Abra Rummel (00:00:00):
Whatever situation you're in, whatever your best swing is, whether that's hard angle or middle back, just choose whatever ones, your whatev, whatever one you're gonna execute best in the moment and do that because it's a high enough level swing that they're gonna have a very difficult time digging it,
Mark Burik (00:00:17):
Regardless of what the other team's doing.
Abra Rummel (00:00:19):
Mark Burik (00:00:20):
Abra Rummel (00:00:21):
We won the match which with only her swinging middle back or hard angle, the set was a little inside. She hit hard angle. The set was in front of her. She hit middle back and we had, she had the clearance over the block, the block wasn't as big as she was. So she was able to swing middle back, even if the blocker stayed. And if the blocker pulled well, she wasn't really hitting at her . She was, she was hitting the middle back, her hard angle. And like I said, it was a high enough level swing. And she's putting enough pace on it to a good location that we ended up pulling out the match, a match
Mark Burik (00:00:59):
Mark Burik here at better at beach. We have camps, clinics for players, camps, and clinics for coaches. We have online programs where you can learn beach volleyball as a player, as a beginner, as a coach. If you ever want to take a course with us, you are more than welcome. And we have a slew of opportunities for you to learn how to dive deeper into the game. And today we have a very special guest a friend from early in my volleyball career where we crossed paths and ran. And it's so cool to see her succeeding and making her rounds around the country between indoor and beach volleyball. She is currently the assistant coach at grand canyon university in her hometown. And love to welcome on to the show Abra. What up, how are you?
Abra Rummel (00:01:55):
Fantastic. Excited to be here. Thanks for asking me to be on the show.
Mark Burik (00:01:59):
Yeah, of course, of course. It's nice to I, I told you off camera, you actually coached indoor at the college version of my high school. So St. Francis prep in Queens, New York, it graduates to St. Francis BR St. Francis college in Brooklyn. And that's where you got your a few years coaching indoor there with a number of successful runs. So what brought you from living in Phoenix and then heading on over to New York where you, you were coaching and then I'd, I'd like to really dive into all of the different places and clubs that you've coached throughout like a journey woman of, of volleyball coaching
Abra Rummel (00:02:38):
well how long you got, cause I've been a lot of places. I I was in San Diego for a few years, was playing kind of on the national tour for beach volleyball. I met my now husband over there and he, while he was training for the 20, 20, Nope, 2012, that's how old I am. 2012 Olympics as a rower after the 2012 Olympics he really wanted to make another run. I was doing fine at beach volleyball. You know, I liked it, but I was at a good, like kind of pause point in my career. So we decided to move with him over to Princeton, New Jersey for the men's national team for us rowing was relocated too. And I went with him and just started coaching over there and then was lucky enough to get my break at St. Francis college.
Mark Burik (00:03:26):
Wait, wait, wait, what do you mean? Just started coaching. Like you just walked over there and be like, I know how to play volleyball. I'm gonna coach at Princeton.
Abra Rummel (00:03:33):
Well like I said, how long you got for the podcast? started originally started in NorCal when I was in college spent two years at NorCal JRS coaching. There was in air, went back to Arizona for my masters and coached at Arizona sky juniors. And this is all indoor coached there for a few years while I was getting my masters to become a teacher, was a teacher and coached at a local high school in Arizona then decided I wanted to play beach volleyball. So then went over to San Diego, coached at San Diego city college coached at wave volleyball club, coached a little bit of beach for beach digs, Cindy Phillips. I'm not sure if she's still running that, but she's awesome. And then met my husband. And then again, fast forward to New Jersey, I was at Princeton for as an assistant. I was at Ryder as an assistant for a few months and then got the job at St. Francis college. All while my husband was training for the 2016 Olympic games.
Mark Burik (00:04:31):
Cool. Were these positions that you applied to? How did you apply? Did you know they were open? Did you just knock on a door and be like, Hey, I know volleyball. I'm gonna be living here for a little while. Let me check it out. Or was there an invite or a connection situation?
Abra Rummel (00:04:43):
I would say most of them. I mean, you, and you know, the volleyball community, it's, it's very connected. It's it's large, but it's small. Yeah. So I would say each job I got, because I knew someone, my very first coaching job at NorCal it's because the coach of my college team coached at that club. So she recommended me, you know, wave volleyball club Kevin McCullough. I knew from college. Great. And yeah, cool dude. And he gave me a recommendation to ed Machado, who was the director at the time. Okay. And ed, like, that was actually one of my scarier interviews. He's like, oh, welcome to the interview. Do you have your tennis shoes on? You're gonna be playing volleyball. I'm like what? huh? Yeah, exactly. He had to test my skills. I went out there and had to like pass and set and hit and serve and he's like, okay. You seem like a good enough volleyball player.
Mark Burik (00:05:33):
Abra Rummel (00:05:34):
so it was, it was terrifying.
Mark Burik (00:05:36):
Do you think, I mean, what if he did that to Russ rose
Abra Rummel (00:05:41):
I cannot speak personally to Russ Rose's skills. maybe you did great. Maybe they're not. I dunno, but he did it to me and it was terrifying.
Mark Burik (00:05:52):
But that's funny. You're gonna try out physically do you I've I've had a conversation or a thought, I, I kind of think it's maybe not mandatory, but a monster advantage for juniors at the very least juniors who are first, like getting started and need to know what things look like. I think there needs to be a youngish coach there mm-hmm enough to demo skills. Mm-Hmm I don't think you really need, need, need that when there's, you know, you get to the advanced level or certainly like not college, like all the demos are fine. You're, you're, you're done the technique should already be built, but do you think that that should be a mandatory thing that you need someone on staff that can actually do it? Or can you work easily around it without needing the visual demonstrator?
Abra Rummel (00:06:39):
I think there's benefits and drawbacks to both ways. You know, I've certainly found a lot of success at, at every level at being able to physically demonstrate what needs to be done. Even if it's in a, you know, more close scenario, you know, I've gone through three different seasons pregnant and had to, you know, find ways to demonstrate and I could do it, you know, eight months, nine months pregnant. It was very slow motion. you know, I think you, I guess I would summarize it by saying, I think you can demonstrate, even if you're not young, you know, even if you're not in great shape still or AKA playing shape. Cause like I said, 9, 8, 9 months pregnant. I was still able to like in a close scenario, demonstrate maybe I wasn't jumping to attack, but I could stand and, you know, show what a cut shot looked like.
Mark Burik (00:07:26):
Yeah. Have you ever seen any coaches that, you know, they actually didn't have any of the skills? They just knew how it worked. I'm I'm thinking of one person in my head particular who was a high school coach got no shocked. He could play volleyball or have any sort of decent arm swing or like, I don't know how he ran his practices. And he had a lot of wacky ideas, but there, and certainly wasn't demoing anything mm-hmm but he had a, a decent program. I think that they were second in the league, you know, is there a way for somebody who has not played has not developed a skill, can they be successful just by studying the game and learning how it should be done and then helping, helping their players?
Abra Rummel (00:08:03):
I mean, I think you can, I think it's just a higher barrier to entry. You know, if you're not able to physically demonstrate it yourself, then you should bet next best thing is having a player or an assistant who could demonstrate for you. If you don't have a player or an assistant who can demonstrate it for you, then you don't have to be really good at utilizing things like video or, you know, finding pictures of people doing it correctly. Okay. You know, utilizing whatever tools you have to try to show how it should be done correctly. Cause at the end of the day, if you not, everyone learns the same way. Sure. You know, as a, as a coach, if I'm trying to get, you know, if I'm trying to teach you how to do, you know, a thumb up cut shot, I'm gonna explain it one way and maybe you don't get it that way. And then I'm gonna have to use another way to try to get you to do it. And then if you don't figure it out that way, another way you gotta have a lot of tools in your tool belt in order to teach a multitude of people, you know, cuz what works for you, isn't gonna work for someone else. Isn't gonna work for someone else. Sure. So if you're, if you're not able to demonstrate it yourself, then you're gonna have to find someone who can
Mark Burik (00:09:02):
You talked about assistant coach there and that there might be different roles behind people. So assistant coaches a very, can be a very vague role because I know that a lot of head coaches have very different skill sets and very different needs. So as somebody who came from a head coach position for indoor and is now transitioned to the title of assistant coach, what roles are you specifically in charge of for grand canyon university?
