Craig Lenniger (00:00:00):
Someone really smarter than me said, if you're gonna be the boss, be the dumbest person in the room. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and better than you, and you're gonna be successful. And I've always attempted to do that. I always like to surround myself with people who know more than me or know something different than me. And I let them go and do their jobs. You know, a lot of times people micromanage or I have to do this after that, don't do that. Or on the coaching levels, I see a lot of assistant coaches that aren't allowed to talk. You know, they get in their timeouts and they have a little thing, especially in the high school levels, you know, they're just there. Toss balls. And sometimes they don't even do that well, but they ideas, you know? And the coach is like, no, no, no, you can't do that.
And I'm like, don't. Why do you have that person there? You know, everyone has a different opinion and they may see something different. So go do it. And or for coaching, you know, one of the things that I did with some of the clubs I work with is we have days where once a month the entire club gets together and we work with all the kids and the entire club we have from 12 to eighteens. The kids get together, we all train, and all the coaches come together. But before that, all the coaches get together and say, Hey, who's having an issue with a kit? So my eighteens coach may say, Hey, number four, outside hitter. You know, Mary Smith, I can't fix her feet. Something is wrong. I don't know what it is. Would you, from the sixteens, you're great with outside hitters. Can you watch her this Saturday and go work with her?
Mark Burik (00:01:20):
Love this. Love this.
Hey everybody, and welcome to the Better at Beach Volleyball Podcast. My name is Mark Burik, and if you're here, it's probably because in some way, shape, or form, you are trying to get better at beach volleyball. We teach people how to get better playing coaching. And today we have a really interesting conversation because we have somebody who's played, who's coached, and who has come from the organizational side. So all of these tournaments and and regional activities, regional events, building with academies now and all the way up until almost government level where he is working, uh, with Flagler County Parks and Rec. He's somebody who's seeing all sides of it. So this is a conversation that you guys are gonna be interested in, if you like, organizing events, if you see people failing or you think people could do better from the organizational side. And maybe you're wondering why, what's so difficult about getting things done in terms of tournament organization and putting on big events. So from a player side, from a coach side, from an organizer side, this is going to be a great episode. He's currently the director of beach volleyball for DME Academy, uh, down in Florida. And he is, like we said, the Flagler County Parks and Rex department. He's a special event coordinator there. And he's been managing sports and recreation programs for the past six years. And I want to welcome with a big open heart. Craig Lenniger. What's going on man?
Craig Lenniger (00:02:52):
Hey, how are you? Good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Mark Burik (00:02:54):
Absolutely. It's so fun for me to see it like different size of sports cuz we, we interview a lot of players, right? We interview a lot of, most of the coaches we talk to are former players and current coaches. And then we also get a lot of the players. But for me personally, my, I love the interest in the business side of it, the organization side of it, teaching or, or showing people how to direct events and how to create those. Maybe this conversation steers towards helping some of those people who do want to see more events in their own area and what ways they can actually develop that, grow it, what steps they could take. And I know from an organizational side that you're, you're gonna be a master at this .
Craig Lenniger (00:03:39):
Yeah, a little bit done. One or two events in my lifetime. So .
Mark Burik (00:03:43):
Yeah. One or two to put it lightly. Yeah. So let's go. I'm gonna pick a random year in the past, right? Let's, let's go to, uh, 2002. Okay. What were you doing in volleyball and for sports organization?
Craig Lenniger (00:03:56):
In, in, that was a while ago, , I think years ago, I think I was in Virginia Beach, I think a time running Tidewater volleyball Association. I had worked for USA volleyball, I graduated college, worked for USA volleyball, I did Nike VO van where I traveled across the country. And it was 90,000 miles, 50,000 kids, 20,000 coaches. I taught 'em the sport of volleyball. I lived out of a van for 340 days a year. And then seven days I went to A B, C A in the final four. And then I saw mom for a week at Christmas, , that was, uh, that was two years. And then moved out to California, did the C B V A thing for a while, the Nav Ventura, and then moved back to Virginia Beach area and started Tidewater vo. Well started cause we're working for them. Came in as a juniors coordinator. And my very first day was our juniors meeting, and the executive director said, Hey, by the way, I put my resignation in and I'm gonna suggest you become Executive directors organization. I was like, day, day one. Yeah. Day one. Literally on, we, I drove into town, we had breakfast in the morning and she broke the news of the morning of, um, the person who had just hired me, who I I'd made friends with and planning on work with. She goes, I'm resigning and you're probably gonna be boss. Okay,
Mark Burik (00:05:06):
Craig Lenniger (00:05:07):
So it went, it was a very big change. I'm very appreciative of it, but it was kind of going in and, you know, there was a lot of hurdles when you go someplace and you're new and no one knows who you are and, and you kind of have, they're set in their ways. And the biggest thing I challenged there was, that's not how we do it. That's not how we've done it in the past. Why do you wanna do it that way? We don't do it. And then to my answer is, why not change it? Just because it works doesn't mean it's the best way of doing things. If we never changed anything, we'd still be, you know, driving cars with, you know, wooden wheels or horse and buggy visit work. It didn't make it, you know, cars are better and they keep moving or phones or, you know, now we can look at our watches and have conversations on our watch.
So we've gotta grow in advance and get bigger and better. And some people didn't like it, but the one thing I always believed in is making everything fair and equivalent. And there weren't favorites. People that I wound up becoming friends with, they always had the toughest draw or the toughest day. Not because I was being mean to them, but because I wanted to do everything fair. So people didn't think I ever played favorites or I didn't, you know, mess with pools so that my friend has an easy pool and they get out to the playoffs or, you know, better at a tv a we had a lot of leagues and there was issues with the schedules and, you know, you play two nights, two matches a night, and first match was six o'clock, last match was 10 o'clock at night. So people weren't getting done till 11 o'clock at night playing indoor volleyball.
And they're always weird things with schedules and with breaks and buys and different things. So I went in and changed all the schedules and instead of assigning teams to a position, we had a captain's meeting and we drew numbers basically out of a ping pong balls out of a big PVC tube that I kind of made. I'm like a lottery drawing type thing. So I couldn't control who was playing where at what times. And it was really funny because there was one gentleman who was really mad at his schedule and I said, all right, if you can make it better and fit in the same time slots that we have and your schedule works out, I'll change it. And
Mark Burik (00:07:08):
You kind of, I love this response because you can complain about stuff or you can offer solutions and yeah man, always we see 99%, 99.9% complainers with zero solutions. So, you know, a complaint is part of what's gonna change something. Yeah. And it needs to exist, but after a while for the third time you've complained without offering any better ideas or without stepping up to the plate and saying, Hey, I'd like to be an organizer. You know, then sit down because it's,
Craig Lenniger (00:07:38):
And being part of a, a successful organizer is challenging us people to make things better, but then listening to them when they come back with something better, don't just go, oh no, your idea's stupid, or your idea won't work, or, that's not better. Like his gentleman I was referring to, he came back and had a better schedule. So I said, okay, next week we're going your schedule. He was like, what? What do you mean? I'm like, your schedule's better. We're going to go with it. You've came up with something that's perfect. I'm happy with it. You're happy with it. If anyone complains, they're gonna tell 'em to go to you and they can yell at you cuz you made it. And we'll go from there.
Mark Burik (00:08:11):
But Craig, aren't you inferior for accepting somebody else's good idea instead of yours?
Craig Lenniger (00:08:16):
Yeah, no, I always, someone really smart than me said, if you're gonna be the boss, be the dumbest person in the room. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and better than you and you're gonna be successful. And I've always attempted to do that. I always like to surround myself with people who know more than me or know something different than me and I let them go and do their jobs. You know, a lot of times people micromanage or I have to do this after that, don't do that. Or on the coaching levels, I see a lot of assistant coaches that aren't allowed to talk. You know, they get in their timeouts and they have a little thing, especially in the high school levels, you know, they're just, there, toss balls. And sometimes they don't even do that well, but they have ideas, you know, and the coach is like, no.
Like, no, no, no, you can't do that. And I'm like, then why do you have that person there? Right. You know, everyone has a different opinion and they may see something different, so go do it. And or for coaching, you know, one of the things that I did with some of the clubs I work with is we have days where once a month the entire club gets together and we work with all the kids and the entire club we had from 12 to eighteens, the kids get together, we all train, and all the coaches come together. But before that, all the coaches get together and say, Hey, who's having an issue with a kit? So my eighteens coach may say, Hey, number four outside hitter, you know, Mary Smith, I can't fix your feet. Something is wrong. I don't know what it is. Would you, from the sixteens, you're great with outside hitters, can you watch her this Saturday and go work with her?
Mark Burik (00:09:38):
Love this, love this.
Craig Lenniger (00:09:41):
One of those things where you have these coaches, especially at club or in beach, whatever it is, you know, you have these programs with 15 or 20 coaches, but they always get so microfocused on their team or their two kids or whatever they wind up doing. And you have a kid, and especially some programs that coaches get so possessive of the kids, they coach 'em from twelves to eighteens and they never get better. You know, they kind of have the same thing. They always hear the same words, there's nothing different coming out. Why not let the people you work with or your're friends with, coach kids and have them look at 'em and say, Hey, I can't figure this out. Can you please come help? Right.
Mark Burik (00:10:16):
Because people are so afraid that that makes 'em look inferior or looks incapable. See this? So I've, from a personal story, I've, I've coached I think three different Olympians, kids in volleyball mm-hmm. and like, okay, I've never gotten to go to the Olympics. They clearly know what they're talking about, but you know, they, they kind of sit in the back of the lesson and when, you know, daughter's eyes like light up and like, oh yeah, that works mm-hmm. . And you know, dad's back there rolling his eyes because he's like, I told you that a thousand times, but you just need to hear it from somebody different or in a slightly different way. I mean, even my wife, I've told her a few different pieces of advice for, for passing in for defense. And then she came one of our camps and uh, I put her on JM plumber's court. Yeah. And she's like, oh, like this really works. And I'm like pulling my hair out. . But you need to hear it. Yeah. From a different person or in a slightly different like, worded way to make it make sense.
Craig Lenniger (00:11:13):
It's more in a different tone or just someone that's different. It's out there. And it might be a, just a different way of explaining it where, you know, instead of saying, you know, make sure your platform is level, you say thumbs down when you pass. So, and now they have a new focus and they go, oh, that's how my platform gets level. That's what they've been talking about. Or, you know, rolling your shoulders, whatever it winds up being. You know, here's a different way of saying, or someone's exact same thing, show me the exact same form, but the words are associated different and the kids relate to it different. So that's important, you know? And the other thing I find is that coaches are so possessive, they're afraid they're gonna lose kids to another club. And I've always told kids, try out for every club you can, whether it's on the beach, whether it's indoors, whatever it wind up going to go find the best fit for you. I believe I'm a really good coach's,
Mark Burik (00:11:58):
Craig Lenniger (00:11:59):
Mark Burik (00:11:59):
With me. You think the kids should try out for multiple clubs.
Craig Lenniger (00:12:02):
Why, why not? I mean, what's the harm in it If you, if you don't relate to your coach, what's the harm in going and playing for another coach that you relate to better?
Mark Burik (00:12:11):
Why not? And do 'em all. You're gonna do it. If you, if you plan to play in college, you're gonna interview and go visit, you know, different colleges. Why wouldn't you do that in a club? You're gonna spend so much time with that club. You better like it. That's, I've never even, why haven't I even even heard of people doing that?
