Will Robbins (00:00:00):
You know, empowering the mind, body, and soul of champions. It's really trying to provide a holistic program. If you want to be the best athlete, it's not good enough for you just to be the most skilled athlete. You also gotta be one of the most physically strong and endurance athletes, but you also gotta be one of the most intelligent volleyball players, you know, and you know, you gotta be rooted and grounded. You know, like mentally, you gotta be know your identity. You have, you know, confidence, you have to be well rounded and you have to be, or at least pursuing excellence in every area if you truly want to reach excellence,
Mark Burik (00:00:41):
Where we need to know about playing and coaching beach volleyball, and in some instances indoor volleyball, which today will have an interesting conversation from a director who is doing both and has played and competed at a high level in both. For us, you're always welcome to visit our website betteratbeach.com, where we have a number of ways for you to get better if we have online training programs for every skill where we can take you step by step through tutorials and drills so you can fix your passing, fix your setting, your arm, swinging, mechanics, attacking, and defense. And if you've ever asked yourself, Am I really doing this right? We invite you to jump into one of our skill specific courses where we help players who race bad habits, get more control of the game, and learn high level strategy and flat out win more matches.
Our most popular online program is our 60 day max vertical jump program, and it's guaranteed to add inches to your vertical leap. If you wanna add mobility, strength, speed, and power to your game, we have the answer. And we also provide online coaching and mentorship from real professional athletes and coaches. So it's perfect for people who want a coach to take them to the next level. Of course, we always run camps and clinics, so if you ever wanna join us for a trip or training vacation, or you want us to come to your home city, just reach out email support betteratbeach.com today on the podcast. I'm actually really excited because it's always fun when you get to bring a friend on the podcast and somebody who, even though you're not with them all the time, you know that they're out in the world and they have, you have like parallel paths, you know, where you're both attacking similar goals and reaching people and helping people.
So every, I don't know, four or five, six months or so, I, I get a little update from our guests today and I kinda see what he's up to and it, and it excites me, it inspires me, it motivates me because he's doing things that I want to do and then sometimes I'm doing some things that he wants to do and we always kinda pick at each other's brains. And I, I'm really excited to have him tell all of you what he's doing and how he's built a really successful community. So I wanna introduce a little bit of him and everything that he is doing. He is the club director for Empowered Beach Juniors. Empowered Beach Juniors is the area's Premier Beach volleyball Club. It's located at the Empowered Sports Club on Lima Road, and they have the areas only indoor sand courts where you can play sand all year round, no matter the weather.
He started in 2010 and it was the first Beach Club in Indiana history to have an athlete recruited and receive a scholarship to play collegiate beach volleyball. Our guest today, Will Robbins is also the area's only professional beach volleyball player to ever qualify for the country's top two professional beach volleyball towards the AVP and the Nvl. He played college at I p FW and then suffered what was believed to be a career ending knee injury, but he made a monster comeback in 2006 by 2010, after an eight year sabbatical from competition, countless hours in the gym and refocusing his life, he accepted his first professional indoor contract and was on his way to fulfilling his dream. Along with competing professionally. William and his wife built a 68,000 square foot multi-sport facility, Empowered Sports Club and the Empowered Volleyball community. And we're gonna learn all about that today. So Will, man, this is gonna be a good talk. Welcome to the show,
Will Robbins (00:04:17):
. Thanks, Mark, I appreciate the introduction. Always good to see you and talk to
Mark Burik (00:04:22):
You. Yeah, man. So what did, I know you're traveling, just, Hey, just gimme one second. I wanna know what you did today. You're on the road, you're busy, you're running around, you're going to other countries and you're just got your own clubs going. So what'd you do today, man?
Will Robbins (00:04:36):
Oh geez. Well, I just finished USA Indoor Nationals yesterday and yeah, it was blessed. My seventeens and my sixteens, you know, didn't, didn't start off the season great, and actually ended up going to nationals in the Patriot Division, but both of them really, you know, caught fire when it mattered and actually made it all the way to the national championship game. And my sixteens unfortunately were lost in three, My seventeens ended up winning in three. So it was amazing to be on center courts, literally across from each other, playing at the same times, hearing my teams being announced, obviously getting to coach one of 'em, but being able to look across to the other one and finished up with that world win yesterday, drove home and then was up this morning. And, uh, packing up to head to Canada. And so, uh, I'm currently in Windsor, Ontario.
Just came up for a, uh, a CANAM invite event that we put together. I really got to meet some of the Canadian Beach junior national team coaches when I was in Thailand and December coaching our U 21 Boys Beach teams and, uh, really just hit it off. They really are cut from the same cloth that you and I are and just really care about the kids and the development. And they've got on point Beach volleyball up here. They've got five different sites. Darren O'Neil is, is the club director and founder. And, you know, just talking with him, you know, sharing stories like you and I do about the club world, about development, the good, the bad, the ugly, you know, and how we can try to, you know, just better, you know, our sport. And, you know, after talking, we decided that we're gonna do a little collaborative event.
Uh, he brought a few kids down, uh, for a little tournament. We did a little over a month or two ago, and then we just came up. But due to some of the vaccine requirements and few other things going on with indoor nationals, we actually were only able to bring up one team this year, but it was a new event. It's gonna be great. They've got a bunch of Canadian teams, so we're gonna be doing some training sessions and then get to actually go and do some competition and they're gonna be able to compete. And we got some fun stuff to do to, um, you know, kind of bring some of our girls together and their girls. So just a cool collaboration we're trying to do with some of the, uh, the Beach National team coaches from up here in Canada and, you know, just trying to build some relationships. You know, they're three hours away right across from Detroit, so they're really close to actually Fort Wayne. And so yeah, I'm in Canada for the first time and, uh, we're about to do a little three day camp clinic and yeah, play some volleyball.
Mark Burik (00:07:10):
So I, I think I want to ask kind of the obvious question, I guess maybe from the director or like juniors coaches side, you know, I think there are a lot of directors and clubs developing in little silos in, in places where they do have to travel to go somewhere else, but then you also have that choice, you know, the option of saying, Well, no, we're gonna compete against ourselves, right? Like, we're gonna train against ourselves and then we'll wait to compete at tournaments. So why are you making a choice to kind of, uh, host a dual training and competition meet as opposed to staying at home and training just against your guys and girls?
Will Robbins (00:07:50):
Well, I feel like, you know, kind of like you, I'm, I'm a student of the game. I'm always trying to learn, I'm always trying to learn new techniques, new verbal cues, just different ways to be able to teach the game and help to be able to stick with our young athletes. So, you know, I, I'm, I'm always looking for, uh, you know, just, you know, how everybody runs their programs, how do they coach, how do they, you know, run their clubs? How do they, they coach their teams, their philosophies, offensive defensive systems. Um, so I'm always just trying to learn myself. And, you know, I, I then kinda looked at the next stage of that is, is, you know, obviously the more I've learned over the years, obviously the better player I became and then the better coach I've become, you know, and I really want to instill that mindset into our athletes that, you know, we want to continue to learn as much as we can as players.
So we're not just good physical athletes. We wanna also be the most intelligent athletes on the court. And so, as you know, once you get to a certain level, everybody is pretty, for the most part, physically gifted and around the same. And obviously there's some freaks out there, but for the most part, everyone is pretty close to the same. And then it really comes down to just your intelligence, how quickly you can process information and, you know, make the right choice and really just your heart, your fight, your work ethic, those things. And so, you know, I just really want, you know, my athletes to be well rounded and be able to have different opportunities to learn from different people, to be able to compete against, you know, people outside of our area, our region as, you know, each, each region of the country. While we may all play the same sport, each region tends to have some different kind of focuses, you know, some variances in the way they play the game or the, what they emphasize.
And so, you know, it's just like we're a fundamental team on the indoor side where, you know, we're running a lot of the routine plays and fast offenses and it's a lot of explosive, big swings. Well then all of a sudden you play against some teams that are all tipping and rolling, and they're into the little more crafty, you know, all of a sudden if you don't practice that in your gym all the time, you know, all of a sudden it really throws you for a loop and it takes you maybe a set, uh, set and a half to really, you know, adjust to the way a team is playing. And so, you know, I really want my athletes to be able to play a lot of different, um, you know, styles of beach indoor. I just feel that it makes them just more well rounded and ultimately prepares 'em for the highest levels of indoor or beach. So yeah, I just want my kids to have a variety of coaching, but also a variety of competition so they can really round out just their education, non development.
Mark Burik (00:10:31):
Now are you gonna be giving your kids over for some trainings or clinics to the other coaches and saying like, Hey, they've got your court now, so go and learn from them?
Will Robbins (00:10:41):
Yeah, we're actually splitting it apart. Like, I'll be doing a session on attacking, as you know, that was kind of my specialty. So I'll be doing the portion on attacking. Um, and then all of their coaching, uh, coaches will be doing different portions, um, on, you know, passing defense and whatnot. So yeah, our athletes will be learning from them and they'll be leading the training sessions and then I'll vice versa be leading the training session on attacking and training their athletes as well.
Mark Burik (00:11:07):
What would you say to somebody who's like, would attack that and say, Well, one coach has got their athletes on a course, you know, steering the course, and don't you think that putting them in front of another coach or, or seeing it that way might steer them off the course that you had them on, or, you know, redirect them in a negative way? Are you worried about that at all?
