Beth Van Fleet (00:00:00):
One of the things that our athletes constantly talk about is when to adjust the strategy. Most of them believe that. Again, given that the skill is within the similar range of the opponent, it's the team that does the better job managing and adjusting strategy that usually wins. And that's like, that's one of the games within the game that they love to play. So that would be like one of their pre-game questions is at what point are we reevaluating our starting strategy to see if we want to make any adaptations to
Mark Burik (00:00:31):
That? How do you teach that?
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Now for today's guess, she spent eight seasons with the AVP competing in over 80 career sand tournaments and representing the United States abroad. She is well known throughout the sport and has worked with some of the top athletes and coaches in the game. She currently serves as the chair of the a BCA a, that's the American Volleyball Coach Association All American Committee, and as the beach representative on the A B C A board of directors, she has led her team to six 20 plus win seasons. The 2022 season produced produced the most successful national championship run in Georgia State sports history and a program high 28 wins in her tenure at Georgia State. She has twice earned the coach of the year award for her university. And in 2016 she was named the CC s a Coach of the Year. She is brilliant. She is a fantastic coach and she's so much fun to talk to. So without further ado, Beth Van Fleet. Hello and good day
Beth Van Fleet (00:03:57):
. Hello and good day. Thank you so much for having me, um, on the podcast market. It's been fun watching the tutorials and everything you talked about putting them all together and getting to watch, and I'm really excited to be part of your show today.
Mark Burik (00:04:10):
Thanks. It's gonna be fun.
Beth Van Fleet (00:04:12):
Yeah, looking forward to
Mark Burik (00:04:13):
It. No nerves, . So, you know, you, you've got a lot of roles and you've done a lot of things in the sport, but uh, today's a Wednesday and we're in July. What did you do today? What's, what's a day in the life
Beth Van Fleet (00:04:28):
? So I think I'm supposed to be recruiting in California. That seems to be where most all the coaches are. I'm here in my office and I'm also a mom. So today my daughter came to work with me because she didn't have camp. So just spending a lot of time organizing, looking at gear for the upcoming are really exciting. And, uh, looking at some recruiting materials as we're getting ready to go out to California in a couple of
Mark Burik (00:04:51):
Weeks. What is a recruiting material? What do you mean?
Beth Van Fleet (00:04:55):
Just looking at the different emails. So there's so many different websites and ways that the athletes correspond with us. So going through the different emails to organize who's going to be and what tournaments, whether you're using one of the, um, online bracket PAL or volleyball life, looking at the different events that are gonna be out there, who's gonna be playing when we can find 'em, where we might be able to find 'em. The recruiting scene for beach volleyball is really interesting. Some events are organized really well and you can walk up to a court and figure out in about 30 seconds you're watching and some you can stand there for like 10 minutes, like listening for someone's mom or dad to say their name or their partner to give 'em a high five and say good job. So you never know exactly what you're getting into, so you have to kinda be prepared for all of it.
Mark Burik (00:05:41):
We won't throw anyone under the bus, but, uh, let's throw somebody over the bus who runs the best recruiting events or your favorite in terms of going to ease as a coach and and places to see.
Beth Van Fleet (00:05:53):
So I love that question and I don't think I can actually answer it because it would be endorsing an organization. Nice. Okay. But I will say some of the most popular events for recruiting the B BCA championship, that's one that most of the college coaches go to. Um, there's a bunch of events into various Florida that are really well run as well. So just kind of around the country, there's, they're great and I think the neat thing is every year they get better and they get more organized, um, and the athletes do a better and better job of letting you know who they are as well. So I don't know if you've been to any of the juniors tournaments, mark, but you'll walk by and there's, it's, it looks like a triathlon. Like everybody's got sharpie all over their
Mark Burik (00:06:34):
Life numbers everywhere, right?
Beth Van Fleet (00:06:36):
Yeah. It's really helpful for us, um, when, when they look like that.
Mark Burik (00:06:41):
Okay, cool. Well, uh, when you go to recruit, do you have, you know, kind of like when you go to a music festival and you're like, Oh, I have to see them, them, them, and then I'll float around? Or do you go in with like a completely open mind and say like, I can't wait to see what I see today?
Beth Van Fleet (00:06:58):
I love that analogy. The music festival , Yes, you go in with your hit list. Um, okay. But I will tell you, my hit list has gotten me to the wrong court multiple times and I've sat there watching someone who I thought I was supposed to be watching to find out it was the wrong person, but I really liked that person anyways. So, um, it's like finding a new band that you like. Um, so yeah, it's
Mark Burik (00:07:20):
A way, this doesn't sound like the Lumineers, but they got a good beat, .
Beth Van Fleet (00:07:24):
Mark Burik (00:07:28):
Nice, nice. What are you specifically looking for? So when, when you show up to one of those, are you looking skill, strength, speed? Are you one of the coaches that is like, Yeah, everybody's got the same skill, but I wanna see when you screw up, um, yeah, how you're reacting, What's the weight of importance between like this? Do you think you can fix players mentally and emotionally if they have the skill or do you not even wanna deal with that?
Beth Van Fleet (00:07:57):
I love this question. I think you look at the total package, right? So you're looking to see is someone moving well in the sand? Is some, you know, is their reach pretty high? Do they have a nice platform? Are they bettering the ball? Are they making the ball worse? We love, most coaches love watching how they talk, how the athletes speak to their coaches, how they speak to their parents. Like the little insight into character is really important. I think that beach volleyball coaches are really good at teaching beach volleyball skills and not necessarily good at, at like, our training is not in
Mark Burik (00:08:34):
Beth Van Fleet (00:08:35):
Changing someone's character or changing someone's personality. And I think we absolutely strive to help everybody grow. That's part of any coach's job, but it's much easier to take an average athlete who has the desire to win and to grow and develop that is comfortable with failure than it is to take someone who is, is an elite athlete with a bad attitude.
Mark Burik (00:08:58):
Do you like to see somebody who is cool with losing to me? Like, you know, there's, there's this, this passion, like I want somebody to be pissed off when they lose. I don't, you know, I don't want them to completely, you know, talk down to everybody around them when they're losing and yell at somebody else when like nothing is their fault. But yeah, I would love to see somebody who truly cares and I'm not, again, I coached NCAA for what, two years. Um, so looking at that type of attitude, I wouldn't necessarily take them off of my list as soon as I threw, saw them throw through the sudden throat tantrum, uh, when they lost. But did they go off and throw their own tantrum and kick a garbage can alone or did they take it out on all the people around them? To me, yeah. You know, I've kicked a few garbage cans, , right?
Beth Van Fleet (00:09:48):
Like, how high can you punt a ball when you're angry? Like I think that's an important skill.
Mark Burik (00:09:52):
Yeah. Athleticism, you know, that shows good leg strike, ,
Beth Van Fleet (00:09:56):
Are you left footed or right footed? Those things are important for us to know. Um, so my dad was huge in my upbringing in sports and he raised me with, show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser. So that's what he told me before, every match that I played throughout middle school, high school club, everything, because he had, he was someone that was gonna go kick over garbage cans. And I think I would just look at it like this is a learning opportunity. And generally I think what I've learned as a coach is there are so many different ways to approach competition and coming off the avp, very much what you just described, I was like, well, if someone's not losing their mind after they lose, they are not motivated to win. In our first four years here, I had this awesome opportunity to work with an athlete from Arizona.
Her name was Milan Pickering, and she was so unfazed in everything she did and I constantly told her she was boring to watch. She was, she was so boring because she never ever looked like she cared mm-hmm. . And after she graduated, she came up and said, you know, you never understood me. And I was like, Okay, explain you to me now, now that you've graduated and I can't help you with beach volleyball anymore. She's like, I worked so hard not to have an emotional response to a point because if I had a blank slate going into the next point, I could get that one. And it was really one, I felt like I failed her, which was really helpful because it's helped me to be a better coach. But I think it helped me to also understand that a lot of people care in a lot of different ways and I wrongly assumed that she didn't care because I wasn't reading her body language as Karen. I was misinterpreting
Mark Burik (00:11:38):
Her uncomfortable because you felt like you didn't understand that she was trying to cool herself.
Beth Van Fleet (00:11:44):
Mark Burik (00:11:45):
So she prepped for the next point.
Beth Van Fleet (00:11:46):
Yeah, but I mean, I do think it's important, like when we're watching kids that are uncomfortable lose, like losing a match hurts, like that does sting. There's nobody that shows up to play any kind of competitive sport that walks out saying, Hey, I'm, I wanna go out there and lose today. Nobody ever steps onto a court with that mindset. And I think in the processes, what's most interesting to me is if you are losing in a game, are you still trying as hard as you can? Are you still communicating? Are you still strategizing? Um, if you've lost a game, that might be a different response because at that point the game is over and there's no hope that you can get the next point.
Mark Burik (00:12:26):
Beth Van Fleet (00:12:27):
Many trash can Yeah. Like are you kick a lot of trash cans
Mark Burik (00:12:30):
Around? I'm a big trash can kicker. I I, you know, I tell this story a lot and like luckily, like my my wife is, is really cool with it. But when parents or loved ones like tried to talk to you right after a loss, Oh, I'll take this back to, to Casey Patterson, right? When he lost in the Olympics way earlier than he thought he would, he got real pissed. He walked off the court, he walked off center court and everybody's like, on sports and like blah, blah, blah, blah. And you know, I couldn't understand how people didn't understand that emotion. Yeah. At that moment, like, you've worked your entire life for one goal. You're there, you're on the stage, and then it goes completely the opposite of everything you wished and wanted for. And then they want you to go up to another guy who ripped out your soul and smile and shake his hand. And it's just like, yeah, I get sportsmen like conduct and I get, you know, being able to show up at that moment. But how do you leave zero room for hey, here's your dream, here's your dream and I'm going to smash it to pieces in front of you and then be nice to me.