Craig Lenniger (00:12:27):
It, it's, some of it is possession and some of it now is financial gains. And I understand people are in it to make money and stuff, but I'm in it for the love of the game and I, I want the kids to get better. You know, when I started the high performance program in North Carolina, you know, way back in the day when I came outta u s a volleyball, we had kids coming from all over the state and training and they said, well, why don't we make a team and play together? We're so good. We're going out and finishing second third in high performance championships, but we're coming from all over the state of North Carolina. And that's how some of the bigger clubs were formed. But then it was, Hey, let's go figure out how can we do this? How can we train with different coaches and different people?
And we always told the kids, go play for whoever you wanna play for. You have to learn to relate. And the other thing I see a lot of times is, especially in, in the volleyball world, unless you're going to a, you know, Florida or Stanford or ucla, you're probably gonna have two coaches in your college career. Mm-hmm. , you know, coaches aren't staying there for a long period of time. If you have one coach from the time you're 12 to the time you're 18, and then you only know how to relate to that person or deal with that person, you go to college and you're like, oh, this is the greatest thing. And then after you get the coach, like, peace out, I'm, I'm going someplace else. Yeah. You know, especially on beach with all the opportunities going now there's, you know, coaches are going all over the place and you know, they're doing what they love and trying to better themselves. You can't blame them per se, but you've gotta learn to play for different people and different reactions. So go someplace that you feel comfortable and you're proud to wear. You know, those letters on your chest, whatever it winds up being. And I'm not gonna be heard if you don't play for me, as long as you're having a good experience. Right. Go play. That's what I've always told everybody. I don't care where you play as long as you go play.
Mark Burik (00:14:10):
That's such a good, good thing to hear. Mm-hmm. , I just, I also know that as a, as a club director, people are thinking like they're losing in business if they allow a customer to kind of stray. And that's a bit of the problem. The issue that, that I kind currently see in Juniors sports is that you're losing customers, not players no matter what you say, you know, you're treating them as customers and if you treated them as players and you're like, oh, you're taking a private lesson with somebody outside the club, great. What did you learn from them? What are they saying different? You know? Mm-hmm. , we love hearing that. And in the beginning when I was running vo cam promosa here in, in Hermosa and you know, I heard some of our players were taking a private lesson from somebody else. I was like, what?
Like, we're, we're not good enough. Like, like, well what the heck? You know, we've given you all these hours extra attention. And now I'm just like, cool. You absolutely should seek out different coaches, you know, there, you need to follow some sort of a, a path for a little while mm-hmm. , you can't try something for a day and say, well that didn't work. And, and then eject, but try different coaches because the combination of them is, is what's gonna bring power. That's why college coaches and, you know, N nfl, N B a have coaching staffs because you want people to hear a, a series of things or, or, or things said in different ways. But I've, I think it's real tough for, for a beach VO or any club director really to say like, yeah, you know what, go ahead person who might potentially gimme $4,000 this year. See if you want to give that money to somebody else, that's, that's a tough bill to swallow. I think for a lot of
Craig Lenniger (00:15:45):
Directors it is. And a lot of the things I tell to them is, if you provide the best product with the best coaching, the best services, the best education, you're gonna be full of kids and people and be looking for more coaches and people to come in. If you stay static in your coaching or static in your development, people are gonna go and look for something else. That's why you're losing kids. So don't look at it as I'm losing kids or I'm losing customers. Take that as a lesson as to how to make your coaching or your club better.
Mark Burik (00:16:15):
Fantastic. Fantastic answer. And we, we do this in sports, right? It's like, hey, don't focus on the result, focus on the process right now. Mm-hmm. , what are you doing? Is your passing getting better? Okay, you lost that match, but did you pass and set better? Like cuz that was your plan this month. Mm-hmm. , I think that's one of those, one of those few things where you take that direct translation from sport Sport into like the business side of it or the organizational life side
Craig Lenniger (00:16:42):
Of it. Yeah, I mean it's, you have to, you know, give the customers what they want. You know, if you go out to the beach and you, and you roll out some two by twos and you put 'em in the sand and you get a $10 net at Walmart and you have people draw lines in the sand, they're obviously probably not gonna come back and play your next event when you charge 'em 200 bucks in an entry fee. But if you charge 'em a hundred dollars and you have pro nets, antennas and nets are tied across, you have tape lines, you have music, you have ball markers, you have balls, you have everything that you need. People will come back to your event. So you can go cheap and do it. And I look at it in sports, there's a lot of, there's a lot of like road races or special events that come up and they see someone has a good idea.
Like look at color run. You know, color run is a great thing. And they had all these things and then next year there was color run, there was color me rad, there was color me, bright color me, different things. And everyone had a spinoff because they were trying to make it on that thing. So they went into business for two years, they made their money and then they realized that we didn't change anything. Everyone's been to a color mead or color me race, whatever it winds up being. So now no one wants to do it again. It's a one time, how often do you want to go get covered in paint? Mm-hmm. , you know, , you do it once, you know, like it's fun. Then you bring your friends. Yeah. Yeah.
Mark Burik (00:17:53):
Once every, once every two years would be enough for me. ,
Craig Lenniger (00:17:56):
You know, that's, that's the thing. But you know, you have to evolve. So you know this, the events that are successful, they're constantly evolving or they're, you know, you look at like Tough utter or some of these other events that are out there, rugged maniac, whatever they call 'em now, they'll change their ones that are out there, but they're constantly changing their elements. They're changing their skills that are on there. So, you know, one week it may be, you know, a straight across handlebars you have to go down the next time it's an angle, so it's like a roof. Sure. So there's always something different. So it's similar, but there's always gonna be something new and exciting going on.
Mark Burik (00:18:31):
It's kind of like the CrossFit games. Right. You know, you see, yeah. They, they could stick with the same physical and then just have a race, but just that taste of, they don't know what events are gonna be called until they're like at the start line, which is yeah, awesome. Crazy. Uh, but at least you know, doesn't provide that ancy. So there is that little bit of surprise, something different.
Craig Lenniger (00:18:53):
And it could be, you know, doing beach volleyball events. It may be just some swag that you're giving out. You have something new this year, so first year you're doing events, second year you have t-shirts with something cool on it. Third year you have a new T-shirt and you know, just something a little bit different or you've updated your net systems or you updated your antennas or the banners or you go from the old PVC pipe with the, you know, material covering it to a-frames to even having something as simple as an app to keep scoring. People aren't arguing over it. So it's live streaming, you know, results are up there. So for kids, grandma and grandpa wanna see scores. So if you have a system that's up there to keep scores and now grandma and grandpa can see it, or then you start adding your webcams or you're adding different streams on there.
So you're always evolving so people can see and you, you make it so everyone is en enjoying the sport, but there's always something new. And even if it's, you know, maybe you have a center court and you have someone that can talk and they're announcing as you're doing the live stream keeping score, someone putting a score on the bottom of it or you know, doing something so that people are able to see what's going on. You know, I watch a lot of volleyball from my friends that are playing and former athletes and you see them on their, you know, they're Facebook live or Instagram or live and no one knows the score. Someone's inevitably walking in front of them and talking and then people are hearing rumors and they're making stuff up or something inappropriate and you're like, oh no, sorry grandma, grandpa, you know, the beach, we know what happens . So you know, how do you fix that? How do you make that better? Especially for the kids.
Mark Burik (00:20:24):
I had had two, I had two AVP matches taken off of YouTube because two separate times at two different events mm-hmm. , uh, people were talking about some some dirty sex stuff. Yeah. And like I was like, wait, what? So, so I don't have a match filmed anymore. Like I didn't film my own match because I knew that it would be streaming a P'S like we'll give you the recording on the back end, but we
Mark Burik (00:20:48):
Can't post it. And I was like, what this happen?
Craig Lenniger (00:20:52):
You know, it happens all the time and people don't ever think about it. And it, it's, you know like when you're doing an events and you know a lot of the adult players and they go for the party atmosphere and they go for the after party and we have a lot of events that are sponsored by alcohol or you know, whatever it winds up being. But you can't put a 12 year old or 14 year old on a court sponsored by a local alcohol company. Mm-hmm. And a lot of tournaments don't think about that. They go out there and go, okay great, I have this seven figure sponsorship deal with a b, c alcohol company. Um, we're just gonna put all the nets up. But then you go put a 12 year old on it and mom and dad are like, Hey, why are my kids playing on the alcohol court?
And that's something that as an event organizer, you have to think about and be careful with announcements and careful with appearances. And it's one thing if a 12 year old kid looks up to some of their pro players, but then the pro players are sitting under the tents, you know, chugging beers in the middle of the event. So now you have a 12 year old trying to be like a pro player, you're like, oh, they're drinking. So when I get to be that old I can just start drinking. You know? So we have to help, you know, make sure that the image that we're sending is the right image. That we are professional athletes, that we are professional events. You know, we're not just a bunch of people running around in bikinis drinking beer, you know, I mean that's , you know, that's a lot of people see about it and make sure people are out there doing things.
So as an event organizer or as a tournament director, as a coach, I have to be responsible to do that and give that professional appearance. Like one of my pet peeves and now they're starting to go to it now is, is when I'm coaching or I'm running an event or setting up an event, I'm always dressed shorts, shirt, hat, you know, the whole nine yards. And I see a lot of these coaches that are going out there, the younger coaches just graduated from school. They're just starting their careers trying to make extra money. And they're young, they're attractive and they're coaching 16 year old girls in just shorts. They don't have a shirt on and they're out there. I understand it's hot, but that appearance is not what we want to give as professional coaches. We wanna make sure that we're giving that we're a professional coach.
You don't see an N F NFL coach in the middle of the field with the shirt off in the summer condition. You know, you don't see that in a gym. If the AC goes out, you know, the coach is out there, you know, he is, oh man, just you know, running out there. Just, you know, be professional for that hour or two. You're doing it when you're playing. Go and do what you want, but set that professional appearance. Or if you're a tournament director, you know, have your shirt on. Have things that are there. A lot of times I have a big funky hat a lot of people have seen. Yes. It's keeping sun off my head. But it's also so people can find me because how many times have you been in Oh yeah, yeah. To director and you're like, where is So and I, we haven't need a rules interpretation. Yeah. Look for
Mark Burik (00:23:23):
The pink flamingo. Yeah.
Craig Lenniger (00:23:25):
. You know, look for the guy in the big blue hat or look for the guy in the bright yellow shirt. Whatever it winds up being. So stand out and be professional so people know where you are and so you're available to be there when things go on. Cuz you know, we go to events and a lot of people, you know, play in the AA or the A events besides of pro events, you know what your single M double m the draw brackets are drawn out. But if you're playing pool play and there's 10 sets of pools that are going on, if you finish at one o'clock, you need to know when the other pools are done. Cuz you may be early, other people may be late. And if your tournament director is off hanging out doing something, you people get mad. We've all been there and it's like, why can't you Sandra the tent? You know, what do you to do
Mark Burik (00:24:04):
Real pet peeve with, you know, I, I've always said this and I'll I'll say it again. Like, you need a tournament director who's willing not is but willing to be a jerk. Yeah. Because especially with the, well this year it happened on the, on the AVP as well, but like a lot of the regional tournaments, the tournament directors usually friends, they see the people every weekend. Mm-hmm. , you know, so there's this, this little thing and they'll go and they'll say, Hey, let's get these matches. Let's get 'em rolling mm-hmm. and, and that's it. That's all the push that they'll give. Yeah. And then pool play lasts until 3:00 PM and then that means, you know, we're negotiating who should finish first or second at the end of the day. Yeah. Because, uh, because there's no sunlight and it's, somebody needs to be in charge at every tournament of saying you start now. Yeah. Or you're playing to 11, you don't start in five minutes, you don't get to sign up for a month period. Yeah. You know, like everybody on this court won't get sign up but I I it's tough to be a jerk. Yeah.
