Pro Player Mark Burik Talks to Coach Donny on The Dig

 
 

Coach Donny Hui just interviewed beach volleyball pro Mark Burik on YouTube show, THE DIG.  Mark is a professional beach volleyball player (AVP and FIVB World Tours), an athletic performance trainer, entrepreneur, and beach volleyball coach, as founder of VolleyCamp Hermosa and Better at Beach.com.

“Learn about Mark’s story of going from a serious baseball player, to picking up volleyball in college on a club team, to walking onto a Division 1 program, to becoming a professional volleyball player,” Coach Donny says. “Mark provides insights into his thought processes and work ethic that will inspire you to achieve your own goals!  Feel free to share this video with your friends to inspire them as well.”

Take it to the next level: Learn about our 7-day beach volleyball training camps.

We also have awesome online training tools and eBooks to elevate your game into greatness.

Transcript of The Dig #6 – Coach Donny’s interview with Mark Burik, beach volleyball pro and founder of VolleyCamp Hermosa:

Coach Donny:

What's up guys, this is coach Donnie with Elevate Yourself. Welcome back to yet another episode of the Dig where we talk about everything from volleyball training and life and dig deeper into the story behind the athlete. And today's guest is Mark Burik and some of you might know him as a professional beach volleyball player, from the AVP and also the owner of Better at Beach YouTube channel and VolleyCamp Hermosa. So, Mark wanna share a little bit more about yourself to the fans who don't know who you are?

Mark Burik:

Yeah. First of all, thanks for having me. I didn't even know this one little Instagram message to you would turn into something so cool. So thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, I have a YouTube channel called Better at Beach where we give a lot of what your channel does. We give a lot of free tutorials. Um, mainly we stick to beach volleyball, that's why we call it bitter at beach. And there's a lot of applications that beach and indoor have with each other. You know, you can cross reference them in a lot of ways. And then I run training camps and classes every day in her mostly beach, California, uh, with a great squad of coaches. And we just brought on a new business partner who just happens to be my best friend Brandon joiner. Um, he's awesome. So if you're checking us out on [inaudible], YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, whatever you need, just check out VolleyCamp Hermosa or Better at Beach and you'll be able to hopefully find a ton of good, free beach volleyball content.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. I first learned about Mark after he reached out to me and then on this YouTube channel. And one thing I appreciate about Mark through his content is just like me, he’s just very methodical, very detail oriented. And you can tell that he comes from a background where maybe it didn't always start off as, you know, the most skilled volleyball player. But he has obviously accomplished a lot being a professional player. And whenever I get that sense from someone, I always know there's like a deeper underdog story behind that. Like someone had to work hard versus just saying, Oh yeah, you just pass the ball or you just hit it, you know? So it's much more complicated for those of us who weren't born LeBron James.

So, he'll definitely share more about his underdog story later in this interview. And now we're going to go into our quick set. So we’ve got 10 questions we're going to fire off and you're going to find out if he's crazy or not. I might be pretty good at hiding it then. Ready to go?

Mark Burik:
Yeah, I'm ready.

Okay. Favorite volleyball player?

 

Todd Rogers.

Favorite food?

 

Pizza.

Favorite music?

Mark Burik:
Acoustic rock. One guitar, one voice.

 

Amazing kill or amazing block?

Mark Burik:

Block. I don't get amazing kills.

 

A favorite beach?

Mark Burik:

Hermosa Beach for sure. I also want to throw in Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. That’s awesome, too.

Go-to snack?

Mark Burik:

Trail mix.

Favorite non-volleyball sport?

 

Mark Burik:
Football.

 

Favorite movie?

 

Mark Burik:

Goodwill hunting.

 

Favorite song?

 

Mark Burik:

3 AM by OER. Yeah.

Favorite exercise?

Mark Burik:

Pinkley ankles.


Coach Donny:

Congratulations. You survived the quick set and it is 10 out of 10. You're officially sane. All right, now onto the more nitty gritty stuff. We just want to learn a little bit more about you as a person and if you could tell us where you're originally from and what it was like growing up there.

Mark Burik:

I'm from New York City. Queens. You would never know it by the way I talk and act now. But I do have some clips of me getting interviewed in high school where I had my deep Queens, Rockaway accent. And the accent only comes back, like if I get extremely angry or maybe if I'm like, uh, in a pub back in New York. That's it.

There wasn't too much volleyball there. I lived in a beach community, cold breezy point and it's a really tiny beach community just outside of Queens. But volleyball there is still non-existent. Even though we got really nice sand and everything. I moved out of New York when I was 18, went to University of Delaware, then transferred to George Mason University, then went overseas, then came to California. So I've been pretty much out of New York for 16 years now. Wow. Yeah. Been on the move for 16 years.

Coach Donny:

And I'm assuming your family still lives in New York.

 

Mark Burik:

A lot of them do. My parents are snowbirds now. They do half the time in New York and half the time in Florida so that my dad could get his tennis in and my mom gets her time with her sister. Two of my brothers are still in New York and one of them actually just moved out to Hawaii. So I got to visit him at the last AVP and stayed with him for an extra week, which was awesome. Oh, now I’ve got New York, Florida and Hawaii and I live in California. Those are all great places to be.

Coach Donny:

So how did you get into volleyball?


Mark Burik:
My first year ever really playing volleyball was my junior year of high school. I was a football and baseball guy and there I started playing volleyball with some of the guys just for fun. They saw me during gym class and said, “Hey, you look pretty good, you know, maybe be on the volleyball team,” but I thought, like, no way.


I'm baseball all the way. And then the more I played, the more I started kind of letting it in my head that there might be a scholarship opportunity since there were less volleyball players. And I also really originally fell in love with the people, the guys on the team and the girls on the women's team were just really welcoming. And I really liked that, that sense, and I feel like I've gone through that again and again in my career. I just keep finding awesome people that keep me in volleyball or bring me back to volleyball. So my junior year there was this whole nonsense between the volleyball and the baseball coach and the athletic director because the baseball coach really wanted me. And so there's a bunch of meetings and it actually, it was really, really stressful.