Will Robbins (00:11:28):
You know, there is always that chance, you know, that somebody may teach them something different, may derail them from the process or, you know, as you're trying to develop them. But, you know, I am selective on who I do work with , you know, I don't just work with just anybody. And so I, I, I am a little protective of our athletes and I wanna make sure that, you know, we don't have to agree on everything mm-hmm. , but fundamentally we've gotta be pretty close to being on the same page. But then, as you know, from the basic foundation, then there's a lot of different kind of layers to the game that there's a lot of different ways, you know, the old saying to skin a cat type of thing. So I would rather my athletes hear three or four different ways to attack the same problem.
And then I can talk them through, you know, kinda why I prefer this one, I prefer this technique over this technique and, you know, feel that I have more ball control with the tomahawk versus, you know, the, you know, the different techniques you want to play a ball overhead, you know, And so just talking through then the different variations. And sometimes as you know, like depending on the situation, this variation might be the best, you know, in this scenario. Mm-hmm. , this is the best. But I feel like sometimes too many people in our, in our sports world, you know, they think it's my way or the highway. Either you teach it my way and this is the only way to do it. And you know, these people aren't teaching the game correctly, where I feel like we're all usually a lot closer aligned than what we think.
And sometimes what we're teaching, if we sit down and talk, what you're saying and what I'm saying isn't necessarily wrong, but it's maybe, you know, we're talking about different scenarios, different situations, different levels, you know, high school versus college versus international, you know, and what you do internationally, you know, these kids aren't ready for it 12 years old. And so, you know, where they are in the progression, this is, you know, they need to be learning the fundamentals. Um, you know, and so passing, you know, I like center line, but I understand as you go up, center line is tough. Someone serves you high in the chest, so you gotta get it off, you know, your center line and you know, other people were big, you know, off passing off the hip, you know, and that's a big debate center line or you know, outside the body or off the hip, you know.
And so, you know, to me, you know, you gotta teach all variations as you know, you gotta pass balls everywhere from shoulder, you know, really from shoulder to shoulder, you know, and then teach everything above it, you know? So it's, to me, it's all in, in different scenarios, but from the fundamentals, I want my kids to learn how to move their feet to the ball. So I want to teach them center line. Cuz too many times I feel like if you teach off the hip and you know, off center line, a lot of times kids end up being lazy. They don't move their feet, they
Mark Burik (00:14:19):
Start swinging it outside their body. Caution. I'm always like, listen, hey, the first thing you have to learn is how to get your feet to the right position. So like, your feet have to be active, so don't just let it get outside. But once you have that ability, the physical ability to actually move where you want to move, right, then we can start teaching some of the other stuff. Um, but I think that, that at passing and setting come from the feet, I guess the whole sport comes with feet, really. I mean we Right, we're having that discussion this weekend at the evp. But yeah, having those fast feet for passers, I think it's just, it's everything.
Will Robbins (00:14:54):
Mark Burik (00:14:55):
Will Robbins (00:14:55):
Do you teach
Mark Burik (00:14:56):
Passing indoor and beach differently or the same
Will Robbins (00:15:02):
As far as obviously location, We teach different location, you know, obviously we're trying to pass a little more straight off the inside leg to just a little more in the middle, obviously off the net as opposed to indoor high and tight so they can jump set. But as far as its feet, you know, not necessarily I am, I mean, there's a big thing in our area about, you know, indoor always right foot forward, you should always have your right foot forward with passing what you know. Yeah. It . Yeah. You've got a lot of different little things. It, to me, it's
Mark Burik (00:15:31):
Will Robbins (00:15:31):
The, I like on, I had a coach try to explain it to me something about if your right leg is forward, the ball coming across, it didn't even make sense. So to me, I've always just like with beach, I want my outside leg forward, so my kind of, my hips are around and I'm always playing balls into the court. So I tell my athletes, honestly, to me, I like it. It's really what you prefer. If somebody likes right leg forward all the time. But to me, I look at where the server's coming from and that's gonna sometimes adjust if I'm doing indoor and or passing three. I mean, on the beach you're passing two, I'm always my outside leg forward. So no matter when I'm passing, I like to be able to have my hips, everything finish into the court.
Mark Burik (00:16:13):
Will Robbins (00:16:14):
Mark Burik (00:16:15):
Yeah. Cause that's interesting. There's like some things that I remember from indoor and like camps, like kind of the step hop to pass. Like always do a step hop before you pass. And I was like, a lot of the things I was like, always. And then I always go back to, okay, fine, give me that information, let me look at it. Mm-hmm. . And then all I do is I try, I'll go to video, I'll go to the world tour and I'll go to NCAA championships and I'll look at all that film and I'll say, All right, let's watch everybody disprove me. Mm-hmm. , you know, I hate watching video and saying, let me prove myself. Right. I like, I, I try to take the mental side of, let me look, look at this video, trying to prove this right. And then seeing how many times an elite player does or doesn't do exactly that feedback. And if I don't see the best players in the world doing it on a consistent basis, you know, there's always the anomalies like, you know, Phil with his goofy foot and, and April's kind a
Will Robbins (00:17:08):
Weird, people always wanna use that too. Like, Oh, but look, he's goofy footed. Yeah. If you were his height and his athleticism, you could be goofy footed too.
Mark Burik (00:17:16):
Yeah, yeah. You look at like the broad spectrum and then that's where I get my answers. And then, you know, I'll, I'll talk to you guys like you, I'll talk to, you know, DOD and zeina and all the, the beach coaches for, for usa. I'm like, what do you think about this? When would it work? When wouldn't it work? But there's a lot of stuff that gets made up, right? Or I think especially in like in the reffing side for beach oversimplified. So that like somebody tries to help explain a rule to somebody who is new to the game and so they simplify it for it. And then that rule just becomes something crazy, like the no hands together thing that we're still battling or you can't set over the net. Right. And you know, I'm at like Potstown Rumble, I was playing in the pro division, you know? Right. And I set Shane, I wasn't facing the net, I accidentally overset him. It was obvious that I was trying to set him. And I'm sitting there explaining volleyball rules that that is allowed, you know, to guys who have been playing at the open level for 10 years. I'm like, how is this still? Yeah, a discussion,
Will Robbins (00:18:21):
The hands together thing is the big thing. No, no, no. Your hands gotta be touching, your hands has to be together. It's like, no, no, that is not the rule is their fingertip action, you know, on that. So that is, But honestly, I think that's one of the issues with our sport is, you know, they change the rules so much and you know, and especially on the indoor side, you know, it goes international, they change it and then it goes to college and it trickles down sometimes to high school, sometimes not, sometimes middle school. And so you have a lot of variations and I think that transitions over into, you know, beach grass, any of these open level professional level. Like what rules are we going by? You know, we're gonna try these new rules, you know, the net's a net now. It's not a net, it's just the top of the tape now. It's the whole net again. And like, so a lot of that is because they keep changing the rules. I feel like more than any other sport, you know, not only can they expect,
Mark Burik (00:19:17):
You think they change it more than other sports.
Will Robbins (00:19:20):
I, I feel like rules
Mark Burik (00:19:22):
Change all the time, right? Like nfl, nba, like, they're constantly tweaking little rules and I think we're just so in it then we're like, well another rule change. But if you were so into basketball, you know, you would see like all the rules change with the time clock and, and everything like that. And football, like, you know, they changed the, the extra point distance. So every sport I'm sure kind get changed. We're just obsessed with it, you know, ,
Will Robbins (00:19:47):
Right? Yeah. We just pay attention to every little one that they change. But I feel like it does cause confusion because I don't know about other sports, but I feel like because we don't have all of our affiliated or associations, you know, USA is doing some stuff a little different than AAU and you know, each tour is doing something, maybe some different rules. Each open level tournament, you know, it kind of has some of their own different rules.
Mark Burik (00:20:11):
Every high school league, every high school league place, like you can toss a serve and let it fall or no, you can't. Like, yeah.
Will Robbins (00:20:18):
So I think it's hard sometimes for the, I mean I've had professional athletes, I had some national team guys, you know, come in and coach and like, you know, trying to do club, trying to do high school, like what rules are we going by? You know, like, you know, in club you fill out the lineup sheet different than you fill it out in high school, you know? And like, so it's like, I mean I had guys like lost and I'm like, this dude played on a national team, like, and he's, you know, trying to figure out what rules are going by and like arguing with a high school ref and it's like, uh, yeah you can't pursue in high school. There's no pursuit and there's, you know, different stuff where you just don't know what rules sometimes. Uh, Yeah. You know that that organization is going by. So it does cause some confusion.
Mark Burik (00:21:00):
Hey, give me your number one pet peeve that people teach or that you've seen teach on a big enough basis that you're just like, this is, you know, aside from being like nice and political and saying like, and yeah, but we'll teach our athletes the other way. Like what do you hate that somebody teaches one from indoor and one from beach?
Will Robbins (00:21:22):
Oh geez. I guess my pet peeve for younger athletes on the indoor side is, I hate, we call it middle school volleyball. The people who don't teach the game who are so focused on just winning that they teach the one ball over, you know, just send it over, send it over at the lower level. And you see it even lower level beach tournaments with, you know, younger kids where just keep sending it over on one and eventually the other team's bad enough, they'll make a mistake. You know, instead of trying to teach them to pass, set the ball, try to get a swing, try to use all three hits. Um, but we have unfortunately a lot of, you know, young coaches that are trying to make a name for themselves sometimes and like that middle school world that instead of, you know, really teaching these kids to fundamentals when they're starting out, they're just trying to win and make a name for themselves so they're not teaching them the fundamentals and not teaching them how to play the game so they can be successful at the next level.