Craig Lenniger (00:24:58):
Mark Burik (00:24:58):
It's, somebody has to do it to keep the tournaments going because it gets harder, honestly, as an adult. It gets harder to negotiate the rest of your life and your relationships and your kids. Mm-hmm. and marriage and, and boyfriends, girlfriends. When you say, yeah, I'm gonna leave at 6:00 AM today, I probably won't be back till 10:00 PM because I have a fun hobby tournament. Can't this thing take 7, 8, 9 hours instead of, you know, dark till dark.
Craig Lenniger (00:25:22):
Yeah. I mean that And how many times have you gone to an event? We're like, okay, first serves 8:00 AM and they don't have the captains meeting at eight 30 and we've all been there and then it's 9 15, 9 20 before the first serve is going. And then the end of the day it's like, oh, we're in the semis but it's dark. Well, you know, you're waiting for players to show up or someone calls says, oh, I didn't realize this or I didn't realize that. I'm sorry, I'm on my way. Just play other matches. No, you're up, you forfeit. And lot of people got mad at me over the years cuz you know, players meeting 7 45, it's 7 45 play starts at eight. I don't care if you're ready or not, we're playing then it's a minute a point cuz we got things to do.
Mark Burik (00:25:56):
You know, I blame the culture for that, uh, because it, it, it's become so acceptable in so many different parts of the country. Right. It's like, oh yeah. Players meetings at eight, we won't get started until nine 15 because people allowed that to happen. Yeah. But if, if you get one serious stern text and email saying this is not a joke. Yeah. You will lose points if you are not started by 8:00 AM we're not messing around this time. Like people will test that and then you go hard at 'em once mm-hmm. and then everybody knows for the rest of the summer. And then you can actually, you know, be an organizer instead of somebody who puts out nets.
Craig Lenniger (00:26:31):
Yeah. And you've gotta make sure that you're doing things, you know, doing seating correctly and doing pools fairly where you're using, there's so many point systems that are out there now. There's AVP points, there's USA volleyball points, there's all these, these point systems. And as tournament and director, your job is to go look at these points and seed people accordingly. Not seed people because your friends get an extra better seed or someone is helping set up the tournament so they should have an easier match or two or whatever. It winds up beings. So
Mark Burik (00:27:01):
Boners to me
Craig Lenniger (00:27:02):
It's there. And I mean my other, my personal biggest pet peeve is when tournament directors are playing in their own events. Because if you're playing in your events and you have, you're playing pro events or you know, small event and there's one court and you're playing, that's one thing. But when you're playing in an event and you have B a b AA juniors and those pools get done, but you're playing, who's finishing those pools? Why should the people who are paying money to play in your event have to sit around and wait cuz you're too busy playing? Or if you pause your match to go deal with the pools, what does that tell your opponents who now have to sit around and rewarm up or stay warmed up or do whatever it is? And we see it a lot of times it's like if you're a professional organizer or event do your event, you don't have to play if you wanna play.
Mark Burik (00:27:46):
I mean, I can't, I can't full fully, you know, a hundred percent agree with you there because some people need to be the organizers because they so desperately want a good place to play, you know? Yeah. So, so they see problems or they'll see a lack of events and they're like, man, I wanna play in good events. You know what, I'm just gonna run it. And they have to find a way. But I, I will say that if you're a tournament director or you're just, you still wanna play in that tournament, you just have to assign somebody to be your, your seat at that tournament and say, Hey, you gotta make sure you're running the boards. You gotta make sure you're doing this. And that takes 10 bucks an hour. A college kids, you know, free entry into the tournament. Gav used to maybe still does do that up in New Jersey where they say, you know, like, Hey, if you come and you set, you set up all the nets in the morning before the tournament, you don't have to pay for the tournament. That's, that's something. But to, to give people a hold, a cold hard line saying if you're the organizer, you can't play in it. Some people in some parts of the country, they're the only person passionate enough, organized enough to sport Yeah. To actually start that. So, you know, you, you
Craig Lenniger (00:28:46):
Should, you can, you can do that. But if you have that tournament director in place, you can be the organizer and the person going out there. But there needs to be someone at the desk. And if you're organized enough to have everything set out ahead of time, like when I set a tournament up, I know what's gonna happen. As soon as pools go out, I'm pulling pool sheets, I'm pulling bracket sheets, I know what playoffs are gonna happen and everything is laid out. So I, if I'm not there, whoever I have assisting me or helping me and go, okay, pool a first goes here, second goes here, third goes here. And as soon as everything is done, then they know exactly where to go. And if you're doing it that way, so if someone's there, you know, you can be the organizer but not b tournament director or tournament staff. So you're promoting
Mark Burik (00:29:24):
Yeah. Two different, uh, yeah. Okay. Two different
Craig Lenniger (00:29:26):
Businesses. I'm sorry if I misspoke earlier, but that's kind of what I was getting at. You know, needs be someone, someone there, whether even if it's a mom or a dad or you know, your mom or dad, someone out there significant other, someone out there to do it who you trust to not mess things up and not be influenced by somebody else. Mm-hmm. , you know, cause how many times have, there's been, people are going out there and throwing matches for points so they get an easier bracket seat. You know, I mean I've seen people you know, out there and they're like, well hey, I have to figure out, you know, okay, I need, we're going by points. There's we're seating by points. So he had 15 points. I know I can give up 14. So once I get to there, I gotta score 14 points, whatever it is I can give up. So they get to those points and then they're like, okay, good. And they're throwing matches as to what happens. And to me, I'm like, you know, that's, that's not cool. You know, just play and deal with it. It's, you know, I understand it, people trying to do things, but when you're getting that gung ho into it, it's, it's a little bit different. You know,
Mark Burik (00:30:21):
Craig, uh, is there anywhere where it's written down that is outside of an organization or it's for sale and if it's not better beach is gonna make it, but a step by step, this is exactly how you run a tournament. Here's a list of the current, uh, the potential problems that are gonna come. Here's how you sort it out. Here's what happens. If you have a 14 pool tournament and there's, you know, one three team pool and this is how you do it. Is, is there anywhere that has a booklet of the world's former problems running tournaments that offers all the solutions?
Craig Lenniger (00:30:58):
I haven't seen one book
Mark Burik (00:31:00):
Craig Lenniger (00:31:01):
Um, you know, it's,
Mark Burik (00:31:03):
Hey, uh, do you want a third
Craig Lenniger (00:31:04):
Job? Yeah. There Oh, fifth job. Yeah. Take that. I'd be happy
Mark Burik (00:31:07):
To do. You can make a, we can make a product
Craig Lenniger (00:31:08):
Together, you know, it's there and you know, and, and for, there's lots of things that are out there. Like you can, there's a company called Bracket pow, which does a lot of juniors events and you put teams in and it, you tell what you want and it spits everything out for you. Okay. Um, and does everything online, which is great. But the problem is, is people don't understand why things go certain ways. So they don't understand why things are changed or how stuff is done. Or even cross pooling so that you don't play someone that you played in pool in the first round or second round of playoffs. And some people go, well we're just gonna go seeds. We're gonna reseed everybody at points and everyone's gonna get redone and go through there.
Mark Burik (00:31:47):
No. And then players hate
Craig Lenniger (00:31:48):
That and everyone hates it, but people do it because someone says that's the way to do it. But where it's everything's drawn out ahead of time. Hey, this is what we're doing. It's cross pulling. You shouldn't see anybody till it's there. And it's good until someone loses a seed. Like we've all played in the double elimination bracket where a higher seed loses and then you drop down to the losers bracket or challenger's bracket, tenders, bracket, whatever they call it. Now, , you wind up being the same team you played earlier in a day and you lost to and you're like, why am I playing them now in the contender's bracket? Yeah. Well they didn't hold seed or someone did, you know, whatever it winds up being. So there's always that perfect world if everyone holds seed and you have to explain that as tournament director, this is the way we do things.
Or you know, there's been events, especially when I was running E V P, you know, we had a point system that was there and everyone came in and we attempted to seed everybody by points. But because we, we are traveling tour some of our teams that traveled got a ton of points. So they were the first seed that was there. So I came up with a seeding system saying, okay, our first and second seed is going to be our EVP points, our tour, our tour series points leaders. Okay three and four was open up for international players or you know, someone else who's in the field. Okay. And then kind of going down or some different areas that were there. Because if I knew that my number two seed was not a very good seated event and I could look at my seeds and go, okay, my number two isn't very good but I have, you know, Phil and Todd coming in who haven't played before, they're probably the best players in the world.
And I look at my bracket and they go, well Craig, why did you seed them 15? You know, they're the number two team in the world. Well they're gonna play my second seed so they're gonna take over that second seed. So I'm not killing my first seed who's loyal to the tour. Oh wow. Now it's going in there. But that's me being interesting and attempting to make it so after the first round or second round, my seeds are where they need to be. And I pull, you know, the people that are out there that are going to be, you know, my number, you know, the best team that comes in and say, Hey, you know, I understand you guys are good. Don't take your seed as a slap in the face. This is not this way. I'm fixing my tournament for that second round. You know, and it's, it's different.
And people come up and they yell and scream and I go, there's madness. You know, there's a method to the madness, but you've gotta look past that and look through and mess things up that are different or out there just to make your event fair later in the day. You know? And a lot of times when you know, on those traveling tours, those one or two seeds are your friends. They just play all the events and you're like, Hey, sorry you have to play the, sorry, the team from Brazil that came over to play today who has a silver medal in the Olympics, sorry , you know, they're gonna be there. But I don't wanna also, you know, offend my number one team on tour who travels and pays and goes all over the place and plays, you know, exclusively with us. Cuz there's something to be said for that.
You know, the loyalty of people going cuz playing beach volleyball is expensive. I mean, you know, when you're starting up it's, there's a lot of money between airfare, hotels, food, traveling to playing beach volleyball. There's a lot of Yeah. Playing, traveling and getting there. You know, and there's a lot of people who pay 600, 700 bucks a weekend to travel for an airplane ticket and make 500 bucks and come home and they're like, Hey, I want a tournament. They're like, yeah, well you're down 200 bucks. I mean, you know, we've all been there , that's, you're paying to be , you know, how am I broke? I've won all these tournaments. You know, they're like, well I've, you know, plane tickets are there or you miss a plane ticket or, you know, a lot of people or younger people wind up being a bartender or waiting tables cause that's quick, easy money. But if you're a game, but you're playing on Friday and Saturday when you're making your money, so, you know, or getting back or if you don't qualify and you still have to change your airline tickets, there's another 200 bucks or whatever, whatever it winds up being to change the airline ticket. So gotta,
Mark Burik (00:35:39):
This is why I had a, a big problem with the, with the AVP schedule this year. Uh, yeah, we just, we just got another email that was like, Hey, you know, we just ran the largest event series that we have, uh, in the last 12 years. And yeah, they, they ran more events, but there wasn't like more prize money. No. Um, it was the same amount of available prize money in the country that there always has been. Like, you can go to Pennsylvania, take down a grass tournament every weekend and do better financially than if you took a fifth every single avp. Yeah. You know, the way they're touting is that they have more events, but what they, what they've created is the necessity to go to lower level events mm-hmm. because of the point attribution. And then you're taking the, everybody who's got a job that actually pays them something.