Beth Van Fleet (00:13:37):
Mark Burik (00:13:37):
You know, I completely felt for him in that moment. And he went backstage, he went, shook both their hands. He's like, Hey man, sorry I flipped out. Um, great match done, but I don't want to talk to anybody directly after a lot, directly after some losses. There are some losses there were like, you, you hit some goals that you wanted to hit. Maybe it wasn't the win. But sometimes you're looking at matches, you're looking at partnerships, you're looking at teams and you're saying, Hey, what is our actual goal? Is it beyond this match, beyond this tournament? And are we building up to that so we have incremental goals for ourselves? Or is it, you know, that we should beat this team? And so when I, in college, my dad never really got involved. He was always the, I will play with you, I'll show up.
He goes, Yeah, you wanna learn baseball? I'll throw a baseball with you. You wanna learn hockey? Sure. I'll buy a pair of roller blades and try to learn how to roller blade at 60 years old. . But this one time, like after college, after a really tough loss, he just started talking about it and he was like, You know, you guys didn't have that energy. I couldn't understand why you were doing this. And I was just like, I got real heated and before I completely blew up at him, I go, Pops, right now you just need to stay quiet for me. You need to pat me on the ass, say tough game. And then I will come and talk to you about volleyball and strategy and tactics and energy when I'm ready. But you need to let me like simmer for a while before I flip out. Yeah. Um, and my wife lets me do that. You know, she at the same thing at tournaments. All of her friends like, Oh look how sad her Maddy is. Like, go help him , make him feel better. And she's like, mm-hmm. , pull off, then we'll come back. Yeah. You know, that's why, that's why like in boxing matches, they have that little minute break in between rounds. It's like, go to your corners, literally go to your corners and in
Beth Van Fleet (00:15:33):
A moment come back. Yeah. I, it's so interesting because people process sports losses so differently.
For me, the moment that a game is over, no matter what stage, how big or how bad it was, I am still in the moment of knowing I I gave my best. And so I am pretty good for probably 15 minutes to an hour after I lose. Wow. And then as I start reflecting after an hour mark, I start having to monitor, you know, if my daughter's around, I have to watch what I'm saying cuz the emotions start creeping into it after a while for me. Interesting. So like, I think I'm a bit of a late processor.
Mark Burik (00:16:11):
Yeah. You got a slow, a slow simmer . Yeah,
Beth Van Fleet (00:16:15):
Mark Burik (00:16:17):
Do you, uh, for your teams, for, for your college teams, do you have talks about the game directly after the match? Or are you the type of like coach where it's like, Hey, let's get back on the bus, let's go home, we'll talk about this on Sunday or Monday or
Beth Van Fleet (00:16:32):
Whatever. That really depends on the pair and the situation. And I'm very much like you, like after a tough loss, the last thing I ever would wanted to do is sit there and listen to my coach tell me all the things I just did wrong and why I lost. Because at this level with these athletes, they all know, I'm not telling if I sat there and reflected on the entire match, I'm not gonna tell them anything that they don't know in that moment. And so oftentimes if we had, you know, something that we were trying to accomplish, like, Hey, we did this, our strategy was to do this, we did that. Well this is why they, this is why they beat us, or this is why they won. And just kind of open up the conversation for the, the pair that we're looking, you know, or just that we're talking with. And sometimes they wanna have a conversation and sometimes they don't. And it really, really just depends on, I think on the level of the game, the level of disappointment. The one thing that we always do is after a win, we reflect on it as though we lost. Because especially if it's close. Because if you, you know, squeak out a 1614 win in the third set and you're feeling great about life and you go run on to whatever is next and celebrate, well the team that almost beat you is sitting there reflecting
Mark Burik (00:17:48):
On in and learn, Oh, and then
Beth Van Fleet (00:17:50):
You're learning so much. Right? And so you're gonna play them again. And so it's better in those moments if you sit there for a second and reflect as though you lost. Like, Hey, what are a couple of things that we didn't do well that we would do different if we played this game again? And then take notes on that for when you play that pair again.
Mark Burik (00:18:07):
Yeah. Why did we lose 14 points?
Beth Van Fleet (00:18:09):
Mark Burik (00:18:11):
, that's, that's so interesting. You know, there's like avp, there's, there's so many differences. For example, why do so many people stay at the top of the avp? Is it skill or is it just repetition? Because yet all these qualifiers and qualifier teams and and I did it, you know, when I, when I was young, you show up on Thursday Yeah. And play one match two matches against a medium level team and you lose, And then what do you do? You go out you party and booze cuz you're in a new city and you're in your early twenties and there go the next three days without you playing volleyball. Yeah. Because your flight's on Saturday night or Sunday. Meanwhile all the better teams spend the next three days playing against better and better and better competition. So now you traveled across the country to, you know, play for two hours and then waste three days. Yeah. You would've been better off if you stayed at home and practiced every single, you know, two, three hours every single day. Really? Yeah.
Beth Van Fleet (00:19:15):
No, we used to, uh, when I was in that process, I remember going to players parties and looking around and realizing it's like, oh actually the best players aren't here. Like this is everybody who is actually not playing anymore. And I remember I was playing for a little while with Sarah Lynn and we would say like, this weekend, are we packing to party? Are we packing to play? Like what's the place that we're going to, what's our draw look like? But one of the things that we did a lot in that process that I think has translated really well to the college game was cuz there were definitely tournaments that I flew across the country lost in the first round of the qualifier and then was stuck there for the three days. So I would usually follow the team that I lost to and take notes on who they played, how other teams beat them, or how they beat other teams. And I had like this whole Excel spreadsheet I totally geeked out on it, but had all sorts of notes on all the teams. If I would've had, if I would've won that game, the path that I would've had to play because I wasn't able to play for those three days.
Mark Burik (00:20:18):
I, uh, you know how much you talk about like, or they used to talk about like cartridges black book, you know, that he had like notes on every team and if you played on his team, you got to, you got to see them for the first time. I was pretty disappointed that I didn't keep stellar notes. I'm still playing the same freaking guys, you know, it's been what, 13, 12, 13 years, something like that of playing AVPs and it's like I should have extensive notes and I realized a couple years ago I didn't, so then I just started developing this um, like fully question led thing so that our players could have it at better at beach. It's not complete yet. I think it's still like a month and a half from being complete. I love
Beth Van Fleet (00:20:58):
Mark Burik (00:20:58):
But it's got all the questions that you should ask before a match mm-hmm. and that you should ask after a match. You know, I love that. Like, hey, like what strategy are we actually going to to do? Who are we gonna serve? Where are we gonna serve them? And then why, I think in my twenties I never, I it was always serve this guy tough
Beth Van Fleet (00:21:20):
Mark Burik (00:21:21):
You know, it wasn't Yeah. Now it's serve him short. Why? Because he's a power athlete. He likes a long run up approach and we need to mitigate his height because we're small blockers. So we're not really going to stop him from hitting hard unless we shorten him, you know, and we have to bring him inside because he likes to hit cross. So that's why we're serving him short, middle. And it's like that never happened for the decade of my twenties
Beth Van Fleet (00:21:47):
Mark Burik (00:21:48):
So now as like you
Beth Van Fleet (00:21:49):
Serve one person really hard
Mark Burik (00:21:51):
, uh, how should we serve them aggressively? Great. You're brilliant .
Beth Van Fleet (00:21:58):
Yeah. Well I think it's really interesting too, like going through those questions, pregame and postgame. One of the things that our athletes constantly talk about is when to adjust the strategy. Most of them believe that. Again, given that the skill is within the similar range of the opponent, it's the team that does the better job managing and adjusting strategy that usually wins. And that's like, that's one of the games within the game that they love to play. So that would be like one of their pregame questions is at what point are we reevaluating our starting strategy to see if we want to make any adaptations to
Mark Burik (00:22:35):
That? How do you teach that? How do you, do you have a, hey at this point, this is when we always check in. For me it's like the technical, like the technical is your first real reassessment for everybody who doesn't know technical is it's the score when the total score reaches 21. So 1110 or 12 nine. And that's when I'm like, okay, we've attempted this strategy or we should've attempted this strategy long enough to get at least some clues. Do you have a, a hard line where you say, this is when we check it back in?
Beth Van Fleet (00:23:07):
We don't have a hard line. I think it's, it's really different if you have a coach because we have potentially five pairs playing at once and only three coaches. So if they don't have a coach, if a pair doesn't have a coach in the box with them, then absolutely at the technical or if one side takes the time out before the technical. Okay. Um, but then if you have a coach in the box with you, it's really easy to check in on the side changes based on what tendencies are starting to pop up. And so it's really one of the conversations I have with my cu my husband very often, uh, I'll be like, Well we asked him to do this. And he is like, What do you mean you asked them to do something? I was like, well I, you know, I suggested maybe we serve the other person to her sideline.
And he is like, You don't tell them what to do. And I'm like, Absolutely not. I can't tell you how many times I'll make a suggestion to a team. And they're like, Yeah, we definitely don't wanna do that. I'm like, this is your game to play. I am just here to support you. I'll tell you what I see, I'll tell you the tendencies that we're picking up on, but ultimately the decision making and the power needs to be in the hands of the athletes and not the coach. So if, if I'm on the sideline tell, you know, barking orders at them, they're not actually learning any problem solving skills. And so I think that's where that strategy adaptation comes in because by me suggesting something and them saying no or them saying yes, they have to have the reason why that you just kind like why we don't wanna change this because, or we do wanna change this because, and I think that's one of the coolest things about this game is there's not ever a right or a wrong thing to do. And it's really easy, you know, sitting on the sideline saying, Oh you should be doing this the whole time. But if you have a different reader, a different feel in a game that's important, that's worthy, that's valuable. And I think it's important to follow that until you realize it's a dead end. And maybe the coach was right to start off with or maybe not.
Mark Burik (00:25:01):
I like, yeah, I, I like being, having players figure out and I think, you know, I think like maybe like most teachers, most of our, most of our teaching comes from our failures, you know, like our, our pains. And I think that my lack of paying attention to what was happening in game there, you know, I, you get the end of the game, you lose on a, on a cut shot that you missed and you blame the entire match on that cut shot that you missed on game point. And so you, you go for the next week and all you hit is cut shots and it's like, hey man, you passed to the back line like five times. Yeah. You know, how, how many points did that lead to? How, how much did that drop your hitting percentage? Yeah. So I, I've two questions for you.