Abra Rummel (00:09:31):
I am mostly in charge of, I would say the, the scouting is one. I've definitely taken a lead on. Kristen knows. I love my numbers. I love my stats. you know, I love my little Excel sheets, you know? I
Mark Burik (00:09:43):
Do. Do you any specific apps for that?
Abra Rummel (00:09:44):
I don't. It just Excel.
Mark Burik (00:09:47):
What columns do you have
Abra Rummel (00:09:49):
Columns? It depends.
Mark Burik (00:09:50):
Like how do you, how do you sell?
Abra Rummel (00:09:51):
Oh gosh, we're gonna get down a rabbit hole here.
Mark Burik (00:09:53):
Yeah. We give tools to these people. Like how, if you're telling me, okay. Give me five of your most important columns that you use, like when you're filling them in what you're tracking with the most important things that you could when
Abra Rummel (00:10:06):
It comes to a game. Whew. I would say, well, we can go one or two directions here. I would say about once a year, I do like a huge statistical study on some aspect of the game. Okay. And then utilize that as a way to train the team to have success. For example, two years ago, you know, my whole theory as far as beach indoors, eh, but definitely beach. I don't think coaches focus enough on serving. You know, I think the, I think they focus probably enough on passing, but not on the serving aspect of it. And to me, those are probably the two most important aspects of the game is your serve and your pass. If you're winning those two points, those two skill sets, you're usually winning the game. So I did a really big study on that and had some interesting conclusions.
Mark Burik (00:10:49):
What were them? Will you share them?
Abra Rummel (00:10:52):
Yeah, of course. What else am I doing?
Mark Burik (00:10:54):
are these your money making black book? Like like, no, actually my book, no, I'm not gonna share with any other coaches.
Abra Rummel (00:11:00):
Well, the really neat aspect of me doing these studies is that Kristen, the head coach at GCU, you know, I presented to her and get her thoughts about it. And then she allows me to utilize that as part of our training. And we've used it as kind of like a driving force. And I thought that we went from a pretty average serving team my first year to, I thought we were one of the best serving teams in the country, this last season, little biased but gotta throw that out there.
Mark Burik (00:11:26):
How do you measure what a good serving team is?
Abra Rummel (00:11:29):
I would measure a good serving team as that you're getting the other team outta system it's to me serving is a war of attrition. It's not about getting ACEs. It's not about point scoring ACEs and point scoring are a byproduct of consistent, tough serving. Gotcha. What we did with my statistical study is we quantified what is consistent, tough serving. The consistent part is easy, you know, and it's in or it's out are you consistent? You know, I, I think USA volleyball, indoors cart cry aims for 90%. I'd say one probably more. Yeah. 90% toughen in.
Mark Burik (00:12:05):
Do you think the same applies to just like side, side thing? Do you think the same percentages apply for men's and women's
Abra Rummel (00:12:12):
No, I think in the men's game indoors and I think in the beach game, because the side out percentages are so much higher, I think that you need to go for your serve more. I think you need to be more okay. With 80%. So we're
Mark Burik (00:12:24):
Interested the, the women's beach volleyball in a couple of the Olympics, the top teams side out at a higher clip than the men's teams than the men's teams. Really? Yeah. It's not across the board and it's not at every level. So not even down to like the 17th and 20 fifths, but the top and you know, I kinda looked at them. I'm like, okay, they're not getting points when they're ripping, you know, like guys can rip from 10, 11, 12 feet off and still kind come close to overpowering somebody, still a huge advantage for the defender, but just the nature of how much lower the contact of the ball is to the ground. Female defenders actually have less time to chase down shots.
Abra Rummel (00:13:04):
Mark Burik (00:13:05):
You know, so it's, it's playing defense against a quality shot, no matter what is way tougher on a women's net that cut shot is devastating and the high line, because it doesn't need to be traveling as high as a men's one should be more efficient. I think women should be like more efficient shooters, but then it just comes down to that upper body strength. And mm-hmm how, how frequent appeals happen in the women's game?
Abra Rummel (00:13:30):
Definitely. And I did it, my study, I did last season was efficiency of attacking what is the best shot in, so
Mark Burik (00:13:38):
Wait, wait, we gotta go back to sermon.
Abra Rummel (00:13:40):
I know I'm all over the place. What's I might've peaked too much with my caffeine intake.
Mark Burik (00:13:45):
you're just so excited to be in a silent room for the first time in five years.
Abra Rummel (00:13:51):
I know my gosh. So serving, sorry. What I did,
Mark Burik (00:13:56):
What's an if, what is, what did you find was in efficient service? You said consistency, but is there a specific angle to angle a location on the service line that has the most advantage when you serve a spot? What, what did you find there?
Abra Rummel (00:14:10):
I started, I watched about five matches at our ones five at our twos, five threes, fours and fives. I founded the ones consistently. It did not matter where the serve came from. The only thing that really mattered was that the pass had to take more than one step to get the ball. If you were able to serve a ball that a passer had to take more than one step to get to AKA out of server receive, then their side out percentage went down like two to 300 points.
Mark Burik (00:14:41):
Abra Rummel (00:14:42):
Mark Burik (00:14:43):
Now I, I, I battle this with players all the time who have the notion of, Hey, I need you to serve high deep. So they make the ball land deep, but it still crosses the player in their sweet spot. You know, I, I said, no, you need to learn how to rainbow a, serve, how to like send it high and deep. So can you get a player to take more than two steps to the ball without changing the depth, like the short serve and, and where it crosses them? Or can you get them to take two steps by serving pinging the ball, but just in the middle or down the line? Is it, is there enough space there?
Abra Rummel (00:15:21):
I think I don't know that I have a great answer for that. Other than I would say, when we work on serving, we work on every type of serve. Because you don't know what kind of bad passing angle someone has. You know, for me personally, I have a very distinct, bad passing angle. I'm not gonna tell you which one, cause I'd like to play in a tournament this year.
Mark Burik (00:15:40):
You better watch out when I come for you in coed ,
Abra Rummel (00:15:43):
But every person has a bad passing angle. You just have to figure out what it is, you know, and that's either by watching, you know, maybe elements are a factor I'm a big proponent for, you need to be competent from every zone along the back line. And from every angle you need to be competent. It line to line, you need to be competent it line to middle, you know, angle to angle. You need to be able to serve a short serve, sort down the line, you know, that kind of hard angle, short serve.
Mark Burik (00:16:11):
Okay. So you wouldn't have somebody master one location and rep out exactly from their kind of like an indoor where it's like you serve from one spot and you have your angles or your best serve from there. You like to change their angles in their locations based on where somebody's likely to shank or get aced or have a bad path.
Abra Rummel (00:16:29):
Mm-Hmm yeah. We try to utilize conditions and we try to be competent at every surf because just like attacking, you never know when the moment is gonna call for you to do a specific thing, you know? And if you're not confident, if the moment calls for a line to line serve and you're not confident in it now you've lost the opportunity to better your percentages. At earning the point.
Mark Burik (00:16:51):
I had a player in Norway when I was a player coach there, head coach player of a pro team doesn't work well, but one of my players, he had an energy problem. He got ex ex exhausted very quickly, even though he was in shape, it was a, it was a disease, but he talked to me one time. He said, you know, what do I do about serving? Because I have this, I have that, you know, I have a jump float, I have a float. I have a pretty good jump top spin. And when I, the, the conclusion that I gave him and I kind of still think it would be valid, but you have a limited number of hours you can put in compared to everyone else because you mm-hmm , you have to cut your exercise at a certain point mm-hmm . So I said, develop one weapon.
