunch of teenagers that he's now supposed to coach.

Mark Burik (00:44:59):

Right. But he, he didn't let him off. And I was watching from the side cause I had no idea how to do this footwork. And I was like, I'm not letting that situation happen to me. So I'm there like three courts away, like listening and just learning that footwork while watching him coach somebody else. But I remember just Mark being brutal with somebody and saying like, no, if you don't get it right, you don't get to move on. And I really liked the way that he handled that and it also showed the boys like you gotta do it. Right. Cause me and the other coaches nothing's going to happen until you get it. Right.

Speaker 3 (00:45:37):

Hmm. That sounds like something more would do two things. Right.

Mark Burik (00:45:41):

Got it. Any drove away.

Speaker 3 (00:45:44):

Yeah. I was going to say two things with Mark. Don't ever play ping pong with them and don't ever play cards with them. That's just two pieces of advice that I've had dealing with him, but he's like, I love that guy. He's such a, such an amazing human being, a huge heart. Great mind. What do you like most about the game by the beach game right now? I mean, right now, obviously it's a little bit hard to say because we're in this crazy time, but do you know before COVID and everything, what did, what did you like about the game right now

Mark Burik (00:46:15):

That our creativity is, is catching up with indoor. We saw the indoor wave of like seventies and eighties, just kind of figuring out and chucking up high, straight up and down balls, find the tallest person to kid rip. And then kind of like the Brazilians, I think were the first people would be like, we don't have seven foot Russians in our team, so I bet we can get like single blocks by it running fast. And then I think you were the first generation to out Brazil, the Brazilians, you know, where like you took that speed offense and, and ball control and like all around athletes on the court and you beat them at like what they started. That's kinda how I saw that progression coming. And now when I look at indoor, it's so fast and everybody's big now and it's so fast.

Mark Burik (00:47:12):

So now like I'm excited because I saw that kind of wave and I was around people who were talking about it and discussing it. And now I'm finally seeing that with beach where I feel like I get to be playing during a huge evolution of the sport because now it's okay. And encouraged to attack onto yeah. Like you don't get called like, Oh, you're a coed player. Play the game for real. It's like, like defense, if I only need two touches to beat you, you suck. Right. It's not like you need to be more proud to beat you with, because it means you're not paying attention and you're not competitive. So we got that. Now people are jumps setting, we're running like jump set, option offenses,

Speaker 3 (00:48:00):

You see that two back sets sets to the pins, all sorts of stuff

Mark Burik (00:48:05):

I heard of that one blocker, the whole mentality was we only have one. You should be able to get around them. And now it's like, yeah, we have one end. He's going to be broken. Like we're going to get open nets. And so it's, it's really cool to, to be playing and coaching at a time while that evolution is happening and to see like all of these like young kids, just back setting for Kilz, seeing the court and like finding those momentary opportunities to, to end the point. That's cool. Awesome.

Speaker 3 (00:48:36):

Yeah. What do you what are you looking for in a partner? What are you looking most for in a partner

Mark Burik (00:48:44):

Setting? Yeah. Setting probably a calm and open, open to learn demeanor. You know, I'd like to be able to discuss stuff and then they also have to kind of let me get fired up. I can be externally seemingly out of control. Like I can be laying into a ref while internally I'm just super calm. You know, like I'm controlling this situation, but my mind is already on the next point. And when people play with me in the beginning, they think that like I'm out of control and I'm going to lose the next point. And there's just going to be this trickle down. And I might nine in here. I'm good, but I need to let this person know. I need to let the other team know that they think that I'm rattled and all this is that I need somebody who can, who can stay calm and, and problem solve and a lot of situations and realizing really late.

Mark Burik (00:49:44):

How, how did it teach blockers? There is so, so, so much detail. And I think that there aren't enough great blockers, because stick with me here. There's not enough ex high-level blockers who can teach a six, seven, six, eight guy to play. Like they're everybody who is six foot five. And under every one of them has enough experience to teach defenders how to do their job. Right. But think about the guys who are super athletic, we're amazing blockers. We're six, six, and up, and now went into coaching after they're playing. Right. And they found another one of them. Right.

Speaker 3 (00:50:33):

So it's just that the pool is small. So then you don't get that knowledge transfer in a way that you could around a guy that's just going to scrap everywhere on the court. Right. Exactly. Yeah. That makes total sense by the way who, who's the best, the best player you ever played with

Mark Burik (00:50:52):

With yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:50:55):

Well, just like you play with this guy, this person you're like, Whoa, like his person knows how to ball.