As an adult, it sounds like it's not a big deal, but I took it all upon myself. I was like, what is my best chance at a scholarship? What does my future look like? ‘Cause I was pretty obsessed with sports and, man, it, it was like a two month process of me trying to figure this out. In the end I decided that if I didn't play volleyball, I would never know what it would be like. But if I continued baseball, like I kind of knew the general path, but I had no idea what I could do with volleyball. I played my junior year. I ended up putting baseball aside and did pretty my junior year but I got hurt halfway through. Couldn't even finish the season, really. And the next year all of the guys on the team that had been there and welcoming and they were like absolute workhorses, like me, they had left ‘cause they were seniors and on my team there weren't enough workhorses left.

I kept trying to organize training and outside tournaments, trying to get my team to go and like play a club tournament, which we had no idea to do.  I just kind of didn't want to be in an environment where the people weren't working as hard as I was. So I went back to baseball my senior year and then I ended up going to college for football as an invited walk-on at the University of Delaware, but it didn't even matter really.

Coach Donny:

Oh man. So what was it like, like when volleyball didn't work out? Did you kind of have this heaviness like, Oh crap, did I make the wrong decision or did you feel pretty good about that switch at that time?

Mark Burik:

Good question. I felt really, really good about it. It's funny, I kind of look at politicians and their critics say, you know, you said so-and-so back in 1995 and now you're saying this in 2005. I don't understand why people aren't okay with somebody getting more education, more information, and then changing their mind. I don't understand why that's not looked at as great. So I did, I got that volleyball education and went back and I had a different set of people with me, a different experience and I was very happy to go back to baseball, but you know, I got to come crawling back like the spot that I had designated for me in baseball no longer existed. So now I had to change positions, and become a different player and reestablish those friendships with guys who basically looked at me like you deserted us, you know. But I knew that those guys were hard workers and I knew that it was a better caliber of athlete and that's the environment that I've wanted to be in. I want it to be in a place where I was among the best or the good. I wanted it to be some challenge.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. That requires a lot of self-awareness at a young age to even want to be in that environment with those types of athletes. I think most young people are just going to choose wherever they're going to have the most fun or where their friends are or what they're comfortable with. So that's pretty insightful that you would even make a decision based off of that.


Mark Burik:

You know, if I had a son or somebody young and they were 15, 16 I’d want them to go where the hard workers are. Maybe not their friends. But if they did that, I would be proud of them for making that decision.

 

Coach Donny:

I didn't start playing until my sophomore year and the only reason why I played volleyball was ‘cause I got cut from the basketball team. So it was process of elimination for me and then my friends were trying out. So I got really lucky. I didn't really plan anything else. I did martial arts also, but now I live and breathe basketball. I was just never really that athletic. So I got cut from the freshman team and it was devastated. That came a lot later once I touched my first weight and realized that I could actually control, like manipulate my body to what I wanted to do. So thanks for the backstory on that. I think it's really cool how I feel like I meet more people that start in other sports and then fall in love with volleyball later because like you said, the people are cooler. It's just more fun and like even coaching high school, we get a lot of what I call the converts. We get a lot of basketball girls or soccer girls I've been playing since they're sixth grade and they do one open gym and they're like, Oh my gosh, I'm quitting everything forever and I'm going to do volleyball.

Mark Burik:

I think it's not as easy as sport to get into when you're young. And maybe that might have something to do with why people find it a little bit later because they're able to be a little bit, maybe more coordinated. I wonder if there's a way to fix that with juniors and all.

Coach Donny:

I've actually recently partnered with someone who's part of the organization of mini volleyball and it's actually more popular in Europe, South America. I think that's a great transition. And for those of you who don't know what mini volleyball is, it's a smaller court, lower net, lighter ball, and it's to give kids the confidence to bump, set and spike. And even the point system is to reward the bump set spike even if you don't score. But they do a point system. So they get in the habit of spiking downward and smaller courts so they're not just shanking balls left and right. So hopefully that blows up ‘cause it's pretty discouraging if I cannot hit over the net until I'm in 10th grade. Yeah, that sucks.

Mark Burik:

Yeah. That's kind of like the, you know, the baby court, um, aspect of, uh, if anybody here is a beach volleyball fan, they know that at the Outrigger canoe club in Hawaii, they have a baby court, which is a smaller court, very similar, lower net. They're turning out incredible. From that one tiny little court, everybody's playing on the smaller field size, but you get a lot more touches.


Coach Donny:

That makes sense. So did you play volleyball in college at Delaware?

Mark Burik:

I went there for football and was invited as a walk-on. Kind of a similar thing where I had the chance to get, maybe some partial scholarship money and some education. But the places that they said, yeah, you can start your first year in football. I was like, okay, that's not where I want to be. I was, I was 187 pounds, you know, and I was really slow and really skinny and light and I was like, okay, starting as a tight end on your team, that's not a good thing for your team. So I wanted to go to a place where I earned my place as a starter by junior year.

So I chose to go to a bigger, harder school, which was University of Delaware. My red shirt year, we ended up winning a national championship. During that time, since I wasn't allowed to compete and since I had like weekends off when the team traveled, I was hanging around the gym playing some basketball and then there was some volleyball guys hanging out and I was like, Hey, Hmm. I played a little bit in high school. They invited me to play on the club team. I had kind of a jock mentality, but they're like, yeah, you know, you try out and that you could be like, you know, on the B team for awhile and then you move up to a starter. But I was like, nah, you know, I'm a football player. I don't have time. But slowly I eventually found the time to practice, especially in the spring. And then I really liked practice. And so I started coming in ‘cause it was only Tuesday and Thursday nights. I had all of my other time and I was okay with grades. It started there. And at the end of my freshman year we went to nationals because I moved up to the ACOR pretty quickly. I played a tournament and then I played a second tournament just on weekends when we had off from football and we went to nationals and nationals was just a game changer for me. Yeah. Seeing like 600 women's teams and like 187 guys’ teams.