Mark Burik (00:17:32):
Mm-Hmm at a hundred percent and just master that. So you don't have to worry about spending the time and changing contacts and, and mastering each location in short, deep, high, everything like that. And we kind of, we settled on that, but I think if you do have the time to be able to practice a bunch of serves, it can be good. I wonder if it prevents you from mastering one type of serve or are you just mastering the serve strategy by being able to locate at 89 per 90%, instead of a hundred percent where you're serving?
Abra Rummel (00:18:04):
I would say, I like the general thought in, like you said, in general, anytime you can master something in the game of volleyball, that's really important. You always wanna maximize what you're good at. But the flip side of that is if you're maximizing something you're great at, you gotta find ways to improve what you're not great at. Yeah. I would say yes, but the benefit of serving is that you can get a ton of reps in it's one of the few skills in the beach game. You can get a ton of reps in, in a very short amount of time. You know, we again, in my very biased opinion, we are hugely improved as a serving team in one year, simply by dedicating five to 10 minutes of practice to it.
Mark Burik (00:18:47):
Abra Rummel (00:18:47):
That's, that's nothing, right. You know, most drills you're five to 10 minutes and you get a couple reps in yeah. Right in the beach game. Cause it's just so physically taxing mm-hmm , but serving in five to 10 minutes, you're gonna serve 20 balls, 30 balls, 40 balls. You could serve a lot of balls in that amount of time. True. I just think it's one of those skills from a time management standpoint, you can really maximize, but to your point, anytime you can be great at something you should work on being great at
Mark Burik (00:19:16):
That. So back to the deep first short,
Abra Rummel (00:19:20):
Mark Burik (00:19:20):
Are you training your players like consistently to get outta the system? You wanna make, move two steps? Is there default that you're saying we're going middle to middle because that'll be a big move for both players or we're going sideline to sideline to get them to move, or are you really focusing on depth of the court, the rainbow versus versus the short to get the, to get the passer on the move?
Abra Rummel (00:19:42):
I would say in general, we focus on deeper serves high,
Mark Burik (00:19:47):
Abra Rummel (00:19:47):
Flatten deep. We're looking for fast, low net clearance, cuz that's how you can really get your velocity on the serve. Cause it's a time function, right. As you mentioned in the women's game, it's a lower net. Right. So we have the ability to really zip that serve in versus the men's game. It's a higher net. And I don't know about you personally, but I would much rather pass the ball on a men's net than a
Mark Burik (00:20:09):
Woman's. Oh yeah, we have it so easy.
Abra Rummel (00:20:11):
Yeah. you said it, not me, but it, you know, if you have the ability to get the ball fast and deep to a zone, I it's my philosophy that that's the better, the better serve to go for high and deep. I think there's certainly a time and place for that. You know, you gotta run up blocker, you know, you got a lot of wind you're dealing with and you want that ball to sit up there and dance for more, you know, those are times that we've certainly utilized that higher, deep serve, but I would say we tend to focus more on flat and hard and then having it land in that last three feet of the cord. I, regardless of whether that's sideline, middle, or just like straight at their chest,
Mark Burik (00:20:49):
Do you know what the there's, I don't know his name and I probably should, but the German Olympic coach, but when Germany won the gold medals for men's and the women's, it was same coach who was kind of leading the way in the strategy. And the big part of what he said was we don't go for max velocity. He had apparently and so much. So this is a secret among them that their national team blocker Alex Algen Horset he wouldn't give me the answer. He slept in my, in my house like right here. And he wouldn't, he wouldn't tell me what they, what all the German national players know, but he, they determined an exact velocity that the Macassa ball floats the most at. And so he had them serve at that, which means that they would actually slow the, serves down a little bit when wind was in their face.
Mark Burik (00:21:41):
And when the winds behind you really, it doesn't doesn't float at all. He would even go as far as like kind of measuring the air and looking at somebody and going, why are you float serving? And he's like, we've been practicing this all the time. He goes, you can't feel the air it's moist out here. The ball's not going to float. It's gonna be weighted. You need to jump top spin. And he paid attention to serving that much. And if you watch German teams serve mm-hmm , you know, they have an emphasis like you it's like big emphasis on serving. So do you go, have you ever thought of that, of the exact win versus ball velocity? Or do you just go as hard as possible where it stays in?
Abra Rummel (00:22:21):
I would say we've we try to tailor it more to what our girls are capable of. You know, we have a few girls that have great contact just consistently really just pop that ball perfectly every time and have great float. And those kids, we default to, Hey, less velocity, more float at the end of the day, I would personally rather have more float and less velocity as long as we have that lower neck clearance. Sure. You know, we have a few kids that struggle a little bit with that consistent float. So they're ones that we say, okay, let's go a little bit more towards velocity because we're not getting that dance, that movement, that unpredictability on the ball. So we might as well just try and get it to the zone quicker.
Mark Burik (00:23:01):
If you had to pick one, serve to live and die by like, this is the one serve that I'm going to tell everybody, walking into a, a match blind. Yeah. You don't know what team you're coaching, but you're coaching them. You've never seen them play or anything. And you don't know what team you're playing. Mm-Hmm what serve do you serve for the first 14 points? And you have to pick one location from where and two where mm-hmm no wind.
Abra Rummel (00:23:25):
Yeah. Oh for sure. I, I tell everyone on my team, this actually personal favorite serve, I always do it first serve of the match. Shouldn't tell anyone that, because I'm trying to play this year, still
Mark Burik (00:23:34):
Works, still works
Abra Rummel (00:23:35):
Middle to middle, like line to line. I stand in the middle of the court. I line up right in between them. And then I serve it fast, hard with float right down the middle. Cuz in my opinion, inevitably, no matter who you are at the beginning of a match, everyone's just a little bit nervous. So if you can just drive it fast up the middle, that's a great time first ball to get that easy point. And if I have to do it for 14 points, so be it that's my surf
Mark Burik (00:24:03):
I like it. Huh? Yeah. Especially when it's equal, there's no game plan. Right? You, you don't know exactly who and that's a good time for it. And I know that a bunch of people actually have gone with that. They like the middle serve in making, causing a quick question in the beginning. Yeah. Personally short sideline for a right side. Yeah.
Abra Rummel (00:24:22):
Mark Burik (00:24:23):
Great. Especially to sideline making them dive forward and outside so that they have to move on two planes. Mm-Hmm , you know, they usually gotta take a knee. It's a little bit dangerous if you do it slow because we're so exposed to on nowadays and it's like, you have to have it on two game now, but it's such a troublesome to, to go forward and low and reach I, if I'm blind and I know that 99% of, of the world doesn't have the footwork mm-hmm to, to get into that and to get out of it. Mm-Hmm that serve as it's how I can, I'm not gonna say sleep at, at local open tournaments. Mm-Hmm but if I wanna just chill through pool play, I'm going short. Right. Sideline that almost all day. Just because by nature of me seeing their footwork after that serve, that's what I'm literally looking for serve mm-hmm where's their footwork. Oh, they don't have footwork. They don't have spacing. All right. We're gonna put this on repeat because they're not gonna get their own hitting distance. Mm-Hmm so that's, that's my favorite serve, but I like your middle serve, making that question early on.
Abra Rummel (00:25:30):
Yeah. Well I like doing it from the middle too, so it's not clear whose middle it is. Like I stand in the middle of the court serve directly down the middle to their middle, you know, everyone's like, oh my middle. But in this scenario, who is it? No one knows
Mark Burik (00:25:43):
Abra Rummel (00:25:44):
That. But I liked your point. I like the short serve. It brings up a funny point. Cause I never short serve. Personally,
Mark Burik (00:25:51):
John Meer would hate you.
Abra Rummel (00:25:55):
He's and we've lost John the last two years. Oh,
Mark Burik (00:25:59):
He, he says the one skill that all volleyball players like need to work on or could be more valuable for all of their games. He goes short surf.