Do you think that there's a type of athlete that with a coach can exist or be better now than before Coaches were allowed? Cause to me somebody for so long who did not pay attention to what was happening in game, if I had have a coach on my sideline telling me what was happening and what should happen next, then all right, now I can just go out and be a warrior, bang my head against the ball and do whatever they say. Are you seeing the same athletes as when you competed on the avp, the same like type of mindset be successful or does a coach allow a different athlete to be successful?
Beth Van Fleet (00:26:31):
So you have all different types of personalities. Right. And where we are with the juniors piece today, there's just not kids that don't have coaches anymore. Like they grow up from the time they're 12 or 13 in a club. They only play beach volleyball when there's a coach present. I asked at a clinic a couple years ago, I was like, Hey, how many of you ever play without coaches present? And so many of them raised their hands and I got so excited and they're like, Yeah, there's not always a coach on our court when we're at tournaments. And I was like, okay, that's not what I meant. Um, . But I think, you know, part of, I think part of you in your twenties, like part of it is ignorance has a little bit of bliss too. Like if you are overthinking or you're someone who plays better when you're not cerebral than having a coach on the sideline may not be an advantage for you.
I think one of the neatest kind of players that we get to coach, I call 'em chameleons and they're very rare, it's very rare breed, but they're the kind of person and the kind of player that very much already has like a coaching mentality or a coaching IQ and they can adapt to anybody that they play with. And I think that's really valuable now. So I think that person would have been like the old school days when I was playing the person who would've been able to really be successful without having the coaching available at that time. And I think that's one of the things we ask our athletes a lot, What information do you want from us? Because some of them want very little information, some of them want to know what defenses we need to run. Some of them want to know what the other team's defenses are doing. So it's really specific what is helpful for each person. And I think in order for a coach to be effective, you have to know what that athlete or that pair wants to hear. Because I know as a, you know, from my indoor days, as soon as my coach started saying things that I didn't wanna hear, I would make eye contact but I would be processing or thinking about something else.
Mark Burik (00:28:37):
Oh, so you would like do the respectful thing by like looking at them so they think that you're engaged. Yeah. But you like mentally disengaged. Interesting.
Beth Van Fleet (00:28:46):
Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. So, but I think there's just so many, What I'm learning now is there are so many different kinds of athletes that come from so many different types of backgrounds. Um, and I'll have this common goal of wanting to be great beach volleyball players. And I think yes, there's the skills of bumping and setting and spiking, but then there's the skill of communication, the skill of vision, um, the skill of courage. There's so many intangibles that are involved in this game and this equation. And I think it's really neat to see how different individuals mix that. And then when you find a pair that really works well, like, I don't know, and I'm sure you felt like this when you play with someone who makes you better and all of a sudden you're accomplishing things and you're like, I didn't know we could do that. I think that's one of the neatest like magical moments that this sport can offer someone.
Mark Burik (00:29:39):
Mm. Yeah. They're usually six nine
Beth Van Fleet (00:29:42):
. I was gonna say maybe that's how people feel when they play with you. I dunno,
Mark Burik (00:29:46):
, uh, I'm, you know, for a long time I was the opposite. I was uh, probably too, too brutal. So you know how, like you said, you would kind of look at somebody but, but disengage when I, I've been hardnosed always. Okay. Uh, my high school was the terriers, but like I would like go at things so hard that my college football coach, he called me the pit bull terrier. He was like, he's like never let anybody off and you know, we're doing tempo runs and I would always try to finish first and everybody's like, we're doing 15 second hundred yard runs. Like you don't have to finish first here. And I would always make sure that I finish first. Yeah. Yeah. I was like, why not work as hard as you
Beth Van Fleet (00:30:27):
The race? It's a 15 second race.
Mark Burik (00:30:30):
. Yeah. . So I was pretty lucky that I had a few guys on my college team that we looked and acted similarly for hard work. You know, like Hudson Bates who's now the uh, associate head coach at, at Ohio State. Yeah. Um, he's doing a lot of high performance for USA volleyball as well. But me and him hard work looked exactly the same. You know, there's like anguish on the face, you put your head down and whatever you had to hit whatever you had to sprint, squat, you just did it and you made sure everybody know, then you go to some other partners later on. And I probably ruined their relationship cuz when I looked at them physically, they didn't have the look of hard work in that moment that I associated with what it was supposed to look like, you know, quote unquote. Yeah. And I had to learn in a big way with like talks with my mom and a few other people that hard work looked very different. Yep. For from person to person. And you can't assume just because of the way somebody looks or sometimes even when they say it or they talk about cuz they don't always know how to express themselves. Right. You know that they're not working. So I was, I was really, really, really hard on a lot of partners. Some partners really truly didn't show up, you know, consistently day
Beth Van Fleet (00:31:53):
. Yeah. Some were not actually working hard, but there were some who were working hard, but they just didn't project it in the same way that you did. Yeah,
Mark Burik (00:32:01):
Beth Van Fleet (00:32:02):
What a great growth opportunity to like, And I feel like that carries on to the rest of your life outside of volleyball. I feel like that's one of the neatest things is learning how to read people. We had very similar to what you're saying, Chelsea Rice, who is playing right now on the AVP she played at Georgia State
Mark Burik (00:32:19):
Was pawn, right?
Beth Van Fleet (00:32:20):
Yeah. Yeah. They had a huge weekend in Denver mm-hmm. . Um, she was playing with Brooke Weiner, who was, uh, another player here. And Brooke communicated a lot. She wanted a lot of eye contact, a lot of high fiving. And when pressure was on she would talk more and Chelsea wanted to be focused and calm and ready for the next play. And it was in the fall we were doing a bunch of pairings and we took a time out and Chelsea was like, Brooke is freaking out, she's so nervous she won't stop talking. And Brooke said, No, Chelsea doesn't care. She's so quiet, she's backing down, she's scared. And I realized that both of them were amplifying their emotion to try to balance the other person. And it was the exact opposite of what either of them wanted.
Mark Burik (00:33:08):
Oh my goodness.
Beth Van Fleet (00:33:10):
Well this is a predicament that we're .
Mark Burik (00:33:13):
Beth Van Fleet (00:33:14):
But like, what a cool thing to discover in a moment of pressure that wasn't actually a, a dual, it was a fall exhibition, but like those competitive styles and how people amp up or kind of back, you know, kind of find a steady pace is really important to pay attention to.
Mark Burik (00:33:29):
And without somebody guiding that or being able to have that, that third conversation, all you think about and you hold it in because you see somebody talking a lot and you don't realize that they're just like getting amped and this is how they fire up. Yeah. And you think that they're just nervous because people who are nervous talk a lot and they get fidgety, you know, but that's not necessarily true. Some people who talk a lot are like finally feeling their vibe and finally feel uncomfortable.
Beth Van Fleet (00:33:58):
Mark Burik (00:33:59):
And imagine how many of our like adult players go through that. Never get to have that conversation. Never go through marriage counseling, therapy, anything like that. Or you know, like psychology classes or sociology classes. And to think that you can go through and play the sport for 30, 40 years and how many partners you've just shut out or stopped playing with simply because you misinterpreted their physical or social cues.
Beth Van Fleet (00:34:30):
Yeah. It's, it's so, it's so interesting. It, it truly is. And I think the situation that you're in is, man, like, I'm so excited for you because you're still playing and you're learning all this on the coaching side. Mm-hmm. , I feel like I had a playing career where I felt like you in your twenties, like I just played, we ran ones and twos, we hit the ball hard if we could and served aggressively. And then I started coaching and I was like, hold on, there's a whole nother level of this game. And and obviously then, you know, since then the game has evolved tremendously as well. But I think it's such a neat situation for you to be in that you actually get to combine both of those things because most people don't get that opportunity. And it's, I love that, you know, you kind of referenced your twenties and you're like just kind of blindly hitting the ball and now you have so much more of a why and a reason behind it. And I think like, that's one of the neat things about this sport is that it is a lifelong sport and you're not finished playing in five years. You know, you could play for 13, 14 years mm-hmm.
Mark Burik (00:35:36):
. And if you, you study the partnerships too, the, the dynamics of a relationship. If you can learn it the right way or if you could take coaching and partnership communications and convert it into your personal relationships or you'll learn from your personal relationships and you take that onto the court with your teammate. Some of the best stuff, and I tell, I say this all the time, but some of the best stuff that happened to me as a volleyball player happened in pre-marriage counseling . Okay. Reading marriage counseling books and hearing about how people interpret things differently and how just because somebody's acting a certain way doesn't necessarily mean that that's what you, you, you know, you see you can't take it for, for face value. And how do you show up for somebody and give them what you need without expecting anything from them, you know? And I know that so many people don't have marriage counseling or they don't have a great coach that talks about mental stuff.
Beth Van Fleet (00:36:38):
Yeah, no. And it is, or you know, I did the math once, I think, so I played for eight years and I think I got, I think I paid to have a coach maybe 120 days. That's how many days we coach in one year in college. I think we do 128 or 132, something like that. Like, it's incredible. So as a college coach, in order to be great, in order to be great at what we're doing, we have to be more than just bumps and sets and spikes and serves. I think the understanding the communication and, and helping the team, the people on the team to understand how to communicate with each other is so critically important. Um, you know, anytime you're in college trying to get 16 to 25 female athletes to work together towards a common goal and how can you have each other's back and lift each other up instead of trying to step on each other to be the number one seed in the lineup. You know, I think like those questions are really important when you're looking at a college program. Obviously at the professional level, you're just looking at, you know, one pair at a time and, and that's so much more catered and tailored to an individual pair. But the communication piece is just as important and maybe even more so
Mark Burik (00:37:51):
I have, um, this, that little kind of journal that I showed you that we're developing into something that we could give to our players or, or share with our players. It's gonna be thick. I'm trying to make like this kind of giant bible, but there, there's a start to it and if, if you wanna check it out, if anybody at home wants to check it out, that, uh, and I want to talk to you about what you have players talk about before matches because the, what's on the screen right now, if you guys want to check it out, it's called bitter beach.com/partner profile bitter beach.com/partner profile. It's a questionnaire that forces you to answer some tough questions and it asks you to have your partner answer them to eliminate a bunch of like the confusing things that we're talking about. One of the things that I always asked and might find this interesting, but I've done it with a few groups of men and women, it's, Hey, what is the best way Prematch to fire you up.