Mark Burik (00:51:00):

Oh man. I mean, I've played like on the same side in a tournament because we all, we all kind of play with each other at some point, like in a practice, I'm in a tournament. I got to play in a Koob in Vegas. When I was really young and no idea what I was doing, but I got to be on the same side of the net and against net from Casey Patterson and Sean Rosenthal. And in tournaments, I guess consistently like the best guy that I got to play in the tournament. Oh, try born. I played with a try. Yeah. He's the highest performer that I've ever competed with. And I played with him for two tournaments in Brazil, a bunch of years back when heightened up.

Speaker 3 (00:51:48):

Yeah. Cool. Who's the, who's the best player that you've ever played against on the beach though? You were just like, like that guys above and beyond.

Mark Burik (00:51:58):

It's really crazy putting against Phil. And I, I know that it's like old, like everybody says in playing this for two decades. Yeah. But he can get to plays and close blocks from a hustle standpoint. No one has ever looked at Phil and be like, that guy is a hardcore hustler or doubt, but in these situations where you're beating them with speed, right. And like now they're playing catch up. So now you're feeding the ball quick so that you can just slap it down. He gets there and closes when he shouldn't be there, gets there and gets two hands on the other side of the net where you're just like a, you just jumped from half court and now your hands are over the net at the pan. Right. The I've never seen you move that fast and you don't even look like you're moving that fast, but you can still close.

Mark Burik (00:52:51):

It is. Yeah. His discipline. And when you see him hitting on the other side of the net, it's tough to deal with. And then the amount of space that he can take, take over with the block is crazy. But you, this one thing and he cheated and I go like this, guy's a genius. Cause nobody saw him. I think this is two years ago in Chicago, maybe last year, but you know how you go up for jobs and you kind of like battle. Sometimes it falls on one side of it. I went up to and I got like him. And I was like, you know, muscle on him. And he's got two hands and he's up in the air. And he goes like this with the gels,

Ryan Millar (00:53:35):

You threw it back to Nick,

Mark Burik (00:53:38):

Grabbed it while I was contacting it. As I released through it high and back to Nick. And then they had three more touches because the jealous doesn't count as a touch.

Ryan Millar (00:53:52):

Did they, do they win the rally?

Mark Burik (00:53:54):

Mark beat him in the jealous too, because he kind of like

Ryan Millar (00:53:57):

Backwards. Wow. Interesting.

Mark Burik (00:54:01):

I felt that I was like, I'm like screaming at the rep. I'm like, [inaudible], I'm like I had like so much respect for him to be in the air and be in the air so many times. And in that situation enough where he's like, well, instead of maybe giving them a free ball back, we're going to get a swing out of this Joe Stout.

Ryan Millar (00:54:27):

That's invaluable IQ right there. Exactly.

Mark Burik (00:54:31):

Probably 10 years into my career. And I was like, okay,

Ryan Millar (00:54:34):

I never seen that before. Oh man. So he played with Dave, how was it, how was it playing with, with with David? He's a beast. Talk about putting up a big block. That guy kills a lot of space. Heavens I've seen him stuff, balls, indoors. I'm just like, Holy mean I played a long time and I'm like to this guy got something else. What's really interesting about him is he's really late bloomer because in college he was, he was good, but he wasn't, you know, he wasn't like at the superstar level, but then when he got on the national team and he was exactly what our team needed in Oh eight and he's obviously had a really great career beyond that. But gosh, he, he would, he would dominate matches, which is really rare to do indoor just because you're playing against the game is so fast and big, but his ability to just get in the right space, his hands are really good. And he just takes up really good angle. And it's just, he's an impressive guy.

Mark Burik (00:55:39):

How many different shapes he can do with his hands? And that's what the majority of blockers right now are missing. They think that like when you block it's this and it's only shape. And what he brought from playing at such an elite level was like in the air and completely, always replacing his hands, bring them up, bring them forward out, both across whatever you want to do.

Ryan Millar (00:56:02):

And then you're always guessing. Cause he's, then it's like, well, how do I don't know where he's going to go? I mean, sometimes he's over here sometimes he's over there. So then you start getting your mind, like, I don't really know what to do here. I don't know if you saw that at all, but

Mark Burik (00:56:18):

Not a hundred percent. Like that's what he does. So yeah, we played together for a few tournaments and I love the guy. So like, like I said, you know, I fanboyed you over email. And I was, we were, we were out at a bar after like an AVP and I went up to him and I was like, yeah, this is going to be weird. But like I said, I saw your whole career. I loved watching you play. I just want to say like, man, I'm like stoked on your career, stoke what you did for USA volleyball. And just want to say like how much I respect your game. And he was like, puts me in a headlock order, like seven beers.