Abra Rummel (00:26:08):
No he's right. that was something like we didn't do enough of, you know, and this is my fall. We did, I'm in charge of serving. We didn't do enough of this fall. And then I was watching our games and we had a few kids with really good short serves and they'd used it at the right time. And as long as they did it at the right time and had a decent level of execution, it was automatic, bad pass, easy ball on our side. And so it made me rethink like, dang it. We're gonna have to figure out how to get people to short serve . So we we started adding that to our repertoire probably about February, March. It's all out of success from that too.
Mark Burik (00:26:45):
And it can be tricky, right? Because sometimes you can see a, a good pass and think you didn't do your job. Mm-Hmm . But if you don't think one layer deeper of, well, then what happened to the hitter? Did they get the singing approach that they like? Did they get the set that they liked? Even if they got a kill mm-hmm was it comfortable? Was it uncomfortable? They rushed off balance. I think people judge a good surf based on good pass or bad pass. And there can be another layer of rhythm spacing, vision and shot selection. Do you change your entire swing selection when you get it serve? That doesn't mean you shoot or, or swing. Sometimes it does. Right? Mm-hmm but can you do you become an only hard cross and high line hitter? Mm-Hmm when you serve short, interesting things to look at? I think
Abra Rummel (00:27:35):
Definitely we certainly do that. We consider serve location when we're trying to limit or trap certain shots as well. You know, for example, if someone's on the right side and they're big, you know, thumb up attacker, we're gonna consider serving them more middle to try to bring them into the court and cut off that thumb up attack that they like to do. Does that make sense?
Mark Burik (00:27:57):
Abso okay, so, and by thumb up, you mean, so the right right handed right side player likes to hit cross court, basically. Yes. So you try to drag them into the middle with the serve mm-hmm and then they have a smaller area to, to hit into with that cross court. So they're like their favorite shot is they have to be more pinched with it.
Abra Rummel (00:28:16):
Mm-Hmm and then it makes defense easier. Then maybe you can pull your block out of there and get their easier back to line shot. And now you have your down defender on their best stuff and their best stuff is instead of being, you know, this large of a court now it's that large. Mm. And that's not perfect, but it's certainly a strategy we consider using when we're back at the service line as well.
Mark Burik (00:28:38):
I like that. Yeah. That's smart. When you know that somebody wants to hit hard cross mm-hmm do you run a straight up two on them where you have the blocker obviously take away their best swing? Do you let your defender take it or do you try to bait them into swinging their favorite by running of, of like a four block where they dive into the angle?
Abra Rummel (00:28:59):
I mean, at the level we're at, with the teams that we're, you know, trying to beat, you know, the top 10 teams in the country cause I think this last two years we've kind of been in that like kind of five to 10 range. It's it's kind of a multi-facet problem. Depends on the hitter. I would say you either, generally speaking, if you wanna stop someone's best stuff, you're not gonna consistently do it with a block. You're gonna do it with your defender. You can limit it with a block. You can jump in and get get a few points here and there with that blocker. But chances are, you know, you talked about the hard cross mm-hmm , if someone's really good at hitting the hard cross, they're probably pretty good at shooting it too. So if you put that blocker in on it, then they're probably just gonna shoot over you. If you don't have your defender there. So what we've done in the past, we've doubled up. We've had both players move in and just really given them, you know,
Mark Burik (00:29:52):
So maybe why don't more players do. I think so many people are, they, they believe that the defender and the blocker have to be an opposite sides of the court. Right? And then it's like, it's why some people don't need to see the defender to get to a certain level. They can just see where the blocker is and hit over the blocker without even paying attention to the defender. When, if the defender sits middle or you double up two or three times a match, no hitter expects that. Mm-Hmm , you know, they're like no way. They're both gonna be on the left side, the whole point. So you question yourself.
Abra Rummel (00:30:28):
Oh, for sure. I mean, we've played, I think we played every single team who ended up in the top 10 this year at division one. And there were precious few teams and precious few individuals who ever doubled up. And that was a lot of the feedback we gave our players, which is, you know, I think it's the, the setter's job to look through the net and see where the defender is. I think it's the attacker's job to see the block and know that 95% of the time, if they see hands here, there is no one behind those hands. So it's their job to see the hands and swing hard around or shoot over knowing that with confidence, they should be able to do it. And there's not gonna be anyone behind the hands and I can speak as a player. That's what I look for. I go up to head. I, it's pretty hard to see that defender and see that movement. You know, things really have to kind of align. I have to have a good pass. I have to have a good set. I have to see, you know, the play in front of me. But at the end of the day, if I see hands, usually not someone behind
Mark Burik (00:31:28):
It, I've been redesigning my thoughts on offensive strategy for a couple of years. And the conclusion that I've come to at this point in my coaching and playing career is that I'm not going to react to somebody. I think some players jump, wait to see what's open mm-hmm and then swing for the opening. Especially lookers. I was a big, like long look for a lot of my career. I take, I take a shorter Looker. I actually opened my peripherals a little bit more now, but I would react. I would wait to see what they're doing and then hit the opposite. Mm-Hmm and now I'm in no way that I have a swing that I'm going for for that point. And then I have an off switch. Like if they do the thing that will stop that swing, then I have my second swing in mind.
Mark Burik (00:32:19):
Mm-Hmm you know, and then, then I'll have a third one. And of course, if something so easy and so obvious that then I'll put that down. Mm-Hmm but how are you teaching your players on offense? What what's the, the mental sequence that they're going through? Is it, does it come down to a game plan where you say, Hey, this girl sucks at, at digging driven balls. So we're gonna swing at everything or do you say you are great at swinging and we're still working on your shooting or however you wanna say it nicely. so, so make sure you hit, what mental process do you want your players to go through offensively?
Abra Rummel (00:32:55):
I mean, it that's a tough is a lot of answers. You know, for example, there was one game I was coaching. I was coaching our fours blocker her name's Krista she's wonderful. And she really Highline was so open. Like I, we could've grabbed the ball, stood there and then thrown it over the Highline and it would've scored. so open, but she just, for whatever reason couldn't do it, she just couldn't get that high line. She couldn't get her thumb up. Just wrap her hand around the ball. Couldn't get the clear, but what she was really good at doing was hitting hard angle and hitting middle back. So at a certain point, because she wasn't scoring on the high line because she just wasn't able to do it at a high enough level.
Mark Burik (00:33:40):
Oh, okay. So she was missing. So it's not that she wasn't going for it. She was just kind of like flubbing it in her hands or not getting the quite
Abra Rummel (00:33:48):
Mark Burik (00:33:49):
Fast enough. Quick enough contact mm-hmm so she was, she was attempting it.
Abra Rummel (00:33:54):
Yes, she was very coachable she just could not execute it. OK. For many reasons could not execute it at that moment. So I finally just told her whatever situation you're in, whatever your best swing is, whether that's hard angle or middle back, just choose whatever ones you whatev, whatever one you're gonna execute best in the moment and do that because it's a high enough level swing that they're gonna have a very difficult time digging it
Mark Burik (00:34:22):
Regardless of what the other team's doing.
Abra Rummel (00:34:24):
Mark Burik (00:34:25):
Abra Rummel (00:34:26):
We won the match with only her swinging middle back or hard angle. The set was a little inside. She hit hard angle. The set was in front of her. She hit middle back and we had, she had the clearance over the block, the block wasn't as big as she was. So she was able to swing middle back, even if the blocker stayed. And if the blocker pulled well, she wasn't really hitting at her . She was, she was hitting the middle back, her hard angle. And like I said, it was a high enough level swing and she's putting enough pace on it to a good location that we ended up pulling out the match. That's
Mark Burik (00:35:02):
You know, we had Sam PLO, the Canadian Olympian on our podcast when it wasn't a podcast like four years ago, mm-hmm we just interviewed him for a webinar and he said the exact same thing. Mm-Hmm he said, I know what I'm good at. And I think more players need to know what they're good at. And when you get into a rut or you're not getting a few kills in a row, the first thing that he checks in with himself is have I done my best swing in the last three points? Have I gone for and executed my best swing regardless of what the other team's doing. And a lot of the times he said when he was in a rut, the answer was no, he wasn't doing the thing that he was fantastic at mm-hmm . And so he would go back to that and he would establish that.