Mm-hmm. , do you want to be alone? Like I, I had a, an all American on my team, he would put a towel over his head and for five minutes he stayed under that towel. Undisturbed. No. Everybody knew not to talk to him. Me, I was walking around there like punched people in the chest, you know, I asking them to hit me in the chest, literally had a slap game going on, you know, so like very different. But if you go around and you slap the guy who's hiding in his towel, when he is trying to amp himself up, he's not gonna be there. No. So, so it asks you to define that. It asks you to define turnoffs and I'll get to the turnoffs thing in a second. Uh, but it also asks you to define things like what is your best set. So if you close your eyes and you think, all right, it's it's championship point 1413 and I get served and my name is about to get on the pier. If I win this point, what do I hit? How do I visualize that game ending in my favor? And then it also says, okay, now it's 13, 14, you know, the other team might win but you're still getting served. What do you hit? And you have to figure out, you know, if they're different because they shouldn't be. Cuz at that moment what you trust is what you trust.
Beth Van Fleet (00:40:06):
Yep. Absolutely. We say what, what is your million dollar skill? What skill, if you were gonna get paid a million dollars, do the same skill precisely three times in a row, what would that be or what hit would that be? You know, same kind of concept of what is, what do you wanna go to at the end of the game and how do you hit something differently early in the game? So you set yourself up to be successful with that at the end.
Mark Burik (00:40:31):
Oh, I wanna, I wanna talk about that. Okay. Um, so if, if you guys are interested in answering those questions, go to bear beach.com/partner profile. It's just a freak questionnaire for you to just discover yourself, learn a little bit more about yourself and maybe share it with your team, teammates, whatever you wanna do. I
Beth Van Fleet (00:40:48):
Love it. I feel like this is your pre battle counseling questionnaire.
Mark Burik (00:40:52):
Yes, it is. . And when we asked the turnoff question, what is your biggest turnoff, it was interesting when I asked the guys what their turn on was, how do you fire yourself up? Right. How does your teammate fire you up? It was the mentality. And this is done with two separate groups. Okay. It's not a case wide study, but two separate groups of, of guys. And they all aligned with the other teams trying to take something from us. It's you and me, I got your back no matter what. We're going into battle. We're going into war, let's have it out. And that was their, their number one like way to get going. Cool. For the women, this is, uh, all the open women, their number one turn off. It wasn't across the board but the number one turn off most common was being mean to the other team or overly aggressive.
And I was like baffled. And I was so glad that I learned that as a coach because then as a coach then I took that back to my wife and when I'm telling her like, You're not good enough like in the weight room because that's what fired me up. Like, you can't lift that and I'm gonna show you what I can lift that completely. She's like, I don't like that. You know? And I kept thinking like, we can't work out together cuz she kept getting mad at me and it wasn't her getting mad at me, it was me saying the wrong thing to fire up.
Beth Van Fleet (00:42:11):
Right, right. , Yeah. It's
Mark Burik (00:42:15):
Like the whole concept, but it's so funny. Those different Yeah. Different mentalities, different things that work and if you don't talk about that, you will literally make a great athlete into a terrible one and a terrible partnership.
Beth Van Fleet (00:42:27):
Yeah. You can lose someone so quickly. So quickly. And I think, uh, have you read the book Top Dog?
Mark Burik (00:42:33):
I I might have it. I don't know if, I definitely haven't read.
Beth Van Fleet (00:42:36):
Okay. Cause they talk a lot about the differences in men and women and how they compete and what the odds are and what motivates women to compete and how they compete. And in general, like one of the things that they talk about is if you go into a pre-K classroom, right? So for the most part kids that are, you know, somewhat unsocialized and the boys will generally playing in groups and there will be a clear hierarchy. Like there is one boy that's in charge, he's running the show, he and everybody else is doing what he says. The girls will be generally playing with only two like two girls at a time because it's really important for them to stay very even and to feel very even. And so I could see that like, just thinking about that if, if someone's being mean to the other team on the female side, it's a little bit against kind of something that's ingrained in what it is to be female. Whereas the guys, like you were saying, are all about like bonding to go battle or battling to go bond. And I think that uh, that it makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense to me. But it's a really great book about competition and how it's different between men and women
Mark Burik (00:43:40):
To dog. I'm gonna add that to
Beth Van Fleet (00:43:41):
The list. Check it out.
Mark Burik (00:43:43):
Thank you. I love getting new books. Well, so long as they come in audio book form .
Beth Van Fleet (00:43:48):
Mark Burik (00:43:51):
Okay. So what conversations do you ask players to have with each other before a match?
Beth Van Fleet (00:44:01):
Right before a match? They don't really have to talk much because all the work should be done at that point. Mainly because the way the college is set up, we know, you know, going into this weekend we're playing these three schools, These are the three pairs you're most likely to play. And we can do all the prep work for that before we even get close. And so it's much different from a pro event where you have no idea who you're gonna play next. Um, and so we get most of the work done during the week before we get there. And then usually right before a pair is getting ready to play we'll review strategy, ask them if they have any questions. One of my biggest roles as a coach is to remind everybody to start their workouts on their Apple watches because that is highly distracting when someone realizes in the middle of a game they did not start their workout
Mark Burik (00:44:50):
Start your workout on your Apple watch.
Beth Van Fleet (00:44:52):
Yes. You have to make sure that you have your, your workout started. Well and then like so many different athletes have the roots and things like that, that are tracking. Like everything is tracked and we don't do it as a a university, but a lot of different programs have different tracking um, or rests and recovery and work and all of that. So those are, you know, those are really popular right now. Um, so we make sure everybody's watches are started and we
Mark Burik (00:45:19):
All your players play with Apple watches.
Beth Van Fleet (00:45:21):
Not all of them, but the ones that do, they care a lot about their Yeah. Interesting. I'm not, Do
Mark Burik (00:45:27):
You think those are providing a ton of, a ton of value? I've, I've debated getting the whoop and the Apple watch and like tracking it, but I go, you know what if something, if a watch tells me that I'm not fully recovered today, but I still need a practice, I'm gonna go get that practice. Like, I'm gonna take care of my body as much as I can. I'm gonna get as much sleep as I can. Sure. A nice reminder will be there. But if something gets in my head telling me like the day of the match that I'm 60% recovered, like how is that gonna,
Beth Van Fleet (00:45:55):
That's not helping you.
Mark Burik (00:45:56):
No so I've, I've for that reason I've stayed, stayed away from them. Even though there might be some value, but sometimes there's all that information. That's too much information. Yeah,
Beth Van Fleet (00:46:08):
It's too much. I feel where I am in my life. I feel like I know my body well enough to know that I would override whatever watch told me anyways. But I also prefer to like navigate without using GPS all the time. And so I think it's just more of like people that are dependent on technology. Like our old assistant coach, she would crack me up. She always used GPS and we go through so many different toll booths and I'm like, Could you read the sign that said Toll? She's like, I didn't see that. I was looking at the GPS ,
Mark Burik (00:46:41):
I don't know how my mom and dad still can't get to the airport from our house. Like it's 11 minutes from our house and they did it for 40 years without the GPS .
Beth Van Fleet (00:46:50):
Mark Burik (00:46:52):
Now it's like, guys you turned this off. All right. Yeah,
Beth Van Fleet (00:46:55):
Yeah, yeah. Digressing. But I think that generally before a match we'll just kind of review strategy and check in with each person. And I think it's important because some players will get nervous before every game and some players don't ever get nervous before any game. And then some players sometimes will be nervous and sometimes they won't be nervous or sometimes they'll feel great or sometimes their stomach will hurt. And so we do like a little check in, you know, Hey, where are you? How are you feeling? Do you need anything from each other right now? And it's more of connecting as a partnership right Before we play, review the strategy and then then go out and start competing and then working through that kind of what we talked about before is cataloging and adjusting strategy as necessary.
Mark Burik (00:47:42):
Okay. So main questions for you, for your team is strategy review. And I guess if you were to translate that to uh, maybe a junior's tournament or a adult tournament. Yeah. It would have to be strategy creation and review. Review. Sure.
Beth Van Fleet (00:47:58):
Yeah. Create a strategy, come up with how you're gonna play.
Mark Burik (00:48:01):
Yeah. Do you have them like to remind each other of what their best X is or what to stay away from? Or is that part of the
Beth Van Fleet (00:48:10):
Strategy? We do all of that the night before. So like we'll do visualization, we'll have people talk about what their game plans are going to be, what's gonna help them be successful. And we'll have the team actually say, Hey Mark, you are so good when you do this. Don't get bored doing this. They can't stop it. And the team will kind of talk to each other about what everybody's strengths are. Cause I think that's a really unique situation in the college space is you play the same group of people for so long and they all, for example, we had a girl Kate Nova that had a ridiculous cut shot. She's lefty, had a sick cut shot, but she stopped using it against us because everybody in practice every day knew that's what she was going to do. Okay. And so we started robbing her, one of her strengths. So that was something that I really remind her before she played there. Like, nobody knows about your cut shop, do it until they stop you . Um, and so like those kinds of things that don't happen in it in any other kind of training environment cuz you're working with different groups of people all the time.
Mark Burik (00:49:14):
Mm. So I want to ask about strategy. I, I wrote this before. Yeah. Are there any just one, I'll just ask for one Yeah. A specific strategy to stop a specific something. So I'll ask you like in your mind, think of a player who's shot you're concerned about and you want to stop it.
Beth Van Fleet (00:49:36):
Mark Burik (00:49:38):
What would you do as an AVP player or, or a coach to stop that in terms of strategy?
Beth Van Fleet (00:49:46):
I love this. First thing you gotta do is think about where you're serving and how you're serving. Okay. And what you're allowing that player to do. So we talk about you either dictate the offense of the other team or you disrupt the offense of the other team. Okay. So your serve should have the intention to do one of those things. And then I know like I, a lot of the AVP players use a lot of different trap defenses and like late moves. And that's something that's certainly trickled into the college space as well. And it's been really fun studying other teams too and figuring out, oh, they do this and we do this. So we generally, uh, I I'll say we steal, I, we steal great ideas from other teams all the time. If we see somebody doing something great, we steal it, but then we name it after them so we're not taking credit for it.