So that was fantastic. All in one gym for one weekend and all battling it out. There was this one kid who was just jumping and pounding and every time he jumped the entire stadium roared. I remember just seeing that crowd and the energy and saying like, I might have to do this. And so that summer I decided to stop football. The sight of food made me nauseous ‘cause I kept having to force feed myself to play football. I was always walking around with two cheeseburgers in my bag and a jar of peanut butter just to try to put on weight. So literally the sight of food because of how much I had to eat, it started making me sick. I couldn't put on weight easily enough and I was too slow to play another position. So that summer I decided, all right, let me try volleyball next year. And I quickly got them up to a four practices a week and then almost five, but then I got some pushback from the seniors and juniors and they're like, okay, this isn't football. We're not trying to do it for 25 hours a week. Like we're enjoying this and that's where we're at. So after that talk my sophomore year, I was like, okay, same kind of vibe that I felt my junior year of high school. I was like, these guys aren't willing to work as hard as me or put in as much time. And we didn't have coaches. We had a graduate assistant coach who didn't have a lot of time to give to us. Yeah. So that summer I just started trying to find places to transfer to and send out a bunch of tapes. Everybody said no. Then one guy said I could try out, but I would have to transfer. And I was like, that's all I need. So I transferred to George Mason University then, uh, under Fred Chao. He's also an excellent volleyball player and I think he's won the nine-man championship four or five times.

He created a great environment where we all supported each other. So I ended up making that team at Mason and then stayed there for three years.

Coach Donny:

That's an incredible story. You go from trying out volleyball in high school, you know, and then losing a year, senior year, then coming in as a football player, accidentally discovering it and then ending up at a really good Division One school at George Mason. Yeah. So they definitely saw some potential. How tall are you?

Mark Burik:

Uh, I used to say six-three, but now that I'm starting to beat people more, I say six to six-two and a half. I want to be smaller and to beat somebody.

Coach Donny:

Oh, I know that feeling trust me. I'm facing players who are a foot taller than me as well. Did you transition as a, like an outside?

Mark Burik:

Well, um, I guess my first year I was, I wasn't good enough to play six on six actually. Coach Fred took me ‘cause I talked a lot of smack and because I worked hard and he's like, I don't know if you have the ability to improve, but I do see that you work hard and you get the other guys fired up. So I'm going to leave you on during the fall and we'll see if you make the spring team. So I would go through all of the drills and touch drills, but when it was time for six on six, I had to serve against a basketball back board and pass back into the room. Good hour, hour and 10 minutes while they were playing six on six. The worker part of me was like, this is my process. But the other part of me, it was like, should I be on the court with those guys? And eventually I came in as like a second. I could read and I could dig; my passing was okay. And then the next year because of an injury I actually ended up getting to play outside before I thought I was prepared. I got to play outside and then I ended up sticking there. But really my whole time I only wanted to play the Barrow ‘cause I just used to seeing, like, some six-ten monster just hitting his hardest ball on the 10-foot line and me going, no, with a little smile after that. Yeah. Serving, I got to a good level, passing got to a decent level and defense was always there. They didn't set me much. But my job was to not make errors and to tool the outside hand. There you go. That's it.

Coach Donny:

Exactly. Yeah. I didn't realize that you ended up at George Mason. I knew that when we talked before that you started volleyball late. But that, that's awesome. And then I think part of the advantage was that maybe you didn't have a lot of bad habits because you started off with good coaching where someone that you know started out at eight years old, a lot of experience, but then probably spends like the next seven or eight years with some of these habits that weren't being monitored. So I wonder if that works to your benefit.

Mark Burik:

Maybe. I would think definitely as a coach. I actually just told my players this today at class. I think I might have an advantage in coaching because I've consciously been through everything that you're going through. I remember exactly what it was like to feel the pain of not being able to do it. And I tried at least three or four different ways to accomplish it, you know, and do it better and then improve. I think that the people that play sports from the time they're just a child, there's a lot of that pain. And processing that they maybe don't understand. I'm over the assumption that maybe you have a better chance of being a great coach if you learn and dedicate to your sport just a little bit later so that you can really share the pain of your players.

Coach Donny:

So after George Mason, you said you went overseas, was that for a professional indoor career?

Mark Burik:

Yeah. I knew that I wanted to play pro and I knew that I wasn't ready my senior year. So I added on some more classes and another minor and I decided to play that year out so that I'd be more ready to play pro. And that summer I got a call from someone who had graduated from Mason before I got there. And he was like, Hey, my team has an opening as an outside, I'd love to have you. And so I didn't even need to go on the bring it tour, which is usually the path for players who don't get offers out of college.

I played in Sweden my first year. When I actually went on the bring it tour in 2010 I think. And even if you're not playing like, Oh yeah pro, it's just so much mag around Europe and play volleyball and you get to meet other volleyball. Like the people that go in there really love volleyball. Right. Cause I know some all Americans that have just like, you know, I'm done or I didn't get any offers so I'm not going to go. But the people that call and bring it or like I'm going to earn my opportunity, I'm here because I love it. Yeah, it was awesome experience. Um, and what's funny is that I got my, I had two offers, one semi both or semi-pro. One was from Sweden. Yeah. The other one was from as just a bunch of castanets put together.

Coach Donny:

Like, I don't remember, I wish I wrote it down. It was so long ago. But, um, gosh, I think I still have his business card somewhere, but he was such a, he was like a, I think the only reason why you believed me, cause I was the shortest outside hit her. And then other guys like, you sure don't want to go for the bears. Like dad, I love to hit man. I'd rather like try and not make it then to go in and where else? Um, but the coach was also a shortish like six feet, I'll say, hit her. Um, but he made it into like the champions league and he played it pretty high level. So he won. He saw how hard I was working as like, you know, I can't give you a full pro, but we can develop you in our second division.

Coach Donny:

If you get to our country, we'll take care of everything. Hmm. Mmm. And the other one was like a 83 Italy, like a suit ultra I call ultra semi-pro. Um, and, you know, looking back, I wish I would've taken that those offers. So that's funny that you're ended up thing of Sweden. So how many seasons agenda playing in Sweden? Um, let's see, I play my first year in Sweden, uh, second year where I could have played pro. I got an offer from the top team, um, in Sweden and I couldn't take it because I busted up my shoulder and I had to, I actually tore my abs, right. Two surgeries. So I took that year off and then next year I went to Oslo volley and then I went to Croatia the following season and then also Bali again. So, uh, I guess two seasons in Norway, one in Croatia, one in Sweden, two in Sweden.