Ryan Millar (00:56:58):

Yeah. It's super cool, dude. Wasn't really, really great guy to play with indoor too. Just a great teammate working there,

Mark Burik (00:57:05):

Just like open learning, but then like what not so calm or he doesn't know how to turn it off. You know, like some people are, have that open learning, but you never see that fire. And he had this, I'm gonna learn this attitude and the urgency to say, like, we got to win now and I have to learn this now.

Ryan Millar (00:57:27):

And, and to be able to play with a guy that knows kind of what it takes to get to a level that a lot of people maybe don't even ever dream about getting to. Cause like I remember when I first played, my first Olympics was in Sydney, we went, we finished in last place. We didn't win a single match if you remember that Olympics. And I was just thinking to myself after that games and I was young, I was thinking, man, the, the distance between where we are and what it takes to get to a gold metal standard was so massive. I'm like, I don't know how this is ever going to happen. Like we're going to have to make up so much ground. And to be able to do that during those next eight years was, was, was a Testament to a lot of guys on that team was a Testament to Hugh and our coaching staff and everything that we put in place.

Ryan Millar (00:58:17):

But like, you know, Dave kind of saw what it took because he was 2008 and we won gold was his first Olympic experience. And so he's like, okay, then he goes into 12 and then he goes into 16. And he's like, guys, I wonder if I'm curious if you ever had the conference, the conversations with the rest of the guys, like guys, you guys don't, I don't know if you fully grasp how hard this is going to be like this isn't something that's just, everybody does it every day. Like we need to be the best and this is going to require something that maybe you've never even tapped into. And just to have that knowledge in him, I think would be really helpful.

Mark Burik (00:58:54):

Yeah. Evil. God, I'm not like knocking knocking Dave's I don't don't take it like that. But he, he takes a look at beach and he's like, I played a full indoor career. It was good money. If you win, if you put in all of that time, he's looking at like the quality of life value or he's like, yeah, I can play volleyball without like all this pressure without leaving my girlfriend without going here and going there. He's like, how much, how much money do you really get? And is he looks at it as, is it really worth it for me to go through what I went through with the indoor team to do this for beach and then not make the same money, fight enemies that I made

Ryan Millar (00:59:38):

You. And I, we're not going to fault him for having that mindset. It's a natural mindset. I mean, the guys, you know, he went and played, we all played in Russia. We made all this money and like, you know, going switching to the beach, it's more of look, there's a point where you just can't handle the indoor game anymore. It's too much of a grind. It's just, it's, it's grueling, it's brutal. And then going to the beach, it's a different type of beast. You know, you've got your, you're able to kind of manage it from a physical standpoint, but then you've got to make the switch to the mental standpoint, which probably gets the guys that are really high performers that they're there. They're just kind of dominating because they've made that switch where it's just like, yeah, I'm all in here versus I'm just continuing to play because I really love the game. I love being out on the sand. I love being with my homies, whatever it ends up being like for you. But but

Mark Burik (01:00:31):

In practicing with like the, with those elite guys, like Jake Gib in practice who, if you go to, if you go to like a Nick and Phil practice, John Haydn, yeah. You don't mess with their practice. Like especially heightened. He's just like, Nope. Like we have this minute to minute schedule. I'm going to be here for an hour and 55 minutes and then I'm out. And like, if you waste one of those minutes, he's furious. So there are a lot of guys that brought that, but then there's a lot of guys that kind of practice like will like Willy nilly, you know, they show up and kind of do this one weird warmup. And that's where I think that there is that huge disadvantage in beach where we're not progressing the sport as quickly as we should, especially in the U S because there, because it's too expensive for players to bring on these coaches and say, I want you to grind us this season until we are, you know, beautiful, shiny

Ryan Millar (01:01:36):

Graphite. Yeah. You got the guys in Norway, just doing what? Just coming out of nowhere and just dominating. Like, I'd love. I want to get those guys on the podcast because I want to tap into like, what's the, like what, what was the switch with you guys? Like you go from like, nobody even knowing who you are to like pretty much dominating the FIPB winning. That'll probably help.

Mark Burik (01:02:01):

As soon as that first little hair came out of there and shit,

Ryan Millar (01:02:05):

They started getting the muscles. They're like, man, we can hit a lot harder now. You know, that's funny. All right, I'm gonna, I'm going to let you go with this one. Oh yeah. If you want to comment on that, go ahead.