But I think that one of the, one of the things that we saw LSU doing a couple years ago really well is their defenders. Like they'll figure out who the attacker is eye checking. So if they're looking at the blocker, if they're looking at the defender, and then they'll use the person. So if, if I'm getting ready to hit and they know that I'm looking at the defender when I'm getting ready to hit, they'll use that person as bait to get me to hit into the block or to get me to hit at the blocker. And so I think just with some, you know, little late, um, with the defender, if that's who the attacker is looking at, you can get, it's really crazy. It's like a little bit of a Jedi mind control. You can really get people to hit what you want them to hit. And I don't know that that works at the next level, at the professional level, but it's really fun watching the cat and mouse game at the collegiate space.
Mark Burik (00:51:26):
Yeah. It, uh, I mean one of the, one of the first teams to publicly announce that they were doing that, maybe good, maybe bad, but they still won some championships afterwards. So people haven't caught up. Was the, the Norwegian guys? Yeah, Annie and Christian. They said the first set is about trying to understand the other team's why Yep. Why they choose to hit certain shots. Is it because they see a block opening? Is it because they see where the defender was? You know, Brad Keenan, who's now the coach of Arizona State play the AVP for a while. He just said, Well, if I needed to shoot or if I thought it was time to shoot, I didn't look at the defender ever. I just felt where the blocker was and assumed that there wouldn't be anyone because, so it's so rare that people double up.
Beth Van Fleet (00:52:12):
Mark Burik (00:52:13):
Okay. So how does somebody know what a, an attacker's eye sequence is doing? Like obviously you have to look at their eyes but do you run a series of tests? Yes. I mean, okay.
Beth Van Fleet (00:52:27):
So we have a series of different, uh, defensive series that will run to figure out, if we don't know already to figure out who the attacker is watching. Our very basic general assumption is that blockers watch blockers and defenders watch defenders.
Mark Burik (00:52:47):
Beth Van Fleet (00:52:47):
It gets confusing when you have split blockers, but it's really in general, probably, I don't know,
Mark Burik (00:52:54):
You think bigger people wanna hit,
Beth Van Fleet (00:52:56):
Bigger people wanna hit, but they also, if you're a blocker, then you know how to beat yourself, right? So if you're a defender, you kind
Mark Burik (00:53:05):
Of say, say that won't, if you're a blocker, what
Beth Van Fleet (00:53:08):
If you're a blocker? Cuz you said bigger people wanna hit. But it's more of, I think if you're a blocker, you feel more comfortable beating the person in your role cuz you know more of what they're capable of doing. Whereas if you're a defender, you might feel more capable of beating the person in your role because you know what that role entails better than what a blocker's role entails. Um, and it's by no means a hundred percent, but it's just, that's kind of where we start from and then we see if we can prove ourselves correct or prove ourselves wrong and then kind of go from there.
Mark Burik (00:53:40):
Hmm. I like that. I've, uh, at, at one point I started writing down a series of plays to run mm-hmm. , you know, I'll run a, a line, a standard line block where you put the defender in the cross and you put the blocker down the line and then whatever swing they did, I have to keep one of my variables the same in order to actually run an experiment. So if I go to a two and I switch both people, I'm not really gonna get a decent amount of information. So then, okay, I'll run a one and then I'm going to leave my defender staying in the cross, but then I'm going to run a four block.
Beth Van Fleet (00:54:22):
Mark Burik (00:54:23):
Right? Mm-hmm. . So now I'll try that now. Okay. Did he see, did we run an early four block or a late four block? If you ran a late four block, then he might still not have seen the blocker necessarily.
Beth Van Fleet (00:54:35):
Mark Burik (00:54:37):
Right. So it, it also depends on your timing. So a lot of those experiments, they're so imperfect because you could have, you could have a blocker who's like, I ran a three, I ran a four, we can't get 'em. And it's like every motion that you do is so obvious, you know, like when you're on the ground, we already see you leaning. Right. So they know that you're gonna go that way
Beth Van Fleet (00:54:58):
And not, And, and the other piece of it is how consistent is the set on the other side of the net? Like, is the attacker in a position where he or she has vision every time? Cuz that's, sometimes they just guess. Right. And so I feel like that's one of, one of our general rules is you do something until the other team stops you three times, or you try it three times until you decide to move away from it. Because we think once as luck, twice as coincidence and three times this skill.
Mark Burik (00:55:25):
Beth Van Fleet (00:55:27):
Know, just a general rules,
Mark Burik (00:55:28):
Same thing three times. And that might Okay. I, I, I like that. I, I think keeping those stats, and that's going back to like what I was saying in the early twenties is some, I never did, I never kept in game stats. So when somebody asked me, if you would've asked me in a game, like, what's happening? What's going on? You know, what should our next move be? If you can't count in your head the number of cut shots that somebody's hit in that set, you're not there. Right. So now I'm constantly challenging myself to say, how many times did they hit that? How many times did they hit that? Right? And then if I get that number, great. Now what positions were they in when they hit that? Or, or, or what did we run? But I don't think enough players right now keep that, those statistics. And that's why I asked also that coach question Yeah. Of are there players that, you know, don't pay attention to stats. Like I wasn't that the coach provides now an unfair advantage for that type of player, whereas somebody who was always keeping stats anyway, like the coach is, is basically a moot point because they're like, Yeah, I had those in my head. Of course I know
Beth Van Fleet (00:56:37):
. Of course I knew that. Tell me something. I don't know.
Mark Burik (00:56:40):
Beth Van Fleet (00:56:42):
Yeah. It's really interesting because I think you can also get two analysis paralysis, right? Like, if you're trying to think too much and read too much, you get to the point where as a, as a player, you're too afraid to make any move. And so I think we try to keep, for our, especially for the defenders, you just catalog the last three plays or the last three things they did when they were in system or the last three things they did if they were out of system. Okay. Keep it really simple and play in the present.
Mark Burik (00:57:11):
Mm. I think players probably become way more predictable when they're out of system. Yep. You know, like when the set's coming from the back line. I imagine most players do something similar and re and repeat repeatedly. Yeah. I know that I've got like my metrics that I've created for myself when I'm in trouble, I know the swings that I take when I'm in trouble and, uh, you know, for the, for the one AVP player that watches and listens to this podcast, I'm, I'm not even gonna share it. So Yeah.
Beth Van Fleet (00:57:43):
Don't give away your
Mark Burik (00:57:44):
Secrets. No, but at least I have a plan because I also know that my transition offense dropped like 20% when I took the stats for my in system and my out of system or my transition offense. All of my errors came when I was in transition. So I was like, I have to stop the bleeding before I can actually improve the situation. Yeah. So then I just came with a plan of like, okay, let's do this in a safer way so that there's no errors.
Beth Van Fleet (00:58:10):
Yeah. You wanna play clean, you might have a couple of errors. If you don't have any errors, then you're playing too safe.
Mark Burik (00:58:15):
I know you think so. You think in transition you should, I this is, this is something I discuss a lot with coaches and players Yeah. In transition. Is the goal to get a kill? Or is the kill a bonus?
Beth Van Fleet (00:58:29):
Ooh, I like this question. The goal is to win, obviously to win when we're in transition. So that's a stat that we pay a ton of attention to. And that's usually if we're signing out the same percentage, it's the transition errors that cause you to lose. So it's not necessarily the transition kills, it's that you don't, I guess that is so then you don't wanna be making errors in transition mm-hmm. , but if you're giving away a bunch of free balls, then you're making it much easier for the other team to score against you.
Mark Burik (00:58:58):
Yeah. I think there's a difference between free balls and Yep. And getting somebody uncomfortable. And I think we, I just practice against, uh, Nick Luc yesterday mm-hmm. , and it was fun studying him instead of competing against him in the past. I've always competed against him this time. I was just like, What do you do ?
Beth Van Fleet (00:59:19):
Mark Burik (00:59:20):
Yeah. And uh, I noticed that he's incredibly good at, well I've always known this, his, his hitting percentage is actually, we're not gonna say garbage, but it's not very good. He's never at the top of the avp, um, or the fiv b and hitting percentage, but he's always had tremendous blockers and tremendous defense. Yeah. So he makes next to no errors, you know, like him getting blocked is rare and he never hits out or into the net. Yeah. Um, but he puts teams in such an awkward position. I think that he had Phil for a while. Uh, he had Furby for a while and he, and, and Theo who's a monster blocker that he just got the other team in enough trouble where he could be in a better situation or he led them into his six nine guy that was just likedo. Yeah.
Beth Van Fleet (01:00:07):
Right. Get the ball to that guy. Yeah. No, I think that, uh, there's so much value in that. And I think one of the neat things with him working with Brook at fsu, like if you watch their team, you see that and how their, their athletes play too. Like they seek big risks, but they're very consistent. Like they'll, they are constantly taking risks in transition, but they don't make errors. They don't give you points, but they get you really uncomfortable.
Mark Burik (01:00:36):
Yeah. Yep. And that's grinding through an entire, I I, you know, I don't know how many matches you're playing in a row, but I've changed a little bit of my mentality where I, I never used to think that people actually got tired during beach volleyball tournaments. I was like, there's no way conditioning plays into it because of how I trained.
Beth Van Fleet (01:00:58):
Mark Burik (01:00:58):
You know, I, I went after it, I went hard and I, I never felt tired during matches ever. I was always the last guy like chest up looking around, like, why is everybody bent over right now? Yeah. Recent years with injuries and then comebacks from injuries, Then you're just like, Oh man, now I get what fatigue is, is doing to people. Yeah. And so teams used to serve Hudson really short, It serve him short and he would crush it for the first set, first set and a half, and then it would sort of like melt after that second half. But you had to wait a set and a half to see those results and then every team did it. So he just got crushed throughout the tournament so that even if you lose to him for the first match, you've put a couple of chinks in his armor. Yep. So if you, if you have to see him again, at least you gave him a good bloody, you know, .