Coach Donny:

And then it went back to Sweden afterwards, uh, to like end my career as a player coach at the first club that I played at a coach and player. I have my first pro club. [inaudible]. That's awesome. Now when you, when you tore your shoulder, cause being a baseball player, um, I mean I, I guess I could work both ways. You can have a really strong shoulder from the reps or you can have a one down shoulder. So, uh, we had those injuries. Was it because of a overuse? Um, you know, some assists, you have a exercise background. I'm kind of curious what your take on that. It was like, was it preventable or was it just the nature of you playing that much

Mark Burik:

now that I know sort of the biomechanics of how I started hitting? Mmm. I think a lot of guys, um, when they think I need to hit hard guys always just think they just need to hit harder, hit harder, hit harder. It's like maybe you should hit one in before, but uh, I know that I was always tensing my arm. Like I tried to be as strong as possible instead of like letting the loose whip just do the work and the stretch and the whip. So probably my guess is that I was just like tightening so much on every swing instead of letting it loose and I didn't let my shoulder operate like it should have. Mmm. That might've been it. And I was definitely playing as much as I possibly possibly could. Like I was outside of practice, I was trying to pepper serve and serve, receive another two hours each day because my, my mind decided that this is a math equation and if somebody started playing when they were 14 and they started getting coaching, all right, well maybe they practice four times a week for like six months when I did it for four more years.

Mark Burik:

So I started like counting up the hours. I was like, if I just put in this extra time, I will be caught up. [inaudible] um, it's not about how long you've been playing, it's about how many hours you've put into playing and thinking about the match and watching video. But you could play for 10 years and if you play four hours a week, I'm going to catch up to you in a year. I promise. I see that. Um, I think, you know Coby now. Um, unfortunately, but he, he was like the same way. He's in the NBA shooting hundreds of shots after games and practices. You've got the same mentality.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. And those listeners who feel like I was a late starter. I mean that's, that's case in point right there and, and inspiration that it really is a math game. If you started late, it's about the number of hours and the quality hours and just got to put them on work.

Mark Burik:

Yeah, somebody is watching Netflix. You should be watching YouTube videos. You should be watching coach Donnie, should we watch your mind a better at beach and you should be watching match after match after match and just pausing and playing, pausing and playing and saying, where is this person right now? And a lot of wise, like in order to the game, you can't just watch and be like, cool play. You gotta say why? And how did they do that? You know, where were they before they hit that shot and why did they choose to do it? Because if you see that same play from the same player again later on, you're going to start seeing like, Oh, this is a plan. This, this didn't just, once this happens every single time he's in that situation. And that's why I say Todd Rogers for favorite player because I studied him like so many players did and I found out that he wants certain points with the exact same tactics every time. And um, yeah, you can get better even if you're not practicing, you got nobody to practice with. I think you'd do better just about for watching

Coach Donny:

videos. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Uh, Todd Rogers, I, I used to watch him and dalhausser kind of when they're on the rise and he was always the most boring player to watch cause he just made it look so easy to really hang in the air, wait to see what you're doing and then shoot it here or just hit it hard. I mean as mechanics were so consistent. Very deceptive. Yeah. So after you finish your indoor career, did you immediately transition into the AVP and FIV or was there something in between that?

Mark Burik:

Um, every year that I played indoor, I played beach during the summer. Uh, as soon as I started playing in college, he goes, I was like, alright, you know, I obviously mindsets that I need to catch up on reps. So it was way easier for me to go out to a beach and find three other people then rent a gym or find like a church basement or something and then try to get like [inaudible] at least eight people. So I was originally started throughout my entire career, probably like the first seven or eight years I was playing beach only to get better at indoor and then started getting competitive on the AVP. Started like playing some qualifiers. And I remember the exact drill that I was playing in beach volleyball when I quit indoor cause I was still a professional indoor player after Sweden. And I had my dad's setting me because I was, I got the opportunity to coach for beach camp, which is a Swedish beach volleyball company.

Mark Burik:

Um, we're coaching and camp in Turkey, but I was doing my own training. I had my dad setting me and he's not a great setter. Uh, so it was a little bit frustrating, but all I had to do was hit this giant square, a high line 20 times and I was going to be done with practice. I was like, I just need the shot 20 times. And the year before, the summer before I was nine out of 10 in something this size, like easy, but [inaudible] this is the second or third beach practice, uh, coming after indoor season and it took me 130 something swings to be able to do it. And I was like fuming and frustrated and it was just me and my dad, like, no blocker, no nothing. It just need to hit this spot. And he kept saying like, do you want to stop? It seems like you get this off.

Mark Burik:

And I was like, no, I'm getting my 20. I don't care how long it takes, but um, I was somewhere around like nine and I said, I'm done. I literally said out loud, I looked at this guy would be the ocean, I'm done. And that's when he thought I was done with the drill. Things was like, no, we're not the one to drill. I said, I'm done playing indoor. We're playing beach now and that's it. So I never, never turned back from indoor. That was a moment where I just never wanted it to be like that bad at peach again. Um, and when went full throttle from there.

Coach Donny:

So yeah, I could tell that you're a great competitor just because in life experiences, you know, they'll often push back at us and those that want to compete see that as a new goal or a new challenge and those that are recreational and this is where the divisive experiences, you know, just kind of do that just they just let it keep them down. It's like, okay, I'm going to move on to other things. So the ending of that story was not what I expected. You know, usually that fosters that much. It's going to lead you to other directions, but you see it saw it as like this is like a new, a new life goal, a new challenge. So that, that's really cool,

Mark Burik:

huh? Yeah. I also hadn't, it's funny the way you frame things that I'd say or experience cause I hadn't thought about them that way. But yeah, I guess it was a, the challenge that I would just like, no, I'm going to beat this.

Coach Donny:

Okay.

Mark Burik:

Interesting. Perhaps perhaps I, I enjoy the, uh, the pain a little bit too much.