Mark Burik (01:02:14):

A storm's father was a really elite a volleyball. So he's been coaching them like his whole life and

Ryan Millar (01:02:22):

They've got some, they've got some heritage to the, to their story

Mark Burik (01:02:26):

And they have two volleyball schools in Norway where you go there and three to four hours of your day, no matter what is dedicated to learning indoor or beach volleyball, depending on your discipline. So they both went to those. So they've been eating and breathing volleyball for a long time. Yeah,

Ryan Millar (01:02:45):

That makes sense. So here's the question. What's your dream win?

Mark Burik (01:02:52):

Oh man. Manhattan beach.

Ryan Millar (01:02:54):

Yeah. I mean that's is that it's still, that's it. You're not going to go hometown, you know, New York ADP. You're not going to go gold medal in the Olympics. It's Manhattan, still the crown.

Mark Burik (01:03:05):

I always perform, I don't know why it's, it's not like nerves or anything. Maybe it is. And I just haven't tapped into it, but I always perform my worst in New York. It was like my bottom finish of the year. And it's just a nightmare. It's great because I get to spend an extra two days with my family, but it's like, why can't because you'd rather be playing still. Yes. Yeah. So I've been, I mean, getting an immortalized on that fear. That's cool. Another level. Yeah.

Ryan Millar (01:03:33):

I mean, I'm having is going to be on the show soon. T and I have, we've just been very close for a long, long time and to see him win, that was just so cool from, and just kind of out of nowhere, you know what I mean? They'd just be partners up and they'd never even played before really. And then they just, they just put it all together and put together a really cool

Mark Burik (01:03:54):

It's another example of that guy that treats practice, like this is sacred hardcore time. And he made sure that he had coaches around him for the first two years. Like there was never a time when he didn't have somebody supporting him and finding him, studying the stats, running the practice, running the body optimization. So he, he did that, the hack, you know, the beach hack, like, like he was talking about. It's just not possible for everybody.

Ryan Millar (01:04:22):

Yeah. Yeah. He's definitely like that. He's a very cerebral type of player. He wants to figure out how he's taking the Tom Brady approach where it's like, okay, so look, I know I've got these limited limitations. I just came from the indoor game. Like

Mark Burik (01:04:36):

I'm older in years.

Ryan Millar (01:04:38):

How am I going to figure out how to hack it all together so that I can perform at my peak performance. And, you know, training obviously is a huge part of that. And his ability to create some type of competitive advantage, whatever it looks like for him, because you know, he's going to be going against guys that are in their mid twenties and jumping out of the sand and in hammer balls. And, you know, and he's, he's got to figure out how to manipulate it all so that he can create the advantage. And by the end of the match, those guys that are jumping out of the sand, they're going, what just happened? Like, like how do we lose that? You know what I mean?

Mark Burik (01:05:11):

Hey, I have a question. It's a, it's a read story that I share. I forgot who told, but it was somebody in the goal, middle scored circles. So I just want to know if it's true. Cause you talked about that time when you guys had to make such a mental and emotional switch with the national team. And then Reed also talked about like at the end of that era, there was a whole new crop of guys that had a very different emotion level. And it currently works for them like Holden and Matt Anderson, but there was like emotions with the two different teams. And I heard that there was somebody like they didn't have their shoes on yet. They were in the national team gym. I don't know if it was Anaheim in Colorado at the time, but they were just kinda like, she was already even tied.

Mark Burik (01:05:59):

They had a ball and they're like peppering it, not going to back and forth. And the ball falls as they're peppering. And he doesn't like, guy doesn't go for it. He just catches it on one bounce and starts hitting it again. And I heard that Reed was at the other end of the gym with a door open watching this and that he sprinted over does this as this kid's like first time in the national team gym that he sprinted across the gym, like in a noxious sprint for like four courts. And he like lays into him and he says, no one in this gym ever, lets say ball hit though in ground, get your gear on. And when you step in here, it means something. And like just like reamed him out, what his like shoes were tied. And he was just like fiddling with a ball. Don't know if that's true, I'd love confirmation, but I'm not going to stop sharing the story if it's not true.

Ryan Millar (01:06:50):

I don't remember that specifically cause it might've been after me a little bit, but where, you know, Reed is kind of the elder statesman on the team. So there was a little bit of a changing of the guard in regards to who's going to be that veteran voice in the gym. And but, but I can remember multiple opportunities or times when things that were similar to that happened in the gym because here's the thing. If you're a new guy in the gym, the, the, the ability for you to stay in that gym is pretty small because you're going to have 20 other guys, potentially 15 guys in your same position. Not only fighting to be on the team, but also fighting for their livelihood. Because if I make the team, if I go on trips, that means I get better jobs overseas. And so it's like, you know, everyone's kind of in it for the common goal, but like if you're coming into the gym and you're not ready to rock and roll, like there's going to be somebody right next to you going, Oh sweet. So that guys, that's one guy I can check off my list that I need to beat. Cause he's already gone. And so there's really no room for messing around when you're in the gym, it's go time. Th the reason why I say indoor so hard and it's probably, I'm assuming it's like this on the beach too, for the height, the height, the teams that really want to make.