They're just teaching them little cheap kind of, you know, just keep sending it over, shoveling it to the corner just to try to win. Which as you know, there's a lot of little shortcuts you can do in the game that win when you're young. That'll never win when you're old, you know? Right. And so for us, our big thing with the club is I don't mind losing at the younger ages. You know, I would rather lose early because we're trying to teach them the right way and we're trying to teach them the skills that they're gonna need to be successful at the next level. And you know, we'll sacrifice a few wins early on. And those clubs who you see winning in national championships at 12, 13 fourteens that, you know, you don't hear about a lot of times that sixteens through eighteens are
Mark Burik (00:23:06):
There those, those
Will Robbins (00:23:07):
Kids, Oh geez, they're everywhere. Really? Yeah. Especially on the, so
Mark Burik (00:23:12):
They're good at coaching juniors, but they're not good at getting people into college and and pro level or anything like that.
Will Robbins (00:23:18):
Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, we have some team. Yeah, it's, it's all across the country, but you have teams we're chasing national championships, flying all over the, the country, you know, 12 years old, 13 years old, like driving these kids and just focusing on winning now. And these kids are getting burned out, overuse injuries, you know, and in the end they kind of stagnate. Cause I think Kobe said it best, if you're always just focused on winning, you're always typically just gonna play to your strength and you're not gonna develop your whole game. But if you're focused on development, then you're always working on your weaknesses. Sometimes even when you're playing matches. Hey, we're gonna try some new things. We're gonna try some stuff we've been working on in practice, you know, indoor, you're trying to run a faster offense. You know, we're trying to run one balls, we're not just doing two balls because that's easy.
No, I need you to find the timing and the temp over one ball. You know, so we're gonna try to do a faster offense, um, at a pretty young age. But yeah, trying to teach them these things that they may struggle with cuz they're a little more complicated. But if you teach 'em at a young age and you then give them the time to develop and give them the opportunity to fail at it, you know, then these kids continue to grow, develop, and you know, teams that are beating us at 14, you know, we end up crushing at 16 to eighteens and then, you know, I got 24 kids just in my 2022 class going on to play in college. You know, where other clubs, you know, Yeah, great, you won a lot when you're young, but you got two kids going to college, you know, five kids wanna to college, most of them are done and you know, over playing volleyball or burnout or just never developed the rest of their game. You know, they were kind of one dimensional.
Mark Burik (00:24:54):
Um, it's tough because I don't think people, you know, coaches, new coaches, young coaches and definitely, I don't think there are enough great club directors. I think like anybody, like business owners, you know, you get overwhelmed with something and then it doesn't become your dream vision of it. It becomes you trying to keep up with the growth of it or with the demands of parents and players. And I had a U 15 team that I was doing something similar to you said, I was like, listen, we're gonna play this, this defense where we had one blocker, we put up one girl in the middle because of my other girls were like four 10 on the wings. And I go, we're gonna start every practice with block footwork. We're gonna do swing block footwork, we're gonna do it every day and, and I'm going to like have you do it. But I'm telling you right now we're not gonna do it in the game. But you need this skill next year, the year after that, the year after that. I, so we're gonna drive in these motor patterns right now. Right. Even though on Saturday, hey, after you know, three practices this week on Saturday we're not gonna use it. But you need to be able to be ready for the next level.
Will Robbins (00:26:00):
Right? Yeah. You know, and that's the same, you know, with positions and that'd probably be, you know, kind my other pet peeve and that's beach and indoor is, you know, when you make a kid one dimensional, when you know you start 'em at a young age and you lock 'em into just one position and it's beach is a lot different cuz you gotta be an all around player, but you can still get locked into a, I'm just a blocker. Well it's great, you know, when you're young at 14, you're five 10, you know, okay that's a decent size blocker, you know, for a girl. But now if you don't grow anymore, I hate to break it to you, you're not blocking at five 10, you know, on tour. And so it's time, you know, you need to transition to a defender. But a lot of these kids, they've just been pigeonholed into, you know, kind of, this is my position, these are the skill sets I've developed.
And as you know, it's really bad on the indoor side as this kid gets stuck in the middle. All she knows how to do is block so bad. Yeah. And she tops out it once again five 10, she's not going to play middle in college at five 10 unless she just jumps out of the gym. Well guess what? That kid now doesn't know how to pass never served. You know, guess what? She can't transition now. It's too late at 17 to a pin. Mm-hmm and learn how to pass all of a sudden. So guess what? That kid washes out and you know, and doesn't end up playing in college and fulfilling her dream because she got kind of stuck playing middle because that's what that team needed to win right now. And you know, they don't focus on the overall development of the athlete. They just focus on what can you do to win me a little national championship or this tournament right now? And sometimes, you know, I see these clubs just sacrificing kids' careers in an effort to promote their own coaching careers or their clubs when, and I get there's that fine balance because it is a business. So you know, you want to win something, you want to go in and have some of those prestigious awards, you know, winning a national championship and some different,
Mark Burik (00:27:59):
And that provides motivation right. As well. There's a sense of pride that comes along with that and motivation. Right. So it can't just like, just be about learning and everybody always loses. Right. Then nobody believes in the actual learning process.
Will Robbins (00:28:12):
. Right, Right. If you're never winning, yeah, it is your training that great if you're always losing. Like, so it is a balance. But to me, I truly believe if you really focus on the development and the education, then winning should be a byproduct of that. You know, if what you're teaching is good and you're actually developing the athletes, then eventually there should be a point where they're far enough along in the progression that they will start to have that success. And obviously, you know, you knew me as a player, I'm, I'm as competitive as anybody so I wanna win just as bad as anybody. So we always try to balance that, that development versus, you know, you know, as you get, you know, the process versus outcome type stuff. Yeah. And just try to find the balance where too many times I think people swing the pendulum too far towards just the outcome and just, you know, winning at all costs.
And you know, even if lie cheat or steal or if you're not cheating, you're not trying type of thing. And you know, and there's still the old, old school coaches, the Bobby Knight style, you know, you gotta be angry and you want to kill your opponent. You know, you want to, you know, and then you wonder why these little kids are just poor sports and they're terrible and they're, you know, yeah you might win a couple extra games by making this kid a, a nasty little pit bull. But in the end now they're a terrible human being. You know, nobody wants to play with 'em. They're a terrible teammate. Like they're just nasty bad attitude, you know. And yeah, so I, I also think about long term too, you know? Yeah. I want them to have the best volleyball career go on and playing college, hopefully the pros.
But what are they gonna be the next 50 years of their life? Are they gonna be a good human being and a productive member of our society? Or the same nasty cheating mentality that you taught 'em on the court, do they now take it to the business world and then to their relationships and you know, Yeah. Kind of person are they now off the court? So that'd be my thing is just, you know, helping these kids reach their full potential and really making sure we focus on them and their development. Even if it means sacrificing our egos at times and even, you know, our name and you know, reputation of, you know, what's more important us winning another championship or us sending another 10 kids to college. You know, as you know, we don't need any more metals. We've got enough metals and trophies. I'm sure you've got a closet full somewhere collecting dust. You've probably thrown 'em away cuz they're fun for a while and I'm excited. But after that, you know, it's a faded memory. Yeah.
Mark Burik (00:30:36):
Um, yeah, I used to have 'em like the, all the player badges hung up somewhere and I'm just like, I have no idea where they are. , I would still wanna go to the tournament and hang out with everybody and it, and it's great still being able to play at the level, but it's just like, all right, like great. Right. If I, if I had one player badge though, that thing would be, you know, it would be hanging up somewhere , but at a certain point it's just like, okay, you know, next is I guess a gold medal might hang somewhere. But even, you know, I went to Ryan Lars house, you know, and uh, he, he had to like dig through to find his, his gold medal a little bit, you know, it was just like you forgot where it was
Will Robbins (00:31:11):
. Yeah, yeah. No, and I, yeah and you knows are different Olympics. I mean I know guys that are just passionate around, you know, a couple guys have lost him, you know, cause they're just letting people wear 'em and hang out with him. So yeah, to be, yeah there, there's something to be enjoyed and everything but as long as you don't sacrifice the development and everything else in an effort to try to win that. And as you know, I mean a lot of athletes sacrifice everything, sacrifice relationships or live and they don't have that work life balance, you know. And in the end, just like anything in life, you know, too much work and hurt your personal relationships, you know, too much focus on just the game, you could sacrifice a lot. I mean it is a balance cuz you gotta be committed and almost obsessed to be the best player you can be. But for your own mental health and everything else, you also have to have some balance and relationships and you know, and have some extracurricular activities you do outside of the sport.
Mark Burik (00:32:05):
Do you think that like the crazy elite champions, like the, the gold medalist, the Michael Phelps, the, you know, people who have done it at the extreme high level are, did they have a work life balance? You know, did, did Michael Jordan Goby, LeBron Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, are these work life balance or were they completely and 100% obsessed?
Will Robbins (00:32:29):
Yeah, I was gonna say, I, I think they probably went through phases and maybe seasons where I think you've seen in each of their lives where they've probably been a little too obsessed and you saw what happened in their personal lives with marriages and a lot of other things. So I think, you know, I'm sure they were, you have to be obsessed to a certain point to be able to really get your body to its absolute peak to really be able to perform at that level. So it does, as you know, it takes hours and hours every day of not just physical training but the mental side and video and, and everything else. So yeah, it is, I don't know, I, I'm not in Jor, you know, I wasn't in Jordan in the them shoes. I would have to say they were probably always borderline obsessed and probably crossed the line at times and it started to affect their relationships and other areas and probably had to reassess like a lot of us athletes do and I'm sure you do as a business owner now.