Mm-hmm. , you know, the three, four, maybe five days that you need to work or you need to be with family. Now. Now we've almost doubled that. So you're taking away all the opportunity cost Yeah. Where all those other weekends used to be able to pay for mm-hmm. , the other seven, like real or, or higher level events. Yeah. So I disagreed and still disagree with the, with the structure that was laid out for the avp. Uh, this year I hope it's gonna get fixed. They did just cancel another tournament or postpone it. Uh, the, the Clearwater one in Florida, which is Yeah. You know, everybody had the schedule, they had the Atlantic City one, they canceled that, they postponed it now, now they're postponing Clearwater. So I'm, I'm, I'm hoping that Bally's is, I'm worried that Bally's is, is gonna bow out, um, and say maybe this wasn't such a viable
Craig Lenniger (00:37:13):
Purchase. Yeah. I mean if, and what people don't realize, well, like event organizers, like I'll give you an example, an event in Chicago on North Avenue Beach. Mm-hmm. You know, it's a great venue. Everyone is there. What people don't realize is the permit fee is $10,000 a day minimum. Whether
Mark Burik (00:37:27):
You're, it's, I mean that's, that's
Craig Lenniger (00:37:29):
Cheap. That's minimum. You know, so it's, it's there. So that's just the minimum if you want signage, X amount of dollars per sign and it winds up going there. But if you're running, like AVP goes in, they have set up for six or seven days beforehand and then they have the four days of events and then, you know, three days of tear down. So that's almost two weeks that they're on the beach, that's $140,000 out of their pocket that they don't get back before they've done an entry fee before. They've built the sands before they paid for officials, before they did anything. And the average person doesn't realize that, you know, you run 10 events, you have a million dollars in permit fees and in some
Mark Burik (00:38:07):
We're not, we're not, we're not yet talking about transportation to get sand, you know, into some parking lots. Like the trucks that you need to bring in the people that you need to actually help build the stadium. It's inexpensive
Craig Lenniger (00:38:21):
Endeavor. Yeah. I mean, and that's just the permits. And then in some places in Florida there's other permits you have to find out with sea turtle nest. Yeah. . So, you know, I mean a local organizer, I have to meet with the Sea turtle patrol and get their clearance at six or seven o'clock in the morning before players can go on the beach.
Mark Burik (00:38:39):
Do you wear Mitchell Turtle costume just to like, you know Yeah, buy,
Craig Lenniger (00:38:42):
Buy with them. I mean we, yeah, we did an event, I did an event in Naples and we built a, a, you know, out in front of this place we had our pole set up and center court was right in front of this restaurant bar that had sponsored the event. Well overnight a turtle came and laid its nest right in the middle of center court. , we had to move our courts outside of this person who paid us pretty good money to be there. But we had to move everything away from the restaurant away from the seating because a turtle put a nest there overnight. Mm-hmm. . And it sounds really weird, but you know, beach people go, okay, I understand they're endangered species. We're gonna move that as an organizer. I was like, are you kidding me? You know, I showed up at the beach at four 30 in the morning and I see turtle tracks and I'm like, all right, do I cover these tracks with a rake before turtle patrol secret
Mark Burik (00:39:26):
Craig Lenniger (00:39:27):
Not worry about it or do I do what's right and you know, start moving nets. And that's hard because the sponsor was really mad because the other people coming to his restaurant and now people have to walk down the beach a hundred feet, but in front of someplace else. You know, those are things that we have to take into consideration that people don't realize or, you know, ticketing fees or all these behind the scene things like you said, shipping in, you know, equipment or paying for the truck drivers. You know, truck drivers are expensive in the gas and you gotta put them in a hotel room. , you know, those things start to add up. And the staff and the behind the scene players, you've got a lot of stuff that has to get there and things inevitably get lost. We've all dropped the keys in the sand, you know, and it disappears.
Imagine having to take apart bleachers and all those little screws and nuts and bolts, they fall in the sand. So you're constantly having to replenish them and they've gotta be galvanized because they're expensive. Cuz if you don't, they rust cuz they're on the sold air all the time. So there's a lot of hidden expenses that people don't realize and it's tough to do it. So it's, you've gotta to do it right. You know, and that's part of the behind the scene things that as an event organizer, I have to think about, you know, and you go, do you know, and we look at the old pictures. I got a picture in my office of Manhattan Beach from 1970. There's not a bleacher in sight. People are sitting on top of poles and they've kind of, you know, it's like old school, you know, there's 3000 people there and they're all just surrounding center court. That's not a bad thing, you know? But in today's world people wanna see the bleachers and they want to get up higher and, and do some of those things.
Mark Burik (00:40:53):
Looks more professional. Yeah. I wonder why, why you go for that, you know, the big giant stadiums, is it because it looks more professional? So maybe like the sponsorship and the TV appearance is better. Mm-hmm. . But I mean, when you look at a, a surfing competition who's still got a great loyal following and big companies with lots of money behind them. I mean, you see one set of bleachers. Yeah, they do set it up, but the camera never touches on these bleachers. Yep. You know, it's always on the water. Yep. So you wonder like, are we spending all of this money with the stadiums? Is it unnecessary because we're the action that you're actually seeing, it's just on the court, you know? Mm-hmm. , I, I wonder if they would try that one year. Like, don't build a stadium, don't build bleachers. Have the companies bring their own tents. You know? Okay. It might look less professional while you're there, but for TV appearances, do you really care that it's looks professional or do you care that the most people have the best time and that you can actually create a sustainable
Craig Lenniger (00:41:49):
Yeah. I mean, and with technology you can, with TV appearances, you can put a bunch of green banners around the court, not have any logos on 'em and they can get put in by tv, you know. Oh wow. There. And do those things. So it's like if, if you watch an NFL game on TV or you do something else, if you're looking at the NFL field and watching the game on your phone, the colors are different that are out there. They may be a brown patch on the field, but technology has made it green. And a lot of companies will put different signage up where it's just, it's a blank thing, but they put technology over it. Like if you watch tennis, if you ever watch a lot of tennis matches, they have different logos on the courts at different times. If you're sitting in the stands, you don't see it.
But that's just superimposed on TV with technology. So can we do that for beach volleyball, for TV and you know, or are we doing it for people walking by? And I remember when I worked for C B V A, we had to take, we had to go and basically count the number of people who walked by in a 10 minute window, multiply that by six, multiply that by eight hours number a day. So we'd have the number of walk by impressions for our event and you know, are they really valuable or is it really TV market? That's something we have to decide as volleyball people, what's what makes the most sense?
Mark Burik (00:43:01):
And are we at the point yet where it, we can use the facilities that are popping up every everywhere. Yeah. You know, we, okay, we used to have to like make sure that it was on beaches and then we're just like, all right, well now we need the parking and everything. So we have to create, all right, you do have to find a place that's gonna have parking. Right. That that's gotta be automatic. But do we have to go to these big beaches, the big areas? Do we have to tow sand in when a lot of facilities are being built and they're planning for massive tournaments? Yeah. So maybe there's potential for all these facility owners to start running more bigger, different AVP events. And I wonder if, if you build it with that in mind. So there's volleyball, Ozark. Mm-hmm. in, in Missouri, they built this 10 court beautiful facility and they have, they decided to put a giant bubble over it for the summer mm-hmm.
And the winter because it was too hot and too cold. And that facility's beautiful. We in a clinic there and it was gorgeous. So high, so much room, so much space. But they said, you know, we had to have enough courts so that the AVP would allow us to run some major events. Mm-hmm. And that was important to us. Mm-hmm. So for anyone thinking about those facility options, think about where you might want to go and you have to be able to plan for that. And so you might need some extra land, you might say like, well how do we fit 10 courts instead of eight? Yeah. Because is there a minimum to run an international event or, or a national like USA volleyball juniors
Craig Lenniger (00:44:23):
Event, or how do you pay for that facility the other 50 weeks when the AVP isn't there? You know, how do you do that? And you know, we've all known the beach volleyball players, are they gonna pay 50 bucks an hour to come play inside or 40 bucks an hour to play inside? Or are they gonna go down to the beach where it's free. Right. And because you have to, you know, the best way I can tell people to think about it is if you have an indoor facility, when you get home from the beach and you jump in the shower, the bottom of your shower is full of sand. When you run an indoor facility, all that sand is going home from your facility. So you now have to replenish that sand, and that gets super expensive. Plus you have to water it down or else it gets dusty. So then your water bill is high and everyone's using the restrooms or washing their hands. The air conditioning or the heating, there's a lot of expense that people don't realize that goes into, like, it's just sand in a building. How hard can it be? You know, if you don't have, and
Mark Burik (00:45:14):
Everybody snooze you in 30 years because there's dust in their lungs from spending five days a week in your facility,
Craig Lenniger (00:45:21):
20 bucks an hour, 25 bucks an hour to play, or as an event organizer. And, and when I ran Tidewater volleyball, a lot of people got upset because I'd run fours and sixes leagues a lot of time on the sand simply because I can make money on the sand. Two people, they're not gonna, you know, they're paying 20 bucks a person, so everyone pays 20 bucks a person that's 40 bucks for doubles. But now I'm making 120 bucks on the sixes team. Yep. So, and people are playing, and it's may not be the prettiest volleyball, but as an organizer, I have
Mark Burik (00:45:51):
Craig Lenniger (00:45:52):
To, you know, get the lights on, I'm sorry, and do different things. But it,
Mark Burik (00:45:55):
You know, this is something that, that, uh, twos players, beach volleyball players and, and open level players Yeah. Never understand that the rest of the tournament, everybody else there mm-hmm. subsidizes you. Yep. Most open levels, open tournaments. You're just there for show. You are the smallest collection of players. Like to be at that level, the highest level. It's usually the smallest collection of players. Yeah. You know, what we call like bottom of the funnel basically, or top of the food chain. Yeah. But, but there's, there can only be a, a few small people that exist at that level. And you say you want more money, you say you want this, and hey, you don't pay for this. No. Every b a a player where you see much, a much larger field because it's more inviting mm-hmm. and they don't beg for a $5,000 paycheck. Right.
They're stoked to take home, uh, you know, a, a beach chair and an umbrella. But open players need to hear this again and again and again. Like, Hey, it's not about you. And I think tournament organizers, I actually talked to somebody in the Northeast and he was like, you know, how do I get bigger players to my tournaments? How do I mm-hmm. , how do I create more prestige? And I go, if you wanna make it sustainable, ignore that completely. Don't invite big names. Don't try to push and collect money to give it away to an open player. Instead make the event so fantastic and enjoyable for everybody else that they'll keep coming back. So if you, if you were to focus specifically just on, like, making money or making a sustainable event, honestly the first thing to go would be the open level. Yeah. Because they're pickier. They're greedier, you know, they expect more and you're, and you have to give them money. And it's, uh, so I told that term and organized. I go, don't try to pull in any pros. Don't bother with that. I go take that money that you would pay them, pay for the dj. Right. Pay, pay for like, better shirts that people are going to wear at the bar instead of just wiping their sweat with and never wearing again. There are ways to
Craig Lenniger (00:47:52):
Do it. There's a, there's a, one of the things I think you'll appreciate is, someone told me a long time ago in, in sports marketing, there's great money in bad sports.