Beth Van Fleet (01:01:52):
Yeah, right. , he's gonna be tired. Yeah. I think that's, um, and that's the scary part with the strategy, right? Like you're gonna serve him every ball, hoping that at some point he's gonna get tired, but if he doesn't ever get tired, then that strategy is not a very good strategy to use. Cause he is gonna be lighting you up.
Mark Burik (01:02:11):
Yeah. I think you gotta know that player. You can't always tell by like their body what condition they look in. Right. But, um, some people look terribly out of shape and they just play you super efficient, you know?
Beth Van Fleet (01:02:24):
Mark Burik (01:02:26):
But that, yeah, that whole fatigue is now something that I invest in not because of even the current match, but because of the second time I might see them in a tournament after pool play for those people who are paying pool play. Like yeah, knock them out now they'll pay for it later in the tournament when you wanna beat them in playoffs.
Beth Van Fleet (01:02:43):
Absolutely. And I think that's one of the, one of the interesting things in the college space is the most that will play in a day is three dues. Whereas professionally, I think you might play like sometimes qualifiers are like four or five rounds for men I think. Right? Like it's pretty deep. But the difference is in college is most of our events, our 4, 5, 6 play the first round and our 1, 2, 3 play the second. So you're cheering as loud as you can, as hard as you can for someone for an hour and you're playing for an hour. So it's like six hours of output with regard to energy and emotion. And it's really interesting to me how petit that is because we get that every year. You'll watch these kids play in juniors and they'll play the sixteens division in the morning and the eighteenths division in the afternoon and they've just played 10 matches in a day and they're fine. Like, they're like you, like, they're like, Why did everybody tired? You know? And then you get to college and you're like, It's only three, but trust me, it's, there's no easy games and you have, and you support your team for the other time that you're not playing. So it's like a, a two hour event and then you get a little bit of a, a break and then you run it again.
Mark Burik (01:04:01):
Yeah, think we should train more like that. You know, like cart I was talking to, Oh shoot, who was they talking to? Oh, Dan b Blaton. Um, and he was saying that like carts changed the way people trained. People used to be out there for six, seven hours. Karch was the first one to show up at 2030 balls and go for two and a half hours hard reps in a row. And everybody after him, he was the one, everybody after him started like training for that two, two and a half hour time block. But when you're in a tournament, especially AVP tournament, you have to play in the morning, then you take a two hour break, you have to restart the engine, then you take an hour break, you have to learn how to restart the engine. So I try to space out my workouts now so that like if I practice in the morning, I'm actually going to save my lift intentionally for the evening. Yeah. So that I can train to restart, you know, to, to get those engines going again. Do you think that that's how you should train? Or is that two to three hour block all in a row? Is that enough?
Beth Van Fleet (01:05:04):
I think a lot of the times, especially for people, like when I was playing on the avp, I had to work a real job as well, so I didn't have the luxury of, you know, being able to train in the morning and lift in the afternoon or whatever. So I think oftentimes it's what your time allows you to do. But if you have the ability to train, I know we've gotten to work with people from across the world and a lot of countries will train for an hour and then take two hours off and then go train for an hour again because that's almost exactly like a tournament. Mm-hmm. . And so if, you know, I think there's value in that and the way that we set up our training, like most of the college teams will do exactly what you do. So they'll lift or condition in the morning and then they'll practice in the afternoon so that you are in that habit of kind of on and off.
And then as we get closer to our season, just like you, you know, I'm sure just like you guys do as well, like when you're playing other tournaments, that's the best type of training for a tournament is on and off and on and off. But I think it's really helpful. I think it's really important to have the same routine. So you might have your, your first game day warmup of the morning and that might be a lot more intense than your, um, subsequent games. But to have that workout or that that routine before you play be the same. So if it's gonna be 15 minutes, this is how, this is what we're doing in those 15 minutes and that's structured and it's similar then that I think triggers your body for that same kind of output for, for an event or for a match.
Mark Burik (01:06:40):
It stinks, I think for a lot of people that they don't, you don't have that time, you know, the, the world is real, unfortunately. Yeah. so you always, it's like 75 hard, there's that challenge that makes you work out twice a day. That's not easy for people. Yeah. But even if they did do, you know, like one of their practices or one of their lifts and then find 15 minutes or 20 minutes to restart your engine somehow, like later in the day, whether it's a quick, uh, interval sprint, like 80%, 90%, something that teaches you that once as a volleyball player, once it's not enough.
Beth Van Fleet (01:07:20):
Mark Burik (01:07:21):
Beth Van Fleet (01:07:22):
Yeah. You don't wanna only play one time in a day. That's never a good thing .
Mark Burik (01:07:25):
Right. You know. Hmm. Okay. So Beth, as a player, as an MVP player, were there things that you were doing then that you look at as a coach now and you go, Ugh, I can't believe it took me this long. I can't believe I, I only learned this as a coach. You know, my players have such an advantage and if I had had that, I I would've been better.
Beth Van Fleet (01:07:52):
Yes and no. The complexity of offensive systems and defensive systems has developed so much since I played, but it all seems like common sense. So I don't know why we didn't figure it out then. I, like, I remember we would try to run plays where we were passing wide, like a lot of what the, um, the wide pass and the option play. Like we would play around with that in practice, but we never had the courage or maybe ball control to actually to run it in competition. Um, but I felt like when I was competing, I got really lucky and was able to work with some incredible coaches. And every single time I worked with a coach, I felt like I learned something new that I would be able to incorporate into my own practices for the next couple of weeks. And so I, I think like that commitment to learning is consistent and has been consistent, but it's just, it, it makes me kind of crazy.
Like when we played, we ran one of three defenses a hundred percent of the time. Like we didn't have any kind of variation. It was really tricky if we ran a back like , you know? And so I think now so many, so many systems have, you know, switched to Mimick a little bit more of the indoor offense of the zones one through five and the tempo with the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, like it is, I think for a long time as a player I was so excited of how messy beach could be that I, I just, I loved that. Like, I loved kind of seeing like, what can we get ourselves out of? Like how out of system can we be and still be successful because coming from an indoor background, you can't get outta system. Like if indoor, if your machine is not working, it's not successful. And so I think I may have been resistant for a while of really trying to be more methodical in the beach game, but that's what it's evolving to and I think it's a really fun way of doing it as well. Um, but yeah, so I'm just, when I look back at my career, we truly, like, we ran ones and twos and the two was the current day four. And then
Mark Burik (01:10:02):
So Oh, you never ran just a natural two ?
Beth Van Fleet (01:10:04):
No, no. Never would know we ran, I mean, yeah, we ran one in a four and then we had one play
Mark Burik (01:10:13):
Two. Unless you had a really short hitter that likes to bang. Yeah. That's the only time I'll too, when I know someone's too short or they can't jump high enough, but they want to. Right. You know, and they want to bang, I'm like, come on, you're gonna tape it. I'm gonna get a free ball.
Beth Van Fleet (01:10:30):
The natural two is good for the ego players I think. Yes, yes. Um, but yeah, we like, we felt like we were really ahead of the curve because we had one defense that we intentionally doubled up and we're like, Ooh, this is gonna, And it is crazy how many times we would score when we would double up on our defense and that at that time we never thought, Hey, let's see how we can develop this in other ways. But like, it got really fancy. We have three defenses instead of, um, so I think, I don't know, I think that's something just looking back, especially with how much time I committed to learning and trying to understand the game that it never occurred to me to kind of push some of those, those walls or push some of those barriers.
Mark Burik (01:11:21):
Were you getting coached at that time or was that just all self discovery?
Beth Van Fleet (01:11:25):
So I would generally save money and get coach every couple weeks. But I had, I had the opportunity to work with Todd Maddox and he coached at the Bishop school in San Diego. And he was, he's, he lives in South Mission where I lived. And he was like, I'd be really interested in literally experimenting and seeing, you know, what it's like to coach a beach team cuz I've only ever coached indoor. And so my partner at the time, her name is Susanna Mano, she and I were like, Oh, oh,
Mark Burik (01:11:54):
I know Susanna.
Beth Van Fleet (01:11:55):
Yeah, we'll be your team. We'd be happy to be your team. And so he was amazing. We would train, he was a teacher, so we would train from 5 45 in the morning until like 7 45 so he could go to to school and we would just, we'd practice things and he'd be like, if something doesn't work, we'll throw it out and we'll change gears and do this. And so we got really lucky to get to work with him. And his approach to the entire game was don't let someone score on a bad shot. Like, if someone can hit a ball straight down, we're gonna give him that. And they're not, that's not a repeatable thing, but what's repeatable is bad shots. So we're gonna come up with ways to stop that. And so we just all kind of learned together and grew from there.
Mark Burik (01:12:41):
Beth Van Fleet (01:12:42):
Yeah, it was really, it was, it was those mornings, like when you can't feel your toes in the sand and the sun's coming up and you feel like, Okay, I'm already winning, like out here at Sunrise and this is gonna be a good day, ,
Mark Burik (01:12:55):
It's funny, uh, coming out to California like Hermosa and you feel like a champ, you know, you're like, All right, I'm going out for a 7:00 AM practice and like I'm before a ripped dude just on his 10th mile already going. And you're like, What? Like, I thought I was the hard worker here, , and there's, and they're everywhere. Everybody's just everywhere out getting
Beth Van Fleet (01:13:19):
Mark Burik (01:13:20):
Shit and ripped and just doing it before work.
Beth Van Fleet (01:13:22):
Yeah. It's, it's such, I loved living in Southern California just for the, like there's, it's vibrant. Like there's always people out. Work was important, but I really felt like people would work from nine to five. Like at 5 0 5, this strand and the beaches are packed and people are outside enjoying the weather, enjoying the, the sand and the sun. So I loved, and I, I fully, fully understand the, I'm out here to get my work done and there's 10 people that are working harder than me. And that's not what I came here to feel.
Mark Burik (01:13:55):
. Right. What do you miss the least about California?