Like there's times where I find myself working 120 hours a week, you know, and like work until 4:00 AM and it's like, oh shoot, you know, I gotta spend little time with the wife, spend little time with the family, you know, make sure that I'm not burning myself out. I have a little quiet time And you know, it's, I think there's phases and maybe seasons that I think we all, if we're serious about anything, we're gonna have to sacrifice. You know, my first five years of my business, I mean I literally was working 120 hours a week and just went right there with you. One business after another. Yeah. But, and then people were like, oh, you're kind of thinking you're like an overnight success and you're like, you don't understand the hours that I grinded and sacrificed. And yeah, I have a large facility now, but I went through five other businesses growing each one, you know, from the court in my yard, you know, my beach court at the house to training people outta my garage with sports performance to you know, a small little studio that I rented and in 2000 square foot studio then at any time fitness and then finally got into a big facility that I was just renting beach courts until I was able to buy my facility.
That's awesome. And so, you know, it just kind of a progression, but it does, it takes, you know, if I'd say for probably the first five years to seven years, I mean I had to be obsessed but at the same time, you know, it did take a toll, you know, on my relationship with my wife and even spending time with family and friends and stuff. But I think if you have good family and friends and they understand your vision and your mission and you know, it's something that they believe in and it's something that's positive, I think most are supportive. But there is times where I gotta check myself and you know, the work's still gonna be there, you know, . So now, now work. Yeah, I'm down to about 80 hours a week. I'm getting better. There you go. I hire three more people. So I'm hoping to get it down to maybe 60, 65 hours here soon.
Mark Burik (00:35:19):
Nice. I want to get to that, I wanna get to that a lot. Remind me to ask you about later about uh, financing for a facility. Cuz I'm sure a lot of people wanna know about that. But I wanna go back to when you're in practice, and I used to ask this to a bunch of EVP guys, when you're in practice, should you put more focus on learning how to be a winner at all costs or fix what's broken? You know, there's some people that come from the school of thought, like at the pro level at least where, hey, whatever we have in our arsenal, we have to figure out that winning is the most important. So figuring out how to win becomes really important. You know, understanding the, the flow of the game, what changes did they make, What changes do I have to make right now, How do I counter that?
That in itself I think is a skill, but then also you have to have some focus on, you know, what if my best swing is hard cross and I know that and that's the only way that I could win this match in practice. So I know that that's how I, I should try to win, but I also have to develop a hard line. Mm. What should we do in practice, You know? And is it different at the, at the juniors college and pro level? Cuz you've played at all of them and you've coached at all those levels?
Will Robbins (00:36:32):
Yeah. Well, and back come, what I said, just to, to finish that is, as I say, development is the main focus until college and the pros. And that's when you're actually being paid to win. So college and the pros is a little different from juniors because in juniors, whether it's beach or indoor, the families, the, the parents are paying for their kid to get better. They're paying for their kid to be developed. So that's where I really put the emphasis more on the development. While yes, we're still trying to develop the mindset of a champion and you know, what it takes to win, but it's mainly teaching them the tools and the, you know, really developing them to be able to be successful and have the skill sets it takes to be successful. But then I think it's kind of a slow transition as you get to high school and then the college that it then shifts more towards, you know, now you're, the focus is winning, now you're being paid with a scholarship to win, you know, and then the pros, you're being paid with a contract to win.
So now the most important is winning. And really by that point you've developed, you know, for the most part a lot of the foundation and the fundamentals where now it's, it's a little more fine tuning where I say the focus is a lot more winning. What do I need to do with winning and really self-assessing what are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? You know, how can I really play to my strengths, try to hide my weaknesses, uh, to, to try to win this match. But at the same time, as, you know, like my game on the beach side, you know, came a lot from the indoor. So I was just a lot of swinging and lot of just bouncing balls and I knew
Mark Burik (00:38:08):
Jumping and thumping .
Will Robbins (00:38:10):
Yeah, yeah. And it took me to a decent level, you know, where I was, you know, able to play overseas, indoor, and I was able to qualify mvp. But at the same point though, only having that, you know, limited my ceiling. And so when I would train, you know, a lot of times I knew I could bounce and I could beat all the guys that I'm training against, swinging and bouncing the ball. But I knew to beat the top guys and really make an impact on tour. You know, know I'm gonna have to develop my finesse, my shots and my vision and everything else. So I would, you know, really try to focus on that in training and try to develop those weaknesses. But at the same time, when I got into the match, I'm trying to make money, you know, I'm trying to qualify or I'm trying to, you know, I'm trying to win the tournament so, you know, yes, if I'm up, you know, I'm gonna work on some of my shots, you know, I'm gonna try to work on my finesse, but it comes down to crunch time.
I gotta go to the bread and butter, you know? Yeah. I'm swinging, I'm swinging high and hard and you know, it, So I think it, it's maybe, I don't know if that was a more complicated answer, but I think it maybe depends on where you are in your career. I think it maybe starts out a lot more focused on just the development, working through weaknesses and the fun fundamentals. A little less on just winning, but you're teaching the winning mindset, work ethic, you know, mental toughness, how to be able to face adversity and bounce back and overcome type of things. But then as you start to grow and develop, I think the transition then comes to, hey, you know, the fundamentals now, yes, you need more reps to be a little more consistent, but that'll come in time. Now we're gonna start to really focus on how can I win now and strategically use the gifts and talents. I have the strengths and weaknesses to win now. And I think that's when it really shifts, probably after juniors or towards, you know, sixteens to eighteens in juniors gets pretty competitive and now you're trying to win and you're trying to get recruited and stuff like that. So it's slowly, I think, transitions around, you know, 16 to eighteens where it's a lot more winning and you figure out how to win it all costs in college,
Mark Burik (00:40:17):
Let's wells say, let's say that I'm, uh, you know, one of your former juniors players, right? Mm-hmm. , and I'm now, I'm, I'm in college and I'm a freshman or a sophomore and I know that there's like this skillset that I need to develop, but I also know that in practice my coach is running a culture system where it's, it's based only on who wins in practice and that's who starts and who gets their opportunity. So how do I become a more well rounded player when at, at training, winning is only what matters. And I think because, oh, I gotta tie it back into most of our listeners who are adult players, right? They want everybody in their community to see that they're beating certain players so that they're gonna get picked up right? By a higher level. Remember the first few years coming out to California training on the AVP and you're like, Yeah, you know, I took a set from Theo in practice and , you know, and meanwhile like he just lifted 300 pounds a day before and like they've got their own training protocol and they're working on something completely new.
So it doesn't, it matters nothing who you beat and practice, but you think it does. So what do you give to that person in college or that person who's on that adult court that is saying like, I know people are watching, I know they're paying attention to wins, but I also know that I need to develop this skill. You know, how do they balance that?
Will Robbins (00:41:36):
Yeah, I mean for me sometimes, you know, you just gotta kind of split apart and make sure you're doing something extra. If it's a college kid, you know, I tell 'em, you know, when you're a practice, you know you're trying to win the drill, you're trying to do whatever your coach needs you to do. And if that's how they're judging who gets playtime, then really in practice you gotta play to your strengths. You gotta play to win. You know, you gotta do what it takes. But then what I would say is then make sure either before practice or after practice, you know, you're sticking around, you're getting extra reps, you're going above and beyond putting in extra time to be able to work on that and develop it. As, you know, it's like sometimes when you're working with somebody who comes to you with bad form on hitting mechanics or something, well if they're in middle of season, you know, it's really tough to say, Hey, you know, next time you go to hit, you know, you need to really work on getting lower and loaded on your jump. And you're like, you can't think about that when you're trying to think about where's the set going, how fast. Like it's,
Mark Burik (00:42:33):
You always give that caveat, the caveats always like, Listen, if you needed to win a championship tomorrow, don't do this. But if your championships in six months from now, we got some time to work on it, you know, . Right,
Will Robbins (00:42:45):
Right, right. As you know, sometimes, you know, I do some stuff with like, uh, the verti Max. I like the verex because it, it gets the,
Mark Burik (00:42:53):
You tell what a verex is.
Will Robbins (00:42:54):
So yeah, Verex is just basically a jump platform with resistance bands that you can get resistance for the upward arm swing. So you either have hand straps, you're holding onto handles, so you have bunes going down, so you're getting resistance for the upward arm swing, but you also have a belt on with resistance bands going down from the weight belt on your hips down to the platform. So rubber
Mark Burik (00:43:16):
Band is trying to pull you down, basically. Yeah.
Will Robbins (00:43:18):
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So it's a eight foot platform with a really complicated pulley system underneath the platform that's like 60 feet of Bunge. So it's not like the old Russian jumper, you know, where it's just like a little short little bungee, It's like a 60 foot bungee through pulleys. So it's even resistance throughout and everything. So it's, I like it because the kids, we can have them really focus on their jump mechanics and so they're getting some resistance training, but it's a lot of repetitive, just perfect jump mechanics over and over again. And to me that's where a lot of times I can work on a kid's jump mechanics when you break it apart and they're just working on that jumping and then I tell 'em, you know, when you're in the middle of the game, we're in the middle of the season, you know, don't try to think too much about your jump mechanics, you know, continue to do these reps, you know, outside of practice.