Mark Burik (00:48:00):
Craig Lenniger (00:48:01):
. You know, which sounds really weird, but if, you know, you run a, like you run a juniors tournament, I, if you run it at the elite level, those teams always travel. They know what's going on. They're not buying t-shirts, they're not buying merchandise, they're not going out. They, they're kind of in a rhythm. But if you run it for a lower level tournament, those teams that are coming in, this is their one event they play all year. This is their one big tournament they're going to, or two big tournaments they're going to, they're gonna buy an event shirt, whether it's 15 or 20 bucks. Yeah. They're gonna buy merchandise. They're gonna take pictures and put it on social media. They're gonna spread the word and they're gonna come back. So, you know, you put those events on and you cater to them and treat them great, you know, they're gonna come back.
You know, when I run my events and I run juniors, when I was doing events in my Hampton, Virginia and Virginia Beach, we did, you know, men's and women's on Saturday, but Sunday we did COS four s and Juniors. But my juniors, I always kept my center court open towards the end of the day. And my twelves, my fourteens, my sixteenths, my eighteens, their finals we put on center court. Great. So, and we announced their matches. And some of them were scared outta their minds when they hear their name for the first time, or, you know, like a big killing or a serve, you know, blah, blah, blah. And, but they loved it and got used to it. And that's why they fought to come back was say, Hey, if we win, we can play on center court where the pros played the day
Mark Burik (00:49:16):
Before this, I, I had this exact conversation this summer because at every AVP tour stop, I forget the tears, but every, every avp I think it's tour stop. You had these giant juniors event. So in Atlantic City you had it. Um, I think in Virginia Beach they had it. And there's, there's one more place where I was like, where are all the juniors going? Because their tournament, their massive tournament Yeah. Finished before the, the pros got there. And so their parents who got real jobs and actually have to pay for stuff and don't wanna pay $400 from after hotel they leave. So you brought all the kids there, you know, our future fan base mm-hmm. and should be current fan base. And then you, you design everything so that they're gone when the pro event starts. Yeah. In my mind, I was like, Hey, what if you guaranteed that the, the champions, like you're saying, yeah.
They played the first set of their championship on center court in between some pro matches. Now the kids stay, now their parents stay now. Like maybe they get on that giant live stream that the AVP is hosting and the shareability of all of that could be massive. Yeah. But instead they were, they were leaving and then the pros were showing up and so there was no interaction. Like literally people were running to the airport and they would come over like, mark your YouTube channel. Like, hi Mark, can we get a picture? And I was like, aren't you staying for the tournament? They said, no, we just finished four days of volleyball. I was like,
Craig Lenniger (00:50:37):
. One of the great things I think that golf does, which, you know, I think we can learn a lot from some golf and sports is similar in the way that athletes are treated and you know, individual stuff. But golf does, you know, they do pro days beforehand or you know, you pay X amount of dollars and you get to play a round of golf with the pro. So there's three people, a corporate sponsor playing with Tiger, playing with Phil, playing with one of the pro players. And one of the things that we did back on, on E V P, we, we did a corporate challenge. So the Friday before we set up, you probably remember, you know, seeing her hearing about it, but it was, we had corporate teams come out and they sponsored to paid X amount of dollars, but they got to play with one of our pros. And we kind of handpicked some of our pros who were friendly, who were nice, who weren't, didn't think they were better than everybody else weren't. I can't be bothered with that. Yeah.
Mark Burik (00:51:24):
Personality guys. Yeah.
Craig Lenniger (00:51:25):
You know, the personality people and those people loved playing with the pros had fun. You know, we got out, we announced we had a good time, but the next day, all those people that played in the corporate challenge came back and watched the pros and the people pros were like, Hey, thanks for coming out. These are my partners from yesterday. You know, they gave them hugs or high fives, depending, you know, whatever that was. Yeah. When they went up and they talked to their friends and they went, interacted with the people. And a lot of times you see pro athletes who are not, especially, you know, the ones that think they're pros, they don't talk to the average person walking down the street. You know, they don't go do those things or they don't know who those people are. Like, I can tell you, uh, a great story is one of my favorite ones.
I worked at a club, my club director loved carts cry. She said, if he ever becomes single, I will marry him. . You know, he thought he was the greatest thing. And we went to NCAAs and we were, you know, was coaching club. So we went together, we're doing the A, B, C A thing, and Cartridge comes walking down the street and I've known him for working with u s A volleyball. And he is like, Hey Craig. I'm like, Hey, how you doing? And I knew that our club director loved him and she's just looking at it and she had no clue that that was cart cry, street clothes, and we're just talking and blah, blah. I'll see you later.
Mark Burik (00:52:36):
Cart. She wasn't wearing a pink hat .
Craig Lenniger (00:52:38):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so she goes, who is that guy? You didn't introduce me. And I'm like, well, I thought you knew who it was. She was like, what do you mean? I'm like, well, that was cart. She goes, no, it wasn't. And I'm like, come on, we're going inside the gym to watch practice. He's gonna be down on the court. So he went inside and sure enough, there it was. And she lost her mind, you know? Oh my God. It was cars. I met him and I was like, well, yeah, we don't know. You know, we don't know who the players are outside of seeing them on the court. You know, you see them, you know, you see some of the players and you're like, oh, wow, they're tall. But you know, if you see, you know, Brooks Sweat, who's an Olympian, she's 5, 6, 5 8, looks like an average person walking down the street. She doesn't look like a volleyball player. Or you see some, like the Linquist sisters back in the day, you know, who were playing. You know,
Mark Burik (00:53:19):
I mean, really, there's a few people that that kind of unsated. Well, like, but even, you know, Phil, like if he's walking down the street, it's not like people are, are stopping him and waving him down. He's like, ah, there's a, there's a tall ball
Craig Lenniger (00:53:31):
Guy. I mean it's, you know, I've in a lot of events with Lloyd Ball and we'll be out at night and we'll be at a restaurant and people won't know who he is. They're like, who's that really tall guy? I'm like, probably the greatest setter to ever play four-time Olympian. They're like, he's not an Olympian. I'm like, yes. He, he is , we can do it. But you know, that's part of our issue is some of our greatest athletes, people don't know who they are. Mm-hmm. , you know, they can't figure out who is the best player, who is the people, the role to, and you know, which we can do a better job of, I think as volleyball people and promoters and doing meetings. Famous. Yeah. Micro famous in our own little world, you know. But it's, you know, you have one of the greatest players ever play the game and no one knows who it is. You know, even different people, indoor players. And I ask my kids now, I coach, when I coach indoor, I'm like, name someone who's an Olympic indoor volleyball player.
Mark Burik (00:54:19):
Thank you. That needs to happen. There needs to be a hero, somebody to look up to if you're gonna emulate or, or grow in the sport. Like somebody who you're gonna watch and study and learn from. Yeah. That every club coach in the entire country, if not world should be making that mandatory. Like, you need to pick a favorite player and watch them and go like, watch three of their matches and come tell me what they did so well. Even
Craig Lenniger (00:54:41):
On, even on the names. Yeah. On the guy side, you know, like who's the head coach of the men's national team? You know, name one of the players? Gabby Reese? No, she's been retired for years.
Mark Burik (00:54:50):
20 years. Yeah. .
Craig Lenniger (00:54:53):
No. Oh, the girls that are in the Visa commercial. You know, when Carrie and Misty were in the Visa commercial. So that's kind of, you know, they know that, but they don't know who they are. And I'm like, you're our club players. You're the better players and you don't know who the people you should be looking up to are. I know that's a problem.
Mark Burik (00:55:08):
Um, I wanna be, before I run out of time with you, because I want to basically get a course from you while we're on it. And, and I think this would be super valuable for a very small section of the people who are listening, but I'd like to go with you and, and see if we can explore from ground zero running in event. Okay. So let's say that I want to start a two 12 volleyball tournament. Mm-hmm. , if I'm starting from zero, I love volleyball, there's some beaches, some, some sand courts around me at different parks, whatever. If you could take me through a, like, a step by step and I'll, I'll ask some annoying questions. I think if we equip people with this and kind of demystify some of this, that this episode has a potential to really help grow the sport, you know, exponentially.
Yeah. Because people will actually, they won't, they'll look at the steps. They'll say, I could do this step by step. And, and there'll be a little less fear because when you think about an event and you think about 200 nets set up and 800 people sign up and websites and, and all that, all of a sudden you get freaked out and you don't even take a single step forward. So maybe if we can go through a couple beginner steps, like how to create a volleyball tournament for beginners. Yeah. What would their first step be? If they have some volleyball friends, they like volleyball, and let's just say that there's some sand courts maybe in a park or, or there's a beach near
Craig Lenniger (00:56:24):
Them. Yeah. I mean, the first thing would be is find a location. If it's at a beach or at a park, you know, you find a location, do your homework and figure out what it takes to use that space. And I mean, use that space legally, which is with difficult because you go to a park and you're like, oh, we can have a go tournament there. Well, no, you have to have a permit, you have to do this, you have to do that. So, you know, figure out where you want to go. So if you want to go to a park, you know, and have an event, reach out to the parks direct department and say, Hey, listen, I'm thinking about doing an event at your park. What permits or fees or what do I need to do to be able to use your courts and reserve them for the day? That's, I'm thinking about doing it.
Mark Burik (00:57:05):
So, and then there's usually a, a website, right? So like if I'm in, uh, Timbuktu, Ireland, I'm gonna look at Tim Buck two parks and recreation and Google that and, and try to find a, a permit number or
Craig Lenniger (00:57:17):
Mark Burik (00:57:18):
Or call any phone number because it's the office. Like, don't, don't be shy about calling a number and them saying, oh no, but let me transfer
Craig Lenniger (00:57:23):
You. Yeah. Call the number. And like if, where I, you know, I work when, you know, in my current park job, I get calls all the time for people wanting to do things. So, and I tell people, I'm happy to help you make these things happen. But you have, there's certain steps you have to do to do it. And so first one is find location, and then second one is check the calendar and see what else is going on. Because if you want to have an event, but there's five other beach volleyball tournaments, within 30 minutes of your event, you're diluting the pool of people, potential players. So check the calendar, see what's going on. And then once you do it, then you figure out what it's gonna be and start planning for it ahead of time. What do you need? Do you need nets? Do you need lines? Do you need antennas? Do you need volleyballs or are you
Mark Burik (00:58:09):
Gonna make, I think it's a good time runway. Like, um, how far, how much should I definitely give myself? Or, or maybe what's the minimum amount of time that you think you would need to, to really get things in, in place
Craig Lenniger (00:58:21):
To, to do it right. At least two months. Some places take 60 days before, at, before permit or even looked at or reviewed in some cities and places.
Mark Burik (00:58:31):
It also doesn't do it. I think it's, I think it's a full year. Like you have to, you have to reserve court time a full year in advance.
Craig Lenniger (00:58:38):
Full year. I think Chicago, there's one day in November, you have to wait in line and it's just first come, first served. So people are waiting in line in snow and saying, I've been in that line. It's awful , it's raining and cold, and you're waiting in line to get in and get your spot on North Avenue Beach. So there, um, so figure out, you know, what it takes to do that. Find your date, and then the best thing to do, you know, get the word out that's there and figure out what you're going to run. Are you gonna run doubles? Are you gonna run fours? Are you gonna run adults? Are you gonna run juniors? What, what do you want to do at this event? What do you wanna accomplish? Is this a fun force tournament? Is it a serious twos, you know, how are you going to do it? Is it gonna be pool play? Is it gonna be double elimination? Is it going to be single elimination? And coming up with those formats for it's gonna be there. Because what that's gonna do is if you have a location in a format that can give you your maximum number of teams you can have at your event.