Coach Donny:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. One of the most motivating experiences for me has always been like whenever I play and I see a three man block, I just love to just go right at it, swing as high and hard as I can. Right. And then I have a new team this year playing and then some other guys that are play with me for a second. Dude. Why, why do you have this, this extreme aggression? Like how do you have that much confidence to just do that? And I never, it's not a conscious process for me. I just think, well, I just think of, I think I just think of all the, the people that I've told me I couldn't do certain things in those moments. Like those, those experiences intuitively just come out in those moments. I have these flashbacks of that and then that's how I express or that's how I continue to take on those challenges. Um, yeah,

Mark Burik:

I have a very similar mentality in a personal slogan that goes with it. And it's not like appropriate for public terms, but I grew up in an Irish neighborhood, very Irish neighborhood, and you have this angry little Irishman inside of me and anytime I start feeling doubt or I start like wondering if I should or if I shouldn't, this little angry man inside of me, it's just F you F P. and so, you know, I put that in all my bracelets. Um, just freaking do it. You freaking, uh, insert X. What's that like? That guy talks to me and I'm like, alright, it's time to rock. You know, anytime you're thinking about like one more rep or two more reps, it's like, it's heavy. I don't want to do it. Like he starts yelling at me again and that's what, uh, that's what keeps me going. Sounds like you've got the same voice. You just hear it a different way.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. It'd be awesome if you had a [inaudible] he kept a little Mark

Mark Burik:

in your bag or something that would talk that actually say it. [inaudible] am I pronouncing correctly? Boric Barrick. That's a, that's Irish. Yeah. Uh, no, it's actually a made up name. Um, my dad, uh, his last name was Burt chick and, uh, the targets of people calling him bird bird poop, Perchik bird poop. Um, it was like too easy of a target and he just couldn't stand it. Uh, and you just took out the ch when either when he got married or when we were born. And so we are the first line of works. Yeah.

Coach Donny:

So that's an interesting story.

Mark Burik:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it's Polish. Um, pretty sure it's a Polish name, but my uncles kept their name and I've never heard it one set of anybody around them. So maybe my dad just was sensitive to that.

Coach Donny:

So after you went indoor, you, you transition a beach and how long have you been playing on the AVB tour? And I also know, um, learn that you also played a couple FIPB tournament's for USA too, right?

Mark Burik:

Yeah. Yeah. Um, I don't know. It's hard to say how long I've been waiting on AVP because when I was just playing beach, I would, a qualifier would be somewhat near me. And I'd be like, yeah, I'll play a qualifier out. We'll lose 75 bucks. Like, why not? You know, I probably thought I was going to win, but I was nowhere near where I should have been. Life played first three, four or five years, um, of qualifiers. But then, uh, eventually with my partner, Hudson Bates, who was on my college team, uh, he's now the assistant, a head coach at Ohio state university for the men. And we started qualifying, we started doing better and then the ABP had a U 26 store and we didn't think that there was anybody that could be consistently better than us, um, at that age. So we started chasing the U 26 store instead of the ABP when there were definitely some moments where we could have qualified for the main draw. And then the next year is when they, when ABP went bankrupt. So we dedicated all of this energy into winning the [inaudible] store so that we could be automatically in to ABPs for the next year.

Coach Donny:

Uh,

Mark Burik:

and then AVP went bankrupt and we were like, why did we do this? Cause we finished first, we did it, um, and then it got like taken from us. Um, and yeah, and so I guess since then, you know, since I was like 25 ish, I've been a main draw player. I'm always like right on the bubble where the main draws are much smaller than they used to be now because now it's 16 when I was coming up with 32 teams got in. And if I think about the AVP now, like

Coach Donny:

okay,

Mark Burik:

it w it, it seems to me like it was a joke to qualify when there were 32 teams allowed in and now that there's like 16 and 24, it's a lot more competitive. The athleticism is getting bigger, um, and better and stronger every year. So Donaldson's doing pretty amazing things with the ABP and uh, yeah. And the only other thing was going international, so start playing forsaken tours, which is NORCECA is North America, central America and Caribbean. So that's the continental tour where we play all of those countries. And then from there I built my way up to getting enough points. And at one point a few years ago, it was in the top hundred each players in the world according to points and started to go into the world tours and then had a bunch of injuries, a bunch of partner dropouts and haven't performed for the last two years. Like I've really, really wanted to. So I'm hoping to make my way back up there. No, cause I'm still like right on the bubble of that main draw and it would be much more comfortable just to be definitely in for a long time and not have that stress of, do I do it like Wednesday or Thursday?

Coach Donny:

Yeah. Okay. And well good luck with that. That's well, I mean you seem to have us have this, this endless drive to just keep pushing through and grinding away.

Mark Burik:

Yeah. Grindr for sure. I'd love to be a little more, little more winter.

Coach Donny:

[inaudible]

Mark Burik:

no, like I think I made a post on my Instagram the other day. It was like you shouldn't be proud of how busy you are. You should be proud of how much you have accomplished. You know, people are always like, I'm so busy. Oh, I'm so busy. Huh? [inaudible] you watched two hours of Netflix today and I guarantee you scroll through Instagram for at least an hour and a half. Are you so busy? No, you're, we're finding distractions instead of finding accomplishments. Yeah. So I think people can be better at that. And um, and I definitely want to be better at that and my career. And I think now a lot of my focus is going into the companies like the, uh, the camps in her Masa for volley camp promotes it and building the courses for other players who went through that whole process of trying to figure out a game when they're an adult.

Mark Burik:

Like, how do I get better? Yeah. I think it's been a lot of process towards that. And I think I'm giving back to the sport maybe before I'm completely done and maybe there's an argument to be had where I should have waited, but I don't want to, I don't want to wait. Um, I, I think I can play and get back at the same time and that's, that's what I'm doing through my companies. And I think you're kind of the same way. We're always been playing. You're always active. You're still coaching now you've got a monster YouTube channel. Um, just awesome. I'm so, I'm in awe of you and how you've done it. Uh, it man, thinking about how slow like our growth has been. It's taken us everything and so much generosity from people who are giving time and skills to be able to just get like the 5,000 subscribers that we have.

Coach Donny:

Yeah.

Mark Burik:

Hoping that it catches fire soon, but

Coach Donny:

we'll see. Yeah, I'm sure it will. It's, YouTube is a very long grind. It's very unpredictable when that initial Spike's going to happen. But yeah, I think just just being ready when that happens. I think that's the most important thing. You gotta you gotta give me some of your high IQ fans, you know, if, I think if haiku ever makes like a beach, I wouldn't be surprised if they made like a beach version. So yeah. It just be ready for that.