And slowly you'll see, you know, as you're doing hundreds and hundreds of these perfect reps, you'll start to see, start to come out more and more when you're playing naturally without you having to think a lot about it. Now if you're in practice and it's slow and controlled and you're just doing hitting lines and warm ups, then you can think about your jump mechanics, your arm swing, all of that stuff. But as you know, like when you're in a big game and it's a pressure moment at 2020, you're not thinking, Hey, let me get a little lower and try to drive through my hips a little more to try to jump, you know, you gotta think crap, what's the wind doing? What's been working? You know, like you got so many other things going on, you know, that's not really the time to think about the development side. Now if it's an easy game, you know, it's pool play or early on, you're playing a low seated person. I'm all for like using some of those games to really work through some stuff. You know, that
Mark Burik (00:45:05):
We've, we've done that in, in some open tournaments. You get that, you know that that first team and you're like, this is gonna be a win, but instead of us sleeping through it, instead of you relaxing through it, which I made that mistake in a lot of early tournaments, I was like, we're gonna wipe the floor with them and then you have to expend so much more energy just because like you let them in the game and then you spend 45 minutes developing bad habits. Mm-hmm. . So now I've changed that, like if I know that we're gonna wipe somebody, but if you're gonna beat them, you know, I beat one team with only cut shots. I was like, Hey Logan, we're gonna hit nothing but our best cut shots. We're gonna get 42 reps of cut shots right now. And then you turn that into a little bit of practice. I like you're shaping that. Like if it's easy, if you have the opportunity to, then you, you try to make that change and when you get into the emergency situation or you need that point, then just, you know, let it ride. Be in that moment.
Will Robbins (00:45:57):
. Yeah. If it's easy, you know, you, that's where you can kind of work on some stuff. I'm right with you. I talked to my athletes a lot is too many times, you know, if you come into a match over confident, uh, we got this, this is an easy game, you know, you start off too slow, you know, you give the other team some momentum and sometimes it's, you almost give 'em too much momentum and it's almost impossible to catch back up and try to get into a rhythm or warm up. So I learned that as well. And so I try to teach that to my athletes that hey, don't, one, don't underestimate anybody, but for two, if this is gonna be an easier match, then let's really work on some stuff that we've been struggling with or some new sets we've been working on, maybe faster tempo, you know, especially beach.
Let's start work running around behind and you know, let's try to work on some stuff that we haven't maybe been that consistent with. And yeah, for me, you know, if I had an easier match, I knew that once again I could swing hard, but I need to develop my finesse game and my shots. And so there would be a lot of those matches. Same thing, I'd just come in and, all right, I'm just gonna shoot all shots this match and just really work on challenging myself to, you know, hit sharper and sharper shots and really more and more deceitful shots. So yeah, I'm with you. And then that to me, especially with young athletes, now you continue to, you know, get them focused on development and now they're actually learning something from that match where a lot of times if it's just a blowout, you know, I'll coach it, Hey, let's screw around, let's mix up, you know, position, mix up what we're doing and now you basically just wasted a match, you wasted reps and you got no better, probably worse instead of, yeah, you probably got worse. Cuz yeah, you start screwing around learning bad habits and just teaching yourself how to play lazy. So yeah, I'm with you. I try to challenge, challenge ourselves in every match and if it's easy Yeah. Work on some of those weaknesses that you've been struggling with.
Mark Burik (00:47:50):
You mentioned at
Will Robbins (00:47:51):
A higher level.
Mark Burik (00:47:52):
So I know you're a, a performance machine we'll say. I imagine from your history, and I don't have the stats on it, that you've got a few certifications in sports performance and training, right? Mm-hmm. . So in terms of jump mechanics, and that's like the number one topic for all of our audience. If we put how to jump higher on something, it gets double the clicks. Even though it's like, dude, you need to pass first , I don't care how,
Will Robbins (00:48:19):
It doesn't matter if you jump higher.
Mark Burik (00:48:20):
Yeah. If you can't set or pass, you're useless to me. So like, I stop caring about jumping higher when like, you can't even see the defense on the other side anyway. What's the one cue or thing that you need to fix with jump mechanics the most when players come to you?
Will Robbins (00:48:38):
You know, I feel like a lot of our young athletes don't use their arms at all. So you see like the butterflies sometimes, you know, like instead of, you know, long arms and really driving, I would say arms is probably one I I see probably the
Mark Burik (00:48:55):
Most. What's the right way to to do arms? If you could explain it for anybody? Listen and remember some, some people might be in their car right now, so you gotta
Will Robbins (00:49:02):
. So I gotta give a visual I can show you.
Yeah, I mean I've seen different research, some say as much as 13%, some say as much as 20% of your vertical comes from that upward arm swing. So you know, we always just talk about long straight arms. You want to swing 'em all the way back and swing 'em all the way up to really generate all that momentum and lift so that all that momentum that you generate with that upward arm swing can help, you know, drive obviously as you incorporate the hips and drive through with the legs that you know, if you finish up with that momentum, it's gonna naturally carry you higher. So getting our kids to get low and loaded and really swing and long arms, you know, from obviously back behind your body somewhere, you know, based on your flexibility maybe almost at a 90 degree angle to your shoulders to swing all the way up above your head and then into the bow pose or whatever you want to call it when you draw your hitting arm back. But I think getting kids to use their arms where a lot of kids just kind of run up to the ball and just jump and swing and don't use their arms at all. Or they just use a modified like a little butterfly. There was somebody years ago teaching that in our area we're telling people to swing their arms like around like a butterfly and that was kinda either
Mark Burik (00:50:18):
A wizard or something
Will Robbins (00:50:19):
. It's just like it was short naturally
Mark Burik (00:50:22):
Music over here. Yeah,
Will Robbins (00:50:24):
I was just like, that just doesn't even make sense in my mind or however you could even explain that, that would be better. But
Mark Burik (00:50:30):
So the elbow bend you see a lot like the people hitching their elbows a little bit and it doesn't quite get that same velocity or force into the ground,
Will Robbins (00:50:38):
Right? Oh for sure. Yeah. Short arms, bend arms, I call 'em my little T-rex arms, you know, you see your kids with, So yeah, getting them to have long extended arms and really swinging those long arms and generating all that momentum to help lift them up. That would be one thing. Some of it is just their hip hinge, that angle, trying to get 'em lower where you see a lot of kids are just really upright and not really, you know, getting a good, you know, I don't know what you teach, we typically say about a 90 degree angle from your hips to your upper body of trying to get lower, some go off the ground so
Mark Burik (00:51:13):
You measure like your knee, your thigh and then up to your shoulders there would be like a 90 degree. Correct then, but then you have to prevent people from folding forward to get that instead of sitting. Right. Like I think a lot of people when when they see or you tell them to throw their arms back, they naturally drop their chest forward. Forward. Yeah, well no, no, no, no. Like we still want to sit and throw yourself back with your chest up. So you like that night
Will Robbins (00:51:38):
We proud chest, that's where we talk about proud chest. So when your arms are back, you still have the proud chest your, you can still see the ball where Yeah, I'm with you some, I'm just, as soon as you see, as you say bring your upper body lower, they just bend straight over. But it's getting them to where, sit back into it a little bit more where they still are with that proud chest. And
Mark Burik (00:51:58):
Then that knee angle, does that knee angle then, does that become 90 degrees as soon as the hip angle becomes 90 degrees? Cuz the body has to counter for it, right? Right. So like probably knees are somewhere about 90 degrees and, and that hip angle dropping there is 90 degrees. I see a lot of hoppers as well. People who, who jump from high and you need the ability to jump from like that almost quarter squat. You, you have to be able to do that, but it's definitely not optimal cuz you're not even using your glutes at that point. You're just like, it's all cabs and toes.
Will Robbins (00:52:29):
You're right. Yeah, no, I'm with you. I mean, yeah, trying to, obviously without compromising your technique and everybody's a little different, you know, depending on, you know, how tight their hips are, their, you know, their cab Achilles, all that stuff. But, and honestly I've been a little removed just because I partnered with a hospital. So I have a hospital that has a whole sports medicine division Wow. That they have, their whole strength staff now trains all of my athletes. So I, I really haven't done any sports performance and probably five or six years just because they lease 13,000 square feet from me. So they have a physical therapy clinic on the first floor and then on the second floor they have a full strength staff. That's phenomenal. So they train all of my athletes and so they basically, all of my athletes rotate from court up to the weight room and do performance as part of their program. So every practice sports performance is just a part of, of their practice. They just, they finish in the weight room either the last half hour or we have a group that goes, basically we have an hour on court and then four teams go to the weight room for half hour while four teams are still on court and then they flip. So
Mark Burik (00:53:40):
Yeah, so it's what, 30 minutes in the weight room and how much time practicing?
Will Robbins (00:53:44):
Hour and a half.
Mark Burik (00:53:45):
Hour and a half. So that's, wow. So you're taking that two hours and you're saying that some of the most important, it's important enough to make sure that they train and get the strength training using those two hours. I think most coaches, high school coaches, club coaches would say like, no way. Like we can't even get into rotations or, or talk about an onto offensive beach and now you wanna, you wanna take these kids into the weight room. Right. How do you measure that? Like if I were that person, if I were sticky and I was like, no, I can't take them into the weight room or I don't have a weight room to strengthen my kids in.
Will Robbins (00:54:22):
Mark Burik (00:54:23):
Do you have an answer for that?