Mark Burik (00:59:32):
Well, so I'll ask this. Should we, should I get as many people as I can or should I, I mean, I know the answer for, for our company, like, we set hard numbers because I don't want to, for me, I don't wanna deal, like for our camps right now, we set it at a max of 60. Are we gonna grow beyond that? Yes, we will. But, um, 60 says, all right, we need 10 coaches. Mm-hmm. done. All right. At least now the hiring part of that is taken care of. I, I know how much stuff I need. Instead of, if you leave it open, 20 people sign up the last day and you're like, shoot, now I'm negative three or four coaches, or you're negative three or four nets. To me, I think it's important to set the format and to say we're only allowing this many spots. But, uh, what do you, I mean,
Craig Lenniger (01:00:19):
I'm a believer on, no, I'm a firm believer on the, you set your format and you limit it to that number of teams. I personally don't wanna play or run a five team pool any place cuz they take forever. Okay. So I'm limiting at, you know, I'll do a four team pool or I'll do a six team pool, but a six team pool is gonna be two, three team pools kind of going back and forth. So I can get six teams on a court in the same space. A four team pool will go as, cuz they both wind up taking six hours. Yeah. So it's that timeframe to do it. So depending upon, it's just kind of weird. But that's my tournament director of mine going out there. So how can we do that? So if I have, if I have two nets, I know I only want to take eight teams. That's my number of teams. I'm gonna set the maxx, that's two 14 pools. Okay.
Mark Burik (01:01:06):
And then I'll think four teams per net. Like that's how we should be thinking. That's
Craig Lenniger (01:01:11):
Mark Burik (01:01:12):
If you're, if you're sitting there and, and you've got a park, you know that like your local park has two courts. Mm-hmm. , am I really gonna try to run just an eight team event? Is there any way to squeeze more into
Craig Lenniger (01:01:23):
That? You can do an event, you can get, if you have two courts, you can run 12 teams, four, three team pools and you kind of get done that same amount of time. Okay. So you have, so you do a pool. So on one court is pool A and B, the other courts C and D mm-hmm . So pool A plays. So one place, two, three refs and then pool B comes and plays one place, two or three reps. So either you're playing off play, it makes it for sometimes a longer, you know, you have some downtime. Okay. But it's a little bit weird if you think about, think about two, three team pools and just kinda switching back and forth. It's still right. A three team pools, three hours, a 14 pool, six hours. So it's kind of works out that way.
Mark Burik (01:01:58):
Okay. So we're thinking maximum six teams per court. Yeah. If you're, if you're considering a A twos tournament
Craig Lenniger (01:02:05):
Yeah a double
Mark Burik (01:02:06):
Craig Lenniger (01:02:07):
Whatever you wanna do six as you can do it. That's the maximum you could be, I would avoid 10 teams cuz that's just an ugly number. I mean you can do a three, three and four that gives you that six in that way. But most people just go five and five cuz that's easier in their mind. Okay. Um, but I'm a little, I think what's better for the players and then you know, with then your format. So here's my format, what I'm gonna do, my next number of teams and then what level do I want it to be because
Mark Burik (01:02:31):
Uh, set the level.
Craig Lenniger (01:02:32):
Okay. At the level. Cuz that's one thing that people have to do. If you have one team that's really good. If you and your guys go play and the other nine teams are, people have never played before. Church groups. It's my friends that we just started playing won't
Mark Burik (01:02:45):
Come back to tournament their way out of their league either way. So
Craig Lenniger (01:02:49):
I'll, you know, and promote it that way. Here's what it is. And whether we have to, we let some better teams in, we'll play pool, but then we pull 'em out for playoffs cause people wanna go from there. So you have your format, your, and then go publicize it and get it out. Just social media, word of mouth, your friends, social media's kind of the way of doing things. One thing I like to do is if you're able to use the, if there's courts that are up there, nets that are up there and it's at a park and rec, ask them if you can promote your tournament by going and putting a tournament flyer, stapling it to the wooden post that's out there. So go laminate and say, Hey, you know, old school people, your plate, your people are playing are your customers. So why not put it in front of 'em. .
Mark Burik (01:03:29):
I'm also gonna add like very specific. So from social media and and sales and business standpoint. Yeah. People think that they announce something once and they get crickets back. Ah, nobody wants it. No. But from sales, uh, like recognition of a brand and then the comfort of actually signing up for something with them. Not e not even buying but signing up for something with them. Yeah. You need at minimum seven touches they need to see you seven different times. Yeah. Minimum before they get any, get anything. And there are some, some studies that are like seven to 15 times. So I mean if you're gonna have a tournament, do not be shy with social media the way the algorithms are. You're not gonna lose followers or lose friends or annoy people. Trust me, there's enough traffic out there post three times a day, copy, paste, post copy paste post. And then I think ask people to share. But I'll also say, yeah see talk to the club directors like research juniors, clubs in your area and say, hey, I'm running in adults or I'm running this age or this level tournament. Do you know of anybody who plays? Could I put a flyer up at your place?
Craig Lenniger (01:04:39):
Yeah. I mean just word of mouth and getting out there and knowing people if you're in and you wanna do it, you know, and that's, and part of it is meeting people and going to them and making it easier for them to help promote your event. There's a lot of tournaments where people come and they send it to me and they're like, Hey, can you put this flyer up? I don't know who you are and I'm not gonna print it out and I'm not gonna put it up cause I don't know who you are. But if you come to me and say, you know, say, hey listen, you know, I'm so-and-so and I'm running this event and here's some flyers and this is what we're going to do. Would you mind helping me? I'm more likely to help you than the person who sends me something. Hey, promote this on your page. Right. You know, and that, that's me personally, but that's just kind of how I am. I'm big on personal interaction
Mark Burik (01:05:21):
With things. You walk up to somebody at a bar and you're like, Hey, you wanna go home with me? Like, yeah. Whoa,
Craig Lenniger (01:05:25):
Mark Burik (01:05:26):
Exactly know, you know, you're gonna get a glass thrown in your face so ,
Craig Lenniger (01:05:29):
You know, you know, and get it out there and and word of mouth. Get people talking about it and get people out there. The other thing is, is you have to get somebody to sign up. No one wants to be the first team to sign up. Okay. Because your tournament director, you get a lot of calls, well who's playing? How many teams you already signed up? So get some of your friends to sign up and put that information out there. So it looks like there's teams that are on there, people come in. Cause I see more teams, the
Mark Burik (01:05:57):
Old line outside the club technique,
Craig Lenniger (01:05:59):
You know, it's kinda there. So it it's there it is that idea. But you know, don't make up names. Don't put your kids' names on there or your friends' place who aren't and then swap 'em out as team goes on. Cuz people are gonna catch on. Yeah. They're gonna go, oh look, there's Matt and John. They seem to play in every tournament, but I don't know who they are. You know, you know. So it's kinda that way. So, you know, get some of the people that you know wanna play, get them to sign up and maybe if it's the first time say, Hey listen, you guys are willing end up play in this tournament. I need you guys to register and I'm not gonna charge you if you register this first time. Because this
Mark Burik (01:06:32):
Is what early bird discounts do as well. You know, to get early people to sign up way in advance. You give them a steep or even some kind of discount or reward like, hey, first, first four people to sign up, get a ball. Yeah. You're gonna maybe lose on those four teams, but you'll actually get your event running. Yeah. And that's more important. Right.
Craig Lenniger (01:06:51):
And my, and my thing is, is I'm a little different than most people on that. I believe in building for the future. I believe that if I can break even or lose just a little bit where I'm not, you know, killing myself or being homeless or sleeping in the car again, , you know, I can continue to grow things and as if I do things right and treat my customers well, my events are gonna grow and I'm going to make my money off of them. I
Mark Burik (01:07:14):
Think that's a good way to, to talk to somebody kinda like the average person. Like, hey, if you were to throw a party or you threw a barbecue, I think different parties in different parts of the country are, are a little bit different. But I always lose money, uh, when I, when I throw a party. But you don't lose money, it's, I'm comfortable saying, you know what, I'm gonna have an awesome time with my friends and family, so I'm gonna buy this and this is how much I'm gonna, and in the end, so many people come in to help you anyway. Yep. That like, they, they leave, you know, they leave their three quarters of, of bottle of vodka and they leave their ex extra zd and you're like, oh, well now I'm out on top because I just paid for a week of eating with all my left
Craig Lenniger (01:07:51):
Of eating or that, that vodka that's left behind is now the seed for my next party. So I don't have buy as much. So that's kind of, you know, the volleyball tournament is if you do it right now you have the seed planted, people want to come back mm-hmm. and people are going to be there. So you've gotta do things right. And, and don't take shortcuts. Okay. That's, that's the other thing. The the other thing from my side, from my event side of things, because I've done things besides volleyball, I've done done big races and, you know, road races and all kinds of things across the country. You need to make sure that you have some sort of LLC or business entity established when you're doing these things. So,
Mark Burik (01:08:25):
Should have this, should this have come before fine? Well
Craig Lenniger (01:08:29):
I would be, before I would be beforehand. If I'm gonna be running a tournament, I would have it established. You don't have to. No, you don't have to. But what winds up happening is, is someone comes to your event and they trip over one of your boundary lines and break an ankle. They can sue you for some reason for the sand not being flat, the sun being in their eyes, them falling down and they can go after your house, your car, your finances, cuz you're the person in charge. If you have an llc, spend the couple hundred bucks to make that LLC and run everything through the llc. Yes. It's a little bit more, but now they can't come after your personal stuff.
Mark Burik (01:09:05):
Okay. And an llc you can, it can be two to 300 bucks. I'll, I'll just, we don't get any, you know, cuz Yeah. This conversation went wild. Um, which I'm excited about. But if you guys go to Legal Zoom. Yep. That's, that's I I've built three different, uh, escorts or LLCs Yep. On Legal Zoom. It's an easy process. It'll probably take you about eight days mm-hmm. To have a legit business entity set up. Yep. And then it's free to open up a bank account and then some banks even pay you to open a bank account with them. Yep. Uh, you get like a $500 bonus for saying, you know Yeah. Bring this. So get that llc, get that S corp some counties. Is your county like this where they give significantly less expensive permit fees to non-profits?
Craig Lenniger (01:09:48):
Yes, a hundred percent. We actually have our county, they actually, if you fill out paperwork, we actually can do a non-profit waiver so we can get fees wiped off for some of our nonprofits. So there's it's zero cost to use the facilities. Wow. Particularly, particularly if you're aiming towards the residents of that area and providing a service for the residents in the parks or working with the Tor if you're vending, if your events growing, work with the tourism office to have them help bring in or find some grant money for some of your bigger events that are coming out there.
Mark Burik (01:10:18):
Uh, and uh, so that happened with us as what we could've, if we had a nonprofit, we could definitely save in a lot of areas, but we plan on maybe it's someday being able to mm-hmm. to sell the company.