Mark Burik (01:08:10):

When we step on the court,

Ryan Millar (01:08:12):

I'm not messing around because this is what I've chosen to commit to. Here's another Carl ism. He used to tell us this all the time and it blends perfectly to what we're talking about here. He used to tell us almost every day before practice, he goes, Hey guys, if we're going to be here, we might as well be here. Meaning if you've decided to put on your shoes and your knee pads, and you're willing to put in the time to be on this team right now, and you're not willing to be here a hundred percent, then this isn't the place for you. Because when we're here, we're here, we're going to get the job done. It's not going to be, it's not going to monopolize your life. You're not going to be, you're not going to crawl out of here in two and a half to two and a half hours.

Ryan Millar (01:08:51):

You're going to walk out. But when you're here for this time, you got to make it happen. Or else someone else is going to be chomping at the bit to do that. So it's just a mindset. That's, that's the winner's mindset, right? Because you're talking about guys like Haydn, Reed, Phil J Gib, they get on the court and it's like, okay, it's go time. If I'm going to be here, I might as well be here. Does it make sense for me to mess around? If I wanna mess around, I go home and I play with my kids and go be with my family when I'm here, this is what I've chosen to do. So let's go make it happen. And pretty soon it's going to be over and I'm going to pack up the balls and we're going to head out and I'm going to go live my life. But when I'm here, it's game time. So let's make it happen.

Mark Burik (01:09:32):

Love that, love that mentality. It's funny trying to bring that too. Sorry. Sorry. Holding it probably too long. But it's, it's always a fun experiment for me bringing that to these hobby players, basically, you know, the, the people were paying me to come to like a class on Hermosa beach, the group class. And my practice is I stay positive, but it's, it's no nonsense. Like there's, there's 55 year old men and women out there that I'm like, you gotta get on the ground to get that ball. There's no reason for you to let that hit the ground. And then you, you come back and, you know, you can't like continue to break them. And I don't think any coach should unless they're, their person is like such a consistent virus to their court. But then like patting them on the back and be like, now, do you see the expectation? Let's do it again. And I think people see, you're really not. So secretly. They love it. Like somebody is here to push me again. And you know, I'm back in high school sports or in back in college sports. And even though I'm 45 50, it's like, this is a good feeling to have an expectation and to have somebody set a standard for me and all I gotta do now is reach it so you can have one mind.

Ryan Millar (01:10:50):

Yeah. And who knows, maybe they can take that mindset back to whatever they do in their day job. You know what I'm saying? Like, Hey, I'm going into an office or I'm running a small business or whatever it is. And it's the same type of mindset. Like if I've chosen to be here, I'm going to put in what I, what I need to put in to make it work. And I don't know. It's just it's, it's, it's a cool thing to talk about with somebody who also knows how to go through the mental gymnastics and grind of being a professional athlete and trying to make it happen because it's not for everyone. That's why not everyone is a professional athlete is because a lot of people, they just it's too hard for them. They get to a point where they're like, well, this isn't for me. I got to go try something else and that's fine. But it's those, those people that are able to grind through and make it happen that that ended up doing extraordinary things or, or being extraordinary at whatever it is they're doing. It just takes that mental fortitude to push through.

Mark Burik (01:11:44):

Yeah. Right. Don't don't tell me, I want to be a professional athlete, like go to your full time job, then throw in an extra five hours of labor intensive, whatever it is, you know, and then fix them and all that.

Ryan Millar (01:11:55):

And then by the way, the next day you gotta do the same thing over again. And you gotta do that for 10, 15 years. So tell me if you want to be a professional athlete now it's like, I think I'll pass Mark. This was awesome, man. I appreciate you being on the show and I'd love to get you back on as things, you know, calm down as much as they can. It would be cool to get you back on and dig in on some more things, but it was, it was great to get your perspective on it.

Mark Burik (01:12:21):

That'd be awesome. Yeah. I think thank you so much for inviting me on pleasure, pleasure meeting you. The new, the type of athlete you are and the type of leader you were, but like, honestly, it's so nice to meet you and you're really easy to talk with. So I'm happy that a guy like you is doing something like this.

Ryan Millar (01:12:37):

Yeah. You got to got to keep growing the sport, man. And and we'll, we'll, we'll make that happen here on the show. So appreciate it. Thanks. Take care. All right. Take care. Bye. Bye.


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