Will Robbins (00:54:24):
Uh, well, you know, you don't always have to have a full weight room. Yeah, no, it's nice. But as you know, you can do a lot of stuff, body weight with resistance bands. I think, you know, I think sports performance has progressed quite a bit over the years where it's, you know, we're not trying to lift a house anymore. We're not trying to deadlift 5,000 pounds and stuff. I mean, yes there is a time and a place for heavier wages, you know, but you know, I think you can figure out based on what you have, whether it's little to nothing or it's a world class sports facility to put a good program together. Uh, for us, you know, we've made it important, but I wanna make sure like our sports performance program really focuses first and foremost on the stability and mobility first, so that our athletes are actually moving well and you know, in full range of motion and try to do injured prevention.
So we're doing full functional movement screens with the athletes and making sure that there's not any weaknesses and balances. So we're really trying to be proactive with our training where, you know, you talked about it before, you know it, I, I can make you jump higher, but yes, if you can't pass, if you can't do these other things, you're still not gonna be successful. But it's also if you don't have good jump mechanics, if you're, you know, letting balls get over your left shoulder. And so every time you're leaning and naturally your body, like you mentioned earlier, wants to balance out. So what do you do? You kick your leg out. Well now you land on one leg every single time you land. Well what good does it make? You know, if I make you jump higher, all I'm doing is put you at higher and higher risk to blow out your ACL because now you're jumping higher.
I never fix your hitting mechanics and some of these different things. So for us, I always want to make sure that, you know, we, all of our athletes have a good solid foundation of not just skills but you know, of just basic movement patterns of you know, each of their joints being able to have full range of motion. We don't have any weaknesses, deficiencies and balances, whatever. But then after they go through the stability and mobility is when we get into the strength and the power and they really progress. And so like the hospital does a good job of really using the latest research, you know, it's it they really want to progress these kids in a safe a safe way. And really they're focused on injury prevention. And so I think because we're doing it intelligently and we're able to explain to parents how, you know, we're gonna help prolong your athlete's career, not just getting more vertical and hitting harder and needs different things. You know, we're trying to make them uh, a strong, you know, kind of bulletproof athlete who isn't constantly having aches and pains and
Mark Burik (00:57:05):
People don't realize that like, um, I do little bits of real estate and when you have a rental property they say that the number one financial suck for a rental property is vacancy is when you don't have a paying renter in there. That's like the nightmare. And that's why you wanna have good tenants who are staying and have a reason to stay in that neighborhood, in that area so that they can be there for a long time. Because otherwise you're making zero. You know? And then when they move out then you have to clean everything. You have to redo everything so it looks nice for next person. So then you're doubling, tripling your expenses along with zero income. And I think now like hearing you say it out loud, that's a hundred percent the exact same for athletes. The biggest career suck is being out, being injured cuz you can't work on anything. If you bust your ankle, you bust your knee, you know? Of course. Yes. You can get stronger. And one of the most important thing that people skip when they're hurt is go to film. Like look at videos, learn from somewhere. People talk about our online courses like, well I'm hurt right now. So like I don't think it's a good time for me to take the online course. They go, you have no other option to get better right now. Right.
But having that injury prevention protocol and a strength increasing protocol that will give you so many more years and so much higher potential as a player in your career because you're not gonna lose two months to an injury.
Will Robbins (00:58:36):
Mark Burik (00:58:37):
Actually losing two months. Oof. It's brutal. Yeah.
Will Robbins (00:58:40):
Well especially as a young athlete, I mean, you know now, I mean just, you know, beach is growing, indoor volleyball's growing. I mean volleyball's just really, you know, growing in our country and so there's more and more high level athletes and you know, you try to tell a young athlete, you know, yeah you might be in the recruiting process but you blow your knee out, you tear your shoulder. Like I know a lot of athletes, college coaches just stop recruiting 'em. You know, not too many colleges are gonna take a chance on an athlete, you know, who just blew her ACL or just tore her, you know, rotator cuff or something. And so, you know, it could be the end of your actual career. You know, so let alone constantly having these setbacks that keep putting you further and further behind from a development situation.
So yeah, I mean to me that's, you know, the same way you train the skills, you gotta train the physical body and as we're starting to learn just throughout sports, you also gotta train the mind. And so I think it's back to kind of what we've tried to do is, you know, empowering the mind, body and soul of champions. It's really trying to provide a holistic program. Cuz as you've known, you know, if you want to be the best athlete, it's not good enough for you just to be the most skilled athlete. You also gotta be one of the most physically strong and endurance athletes. But you also gotta be one of the most intelligent volleyball players, you know? And you know, you gotta be rooted and grounded. You know, like mentally you gotta be know your identity. You have, you know, confidence has security that one or two blocks, is it gonna shake you and is it gonna frazzle you and you freak out Now I just got blocked.
Oh my god, what do I do? He's so big and you know, and you start just making just uncommon errors. Hmm. And so yeah, I think it truly to be truly successful in life but also in sport, you have to be well rounded and you have to be, or at least pursuing excellence in every area if you truly wanna reach excellence. Cause as you know, there's a lot of great physical studs that have no skills, you know, or not good enough skills to win or got all the skills in the world, but the guy's lazy, he never hits the weight room, you know? Yeah. He is great. First couple matches, but then he is exhausted and he is cramping up and you know, he's worthless, you know, towards the end of the tournament or just, you know, a little undersized. You just never, you know, developed a big enough vertical to really elevate and do you know much and you know, you're limited on your angles. Yeah. So, you know, I think it's, you know, I obviously it maybe at different points in kids' careers, you know, obviously fundamentals are one of the most important. But so is learning some of the basic movement patterns and jumping and landing safely. Um Yep.
Mark Burik (01:01:30):
And throwing, like throwing and swinging throwing. I had somebody comment on my, uh, like I, I should one highlight of cross body swing and somebody commented on my Instagram today and she was like, cross body swing. That's what got me a surgery doing all those. I go a cross body swing did, did not get you a surgery.
Will Robbins (01:01:46):
I improper cross body swing maybe
Mark Burik (01:01:48):
. Yeah, exactly. Like you could do it thousands and thousands and thousands of times. And I know coaches who have been doing it for, you know, 30 years and never, ever problem if you have the right mobility, the right things are activating and you have a good sequence there. You know which little shout out to our own program. I'll take a minute to market guys. If you want to fix your arm swing, we have a program for that. It's called Fix Your Arm Swing in 21 Days. I'll throw it up on the screen, but better at peach.com/fix your volleyball arm swing better beach.com for slash fix your volleyball arm swing. We go through a strength protocol, we go through a throwing protocol to teach people because in the beginning, Brandon, when he started coaching adults, he was like, you know, like everybody here is throwing a football in their life and blah blah. And I was like,
Will Robbins (01:02:34):
Mark Burik (01:02:35):
Will Robbins (01:02:36):
Maybe years ago they used to, but yeah,
Mark Burik (01:02:38):
Yeah. Like and there's tons of people, you know, I get, I get people that like volleyball might have been their first ever ball sport and it might have been when they're 30. So they don't have any of those things that, you know, when you're a kid and and you have a coach looking at you constantly, that's the advantage of a kid is that it's almost difficult now, which is kind of negative, kind of positive. But you have somebody looking at you volunteering to correct you for the first however many years of your life. And that's why these kids can be at 16 better than a 30 year old. Like by far because they had the first eight years of their sports, somebody looking at them correcting when a 30 year old starts and they go to 38 and they don't hire a coach, they don't have somebody watching. Sure they've been playing the same amount of time but they have gotten literally infinitely less feedback, Right. So they can't even learn it and they're just trying to like, you know, you get one tip from the local open player and you're like, Okay, I can do that.
Will Robbins (01:03:36):
Right. Yeah. They're just kind of figuring it out as they go and taking good and bad advice from every player on
Mark Burik (01:03:42):
The beach and bad advice. Yeah, good,
Will Robbins (01:03:45):
But this guy told me to do it that way. Well good, if you wanna play like that guy then listen to that guy. But if you actually wanna win and do it correctly, do it like the rest of these guys that are actually playing professionally.
Mark Burik (01:03:56):
What's the worst beach volleyball advice you ever got? Or something that like you thought was good but then you realized years later was like, Oh damnit, I can't believe I listen to that
Will Robbins (01:04:09):
. Oh geez. The worst advice. I don't know that I've, oh man, I'm gonna have to think about that when I come back. Cuz honestly, I, I really, I have been blessed where, you know, my mother played, my older sister played and then pretty early on I was able to get into a high level, you know, Monie on the indoor side is one of the top indoor clubs, you know, they're hour and a half from us. And so I was able to go down there and play and be taught by some really high level people. And then, you know, being at I P F W with Coach Ball, you know, being a Hall of Fame coach and Somp, I felt like we had a lot of good coaches, you know, but
Mark Burik (01:04:48):
You got, you got into beach late, right?