Mark Burik:

Yup. We were talking about it yesterday and my roommate's like, we actually watched the same episode of haiku every,

Coach Donny:

every time before a match. Like when they're were like, no, we watch the same episode every time before a match. And it was like their, their season championship or something. Oh man, that's hilarious. You know, as crazy as I, I haven't even watched it yet. It's like it's, it's high on my to do list but then nothing else and I really want to watch it. I heard it's so good and I'm like, Oh I can make like another video or I can start developing another. And it's just hard to choose between those things. And I think especially after I got married, you know, I w I don't, I feel, I feel really selfish when I take up too much time to myself. Like you know, it's, it's, Oh I w I love spending time with my wife and I just want to make sure that's a high priority and it's easy to like get into this, this zone of, of, of bachelorhood sometimes. Maybe you can

Mark Burik:

coach me on that. Cause I, I can, I can go for 20 hours, you know, like I can just be making videos, like rewriting emails and everything. Yeah. Um, and I realize how much time I'm taking away from people who I like really enjoy just to try to build what I'm building. Yeah. It definitely could use a lot more balance and not topping out on that. Uh, right. And I hope I can Sue.

Coach Donny:

Oh yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I could really go, sometimes I'll wake up at 3:00 AM and I'm like, I think I'm ready to work. I think I'm ready to like edit six hours straight of video. And like, before everyone gets up and it's like 10:00 PM and like everyone's like going to bed. I'm in his own. Yeah. Yeah. I think he hurt me

Mark Burik:

during like the [inaudible] the first four years I've been able to better force myself to bed and control my energy levels a little bit. But last year was much better than, but the four years before that when both companies brand new and fresh and I still had no idea what I was doing. Yeah. I was, because we used to do Airbnbs. That's how we brought campers in. I was like rent, rent a place, and then re-rented to Airbnb and I was up at like 1:00 AM 2:00 AM cleaning toilets, trying to turn overstuffed for the next guest. And I was going into AVP tournaments, competing against the best players in my country, thinking finally a day where I can relax.

Coach Donny:

Okay.

Mark Burik:

That is not how you want to go into a tournament. When you're playing the best athletes in your country. You know, you want to be a, let's go. I rested for this, I prepared for this. So last year I got much better at it. This year I've slaved during the fall and the winter so that I [inaudible] find more energy during the spring and summer.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. I think one thing that I've tried to make a cost decision the last two years that I just still am not where I want to be, but I'm trying to get just marginally better each years learning how to say no and cause when I see an open schedule on my calendar, I'm like, Oh, this is awesome. I'm like, I'm going to go do this for clients. I workout a double day, I got time for a double day and then, Oh, I'm going to add a video here, I'm going to, and I'm, I just, I just realized my natural tendency is like open calendar, fill it up, open calendar, fill it up. And I find a lot of joy in that. Like I love working, but like you said, the longterm consequences, like relationally personal health, you know, it does take a toll and it does. I've been burned out a few times in the past where I just, that's the worst experience. I don't know if you've ever experienced burnout yet, um, with playing or you know, owning a business yet, or do you still feel like you can push pretty hard, um, and not get to that place yet?

Mark Burik:

No, I've, I never thought I would have gotten to it, but in the last five years, almost twice, you know, you put absolutely everything you have into all good in positive directions and then you don't get the results that you want and that's exhausting and you start questioning everything. So the two times when that really happened, I ended up just taking little over a month trip both times. One time I went to Costa Rica and I, uh, I didn't talk to anybody for three weeks, you know, like if it was a meal, all right. Had to interact cause I had to get somewhere. That's what it was. But I just took that time to journal and repeat and figure out like what was going on in my head and if I was still going in the right direction. And then I did the same thing two years ago in Thailand, but I had the injuries and like my back went out and I couldn't play.

Mark Burik:

And I was like, man, I'm doing, I'm doing everything right. I'm pushing in the positive directions, but my lack of rest probably got to me. Uh, so I went to Thailand for I think six weeks and really similar. I was a little bit more social, but I took plenty of time to just, I don't have to talk to you because when you're a coach, when you have companies, and then like, I'm a professional. So it's, and you're a teacher, so you'd get it. Everybody's constantly trying to get your attention. Yeah. And I don't want to take that away from anybody. I like, I'm so grateful for all of it. When somebody comes in, they're like appreciative of me, but I don't have alone time. Yeah. And I think that's more what gets to me every, the couple of years where I'm like, I need to disappear and just listen to what's in here instead of constantly being a reflection of what everybody else is saying.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. So true. I don't know how you categorize yourself. I, I'm more if I had a, a spectrum of like extrovert, introvert, I'm definitely more on the introverted side, which is ironic because my occupations are highly extroverted, you know, so like I, I really enjoy just moments of just not saying anything for a couple hours. And, and I, and I love interacting with people, but you know, it's just personality wise, it's pretty tiring. Um, so it's, uh, my wife is more extroverted, so I guess that's how we balance each other out. But I think that was really hard for her to understand in the beginning because when we first started dating, I had to be extroverted. I'm not going to just sit there and read a book.

Coach Donny:

You can either be dark, mysterious and broken where they try to fix you or you can move them. Yeah, I couldn't dye my hair black because it's already black. It'd be emo if they want to be like a hundred percent introvert. But like when she kind of discovered that about me, it was a hard for her to understand how that even existed. Like my coaching and my teaching and my training. But then also how as soon as I'm home I can really just shut off and like be just engaged in and, or just needing my time.

Mark Burik:

So it's funny, it sounds like it's a sounding board because I do that too. Um, I'll get home after eight hours of just being high energy for everybody and when I get home and then like now it's my time to hang out with my girlfriend. And this is the time where like I just won't want to shut down for a couple of seconds, but it's so not fair to her. Like, why am I giving all of this to like students or maybe clients and then like she gets the exempt fostered me. So, um, I'm, I'm working on that from a personal standpoint of turning it on for her because I care more for her really in my life than any of this other stuff. So, um, yeah, figuring out that balance is definitely, definitely tough.

Coach Donny:

Yeah, that's great that you're doing that. I think a [inaudible] our significant others definitely keep us, keep us honest and, and I think I'm always appreciative of how supportive my wife is of letting me do all these be like a kid and just do all these things that are not traditional vocations. Um, and I really, yeah, like you said, I think I have to really make a conscious effort to like not leave my leftovers for her when I get home. Like, how can I say no to maybe two clients today so that you know what, I'm going to have great social energy when I come home and really enjoy our time together. Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Burik:

They, you know, they're all good directions, but we can't [inaudible] can't cheat the ones that are closest to us like that. That's not right.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. Yeah. Right. Do you know if someone else is going through it? Yeah. All right. Well, down to, uh, the last couple of questions. Um, I'm curious what, what are the best things about being a pro volleyball player?