Beth Van Fleet (01:14:00):
Oh, that is a great question. I don't actually, I don't think there was anything that I, I didn't love about being there. Like, I can't say traffic because Atlanta traffic is equal to whatever is in California. So I feel like I just, that was like horizontal move. I, like, I definitely missed being far away from my family when I was on the West Coast. Like that was hard. Okay. So that would probably be, that would probably be the answer. But I just, I had such a wonderful chapter of my life, um, getting to live out there and, and explore the entire world of professional beach volleyball. It was so much fun.
Mark Burik (01:14:36):
Yeah, cool. I had a, I had somebody who grew up in the southeast, moved out, made a bunch of money, like did, did really well. And then he just, he started saying like, it's too fleeting. He goes, like, every, every one of your group of friends, he's like, in Little Rock, Arkansas, if somebody leaves your volleyball group, there's like this hole that can't be filled.
Beth Van Fleet (01:14:59):
Mark Burik (01:15:00):
You know, and it, but he goes, in California, somebody literally moves out of the state permanently and they're kind of just replaced by another guy and you kind of miss him, but then boom. So he, he just didn't feel like the, the bonding and the tightness of community, um, was strong enough for him on the, on the beaches of Southern California, like the beach communities just because there's so many tourists or like four or five year people coming in that it's so transient, I guess you could say.
Beth Van Fleet (01:15:31):
Yeah. I, but I, but that's also I think why people move out there because like we all moved out there for selfish reasons to pursue something that was important to us and be, when you're in that mindset of, of doing something that's like, like chasing your dream. You're not there necessarily to make a bazillion connections. But I feel, I've always felt like the vol, the beach volleyball community is really tight knit. And, and I still have friends that I made in San Diego that I'm, I get to go back every summer, I'm so excited to go see them, but I, I can, I can see that, that it's maybe less, um, substantial friendships are, or connections that you make, but I feel like, you know, a lot more people out there in the vol, maybe that's what it is in Little Rock, Arkansas, there's maybe only 10 people in the volleyball community and in California there's a thousand people . Right. Um, so,
Mark Burik (01:16:26):
You know, you, you can like, you can avoid the people that you don't like, like, you know, in certain towns, like the Steph, especially the town that I, that I grew up in the summers, like the guy that you didn't like, he's gonna be in your friend group for the next 20 years. So like, just get used to him and deal with it. And there's something good about that. There's something wholesome about, you know, not just parting or being able to avoid that or that person.
Beth Van Fleet (01:16:50):
You have to work with the work with the tension. You have to grow up around that. I think that's important. Yeah.
Mark Burik (01:16:56):
Okay. Well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna wrap you up with a, with a few kinda rapid fire questions. So I want you to, Okay. I've never done this before, but I want you to, to see if we can, can do it.
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:05):
Mark Burik (01:17:06):
So always think of the fastest, easiest, or most common, or the number of of times that you utilize this.
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:15):
Mark Burik (01:17:16):
Fastest way to fix someone's passing.
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:19):
Don't try to fix it. Give them a new way to do it.
Mark Burik (01:17:23):
. So vague. Okay. Fastest way to fix somebody's setting. Okay.
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:27):
Wait. The fastest way to fix someone's passing is have them hold their platform until the setter touches
Mark Burik (01:17:32):
The ball. So I'm looking for more like cues, specifically something that you can use and specifically something that
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:38):
You can I got you.
Mark Burik (01:17:38):
I got you. You know, like technique, a blanket thing where if you could give the most effective Yeah. Fix for looking at a thousand people blind and it would fix the most people's issues, you know, . Okay. Okay. So
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:54):
I'm ready to go now we'll go back to question one.
Mark Burik (01:17:57):
All right. Passing fix
Beth Van Fleet (01:17:58):
Form early. Hold late.
Mark Burik (01:18:00):
Form early, hold late. It's, it's always interesting to me the form early thing because there's so many high level players and coaches that, that have said, you know, I grew up in the keep your hands apart until the last second. Don't form like in the middle and, and then twist outside. And then, you know, even Dustin Watten, who's got some great online programs, National team Liber, he said that the best advice that he got was from John's Spra who was saying, Put your hands together as late as possible. Mm-hmm. . And for me personally, when I make the fix of getting my hands together, literally before serve contact, I have my best steadiest passing days. And so I give that advice to my players. Like, I would rather if we're talking about like firearms, right? Would you wait until this object is three feet from your face before pulling your thing out of your holster and shooting it? Or would you set up your firearm and wait for a thing to be shot and then get it as early as you can.
Beth Van Fleet (01:19:00):
Yeah, that makes sense. I think also just for the beach, because you want the ball to slow down, the more still your platform is, the more you can absorb. If you're making your platform at the last second, you the most elite athletes are, it's a, that's a different discussion. But if I'm looking at a thousand people and I'm telling them to form late, most of them are gonna swing their arms into the ball. Okay.
Mark Burik (01:19:26):
Cool. All right. Uh, setting
Beth Van Fleet (01:19:29):
To help someone improve their setting. Mm-hmm. platform or hand setting? Which one?
Mark Burik (01:19:34):
Let's go hands,
Beth Van Fleet (01:19:36):
Hands high early.
Mark Burik (01:19:38):
It's high early. Okay. Like up above your head or like positioned by face or above forehead. How?
Beth Van Fleet (01:19:45):
Pouring a two liter of Coca Cola on your forehead.
Mark Burik (01:19:49):
Nice. Okay. Attacking
Beth Van Fleet (01:19:51):
Hard step clothes
Mark Burik (01:19:52):
Like aggress pop. Okay. And then the last one I'll go is, uh, floor defense. So ground defense.
Beth Van Fleet (01:20:00):
Mark Burik (01:20:01):
Yeah. So not like block blockers.
Beth Van Fleet (01:20:04):
Oh, okay. And how to make someone better at that.
Mark Burik (01:20:07):
Yep. Blanket statement.
Beth Van Fleet (01:20:10):
Know what your priorities are.
Mark Burik (01:20:12):
Could you elaborate on that?
Beth Van Fleet (01:20:13):
Yes. So in every defense you have a primary responsibility and a secondary responsibility, and you wanna make sure you're taking those two. If you're trying to take all of the possibilities, you are not going to make any plays. And so I think it's really important to know what you must take, like what is going to piss off your partner if you don't dig that ball. And then what you should get and then know what you're leaving.
Mark Burik (01:20:39):
I love that. I love that so much. You see so many, I would say young and fiery players, but you see the same 40, 50, and 60 year old players who they get so pissed every time they lose a point. Yeah. And then you see an AVP player who claps once after a clean kill and resets it and they kind of, you know, wave a hand at their partner and they're okay with it knowing that the other team is supposed to score the majority of the time.
Beth Van Fleet (01:21:08):
. Yeah, absolutely. And you're just cataloging. So they got that clean kill. They know they got the clean kill, they know, you know, they got the kill. What are they gonna do next?
Mark Burik (01:21:18):
Mm-hmm. . Yep. You didn't lose a point. You gained information. Absolutely.
Beth Van Fleet (01:21:24):
So well said. So well said.
Mark Burik (01:21:26):
Thank you. Thank you. Been on air for a while now. . Cool. So is there any other, uh, advice or, you know, if you had a billboard for volleyball, players, coaches, or club directors that you would just put up for the entire world to see? Is, is there anything that you would share for any coach, director, or player out there?
Beth Van Fleet (01:21:54):
If I had billboard, it would say lift each other up. And I think that this community does an incredible job of sharing knowledge and sharing information for the greater good. Now, obviously we all have our little secrets and magic tricks that we don't necessarily want to put out there for everyone to know, but I think the more that we're willing to share, and this was something from my experience playing, and now my experience coaching, there'd be so many times that we would be competing or training and I would play with people that were way better than me. And they'd stop and they'd be like, Hey, you're moving too early when you're running this defense. And then someone would be like, Why would you tell her that? Don't you wanna win? And the person would be like, No, I wanna get better. I'm not necessarily here to win in training. I wanna get better in training so I can win in games. And so I think when we take the time to lift each other up and help everybody be better, we, we all improve whether it's as people or as athletes or as coaches.
Mark Burik (01:22:52):
That's really cool. And I, I've been in that situation, it's, you know, sometimes I'll, I'll use it as smack, smack talk with with friends. Yeah. , you know, I'll use it as smack talk. I'll like before the hit. Oh yeah. Too early, you know? Yeah. Um, but then other times I'll let them know because if I'm playing a worse skill team, I need them to upgrade. So it's not necessarily me being nice. I won't, I won't lie. Like I need them to upgrade their defense quickly if I'm gonna train against them so that I get challenged. Appropriate. Yeah. Absolut. But, uh, I'm not, I'm not gonna go ahead and tell Nick and John like, and you were too early again, I saw you leaning like .
Beth Van Fleet (01:23:32):
Yeah. They may not, they may not need those pointers, but I, I think it's, uh, I think it's really helpful when we share information and that's something like in our practices at Georgia State, that we encourage people to speak through the net to help each other. We definitely have games where you have to heckle and talk smack so that you get used to it in, um, real competition as well. But I think also that might be the difference in the men's game and the women's game, kind of how you said women, one of the turn offs was to be mean to somebody on the other side of the net. Right. Whereas men talking smack to somebody on the other side of that is a fun way to fire each other up. But I think that we can still share information in those mediums.
Mark Burik (01:24:09):
Do you think, I just made a big post about this, about like, uh, smack talk and getting chippy with other teams and I love it. I think it's fun. Yeah. I think fans enjoy seeing it. And then there is that school, a whole section of people that say there's no place for it. That it should be your skill, your sport. In my mind, when I really think about it, like, should, should you be jerks to each other? No. You should challenge each other. And I think that that's appropriate. That's also what I grew up with was a, just a ton of, of sarcasm and constant challenge. But like the people who I challenged the most, I actually loved the most in my life. Right. You know, so that was the norm for me. But whether or not you think it belongs in my mind, you have to be prepared for it, for the sport and the world. Because if you can't, if if words break your bones, you know, that sticks and stones are for sure gonna break em.