Will Robbins (01:04:50):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I mean I grew up actually playing a lot of beach but never really getting a lot of good beach instruction. So I mean, I think I played my first tournament like 11. Cause we used to go into Michigan and up to Chicago it was only three hours away. So every summer, you know, I play on Saturday with my older sister's boyfriend in the men's and then I'd play with my mom in co-ed on Sunday. Cause back then they didn't have a bunch of juniors tournament, so you just had to play low level co-ed tournaments and you know, men's tournaments. But yeah, I would say maybe with Beach there is just, you know, I didn't get a lot of fundamental beach training when I was young. So little stuff that I just didn't know. Um, you know, I still remember playing Adrian and Steve Grotowski back in the day when they were a team and you know, I never knew to serve and come in if I'm the server come to middle back, you know, kinda in that, you know, USA calls it that point of intersection. So I'm just serving from like the left sideline and I'm just bombing my jump serve and Adrian, I'm just walking in on the left sideline coming in and Adrian's just going up looking at me, shooting the ball over into the other, you know, over in the zone one. And then I'm like, I'm gonna bomb my serve and I'm gonna run in and I'm running in and he's shooting the ball the other corner
Mark Burik (01:06:07):
Will Robbins (01:06:07):
Just little stuff like, but I didn't realize until I started having some of the older guys and teaching me kind some of the systems and stuff that all right, let me serve and then come in and kind of balance to court, you know, and be kinda in the middle and then wait to shift or anything. And so, and I think, I can't pinpoint one bad thing, but there was just a lot of stuff that I just kind of learned just playing that I didn't realize until I actually got good coaching that I was doing it wrong, um, that there was a better, more efficient way. Yeah.
Mark Burik (01:06:39):
It's always how it goes. You know, you get that third eye and you're just like, oh, at the camps and clinics, I go, you guys are here paying money so that we can find things that are not going well. I go, you didn't come and pay, you know, 200 bucks for a clinic so that we could tell you how good you are. Right. like right. If if you want that, you can hire somebody to like tell you you're handsome for two hours, you know,
Will Robbins (01:07:04):
Mark Burik (01:07:05):
But you're here and you're hoping any player should be begging and hoping for a coach that is like trying to point out their little flaws that might make them better. You know, not somebody who's going to criticize and, and attack you as a coach. That's, that's terrible. But somebody who's going to find and hunt down the things that you don't see. And then even when high level players do it most, we have this like confirmation bias, right? Where you look at yourself playing film in order and your mindset is trying to prove yourself. Right. You know, you lose a tournament and you're like, let me watch film and see how many times my partner made an error.
Will Robbins (01:07:42):
Mark Burik (01:07:43):
Right. And it's like, see he's doing that wrong, you know, bec but that's only from your thoughts and that's why a coach somebody else. And really if you don't have that other coach, like having a, a great partner relationship and open communication where you can be honest about what they're doing and what they're not and not fear that they're gonna drop you or hate you. Um, Right. But that having somebody else look at your game and say, this is what you're doing that you don't know is wrong . Right. And that's the scariest stuff when we don't know something's wrong and we keep on delivering on the improper way or, or something that's gonna like, hurt our game, whether it's in the weight room, whether it's mentally or on the court
Will Robbins (01:08:23):
Now. 100%. I mean, I truly believe everybody, you know, needs to have a coach. Um, just having a second set of eyes because yeah, they're a hundred percent right. We obviously have our habits, we have, you know, the movement patterns that we've trained and developed over the years and, you know, yeah, we can watch film and yeah, hopefully we catch a lot of stuff and hopefully you're honest with yourselves, but there's just some stuff that you just don't catch like a coach on the sideline, you know, really analyzing and watching and yeah, I think having, you know, whether it's an actual official coach or just having, you know, players that or you're playing with or against that are honest and that you trust enough and have enough of a relationship that you can have those open conversations. Like, did you see me move early? Like, man, you're carving me up. Like what am I doing? Like yeah, I see you, you're taking off early every single time. You know, like, so you know, just getting honest feedback and maybe talking to, you know, your friends in training and or at least hopefully you have people that you're training with that you trust and you can have that open conversation. I know sometimes the training partner is, Hey, I'm trying to beat you. I'm seeing you this weekend, I'm not gonna help you beat me and get any better. Oh,
Mark Burik (01:09:36):
Jake Gibb did that to me when I was trying against him. He was like, I had so much respect for him. I was like, you know, he got a block. I was like, Did you see me going for that? And he was like, I'll tell you when I'm retired, like, and
Will Robbins (01:09:48):
Mark Burik (01:09:48):
Like that. And I was like, he was the first one that like wouldn't have that discussion. He's like, You're going to try to beat me next weekend. . Yeah. Quiet.
Will Robbins (01:09:58):
Yeah. I'm not gonna give you all the secrets like that. You can respect that though.
Mark Burik (01:10:02):
Hell yeah. Cool. Hey, well we are Juan, we gotta wrap this up, but I, I wanna know, well first of all I want you to just brag, , uh, about it, about Empowered Sports and, and what it does and, and why you built it. And then after that just tell us how we can reach you, how we can find you or how other clubs can come and learn from you. Learn how to build a facility, which I might have you on my other podcast to talk about facility building and, and getting that stuff done. But tell us about empowered sports, Empowered volleyball and how people can, can reach out to you.
Will Robbins (01:10:33):
Yeah. Um, you know, it just was had playing career, you know, and before that, you know, I was pretty wild when I was young. Got in a little bit of trouble and so part of what I do now is mentoring kids too. And so I, I use sports as also an avenue to be able to kind of teach life skills to help kids be more successful and not, you know, make the same mistakes I did. And, you know, I got into the, the drinking and the drugs and the partying in college and got into a lot of trouble and lost my volleyball career for a while. And so a lot of what we do at Empowered is I want to be a one stop shop and I want to be able to provide anything and everything that a young athlete would need to be successful and fulfill whatever their dream is.
Whether it's just make the high school team, whether it's to go play in college or whether it's to go play professionally. You know, we've really, you know, we bought the place, it was 68,000 square feet. It was actually a tennis club and then I've since added another 21,000 uh, square feet with indoor beach facility. So I've got five indoor beach courts, uh, with a full bar and mezzanine. And then Is that where you teach the kids not to drink ? Yeah, . Hey, we gotta have that conversation too. We don't have that conversation. They're gonna learn from somebody. So yeah, no, we, we discuss moderation and yeah, knowing when, um, so yeah, no, we really, I mean on the indoor side, you know, we've got four hard courts. I've got a big mezzanine that overlooks the hard courts. And then on the other side I actually have a turf field.
So I've got football, soccer, baseball, bating, cages on one side and then hard courts on the other. And then you go through a hallway and a door and you go into our beach facility. And so up in the mezzanine that overlooks the hard course and the turf, I have another bar up there and then a full, it's kind of a sports bar. So I've got TVs, couches, fireplace, foosball, air hockey, like heaven. Yeah. Yeah, I mean it's really everything that we wanted as young athletes growing up. I've really tried to build, you know, I wanted to be kind of a community center. Like we grew up going to the Y M C A playing pickup basketball every day, you know, doing whatever we could playing in the little rec center. So I wanted it to be, you know, a place that kids could hang out, you know, be kind of a community center, but also be, you know, a high level training facility where I've partnered with the hospital, they have their full strength staff, they got their nutritionist that meets with my athletes once a month.
You know, their physical therapists, they're there. They also have an athletic trainer. They basically treat us like a college. So we have an athletic trainer at our practices. So if somebody gets hurt, I don't even deal with issues anymore. You know, the old school like, hey, can you still bend it? It's not broke. Get back out there. Like now, like I don't even care if it's a hangout. If a kid comes to me like my finger hurts, but I go see the trainer, I don't, I don't want a lawsuit, I don't want any issues. If it hurts, go talk to the professional. It's so it's, you know, we really have tried to think through anything and everything an athlete would need to reach their full potential. Yeah. Um, but also be able to provide kind of a safe environment and a safe home that families know.
Like I can drop my kid off and she can be here for the next two to three hours or during the summer, you know, we'll have, uh, a beach program followed up by an indoor program afterwards. So parents will drop their kids off for three, four hours, you know, where they'll go from the beach training and then come inside, you know, I've got a smoothie bar in there too so they can get a healthy little smoothie and then, you know, go and do the indoor program. And really we also, all of our club kids beach or indoor also get a membership to the facility. Um Oh wow. Cause I want my kids to be gym rats, you know, And unfortunately in volleyball, you know, unless your parents, you know, are, are coaches, you don't have typically access to a nice indoor gym. And then most of the beach courts, unfortunately in the Midwest, the beach courts
Mark Burik (01:14:29):
Are never near Oh, weight room. Oh, so you got two separate trips, right? Like you gotta go to the beach and then you spend an hour driving, you gotta go to the gym and it's like your whole day's gone.
Will Robbins (01:14:38):
Exactly. And if you have anything local, it's typically terrible sand, terrible net systems. You know, it's recreational courts built for beer leagues or something like that. It's not courts you want to train on good deep sand to train in. So yeah, it's, you know, I wanted to be able to provide that with our facility where anytime it's open, the courts are open, our kids have a membership, they can come in, they can get reps, they can use our serving machine, they can use our acu, spike, verta maxes, whatever equipment they can come and just get reps, you know, so it's, nothing makes me happier than coming in on like an off day, say it's a Saturday, we don't have anything going on. And I see this little girl out there with her parents, you know, her parents are serving her balls or tossing for her while she's hitting or her little brothers out there, you know Yeah. Peppering with her or something. Like, I, I just wanna provide an atmosphere and a, in a facility that, you know, kids can just get reps whenever they want, you know, their families can come in with them, but also they know
Mark Burik (01:15:36):
They got a place that can go. Right. Like yeah, I had a pretty solid family and I know that I had a bunch of friends that didn't, and my family always just let people in that was an open door. And when you got a facility in a community like yours where somebody just like, I have nowhere to go, but at least I can go here. Yeah. You know, that's a big deal.