Mark Burik:

It's pretty easy to be fit, you know, to be in shape and stuff like that. But I also feel like probably professional athletes in the long run are going to have the worst bodies.

Coach Donny:

Hmm.

Mark Burik:

Everybody looks at them as if like, Oh, this is the epitome of health and fitness and it's like the stuff that we're doing to our joints right now, less less than beach for sure, than other sports like soccer. Um, of all God, uh, and indoor volleyball, you're, you're crushing yourself there. Um, so to be a 35 plus year old in indoor and that would be like almost unheard of unless you're just a setter or libero. Like it's so hard to survive that long just because your joints, your knees, your back. But so many legit beach players, you were 37 to 45, even John Haydn, like 47. Yeah, that's pretty cool. Um, and the best part I get to make my own schedule somewhat. That's nice. I'm still playing a game. Uh, I am not at the will of somebody else, you know, or like the only one I gotta be better than each day is myself. And then hopefully that's enough to beat some other partners or some other players. All right. That's, that's a tough question to answer. I, I get to make my own schedule. I do and I do what exactly what I want every day. And sometimes it's tougher because there are those supposed tos, but I am not waking up for anybody else every day. You know, I'm waking up for all, all my direction, which really feels good.

Coach Donny:

That's great. And on the flip side, what are the worst things about being a pro volleyball player?

Mark Burik:

Um, you start thinking down the road about, yeah, I can retirement and money and kids and where's, where's that gonna come from? Some of the best players in our country right now are having the same like mental conversations. Like if you follow Casey Patterson, he's talked about that a few times. Like, okay, it's careers ending beach tournaments are not providing a lot of money. So a lot of the [inaudible] more in touch and hustling players are now turning towards content and they're like, I can't just be a Beecher, cause that doesn't pay the money. Um, you have to somehow engage an audience and find a way to teach or help them or, or be an Avenue for other companies to approach, uh, to approach fans. And then, then you can be a conduit and then you can like find some money for yourself. And the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you have down the road. But if you stay kind of silent, uh, yeah, companies won't really need to be, you know, chasing you down and maybe then you have an audience that hasn't been listening to when they could have listened to you and then you don't have other options afterwards.

Mark Burik:

So, yeah, I guess, I guess the worst part is just the financials. Um, but [inaudible] also, one of the big things is your failures are extremely public. Hmm. And I think that's, that's tough is that, you know, when somebody has a bad day at work or they like lose it deal or something, there's three people that know about that, you know, every now and then a little board room or like five or six people know about that. When you suck after teaching people how to play volleyball for like the last 10 years and then you fail in front of everybody else, you feel like you'd let all of them down, like your credibility is somehow diminished. Um, and that that way is very much a bad role on your ego and you need to be able to handle it. Right. So I think probably the most difficult part, not the worst part, but the most difficult part is learning how to yeah.

Mark Burik:

Tune them out and not worry about what all the other people think and just be there playing and doing your thing. Um, cause yeah, your failures become very, very, very public. And there are a few websites, uh, that I won't mention that they just, yeah, there are forums were people will find nothing but negative to talk about any player that they can. And I used to watch them and search my own name and like wonder, like what people thought. And I haven't looked at one of those in I think seven or eight years. Um, I almost went into it the other day and then I was like, this is not going to be worth it. Even if they speak positive, I know what my positive thoughts are, I know where I'm headed. But if they speak negative, what's it going to do for me? It can provide like fire and motivation, you know, staple like bad newspaper articles on your gym wall or something. But for me it's just like I don't, I don't really, you're sitting on the sideline watching me do something w what do you have to say at that point? You know? So that's, that's probably to summarize like what the worst part is. That's it. I guess just mitigating your emotions with, with public failure. Yeah.

Coach Donny:

Yeah. And for those people who are kind of more public like Mark and myself of just being [inaudible] both good and bad out there. It is a challenge and I guess it's the same way how people, I guess was a really far fish analogy, but how people treat like waiters and waitresses, it's like you never know what it's like to be on the receiving end until you've been there. Right? It's like that's why I was always so important to treat everyone with kindness and respect, but it is very tempting to, we can get a thousand positive comments and that one comment that might not even be true, which is actually usually not true. Just very poorly worded can really dig so much deeper and it is hard. It takes a lot of conscious effort to just like be content with what you're doing versus what other people are saying and that that that's so hard.

Mark Burik:

We posted a video yesterday called seven deadly sins of hand setting like per region volleyball and we, I had this feeling, I was like the energy in the video is good. We spent a lot of time editing it and we talked about pain points and how to fix them and I was like this is going to be the one guys, I think this one is going to go a long way and so far it's, it's about like five times the rate of abuse and as any other videos ever put out, which I'm stoked on. Well within an hour we had 16 likes and two dislikes and I was like,

Coach Donny:

okay,

Mark Burik:

ignore it. You know like what could you have disliked about this? Like I'm spending all of my time so many hours every day to split $39 a month between the four people like me, my editor edit by assistant and [inaudible] and my partner Brandon like you disliked that I'm giving you something for free. You don't have to pay it. But it's just funny. It's always been like, I look at people the way they talk about LeBron, the Bronx, the Bronx, you know his name. Like that's kind of proof that he doesn't, but yeah, I like to keep it positive. Right?

Coach Donny:

Yeah. Yeah. I still remember when I forgot my first disliked cause I was on a roll. It's like first 20 videos. Oh like 10 likes, 20 likes and I got that first one. I talked to my mom. I was like, who the hell does not like this stuff? This is only a scientifically accurate. It's entertaining, it's honest. And I was just like, I think after that I was like, okay, I can't make this habit. This is, this is not, this is totally not worth it. And scotch tape over that. Don't even worry about it. I think there's some YouTubers out there that are like cats genetically, you know, are you a cat person? Not necessarily. Okay. Meaning I can't hate her, but I don't need cats in my life. Now. My wife converted me somehow. Um, and the nature of cats, they just do a mischievous things for no reason. Like they'll look at you as they're knocking the glass over the counter that you, there's so many great videos about that. So I think that's, there's some evolutionary trait, like some cat DNA seeped into some humans out there on YouTube, so it just going to click it.