Craig Lenniger (01:10:30):
Mark Burik (01:10:31):
So we might develop a nonprofit arm that throws tournaments and then Yep. I have a big belief in my, in big brothers and sisters mentorship style charities, so that can feed that. But I think it's, it's a lot more paperwork and it is, and you actually have to have a legit vision. Like, and if your vision is nonprofit that grows volleyball in this area because it increases health, it increases physical fitness, you know, you're creating a, a fun place for people to go outside exercise. That's enough for the government to say, yep. That is a, that is a great mission. Go for
Craig Lenniger (01:11:05):
It. And you can also have, you can have, depending upon where you live, you can have a local nonprofit, a state nonprofit or a, a federal nonprofit. Oh. So those are also different things that are out there, which I've learned through the years that they exist. I didn't know they existed for a long time. Okay. But you can look into that and some of it is nonprofit, but you pay tax, some of it is you don't pay tax depending upon where it is and where you're going on. If you're a state nonprofit and you go outside of your state, you have to pay tax, but not in the state you're registered in Federal nonprofits is a little different. Okay. Depending on the areas.
Mark Burik (01:11:37):
And remember, a nonprofit can still pay its employees as much as they want, can still pay its CEO as much as they want. Mm-hmm. , um, you just probably can't sell it on the backend or, or publicly traded or anything like that.
Craig Lenniger (01:11:47):
There's not, and there's rules, but nonprofit as far as your board members and having to have an established board of people, you still need some of that with LLCs. But your LLC can be you and like two, you know, you can be a couple different positions on it or you can be S corp and you don't have to worry about it. But a nonprofit, you actually have to do that and file paperwork. E each state is a little different, but just a little more work. Super, super
Mark Burik (01:12:10):
Expensive in California Bucks. Just, it's crazy. Yeah.
Craig Lenniger (01:12:15):
Mark Burik (01:12:15):
The other thing, LLC I'll say is probably the easiest and fastest thing to set up. But non-for-profit might save you the most money and give you the most advantage over mm-hmm. over time.
Craig Lenniger (01:12:25):
Hundred percent. The other thing is, is that anytime I do an event, I always have insurance on a lot of places. You have to have liability insurance to even get the permit or get out there and do the things that you need to do. And that's just a background. And you know, I'll give you an issue, an example. There was an issue with one of my friends who, who runs a facility and someone fell in their facility and hurt themselves just randomly. So they got sued and they were running like they were running event there, but the lawyers didn't wanna know anything about the building. They wanted to know the name of the insurance company and the maximum amount of coverage they had. That's what the request was from the, from the insurance from the lawyers. So if you don't have that, you know, the insurance, if you get sued, someone's going after you for a million dollars and you don't have the insurance, you're sol I mean, you're gonna be in trouble and it's gonna cause you issues down the road because you're trying to do something. Or it may not be your players, it may be the person walking by who trips over volleyball down the pathway.
Mark Burik (01:13:27):
So I'll say for this, for the, for the new p if you're, you know, watching this and you're like taking these notes and you're saying, all right, well I gotta go through legal, like I gotta get a company, I gotta get a bank account. The developing a company can literally take you less than an hour if you do it through, through legal Zoom, right? Mm-hmm. , you just need a name. Uh, and they'll, they'll handle all of that for you. Yep. Getting insurance, we work with, I think it's L Dean Associates, they do sports camps, sports events. Mm-hmm. tournaments all across the country that are nationwide. And you fill out one piece of paper, it'll probably take you 30 minutes, but it says, where are you running? Who are the insured parties? And then it says, how many people do you expect to be there and what ages and what activities. And then they email you back with, all right, volleyball's a low injury activity. So here's your rates. If you were like sending people into the air with like cheerleading Yep. It would be significantly higher. But that in itself, you know, take you like a half hour to fill out the form, but your total time talking to that insurance company to get that plan. Total time invested. I'll say maybe two and a half hours if you just Yeah. Call them right away. Do you have any recommended insurance companies that you know have done a good
Craig Lenniger (01:14:36):
Job there? There's a bunch in there. I mean you can go online and unfortunately there're a diamond dozen, you're gonna get what you pay for. But a lot of people use the U USA volleyball insurance or AAU insurance if you're a membership. But then people have to be members or even avp, you can use AVP memberships and get your insurance for the events, but then everyone has to get memberships. So you can kind of, and
Mark Burik (01:14:56):
That's another difficult step which prevent the signups. I think that's, I think that's not your first time. I think you wait.
Craig Lenniger (01:15:03):
Yeah. I mean unless, you know, unless everyone, unless you're doing a tournament for juniors and it's all your kids friends and they're all playing in the same club program together and you have that or juniors or adults or whatever it winds up being, but it, it's, you can get insurance for a hundred bucks, 150 bucks up to Yeah. More than that for your event. So it's not that big of a deal. Or if you know someone or call your homeowner's insurance or whoever you have, they may have an umbrella liability policy and doesn't hurt to, cuz I've done that before with one of my insurance companies said, Hey, I'm doing an event, can you help point me in the right direction. I have my car insurance, my homeowner's insurance through you, you know, all these things through you. Can you help me? And they're like, yeah, not a problem. Done. Oh smart. Good bundled. It was there doesn't, you don't know unless you asked. That's always my . Okay, go do thing but don't
Mark Burik (01:15:49):
Get, don't get intimidated by like the insurance thing. Like it's gonna take a phone call guys and it's gonna take you filling out one page of information about how many people you expect to be there. Yeah. And the activity. So it's, you can move on that and, and you can get that done, like I said, in max two hours of time investment.
Craig Lenniger (01:16:02):
Yeah. If you're going slow and reading everything carefully. ,
Mark Burik (01:16:07):
I'm a careful reader. I, I don't like them getting away with stuff.
Craig Lenniger (01:16:09):
You can the pages in 15 minutes online and get insurance if you fill it out. But it's, you know, so you do that but then, you know, I'm fortunate that I have all my brackets and pool plays and pool sheets and everything already done and figured out ahead of time. But you know, there's all that stuff is online. How to, how to run a tournament. You can look in the U S USA volleyball rule book and it has the brackets that are in there. So there's 14 pools, three team pools and seeds and everything that's on there.
Mark Burik (01:16:36):
So there is a place for how to just,
Craig Lenniger (01:16:38):
You can organize
Mark Burik (01:16:40):
Numbers of bracket tournaments and that's on the USA volleyball website.
Craig Lenniger (01:16:43):
You believe that's on the R USA volleyball rule book or it used to be in the rule book for information that was on there. And there's plenty of other places you can Google bracket. You know, you can Google pool information.
Mark Burik (01:16:53):
I hate telling people to Google too often because then it turns into 30 different links and then they have to read through 10 paragraphs before they get in. And the answer, cuz SEO
Craig Lenniger (01:17:02):
I, I get it. I'm just, it's there. Or ask someone, if you know someone like me, I'll give you my pool sheets, , you know, just because I just, here, here it's not a sneaker, you know, one place, two, three rests, three place, four one, you know, and just kind of go through it. Hundred different ways to run pools. Anybody's been to a tournament, you know, and I heard the other day they're like, oh you're running an indoor pool on the beach. What are you talking about? pool versus outdoor. Cause one versus two is the first one. But my, you know, it's like whatever. Just get over people. just go play. But it's just kind of there. So it's, you can do that. But you know, the other advice I give people is if you think it's gonna take some, whatever amount of time you're gonna give yourself to set up the event, double that amount of time that you think minimum
Mark Burik (01:17:42):
Craig Lenniger (01:17:43):
At least minimum take it out there and something is going to break. You're gonna have an eyeball that's gonna be missing. A hook or something is going to be there. So you need at least that amount of time to set up and be prepared.
Mark Burik (01:17:57):
Or I mean if, if you've never set up like a Parkinson net mm-hmm. , let's say go like to drive to the place where you're driving to from your car. Mm-hmm , set a stopwatch, go and set up one net and then set up your tent way in advance mm-hmm. , you know, and say okay how long did that actually take me? Now how many nets am I gonna need? Mm-hmm. , uh, et cetera. Like, but that's stopwatch of knowing that. And then say also there's going to be a problem cuz something's going to break. So like you said, I think double that stopwatch time for, for day of
Craig Lenniger (01:18:30):
Tournament that or what happens if it's thundering and lightning when I'm going to set up. Oh yeah. If you live on the east coast, you know California, you don't have a whole lot of lightning storms. Florida,
Mark Burik (01:18:39):
It gets windy sometimes. Yeah.
Craig Lenniger (01:18:41):
Florida three in the afternoon, you're dodging lightning all day, you know, so you have to schedule your time to do it or you know, plan and look at the weather, see what it's calling for and schedule your time ahead of it. And my other big thing with me is I'll get to the beach at three o'clock, four o'clock in the morning to set up so I know everything. I'd much rather be sitting under my tent, you know, drinking my red bull waiting for people to show up. Yeah. As opposed to be scrambling, trying to figure out last things as people they're registering, parents are wanting to know what court they play on. So I wanna be done and waiting for people not running around like a chicken with 'em, a head
Mark Burik (01:19:18):
Cut off. If you don't need a flashlight when you show up, uh, you are there too late to be a tournament organizer. Director .
Craig Lenniger (01:19:24):
And you have to, the other thing is like on the east coast, there's, if they're in Florida and like from North Carolina south, you can't have a white flashlight on the beach during turtle nesting season. Oh my God. That's actually against all because you could turtle see the white light, I think it's the moon, moon one direction. So in some places you have piping plovers, they have a different color. So I, my headlamp has a red, a green, a blue and a white. So that depending upon what beach I'm on. That's funny. I am legal and don't have the EPA or d e p coming after me. Yeah. Because I've been around and did that. Cuz the last thing you wanna do is out that you have a white headlamp and someone calls the police cuz they see a headlamp and the deputy comes over and says, Hey, you can't be setting up with the headlamp and now you're going in the dark. Or you know, you have birds that are coming at you or you're waking things, whatever it winds up being. So do your what you can and can't do. And the other thing is, is do a trial run if it's your first time being there. Cuz if you're going to a park, is there a gate or a lock you have to get through at four o'clock in the morning to set up? Cuz a lot of parks close. Or is the beach parking lot closed and there's a chain across the gate that you never thought about?
Mark Burik (01:20:33):
What an important question. Oh my goodness.
Craig Lenniger (01:20:35):
There's something to do. So go the weekend before at four o'clock
Mark Burik (01:20:39):
At the park. We don't open until 7:00 AM Like what? Yeah,
Craig Lenniger (01:20:43):
There's a chain across or Yeah. Something as simple as, you know, talking to the park about what time do the restrooms open? Mm-hmm. . Cause if you're out there at four o'clock in the morning, you, you have your coffee or two or eight depending on who you are. Or you have a couple of Red Bulls. Yeah. It's now six o'clock and you're looking around and, and you have to get rid of your coffee or red bulls and the bathrooms are locked. What do you do? You know, things along those lines cuz that that's an awful hour waiting , you know, to, to do that on the beach. Or when I ran in Virginia Beach, we didn't have restrooms that were there, there were businesses but every block had a porta-potty that was there. So one of my mainstays in my tournament bag was a basically a case of toilet paper, which sounds really weird, but at three, at three o'clock in the afternoon you have a hundred people using one portal.
All the toilet paper's gone and they're not coming and servicing it till the next morning. So if you have that role of toilet paper, you're now a hero for a junior or a mom or grandma that has to go use the porta potty. Yeah. Cuz it toilet paper's out. And it sounds really weird, but those are the things you learn as time goes on by people going, oh, I can't believe there's not a bathroom here. Or if you're in a park, is there a bathroom? Or where is it? Or is there a water fountain? Or some of the things with like sand volleyball that people don't ever think about is how hot does the sand get in the middle of the day? You know, we did an event in West Virginia and they had a darker colored sand there and at one o'clock in the afternoon people were getting second degree burns on the bottom. You know, they're blissing their feet.