Will Robbins (01:15:55):
Yeah. No, we're actually even taking a step further, we just hired four new directors and one of 'em is gonna be our director of mental health. She's a, a college coach and also got a, you know, bachelor's, master's and everything and, and psychology and is phenomenal just with our young athletes. She's coached for us, she's done some of our character building. But yeah, we're, we're looking going even further into the mental development side and especially a lot of these young athletes as you know, you know, they're, they're facing more and more younger and younger ages. And so we're getting these young athletes that are just mentally broken and fragile and they're stud athletes physically, but mentally they're just so insecure, they lack so much confidence and, you know, we really gotta learn how to build them up. And unfortunately some are a little spoiled and entitled and don't know how to work hard and those things. So then we gotta teach them to learn how to, you know, teach 'em how to push themselves and until they learn how to push themselves, discomfort
Mark Burik (01:16:55):
Is a real thing. Yeah.
Will Robbins (01:16:57):
. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so yeah, no, we're, we're looking at even, you know, I, I feel like that's gonna be the next big frontier in youth sports is the mental side and talking to some different college coaches. One buddy the other day day was like, I, I foresee one day there be there being a sport psychologist for every single team where right now at their university there's one sport psychologist for all the, all the teams, right. Um, so yeah, I we're just always trying to figure out what program could we implement, What type of person professional could we bring in to either speak to our kids or to be able to provide another level of training, uh, that would help elevate our athletes' games and just try to figure out how we can just reach, you know, help our athletes reach their full potential, like I said earlier, in every area of their life.
And to me, if you're chasing excellence in every area and you're reaching your full potential in every area, you're gonna reach your full potential in sports and life and relationships, you know, one day in your career or whatever it is. Uh, so yeah, we're just trying to really lay the ground, you know, rules and kind of the foundation I guess, for success. Uh, and we're just using volleyball as our main sport and that's, I own all of that program and the indoor and the beach, but like the baseball, rugby, soccer, all that stuff, I, I rent out space to, uh, a few other organizations that are likeminded and then the hospital with their sports medicine, they do a lot of arm care for pitchers and try to, so
Mark Burik (01:18:29):
For everybody who's, who's trying to get a better look at that, uh, what website can we all go to and, uh, see the heaven that you've built there, ?
Will Robbins (01:18:37):
Yeah, so empowered sports club.com is the facility and then empowered volleyball.com, that is my volleyball website, which you can go to empower sports club.com, you can see the whole facility. You can also get to our club page. So yeah, we've had our, we've had our beach club now 11 years, 10, 11 years. And then we just finished our eighth year with our, our beach club. And so yeah, we've, you know, the facility we bought it took it over in December of 13, but officially finished the sale and everything, what was it? June of 2014. So about eight years, a little over eight years. You know, we've really, you know, we've got now 37 teams. I've got a second site, another satellite, so I've got 29 in house teams and eight at a satellite for indoor and then beach. All of my indoor kids all do beach one day a week as a part of the, their program. Cause I truly believe to be the best indoor player, you, you still need to use the beach and you know, everything that you can learn and glean from the beach game to really elevate your indoor game. And I think vice versa, two, I think sometimes beach players just focus on beach, but if you have a little bit of that power and explosiveness from the indoor side, a lot of, and
Mark Burik (01:19:58):
The fear of block, right? Just like, yeah, yeah. You know what? I don't care how many people are in front of me, I'm gonna rip
Will Robbins (01:20:03):
. Yeah, yeah. You know, and so if you can combine some of the best of both surfaces, I truly believe that, you know, it'll make you the best at either one of them. And I mean, I think that's why, you know, the Carrie Walsh's, the cars arise, you know, a lot of those big names, you know, they were successful at both. And I think ultimately that's what made them arguably some of the best players ever play the game. Cuz they were really good at both and I think used both surfaces, you know, throughout their career for training and whatnot. Uh, so yeah, we've, you know, Power Sports Club is the facility. Fort Wayne, Indiana. Yeah, we're up to 90,000 square feet and we've got another satellite in Warsaw, Indiana about an hour away. I'm just lines and I got a, a big management deal. I'm working on bringing in a couple new big partners, another big facility.
I've got a couple more lined up down the road. So really, you know, we're, we're even branching out outside of our facilit and outside of even just volleyball and looking at, you know, with other facilities and our management group, you know, really trying to take what we build at Empowered and that kind of, that one stop shop and holistic model and, you know, these organizations are wanting me to go and kind of take that model, you know, into basketball, into baseball, into football, into soccer, um, where they can add in, you know, we've got full recruiting, a whole platform that we use on top of, you know, the mental side on top of, you know, we do character building, leadership development, just trying to really make these kids not just the best at their sport, but also, you know, the best and most successful in life for the next 50 years.
Or, you know, as you know, you know, if you're trying to be a professional in volleyball, you better be pretty intelligent at business and be good at marketing and be a good entrepreneur if you really wanna actually make some money and be able to provide for a family . So with you there. Yeah. So yeah, we really just try to think of everything that, you know, a young athlete would need to be successful on and off to court and, you know, we've just been blessed with some huge partnerships and some, you know, some great community support from businesses and some influential people. Um, and then obviously our, our I P F W family, most of us all played at Indiana, Purdue Fort Wayne Yeah. Which is now Fort Purdue, Fort Wayne, but a lot of high level alumni that have played professionally and on the national team, um, that really help, you know, support and grow our program and provide some high level training.
And as you know, you can only do so much yourself. You gotta surround yourself as I've seen, you know, you're building out more and more coaches on better at beach and on your team, that's where you can really grow and make a bigger impact. Yeah. And really grow your sphere of influence. So yeah, man, I, I appreciate everything. I know you, you hyped me up, but you know, the, the feeling is mutual, man. I love everything that I see you guys doing, you and Brandon, you know, I love you guys to death and I just, I get excited every time I see a new video come out and I see you guys unveiling some new programs and I love all of it, you know, and you know, you, you got ahead of me on, on the videos and stuff. I know I got ahead of you on the facility side. Yeah. I love how we can always talk and, and share information. You know, I'm working on some of the stuff we're doing. Video right now is just all in house and for our own training, um, with our training platform. But eventually, you know, as long
Mark Burik (01:23:33):
As you record it somewhere, you can use it later. I think people like coaches, trainers, personal trainers, people who build businesses, like just write every single thing you do down, you have no idea how valuable it'll be to just open a file and be like, Oh, I already built that. Like, all you gotta do is now hand it to somebody and then they'll just clean it up and make it look pretty. Like, Oh yeah, so nice.
Will Robbins (01:23:54):
But that the key to business, I mean, building systems and processes that, you know, every year now, my whole schedule is pretty much on a cycle. You know, every year we're just shifting tournaments, uh, this date, you know, it moved two days, now here's the new tournament for this year. And yeah, the programming is, Hey, here's last year's flyer, let me change the dates. Are we making any tweaks? All right, this program's out. And so just so much more efficient and uh, just makes your job a lot easier if you already get it, don't
Mark Burik (01:24:23):
Throw anything out. . Yeah,
Will Robbins (01:24:25):
Mark Burik (01:24:26):
Keep everything, all giant Google file and
Will Robbins (01:24:28):
Then I still got workout files, you know, my workout logs from 20 years ago, you know, like 15 years ago. Uh, I I I keep everything so nah, that's, that's some wise words right there. Cool. Yeah. Record it off, track it all. Yeah.
Mark Burik (01:24:44):
All right. Well hey man, thank you for staying up late. I know I got, got dinner waiting here, so , I'm, I'm gonna get to mine, but I, I appreciate you and like I said, thanks for meeting, thanks for taking your time. I know how busy you are and how much it means to, to take even an hour, no less two hours now of your time. So I really appreciate that and for everything that you're doing for kids and doing it the right way and, and doing it from the lessons that you learned. And to be able to make the world a better place by injecting goodness into your entire community. Like just from the world if it's not thanking you enough. Thank you. Thank you. Nice job, man.
Will Robbins (01:25:23):
Appreciate it, man. I'm trying and yeah, I appreciate everything you guys are doing and yeah, anytime you need something, man, I'm always here for you guys. And like I always said, you guys, I feel like are cut from the same cloth. You know, you guys truly care about the sport. You're trying to put good information out there, you're trying to educate people in our community and I feel like you're doing it the right way. So yeah, keep it up man, and keep putting out good info and good content and yeah, keep, keep sharing like you're doing, man. I'm super proud of you guys. Tell everybody out on the west coast, I say what's up and uh, well dude, yeah, I'll be out there at the end. You gotta go chew the vista for some of the national team development stuff, the end of July. So if anybody's around, uh, yeah, we got, let know, hopefully we can catch up.
Mark Burik (01:26:07):
Will do, will do. We'll be, uh, close behind you and I'll be hiring you for some coaching when we build our spot and, uh, in Chattanooga,
Will Robbins (01:26:14):
. Oh, there you go.
Mark Burik (01:26:16):
Take some, I'll take a lot of notes from you.
Will Robbins (01:26:18):
Well, let me know if you need a management team to uh, run the facility, man. You can do all the training.
Mark Burik (01:26:23):
There will be phone calls within the next few months. You can guarantee that
Will Robbins (01:26:27):
. Yeah, no, anything I could do to help, man. If it's just some suggestions or ideas, I'm always here for you guys. Cool,
Mark Burik (01:26:33):
Cool. Thanks. Well,
Will Robbins (01:26:35):
All right, brother.
Mark Burik (01:26:35):
Hey, have a great night. Good luck in your training and then we'll see you later the summer.
Will Robbins (01:26:40):
All right, sounds good, brother. Season. Let, thanks for having.