Mark Burik (00:35:44):
And he said that, you know, people think that AVP and F I B players have all these shots, usually they're just great at two shots and all the rest, it's kind of good. Good enough. Mm-Hmm , you know, whereas a lot of, I guess, BAA players, they try to have every location, everything. And if you don't do something like we've talked about like mastering one skill, you know, if you don't have something that you've established or wrapped out, you're gonna be mediocre at all of them in, instead of like finding a good swing. And it's funny that you guys said the exact same thing, you know, mm-hmm what are you great at? Do it? Yeah. Doesn't matter what the other team is, is doing. Like
Abra Rummel (00:36:23):
Do it. Oh, for sure. It's, it's a points game, right? At the end of the day, you're trying to get more points before they get enough points. And anytime in this sport, in which you can be great at something, you should do that thing. You know, the flip side of that is defensively. We try to teach our girls, okay, identify what the other team is great at. And from a mental, physical, and point scoring standpoint, you gotta try and find a way to limit what they're great at because that's generally speaking how they're gonna try to win the match. True. But our girls it's, I mean, when it comes down to it, you really need three swings in this game in order to be successful, you need a high line, you need a cut shot and you need a swing down the middle. If you're you
Mark Burik (00:37:07):
Need a high line. Yeah,
Abra Rummel (00:37:09):
I think so mean looking, not mad.
Mark Burik (00:37:11):
Abra Rummel (00:37:12):
Mark Burik (00:37:13):
Maybe, maybe the in the college game, like women aren't peeling as much as I think they are, but I feel like cut shot and hard middle are like for women's game, from, from what I've seen of it. And the frequency of peeling cut shot, I think has to be number one for the women's game. I think it's a devastating swing on, on the women's net. And that's, I, I feel like that's why Brazil runs their defense the way they do. They step into the pocket hard and they just leave their hands up so that they can take away all hard driven because you know, they're not gonna get their glasses taken off too frequently and then they've cut off basically the cut shot. So then the only option now they have is the high line. And if you peel on that should, should be set. So I think the cut shot is a hundred percent mandatory. Is, is the high line
Abra Rummel (00:38:03):
Set? Do you wanna hear an interesting sta
Mark Burik (00:38:04):
Second place? I would love to.
Abra Rummel (00:38:06):
So last summer I did a whole offensive theory. Again, watched just a ton of footage. This is our matches our level, right? So that's about top 10 division one statistically and I sorry. And I Staed what was the most effective attack between option high over the block, regardless of what the block did. And that means
Mark Burik (00:38:29):
Abra Rummel (00:38:30):
Sorry, what, what if
Mark Burik (00:38:31):
Abra Rummel (00:38:32):
At peeler? Oh, okay. At backwards, or add a down defender, add a down defender included for stats included the cut shot and the swing. So basically any shot at a standing down defender into their half of the court, out of those, what do you think the most effective shot was? Percentage wise.
Mark Burik (00:38:51):
Are you gonna say Highline? Wow.
Abra Rummel (00:38:54):
Yep. Wow. Part of that I think is just a lot of the teams we play is they're very hard into that angle and their solution to the high over is usually to run a four most teams on average. Some teams will peel, some teams will have the defender sit a little bit more middle but generally speaking, a lot of teams, a solution to the high over is to just move their blocker and put the defender on the high line and hope that they trick you. And if you see that, well then high angle . So the high over the block was the most effective statistically speaking attack in the top 10 division one, not every match. I would say I watched, I sat at about 20 matches about that. Wow. Somewhere in that range. Second second, most effective was the, I can't remember now was either the on two or the swing at a polar and then the, but distinctly the least effective attack. Was that a down defender? I
Mark Burik (00:39:53):
Wanna see the separation between hard cross and cut shot. I think hard cross is too easy on the, and the women's game, but cut shot. I feel like if you're nasty with it, I don't know.
Abra Rummel (00:40:03):
Well, so I would, I would agree with you if you choose the cut shot at the right time, the right time, the right ball, AKA, let's say you've established the high line. You've done the high line, you know, two times, three times. And now the defender's leaning that way. Get that kind of inside a little bit tighter set where that cut shot drops fast than you. Then it's a yes for me, but what we were doing before I did the kind of hitting stats is we were cut shouting just to cut shot. Cut. Shouting, just cause it looked cool. I don't, I don't know. I shouldn't say that. I love, I love my girls. They're wonderful. yeah.
Mark Burik (00:40:37):
Well maybe it's too Archy, you know, that's where the player is already facing. They're already facing forward. Mm-Hmm so if you put any arc on it, like cloth right now. Sure. It's always easy to point at the like world's best current players. Mm-Hmm but when you see Taran go up and hit a quote unquote cut shot.
Abra Rummel (00:40:55):
Mark Burik (00:40:56):
She hits it the way a cut shot is meant to be hit. There is zero arc, no like little spinny stuff gets high, slaps it down is every human capable of doing that? No, but if more people could stop TA putting arc onto their cut shot and imagining that a cut shot goes kind of up and then falls down over the net. Mm-Hmm if you can reach high and get it to go sharp down off of your hand, it's the best version of a cut shot. And if you can't do it at that moment, then you can't hit that cut shot
Abra Rummel (00:41:28):
oh, for sure. And I will clarify that to say that because it's a time function, like you said, it's a, how fast can you get the ball to the sand historically GCU, we haven't had the tallest players. So, you know, we're dealing with a geometry
Mark Burik (00:41:44):
Abra Rummel (00:41:45):
Terrible as high as a Tarn cloth is. Right. So if we're not doing the cut shot at the right time, you know, maybe a little bit more of an inside set, a little bit tighter to the net, we're not getting the ball to the sand, fast enough to beat the defender. Sure. You know, teams actually scored on the cut, shot a lot against us. We didn't score a lot against them. Okay. So that's certainly because I watched all matches of us. Maybe that influence our, my stats generally
Mark Burik (00:42:13):
Speaking. Yeah. Not true. Yeah. Sometimes we also you'll take, you'll set one teams and you'll get a statistical set, but it might not be a look at the entire country of like, if, if you took stats on just GCU and you took stats in the entire country or the entire world, what shot is the most effective, maybe for a different team because of the way you practice or whatever. It's not a perfect experiment, but it's important to look at it. And at least it gives you guidelines to make a guess, move on it and then decide if you're right or wrong.
Abra Rummel (00:42:43):
Mark Burik (00:42:44):
You know, instead of just like people do whatever. Yeah.
Abra Rummel (00:42:46):
Oh for sure. And I I would say so 50% of the stats that I took are GCU stats and 50% are our opponents, but our percentages did hold true for them as well. Who knows, you know, , what am I, but a lowly accountant. applying my skill,
Mark Burik (00:43:05):
Your life in Excel sheets. I think it's so funny that you don't have an app that, that does it for you. I know a few coaches are using huddle data VO, I think, is trying to be better with indoor. Like I know Jordan Cheang used data valley, but he ed it so that it became beach mm-hmm I don't know if they've, I hope they, they have, they have good efficient stat keeping things. Anyway, do you have, I have one question mm-hmm blocker appeal percentage, right. What percentage of the time do you think women in the college game are appealing right now? And I know that it's, it is situation by situation, but still there are lots of in-system sets that I see that are flawless and they're peeling. And I think they should, I think way more athletes, everybody from who is under open mm-hmm should be peeling way more mm-hmm . But what percentage do you think players peel in terms of swings versus defense?
Abra Rummel (00:44:02):
I mean, I think anytime you have a not insistent pass, you should be looking to peel. So I put an addendum on that. Anytime you make him pass bad, get on out. Unless it's over. That's something we focus a lot on Kristen, Kristen ROS, a great polar herself. She was fantastic at it. And we spend a lot, a lot of time with our blockers working on how to get off the net and still do something great up here. You know? Cause two down defense is a lot better than one down defense.