Beth Van Fleet (01:25:09):
Yeah, absolutely. I think people love seeing personality, you know, and I think it's fun when you're watching and teams get a little Mac talky, but then a couple plays later they might high five or help each other up under the net, you know? So I think getting to see the person and not just the player is really, I think that's super attractive to fans. And sometimes that is maybe not someone's best side or sometimes it's their, you know, cocky side or sometimes maybe it's the humble side. But I think getting to see who the person is as a player is really fun. But absolutely, you know, if you know you're gonna play against a team that's gonna talk a lot, it's really important to practice that. And I think across the board for colleges, we all do, we, you know, when you're gonna play a really loud team and we'll set up games where, where one of the roles is heckling and you have to hug it out afterwards or high five it out or whatever your choice of washing it out is. But
Mark Burik (01:26:05):
To get ugly Yeah. That's
Beth Van Fleet (01:26:06):
That's one of the roles is you have to sit on the sideline and you either scream like crazy for your team or you tell the other team how terrible their decision making might be. Mm-hmm. , because if the first time you're exposed to anything is in competition, it's way too hard to figure out how to handle it at that point.
Mark Burik (01:26:22):
Yeah. And I think people do need some situation where safely they can learn a lesson that they have to tell somebody else when to shut up. Like when enough is enough. That to me is something valuable for life. You have to be able to, at some point stand up for yourself. You have to be able to at some point hear negative stuff about yourself and keep moving forward. Mm-hmm. and then it's up to you at like how you wanna react to it, whether you wanna ignore it or put a stop to it. Yeah. Both of them are tactics, but that's a, it's a whole world within itself. Yeah.
Beth Van Fleet (01:26:57):
Or I think sometimes the best way to diffuse hecklers is to laugh at it cuz there are some amazing heckers. Yeah. Great. And it's, it's so much fun to watch and you know, sometimes you'll see the players engage with it a little bit and kind of play with people heckling on the side and, and I think that's, I don't know, that's fun to watch as long as the, the athlete can manage that without getting derailed from the game plan. Mm-hmm.
Mark Burik (01:27:20):
. Yeah. There's, there's a line of, of hecklers, it's like if you choose to heckle, you're choosing to be a standup comedian, you know, essentially. Right. You know, and there are standup comedians, they get booed off the stage. Yeah. You know, like there are terrible comedians out there . So I do really appreciate the good heckers and the bad ones. It's just like, man, you're really more embarrassing yourself, you
Beth Van Fleet (01:27:44):
Know? Right, right. I just, I feel bad for you at this moment, ,
Mark Burik (01:27:48):
And that's a great thing to turn around and say to them. .
Beth Van Fleet (01:27:51):
Yeah, . Yeah. No, I think, I think it's fun. And I think some of the most well known players that were not playing at the very top of the AVP are well known because of their personalities. And I think that's one of the, one of, again, another unique thing about our sport, being as small as it as it is and as accessible as it is, I think getting to, to connect with someone's personality as a fan or a friend or family member, a really neat thing to do.
Mark Burik (01:28:23):
Do you think, I, I've debated this back and forth. Do you think that the person who exists on the court is indicative of who they are off the court in a regular situation? Or can they exist completely separate? You know, can you be an absolute jerk on the court and you would never react like that in a real life situation or, you know, with family or, you know, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, et cetera?
Beth Van Fleet (01:28:52):
Wow. I, yes, I think that you will see it's very rare, but I think there are some people that can absolutely have an onstage or an on court persona that only exists in that space. I don't, yeah, I don't think it's common. I think if you're a jerk, you're a jerk and you'll be a jerk with your friends and families and you'll be a jerk on the court. But I definitely, like, I can think of one person that I got to play against that I knew really well off the court and she would behave on the court and I was, was like, I don't even think I know you. And she would never show a glimpse of that under pressure or under stress or intention outside of playing.
Mark Burik (01:29:34):
Mm. Yeah. I always think of actors, you know, like I I I do things sometimes of sport as, as acting. There are some people who, and Janelle, my wife's a, a a stunt woman, so she like gets to interact with a lot of actors and actresses and she's like, they are the exact same person that they are on camera. Like they don't change
Beth Van Fleet (01:29:55):
Mark Burik (01:29:56):
At all. And then some of them, they're like, it's crazy how different they are from their characters or how different, like John Malkovich who always plays some kind of side Oh yeah. Um, he's like, she's like, he was the sweetest old man and he like asked me how my day was going. Like he stopped me and he said, Hey, how are you? These snacks are great, aren't they? You know, . Oh
Beth Van Fleet (01:30:16):
My goodness. That's amazing. Yeah. No, I think, I think it is, I think that's such a great comparison, Mark. Like there's certainly, it is a stage and it is a performance for a lot of people and they can have very private lives off the court that have nothing to do with how bold or big they may be, um, in competition. Yeah. I'd love to see it. The John Melich of beach volleyball
Mark Burik (01:30:40):
, who, who do you think is the farthest person, guy or girl professional player right now from who you would assume or know they are off court? Like where do you see the biggest,
Beth Van Fleet (01:30:54):
I don't know a ton of professional players right now. I think I probably have to start there. Okay. But like the person that resonate, like the person that I immediately think of from when I played is Dana Camacho. Like . He was this
Mark Burik (01:31:08):
Care. How does he get into every volleyball conversation 20 years later? ?
Beth Van Fleet (01:31:13):
Yeah. Because of his, because of the personality. But then like off the court, he like loved organizing and like, it was just a comp. I remember listening to him talk about organizing a closet once and I was, I was baffled,
Mark Burik (01:31:28):
Cleanest individual I have ever lived with. I lived with him for
Beth Van Fleet (01:31:32):
A summer. Oh, there you go. There you
Mark Burik (01:31:34):
Go. Ate like a bird. He would have literally a quarter of a grilled cheese sandwich, like for his lunch. I was like, what the hell? .
Beth Van Fleet (01:31:42):
But like that's exactly what we're talking about though, right? Yeah. Like he's very different from one to the other. I think women that I played with Alicia Poleson, like she was a huge personality. She's a huge personality in general, but on the court she was very aggressive. She would, she would laugh some but in person, like she's wildly creative. She sews clothes and just has like this whole other side of her that is much more nurturing and calm than the person she was on the court.
Mark Burik (01:32:13):
Beth Van Fleet (01:32:14):
She punted a lot of volleyballs. That was fun. ,
Mark Burik (01:32:19):
Do you let your players punt?
Beth Van Fleet (01:32:21):
No. No. We've had one person punted when there's not a lot of punting in the college game. Right.
Mark Burik (01:32:27):
At practice. Do you let them
Beth Van Fleet (01:32:29):
We would have to practice. Like you would have to be a respectable punter if you were gonna actually get to punt a ball. That might actually be like fun fall thing to do.
Mark Burik (01:32:40):
Practice. If you punt it, it better hit the ceiling .
Beth Van Fleet (01:32:43):
Yeah. Yeah. It's gotta go over the
Mark Burik (01:32:45):
Fence. Right? That's, yeah. I think that's a good rule. If you're gonna, if you're gonna punt, you know, there was one guy in Jersey for years, he would always punt a ball. He would, Yeah. Like anger. But he was just a great guy. You would see him winding up for a punt. Yeah. And the key is that if you were able to block his punt , everybody on your court had to buy you a beer so people would like see him like start getting fired up and you'd like really pay attention during the tournament. Which
Beth Van Fleet (01:33:17):
Angle is it coming from? How many die
Mark Burik (01:33:19):
? Great role.
Beth Van Fleet (01:33:22):
Yeah. Hunting. I, you know, I haven't seen a good punt in a while in beach volleyball, but I think college is a lot more reserved than the, the pro space. I probably need to get back out to the beaches in southern California for some punting action.
Mark Burik (01:33:37):
Yeah. I like a good punt every now and then. Yeah. It happens less frequently, but yeah.
Beth Van Fleet (01:33:41):
Mark Burik (01:33:41):
I still enjoy it. Cool. Hey Beth, um, this is great talk so easy.
Beth Van Fleet (01:33:47):
Yeah, thank you so much. It spend fun getting to, uh, learn, learn from you and answer some questions. Uh, and I've really enjoyed it. Yeah. Easy conversation. Yeah,
Mark Burik (01:33:58):
It was easy.
Beth Van Fleet (01:33:59):
The internet didn't always work with us, but the conversation was flowing.
Mark Burik (01:34:04):
Hey, you know, we, we saw we overcame.
Beth Van Fleet (01:34:07):
Yep. . Yeah, absolutely. Very
Mark Burik (01:34:10):
Good. Uh, is there anything else, any projects or any websites or anything that you're doing or something that, that anybody should just like, be paying attention to that you're involved with that you wanna share? Um, while, while we're still here,
Beth Van Fleet (01:34:22):
Nothing that I think I'm able to endorse. . Okay. Um, but thank you for asking that question. I really appreciate that.
Mark Burik (01:34:29):
Yeah, of course. Um, and, uh, you guys can always go ahead and follow her. Her links are below, you could check out Georgia State University, beach volleyball, of course, American, uh, the bca, American Volleyball Coaches Association. And you can check out her as she leads the future of the sport as well as the current, You know, you're one of the most powerful personalities, uh, in, in our sport right now, now and it, it hides. Uh, but thank you so much for, for your service in the direction that you've given the sport.
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:04):
Oh, thank you. And I, again, I'm just super grateful, uh, to be in the sport. I think, again, going back to a story about my dad, when I decided to move to San Diego to play beach volleyball, he's like, This is the worst financial decision of your life, . And at the time I told him it wasn't a financial decision, it was a life decision. I had no idea that college coaching for beach volleyball was ever gonna be a thing. And it's just crazy how life works out when you trust your inner voice and you follow it.
Mark Burik (01:35:33):
I like that. That's your billboard right there.
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:36):
That's my billboard.
Mark Burik (01:35:37):
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:37):
Hearing your inner voice do as it says.
Mark Burik (01:35:40):
Yep. Coach Beth,
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:43):
Thank you so much, Mark, it's been great getting to chat with
Mark Burik (01:35:46):
You. Thank you, same here. Appreciate
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:48):
Your time. A wonderful evening.
Mark Burik (01:35:49):
All right, will do. You too. And we'll talk soon.
Beth Van Fleet (01:35:52):