Mark Burik:

Yeah, no, there are for sure like trolls and people that like actually just get out of kick of trying to fire people up. And uh, um, my editor at one point, she was just like,

Coach Donny:

Hey,

Mark Burik:

don't feed the trolls. The only thing that they get off on is if you have a response and you're actually feeding them and now you're giving them more material. Yeah. Don't feed the trolls.

Coach Donny:

And you know, what's crazy is a, an unanticipated effect was that I have a lot of fans that just rushed to my defense and I, I don't respond to any negativity unless it's as false. Like unless someone says, Oh, you should train your calves to jump higher, you know, they'll, I'll say like, no, actually the research says blah blah blah blah blah. But even before I can respond, there's like 20 people saying, ah, you an idiot. I want to see your channel. So it was pretty cool. Thank you to all my fans that come to my defense, you got an army behind you. I appreciate that. The elevate army. Um, so, um, in closing, if you want to share a little bit about your bitter beach tutorials and your camps that people's in are mostly beach, I know those are really popular for want to talk a little bit about that for those. Anybody who wants to learn some beach volleyball,

Mark Burik:

thanks for that opportunity. Um, yeah, so we started five years ago, volley camp Promosa, which we started out running seven day training camps for adults mainly. Uh, we also accept juniors and everything, but I felt like there is a, some kind of lack in the coaching world available to adults. I think there's so much coaching available for juniors and somebody could play for five years like we were talking about and just have

Mark Burik:

no technique or awful technique. And then they see a 12 year old girl and she just dishing with beautiful hands and perfect passing and like or right left, right, left every time on her approach. And I go, you can't think about it that way. Cause when you started playing, you just started playing and you kind of made it up and you pieced together advice that 12 year old for the last, you know, for the first six months of her playing, had somebody watching her for those two hours saying you have to do this right and this is how you do it. Right. I wanted to create something for adults that would do the same way. So we started with the seven training camps and now we run classes every day. So if you come to one of our camps, Mmm. We haven't got four hours of training every day.

Mark Burik:

Uh, it's only professional beach volleyball players or coaches of professional beach volleyball players that teach our classes. So people who are in the arena and have been in the arena really like showing you the best and highest level of what the world is doing and, and what our country is doing as far as knowledge and taking. Mmm. If you don't want to come to one of those camps, you can come on any day and we will have classes any day. If you just need a weekend. And we get a bunch of girls who come from San Francisco for just a three day weekend and uh, they get private lessons and you can also take classes, but you can come in any day and visit us and just sign up for classes if all we can for most.com and we'll give you everything we have. And then for better at beach, uh, I decided at some point that what was my business goal and it was to help make a million people better at beach volleyball to some way, some little piece of information found its way from the way I disseminated it until their brains gave them a positive experience.

Mark Burik:

So better beach became the platform where we would go through YouTube and then build online training courses, a subscription plans where we have our entire video library. Ah, and we also do video analysis where if you go to my YouTube channel, you'll see sometimes there'll be um, videos where I'm helping a player with their game because there is so much value in studying and watching your own film and then being critiqued on it so that it looks and shapes itself the right way. And when we run our camps, our video analysis session, when the players get to watch themselves in my living room, they see that as like their best practice of the week. They're so stoked on it. So we always get people after the camps better saying, Hey, um, can we do a video analysis in two months because I want to see how I'm progressing. [inaudible]

Mark Burik:

uh, me, I pay coaches a lot of money to watch my film and give me feedback on it because if one coach can find one thing and fix that, that's not fixing one thing that's fixing thousands and thousands and thousands of points for me. Yeah. So I think people need to realize that with coaching, like imagine what one private lesson is going to do for you. That's knowledge for the rest of your life. Yeah. That's not then like making an adjustment that will help you in one point that whatever, 60 bucks, 90 bucks, 150 bucks in an hour, that's going to give you so many more points that you win. And imagine winning a thousand more points in your life just because of like one investment. That feels good. Yeah. So that's what we do at better beach. Those are online courses and Molly came to Moses, the camps in the classes and um, everybody is more than welcome.

Coach Donny:

Awesome. Thanks for the information and as I'm, I'm down at Soquel I'll definitely, I would love to make it to try one of those classes.

Mark Burik:

Yes. Try a bunch of them. We got an open men's camp coming, um, the end of March, so it's just open men. Um, and we got a bunch of good players coming from Canada, Australia, Brazil and a few other places in the U S so.

Coach Donny:

Okay. And if you want to check out, yeah, go ahead. If you want to check out, uh, better at beach for his online tutorials and also how to sign up for his and most of the camps. I'll leave those links in the description box. And what's your Instagram handle?

Mark Burik:

Uh, mine is at Mark Barak, M a R K, B, U R, I K and our, uh, company Instagram. The one that we do the most work on is Bali camp Hermosa.

Coach Donny:

All right. And you can find all the information in the description box. Well Mark, I want to thank you so much for taking your time and really sharing not just your knowledge on this interview, but all the free content you have, our ENT, YouTube channel. A lot of people don't realize how much time and effort it takes to write the script, record, edit, coordinate between people to help you run the videos. Um, just cause we want to help people. That's the bottom line and I think you've heard his story. You guys know my story about we'd both know what it's like to be on the sidelines to struggle. And that's actually a majority of the population, like 99%. Um, and we love to change lives that way and give people confidence to enjoy the sport that we both love. So thanks again Mark for doing that.

Mark Burik:

Thank you. Thank you for being so open and answering a message from a stranger. Really appreciate that. Didn't know it turned into this, but I'm grateful and uh, yeah, hope we can do more stuff down the road.

Coach Donny:

All right, sounds good. All right. Well hopefully we'll see in our most beach and if not, then we'll see you on YouTube. Yeah, you will. All right. Take care. Cool.

 

 

Join our email list today and we'll send you a FREE BEACH VOLLEYBALL DRILL BOOK!!!

Also receive new drills, tutorials, tips, special discounts and updates from our team. Your information will not be shared.

Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.