Mark Burik (00:44:32):
I completely agree. Completely agree. And I, I still see five, five, you know, 50 year old women who are throwing their, I'm not even gonna call 'em hands, throwing their fingers up there up that it's like not really taking up much space here. yeah. So yeah, we, we spend a lot of time as like, no, you're not a blocker, but you are a net protector. So you hover around that 10 foot line. You make sure there's no overset and you don't wanna lose points on the other team's mistake, but get out of there.
Abra Rummel (00:45:00):
Definitely. Will you say our kind of rule of thumb is blockers. If you believe you're gonna block the ball, then stay up and block the ball. If you don't believe you're gonna block the ball, there's no point in you being up there. You know, if that means you're just pulling to the cut, that's fine. At least you've taken something away. But if you you're just jumping just to jump, you're not serving your defense much
Mark Burik (00:45:24):
Abra Rummel (00:45:25):
Well, you know, it's a pretty rare scenario where you stay up for no reason other than to just be in the hitter's head. You know, maybe you maybe if the blocker blocks the hitter a few times, you know, maybe if you're actually like in that attacker's head, then it's like, okay, yeah, we're gonna keep staying and you're just kind gonna jump around and we're gonna use our defender to scoop up any easy shots because we know they're not gonna swing it, but it's a pretty rare scenario where that happens.
Mark Burik (00:45:51):
Do you think the set, the passes and sets should be lower with the frequency OFS in the women's game to like, to be able to hit at a blocker before they even come close to getting set, would there be an advantage or a strategy there? I'm just thinking, you know, like, how am I gonna beat a peeler? Well, if I can get on the ball quicker and get them, get the ball on them before they're even stopped. And I have the advantage. So maybe if someone's peeling on me a lot, I'd like to run a quick sitter too.
Abra Rummel (00:46:17):
Yeah. We have a play set for that. Again, going back to my point before, about how we haven't been the biggest team historically, mm-hmm, you gotta find ways to neutralize larger blocks. So we, we like to run, what's called a be quick in those scenarios, which is a normal set, but just lower and space off the net. Cause what we wanna bait that block or into is a bad stay or a bad pull because they have less time to decide. And because that set is now off the net, that gives you again, it's a, it gives you a geometry advantage. If the set's off the net and the blocker stays. Now you have more room to go over them. Mm-Hmm if the set's off the net and the blocker pulls well, it doesn't matter because the set's shorter, so they have less time to get back. So then you have more time
Mark Burik (00:47:00):
Accelerate it to the deep.
Abra Rummel (00:47:02):
Yeah. Or even do a Highline still you, we talk about presets a lot. Okay. We're gonna run a B quick and we're gonna preset that we're gonna hit this ball Highline because we know in most scenarios based on what the other team has historically done against us, that's going to be a high percentage shot. We're going to score or at worse, they're gonna be in a bad transition scenario and we're gonna get a free ball
Mark Burik (00:47:26):
Back. I like that. That goes, well, I like it because it matches what I'm currently doing. you know, where it's like, okay, we're going into this point and we're hitting a certain shot, you know? So you design the set and the pass and the set so that you can hit that shot. And so that you want to hit that shot. It's not, we're gonna hit that shot. And then you don't change anything else. It's a little bit layer deeper. Like I know that I have an effective shot. I know the situation that they're gonna wanna put us in. So how do I create the best version of this? And sometimes it's a lower, sometimes it's a higher set. Mm-Hmm sometimes it's inside. Sometimes it's outside, but people can design their offense. Mm-Hmm so that you can hit a certain shot more effectively.
Abra Rummel (00:48:05):
Definitely. And we try to do, you know, going back to what we were saying about, everyone's got a bad passing angle, you know, everyone's defense breaks down at a certain point on a certain set. So we try to be really good at, you know, two to three swings in a multitude of zones as attackers. Cuz again, it's, we're not the biggest, most physical team we're getting bigger, we're getting more physical. We got some really nice athletes, but we're still missing a few inches compared to some other teams, you know, USC can get out there and say, okay, we're gonna hit hard and harder angle. And then we're gonna throw in some highlines and then maybe have one or two, you know, shots on top of that. But they can, they can do that philosophy and be really successful with it because they have some really large competent players.
Abra Rummel (00:48:54):
, you know, I've had a, had a lot of talent on that squad. You know, we didn't have as big a players and that's fine. The beach game can certainly neutralize that. But you know, our whole philosophy is that okay if we, it would be very difficult for us to be successful with that philosophy. So what can we be successful at? Well, we can be successful at running from multitude of zones along the net and figure out what the other team isn't great at defending. And then within each zone, we try to be really good at two to three shots. So that way we go into a match, we say, okay, this program, or this team really struggles when the ball's in this zone, okay, we're looking to run outta this zone and we don't need to have a bunch of shots in that zone to your point. We just need to have two, maybe three.
Mark Burik (00:49:43):
Mm. Certain swings work more consistently from certain locations. Mm-Hmm you know, and maybe that sounds obvious. Well, like, yeah, if you're off, you're not gonna hit, you know, hard cross because it's, it's too easy. But still even when you're in the middle versus outside, like there are certain things that you just shouldn't continue to do, you know, the, the further off you are probably you're gonna have to add more arc to that cut shot. And when people are off and then they try to hit a cut shot. Yeah. That's gonna work against somebody who's super slow. Mm-Hmm . But once you get anybody with strength in athleticism, mm-hmm, , they're gonna pick that up.
Abra Rummel (00:50:19):
Mark Burik (00:50:20):
You know we, I always get like the, the players who are beginners, who get beat on short balls, like, well, if I peel, they always beat me short and my answer, I kind of sound like a jerk, but it's, you have to be stronger and faster. Yeah. You know, and there is a limit to the number of plays you can make if your physicality isn't there and, and vice versa, your capability of making plays increases with your speed and strength, because you can take more powerful steps quicker.
Abra Rummel (00:50:48):
Mark Burik (00:50:49):
, you know, so if you're struggling to get a shot, it's not always like a strategy thing. It's your strategy. You should be go to the damn gym.
Abra Rummel (00:50:55):
, you know, I've told a player to that and to their credit, they've done it. so, yeah, but, you know, interestingly enough, I think I think the beach game it's, it's so easy to score in because you're in the sand,
Mark Burik (00:51:13):
People just roll their eyes at you, thousands, the thousands of people listening and just rolled their eyes at you.
Abra Rummel (00:51:18):
Sorry. I'm sorry.
Abra Rummel (00:51:21):
But it, I mean, it is, if you think about it from a math, from a geometry perspective, if you have the ability to put the ball where you want on the court, there's a lot of open sand, you know, there's probably 6 1, 2, 6 different zones. You can put the ball in four corners, middle, front, and middle back, where if you put it in any of those zones, it's very difficult to dig successfully, right? Yeah. So if you have the control to do it and you can hit those six zones, well, there's only two people they can't cover, you know, at best they're covering two to four of the zones. Yeah. So if you can put it, figure out what's going on the other side and have the control to put the ball in a spot that way, I guess that's what I mean by it's really easy to score in the game. Yeah. It obviously takes confidence. Sorry, everyone watching don't mean to sound judgy. If you have the confidence, the skillset, physicality to do it, then that's why the side out percentages are so high in the beach game, you know, even at the highest levels, you know, if
Mark Burik (00:52:21):
You're hitting lower that middle back. Yes. You know, for like hard driven, especially I wasn't introduced to the high hard seam
Abra Rummel (00:52:29):
Mark Burik (00:52:29):
maybe until I was like 31 when I moved out here and I finally started training with the USA team, you know, that was when it was like, well, yeah, just, you know, hit a, hit a skinnier cross. Don't hit right at them. Yeah. Oh. Cause I knew about sharp cross. I had that from the right side, you know, just Cho down, outside them, but then you see Jake Gibb, you watch him long enough and it's just, he aims for high middle so consistently. And then there is space in between the blocker and the defender where you can a abuse that. But I, I think people think about crossing, you know, they do a vanilla generic cross where it just goes straight through the chest of the defender and it's like, well, they're gonna dig at least at minimum five of those.
Abra Rummel (00:53:15):
Yeah, for sure. I I've had a few life chats with some of our players I think are not, I think I know our one's defender an Evans. She she really loved to try and swing straight through the down defender. And I said, look, Anaya, you're you weigh like a, a buck 30. like, you know, you're pretty ripped. You're pretty strong. But it just, it's really difficult to blow through someone who's standing in the corner.
Mark Burik (00:53:44):
Yeah. You actually can't knock somebody down with a volleyball
Abra Rummel (00:53:47):
Yes. There are very few people who can hit a ball hard enough where it goes off their chest yeah. And goes up there. And so then when she started, you know, hitting away from that down defender, she saw her side out percentages improve hugely.
Mark Burik (00:54:02):
That was the same, same for me. It was like a quick, quick increase in hitting percentage. As soon as I learned how to snap a quick ball in the middle, even when there was a blocker up, you know, that's, that's
Abra Rummel (00:54:15):
Mark Burik (00:54:16):
Abra Rummel (00:54:16):
Well, cause you think about it from a geometry perspective. How do you dig that ball? I think who else? Katie Spieler actually has a great high, deep, middle back ball played against her once. Good job by her. She won and score next spot, but it's just, it's because it's high and behind you, the only way you dig that ball is if you stand closer to it, if you stand closer to it, well, now you're giving up sharp
Mark Burik (00:54:43):
Abra Rummel (00:54:44):
Some, anything in the other direction. So, you know, it goes back to my point that if you have the ability to stay in system and can put the ball in a multitude of zones and it's, you know, it's easy to side out from that port from that perspective. And so, yeah, she's five, five jumps pretty well sad. SADS up. Pretty good.
Mark Burik (00:55:02):
yeah. It's, it's always so funny. You're just like, well, I'm too short X I'm too short X. You just need a different skill set.
Abra Rummel (00:55:09):
Yeah. You just have to be
Mark Burik (00:55:10):
Excellent. You know Alex climb and try to model her game. Don't look at Tara cloth and, and try to try to model her game. Like you're short. So what are you gonna be good at? You know, and, and just exploit the hell out of the things that you can be good at. And find it offense, like you said, like if you're shorter and so you can't bang, get somebody to peel on you mm-hmm but do it so that they don't have time and then know the shot that you're going for when they do it. And then you could still beat that peeling block when Ryan already seven one Ryan already when he was up there, he used to try to get Ryan to peel by having the set set at 10 feet off so that Ryan would be tempted to peel. And he knew that like his block was, was more of a threat than his actual hands defense mm-hmm . So he would get him to peel and then snap quick at his head just by having an offset. And he found, you know, that's a, that's an 11 inch deficit that he had, but he found a system and a way to, to overcome that. Definitely.
Abra Rummel (00:56:09):
I think anytime you can figure out what your opponents are not good at and exploit it. You're probably winning the game. Right.
Mark Burik (00:56:16):
Mm-Hmm I have practice in 14 minutes. So I've got two last questions for you. Okay. Number one. Is there anything that you've learned or learned back in the day as a player that you do not coach, or you don't think should be coached anymore? Something that was a flip for you from beginning to end beginning to now that's a
Abra Rummel (00:56:37):
Tough one. It shouldn't be coached anymore.
Mark Burik (00:56:40):
Yeah. What, what did you learn that you're like, that doesn't actually work in the real world?
Abra Rummel (00:56:45):
probably being emotionally really high. I would say, oh, I think when I was younger and I don't know, maybe I didn't, I probably didn't have coaches who said this. This is probably just like an AISM where I was like, oh, I know the most , this is what I'm gonna do. Cause I was unfortunately, one of those players, sorry to everyone who has ever coached me. I think I just, I just, I thought I was playing my best when I was emotionally very high. And reality is, is I was playing my best when I was emotionally within average, but I was tactically at a hundred percent when I was sitting back there and counting what was going on, counting how many times I've done this, how many times I've done that? How many times they had done this? How many times they had done that? That's when I was playing it my best. So I really try to teach my players that, you know, emotional management is at least a third of the game. You know, if not more, I spend on, on my walk and talks and my time outs and my in between sets even the players that are really good at managing emotions. I would say I spend about a third of my time with them.
Mark Burik (00:57:49):
Just, do you think that time
Abra Rummel (00:57:51):
Mark Burik (00:57:51):
Do you think that there are people that perform well when they are hyped? You know, and that there are people that perform well when they're in that middle ground, cuz I've, I've gone to both ends of the spectrum. I used to be all hype, like I guess like most college kids, you know, you come out there, you're on the scene. You're like flex in and showing off for the fans and everything. And I would let my emotion show a lot of times I was completely under control under the surface. So a lot of people like thought I was a hot, but I would explain to my partners, like, I'm gonna go yell at this ref. It's gonna seem like I'm upset. I'm fine. Just gimme five minutes, you know? . Yeah. And like underneath I was thinking about the next point, but then also like when I was hyped, I was hyped and now that I've done some meditation and, and stuff like that, I just need confidence. Mm-Hmm and, and calmness. So the ability to have an increased heart rate, but not a blasting heart rate. Yeah. And then being able to lower it when I feel it getting too hard. So it's like an above average heart rate that I like to sustain. Mm-Hmm now. And then, but there's that time where somebody has to take the big risk
Abra Rummel (00:58:56):
Mark Burik (00:58:56):
first, you know, and it's one of those back and forth matches. It's who's going to step up right now and do something harder. So there's gotta be some kind of balance there, but do you think that everybody should be the calm, stoic, or should do some people operate at a high level when they are crazy hyped and not even able to think?
Abra Rummel (00:59:14):
I think a lot of people can perform at a very high level when they're hyped. I guess I would clarify to say that you need to revert to your mean, you know, what you don't wanna have happen is have this super high, high emotionally, because usually that's followed usually because again, I'm a numbers person. I talk about percentages. That's usually followed by a low, low, and you don't want your graph to be this up down trajectory where you want it own trajectory wanted to okay. Where we're high and then we're back within our mean. But to answer, you know, to my point, your first example you used was that while you were acting emotionally high, you were emotionally confident and calm inside and there's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with being, having those really high highs, as long as they're not followed by low
Mark Burik (01:00:02):
Lows. So whatever can be sustainable for a long time. And that you can that zone that you can always play in
Abra Rummel (01:00:10):
Mark Burik (01:00:10):
I've, I've had a couple partners that played well hyped really well mm-hmm but when they were not hyped, they were trash you know? Yeah. Yeah. And it's okay. Now how do we find a balance here? Because you can't show up hyped every practice and every day, because then you're just gonna take different swings than you do when you're low energy on Matchpoint. So you have to find and really work on where is my zone. That's so hard to discover.
Abra Rummel (01:00:38):
Oh, I agree. You know, and to your, to your point, that was a big, wow. I call 'em words of wisdom. Wow.
Mark Burik (01:00:45):
You're so clever.
Abra Rummel (01:00:47):
the girls, every girl on my GCU team who's watching me right now is just like, Ugh, coach AB oh, coach Aron
Mark Burik (01:00:55):
Abra Rummel (01:00:56):
But one of my big wows after going to nationals is that while we were tactically and technically prepared to compete with the best teams in the country, I don't know that we were emotionally or what's a better word mentally, as prepared as we could have been. I think as a coaching staff, we could have done a better job of preparing them. So our big thoughts going into the fall, which I haven't, we haven't told the girls yet. So surprise anyone who's listening is that every Friday we compete and normally they're like, you know, they're competitions, but it's more like, Hey, let's just work on what we've been practicing all week. This year. We're gonna say no Fridays matter. We're gonna treat Fridays as real competitions. We're gonna treat Fridays as if you're playing against USC as if you're playing against UCLA as if we're in nationals.
Abra Rummel (01:01:47):
And you're seeing that giant 20 foot scoreboard watching the little points tick down and seeing whether your team is winning or losing. Mm cause the only way to really replicate that is to do your best to replicate it. The only way to practice it is to do that. You know, I talked to my husband, who's been to two Olympics about this for a long time. Cause I can't imagine anything scarier than sitting in this tiny little boat at the start line of the Olympics going, oh my God, oh my God. Just don't mess up. you know, he's been there. He's he's been to two Olympics. He's been to numerous world championships. He knows what that pressure feels like. So he gave me a lot of really good advice on how to handle pressure and how to, you know, determine what your play mentality play personality should be like. And at the end of the day, the conclusion was is you just have to do your best to replicate it and practice kind of a long-winded answer. But
Mark Burik (01:02:43):
No, but that's a great answer. And like how is there a method to discover it, to find, cuz I feel myself to be quasi chameleon que like I can adapt. I feel like I can adapt to most situations mm-hmm and be whatever I need to be in that conversation. I'm not really that guy that's like unquestionably me. And this is how I do everything. I kind of see a situation and I, I figure out how to get into there. So for somebody who can play hyped, who can play confident, who can play silent mm-hmm how would one discover what their best playing mood mentality, et cetera is like, what, how do you discover your best competitive character?
Abra Rummel (01:03:25):
I think by experience, by putting yourself in those types of situations and match scenarios that matter and figuring out where you play best in now, if you're doing it without being in practice, then you, you know, look back. You know, when I look back at, I, I can look back at all my matches over the last 20 years and you know, determine which matches I played best in. And it's the ones where I didn't have that rollercoaster where I had some high highs. I popped up emotionally when I needed to, but I always reverted to my mean, and that internal calculator that I have that I feel like gives me an edge in matches. So that's based on history. If you're newer to the game, well, you're not gonna discover it until you play enough matches to figure out when you're playing your best
Mark Burik (01:04:10):
And then pay, pay attention to it instead. I think so we have, for anybody who's listening better at beach.com/partner profile. And I'd love Abra if you, if you check this out and if you think that there's some questions that belong there, but I was trying to discover this on my own journey of figuring out, like, how do I meet up with partners emotionally better? How do I know myself as a player? And a lot of it came from honestly, marriage counseling before we got married. We were like, no, I for sure wanted to go to a therapist, marriage, counselor. I go somebody who is a lifetime coach and invests in lots of coaching. Hell yeah, I want coaching in marriage. Like make me be the best damn husband there is, you know? And there was a lot that, that I learned and hopefully I'm, I'm, I'm a great husband, you know, it's up to her, but I, I kept translating everything to volleyball and I was like, oh, I've never done that as a partner.
Mark Burik (01:04:58):
Oh I've I've, I've never done that. So we've got this performance kind of journal kind of questionnaire. So if any of you are interested in learning about yourself as a player, it's called better at beach.com/partner profile. And it's got a few questions. One of them like the, it, it says, what are your trigger words? Like, what do you never want to hear ever out of your partner? How do you want your energy when you're starting a match? And then after the matches, you know, it'll make you write down, Hey, what was your energy level? Describe with one, adjective your mood, and then describe what you rated your performance level at. And I think that, that, that writing it down instead of looking back, cuz we always kind of associate memories in a hazy, way's a good start, but I think writing it down and saying, what was your energy today? Mm-Hmm what was your mood and what was your, you know, self-assessed performance level mm-hmm and then you can really start to hone in on it. No,
Abra Rummel (01:05:56):
I think that's great. I think that's a great tool and I'll definitely check it out. See if that's something we can utilize with our players, cuz for me personally, I've I I'm gifted and that I have a memory like a steel trap for better and for worse you know, I forget nothing. forgive easily, forget nothing. so it's it's easy for me to go back and you know, remember things, but I think it would be a lot better to be able to contemporaneously sit down and right after a match, write down, you know, how I felt and I don't really wanna ask my partners if I
Mark Burik (01:06:32):
Felt it's so uncomfortable. Cause
Abra Rummel (01:06:34):
It's takes terrible things.
Mark Burik (01:06:35):
Yeah. Yeah, but I like check it out better beach.com for slash partner profile. It's free. It's not, it's not anything. It's something that I'm working on that I think is going to be very important for a lot of players, coaches, people, but it's very much it's it's rough draft. So if you want check it out, give it to your players. I ran through it with university of Utah. I ran it with their players, just a live scenario and I had them write some things down and their coaches really enjoyed it. So I wanna see what you think about it and anybody at home listening better com slash partner profile, check it out, see if you like it. And if you can answer some questions about yourself and your partner.
Abra Rummel (01:07:07):
Yeah. That great for sure.
Mark Burik (01:07:08):
Well, I have to sprint now.
Abra Rummel (01:07:13):
Okay. Good luck,
Mark Burik (01:07:16):
Dude. Thank you so much for your time. This was awesome. It was good catching up with you again,
Abra Rummel (01:07:21):
For sure. Same here.
Mark Burik (01:07:23):
Yeah. And good luck next year. And, and this summer and on the recruiting trail and, and, and your Excel sheets
Abra Rummel (01:07:33):
Yeah. I gotta figure out what stats I wanna do this summer. I'm not, I haven't quite decided. I think I might wanna circle back and redo my serving and redo my attacking just to see if the team really has moved forward. Like I, in my very biased opinion think they have
Mark Burik (01:07:50):
I'd also like to see hitting percentages from locations on the net. Like if, if you divide the net into five zones outside, push middle, push outside, mm-hmm I wanna, I wanna really really know where the majority of humans are most efficient from and maybe where certain unique players are as well. Mm-Hmm but yeah, I've always been interested in that. Like, are people always hitting from the long wrong location? You know?
Abra Rummel (01:08:18):
Ah, I'll do it 30 seconds, 30 seconds. one of our big wows this year was running what we called the middle, middle set, staying on your side of the court, but kicking in and running out of the middle. I saw Kara bolder the German
Mark Burik (01:08:34):
Abra Rummel (01:08:35):
Mark Burik (01:08:36):
Abra Rummel (01:08:37):
She's my spirit animal. I really need to look
Mark Burik (01:08:39):
She's so cool. Her name. She's such a cool human. Oh.
Abra Rummel (01:08:42):
But she wrecked house at the Olympics by running that middle middle set in either booing back over the line, ripping it into that shorter, hard angle. Mm-Hmm we're waiting for them to pull and just lighten them up. So that was a set that we added to our OI this year and we found was really successful against a lot of programs.
Mark Burik (01:09:03):
So it's so it's so tough on the defense to know what to do in the middle. Yeah. How much mind do I take up? Should we like stay where we are? Are we supposed to switch now? Ugh. It's I think it's confusing. If you can have a good offensive plan to hit outta the middle. Definitely.
Abra Rummel (01:09:18):
So, all right. Here's my 30 seconds.
Mark Burik (01:09:19):
I'll be for the, that'll be for the next I
Abra Rummel (01:09:20):
Gotta practice. Yeah.
Mark Burik (01:09:22):
All right. Hey, thank you so much. Good luck guys. If you're interested in a catching up with a her profile, her Instagram profile, if you wanna see a bunch of pictures of her family and some volleyball is on our show notes as well as links to her coaching bio and grand canyon university beach volleyball page, follow along, support them and see what she's doing. Yep.
Abra Rummel (01:09:46):
Go. Oh, where's the dang it Golos
Mark Burik (01:09:49):
Abra Rummel (01:09:51):
That was hideous. I'm embarrassed
Mark Burik (01:09:54):
Here. You Golos I'm with you.
Abra Rummel (01:09:56):
All right. Thanks mark.
Mark Burik (01:09:58):
All right. A have a great one.
Abra Rummel (01:09:59):
You too. Bye.