Mark Burik (01:22:15):
Same thing happened at a pro event this year for avp. And there no one was selling sand socks mm-hmm. . And yet pro guys who the bottoms of their foot were wrecked for weeks
Craig Lenniger (01:22:25):
Been there. So West Virginia, we didn't have sand. So I asked the local, I said, Hey, does anybody know a firefighter? And they're like, why? And I'm like, can they come hose down the court? Oh, firefighters board. They came back, they got the firetruck, put the ladder up, they got to show off for the public and they were, you know, spraying the court and they had little kids running out there having a good time. You know,
Mark Burik (01:22:44):
That's a brilliant solution. I would've never thought, I, I come from a firefighting family and I would've never thought like, well let's call the F D N Y. Like maybe they'll hose it down for us.
Craig Lenniger (01:22:52):
. They might, or you know, a lot of times if they have, you know, provisionary firefighters, they need hose time or they need commit to go out there, they need to use the hose. So why not have that's
Mark Burik (01:23:01):
Training drill for a, a volunteer fire department. Something like that. That's, that's training. Hey like let's get the hose off the truck. Let's, you know, hook it up. And what if we had a beach fire? This could be a training . Yeah. Your tournament could be a training event for local fire
Craig Lenniger (01:23:14):
Department. It could be a brush fire. You know, here's a brush fire. You know, how many times does, you know, California you have brush fires, here's your response to come out and put out the hills on fire or mm-hmm. , get your equipment that's out there and the firefighters like it cuz now they're heroes and everyone's out there, you know, and they get to see, and then you invite, Hey, why don't you guys come down and hang out on center court and watch, or you know, if you set it up, you know, hey come hang out and meet some of our players or you guys wanna play later, we'll set up a place for you guys to play. Or you know, here's some whatever it winds up being. I got some water. You guys want some water or gator, whatever it winds up being, you know, thank the firefighters. Or if you have extra shirts, go to the firehouse afterwards and say, Hey, thank you guys for coming out. Here's some tournament shirts, here's some swag
Mark Burik (01:23:53):
Guys. Do that. Anyway. Go to your local fire department, go to your local police department and say, guys, thanks. Here's a shirt, here's a basket of fruit, here's a, you know, rack of ribs. Uh, the F D N Y gets to experience that sometimes. Yeah. But man, for, for those people, anybody in the service, I, I don't care if you're termin an organized or not, go and do something nice for somebody who puts their life on the line for you.
Craig Lenniger (01:24:17):
And the other thing is, is don't forget about the people that are super important. I always look at it as who can shut me down if I make them upset?
Mark Burik (01:24:26):
Craig Lenniger (01:24:26):
Don't care of the fire. You gotta take care of the fire department. They're, you know, fire department, police department. Take care of those, you know those people. Mm-hmm. Take care of the lifeguards. Even a quick mention saying, Hey guys, thanks for being on the beach. Thanks for keeping everybody safe and going on. Yeah. Because if you've been around volleyball long enough, you're gonna see a rescue, you're gonna see something happen. You know, someone has a heart attack on the sand court. First people to get their lifeguards, you know, make sure they know what's going on before your tournament. Go ask the head lifeguard, Hey, is there an a e D here? If someone has a massive heart attack, who's my quickest response time Yes. To do that? And people don't think about that, but I always find the lifeguard, Hey, where's your closest A e d?
Yep. It's better for me to come get you. Call 9 1 1. You know, what is it? And take care of 'em. The other people, people never think and they always take advantage of the guys who pick up the trash. The guys that come and empty the trash cans, the sanitation department, we all see 'em driving up and down the beach. Yep. Take two seconds, say, Hey man, what size shirt do you want? Here's a shirt. Your quarts will be leveled. Nothing will get ruined. The trash will be picked up. They'll come by and pick it up and you thank 'em and know their names and you know, shake their hands and say thank you. And don't, no. Hey wait a minute and throw trash in there. If you have a bag of trash and you're coming, buying a truck, go over, throw your trash in the truck. Yeah.
Mark Burik (01:25:43):
Craig Lenniger (01:25:44):
Bit. Absolutely. Hey, we're, you're out here busting your tail. Mm-hmm. , we'll help, you know, at least I can do is help you. I'm not gonna give you more work. I'm gonna hopefully make it a little bit easier
Mark Burik (01:25:53):
For you. Let's go back a little bit too. Getting the tournaments to sign up. So if, if we turn it back, you know, we kind of ended on get the word out. Talk to juniors, clubs, the mm-hmm. post on social media nonstop. Ask other people to post. Mm-hmm. even on that post, we should be like, please share this first time person. How do they collect money? Should they worry about a website right now for First things first, should they do it through Venmo or PayPal?
Craig Lenniger (01:26:19):
I can tell you when I ran my events there, there's plenty of companies that are out there that are happy to take your money for a fee , you know, they can handle the registration for you. Um, you can do Venmo, you can do cash app, whatever it winds up being. What I did when I ran mine was I ran online. They have a lot of free online stuff like Yahoo has it and Google has a, Google has spreadsheets and uh, Google is Google forms where you can actually handle registration online for free. You create a link, you go to Google forums, you create a link, which you get player one, player two names, addresses, emails, whatever information you want. You can actually
Mark Burik (01:26:52):
Have emails, get the emails, phone numbers because
Craig Lenniger (01:26:55):
Phone numbers, social media address, the clicks, whatever it is you, whatever information you want. Yeah. That's out there. And the important thing is, is get the right phone number. Get their cell phone number. So morning of going, Hey, are you guys coming? It's seven 50, we've been talking all week, are you coming? Are you not coming? Cuz I've gotta run this pool and it's gonna be a difference. The difference between a 17 pool and a 16 pool. That's a really big difference. And the last thing you want to be doing is at eight 30 trying to go refix everything after the first matches have been played. So, but if you have their home phone number and they're using their cell, which I know it seems weird and old school, but you're calling somebody at home and they're driving, you're never gonna get a hold of 'em. Yeah, yeah. You know, or texting 'em, you know, or say can I text you information so you can do the reminders the day of. Cause if you have that text, you can send them massive text out through a lot of free services that Friday night before saying, Hey, reminder check in. Starts at seven, close at seven 30, captain Greening 7 45. And people see that reminder going, Hey, I have it. You know,
Mark Burik (01:27:55):
I'll say that. Yeah. As the tournament organizer, like as soon as you get somebody's phone number, put that contact into your phone. Okay. So that the morning of you're also not oh crap. Like I need to text everybody at the same time. Uh, anything like that. And for me, what I do is I put, uh, if anybody is associated with our company, I put B a b in front of it. Mm-hmm. . So bear like right in front of it. Yep. And then I'll put their name. That way, if I'm looking to add people to a group and I need to do that group text, it's all I do is hit B on my phone and then everything populates. And now I can say select, select, select, select, select. Instead of thinking like, oh, uh, now I gotta text gene and then I gotta text Xander and like,
Craig Lenniger (01:28:35):
Yeah, whatever works for, you know, keep that system going. Whatever it winds up being. Or I can't say any people. I'm Craig Volleyball or E EVP Craig and I was doing tour for so long, it's everybody know no one knows my last name. It's just, that's volleyball guy Craig. Yeah, . It's just interesting. Communication is key. And so, you know, get that registration online, you can do it, you know, that way you're gathering the information that you need. Plus you're building a marketing database for the future. Yes, you have those emails. So now you, you can put in there, would you mind if I hit you with more things, you know, future events and it's a click a button. Especially using that Google form. Yes, it's there and it's easy.
Mark Burik (01:29:10):
Do not just take the payment, get the contact so that the next tournament, it's slightly easier to
Craig Lenniger (01:29:17):
Build and you can and you can link your PayPal signup to that Google form. Okay. So you can actually, when they hit the submit form, it takes them to a PayPal site where they put their names in and you get their credit card and then you get the email. So you get the email with the registration and the payment. Nice. So it looks as the tournament director looks seamless because now they're going from registering to the payment as opposed to I have to go here to register and then I have to go Venmo or I have to do this. Payment wise. It's all kind of one form and there's plenty of opportunities to do that. And then you can decide do you want the person paying the couple bucks for the fee or do you want to eat it yourself for registration? You know that charging fee that goes on with the PayPal, whatever it is. And the other thing is, is do your best to get payment ahead of time because people who pay for things ahead of time are more likely to show up than people who are waiting to pay the day of. Which sounds a lot of people go, oh I'm just gonna sh pay when I get there. Really? Well nope,
Mark Burik (01:30:10):
You're not in the tournament yet.
Craig Lenniger (01:30:11):
Yeah, no you're not there. Or are you really, if you had too much fun on Friday night and you're not coming in, I don't have your money, I have your money, you're showing up. If you don't, then you're probably not showing up or hey, it's kind of gray out or Hey, it's gonna be a hundred degrees today, I'm not coming, I didn't pay. So get that money ahead of time and yeah, you know, like you said earlier, give discounts for early birds and make it go up as time goes on and give people multi-event discounts as well. I do a lot of events, which is Saturday and Sunday. So for like example with my juniors, I tell all my juniors, if you pay to play in the women's event on Saturday, I'm only gonna charge you 10 bucks ahead to play juniors on Sunday. Cool.
So it's just kind of that you're getting double play plus you're getting double people playing. They're getting a discount for playing. It's a little more paperwork on your end because you have to figure out, you know, discounts and stuff. But it gives people a chance to, you know, pay to play or hey, like if I do a thing right now with, with DME where we do a Friday night lights program, we're seven 30, we open up the courts, they're open, it's 10 bucks ahead. You come out and play until you get tired or turn the lights off and go home. Nice. You can pay 10 bucks a night or you can pay 50 bucks for the next three months and show up whenever it is. Love that. So you show up once you show up 10 times, it's still that way. So pay ahead of time and we're good to go.
And I'm trying to keep it cheap so people are playing and that's, I much rather if I'm going out for a sponsor and looking for sponsorships, I want to have a hundred people playing in my event or you know, three times a year as opposed to 10 people playing this there. If I'm charging a hundred bucks a team and I get 10 teams, that's a thousand bucks. Or if I get a hundred teams at 10 bucks, I'm still making a thousand bucks. But now I'm able to go after that. Sponsors still the same money, but now my sponsors is where my profit is.
Mark Burik (01:31:54):
Do you think people should worry about sponsors off the bat? I personally don't think so at all. No. Um, I think you should be so concerned with growing your event for the first mm-hmm. year or two and then well, you know, once, once things are a little bit automated in, in that, then like maybe you can start sending out emails or hire somebody to go out to companies and say, Hey, this is how many people we have at the event.
Craig Lenniger (01:32:16):
Yeah, do And you can and you
Mark Burik (01:32:18):
Can, there's so much wasted time in people trying to chase sponsors.
Craig Lenniger (01:32:21):
Yeah. I don't chase sponsors and a lot of my sponsors come naturally through it. Okay. And I'm honest with people and I go, okay, here's what you wanna sponsor. If you want a a-frame, it's 250 bucks. Okay. And that's, that's my cost for it. So now as an event director, I have ball dividers, I don't have to go buy them. My sponsors are out there and it's there and it's not super hard for me to do and I'm not making or losing money off that first year cuz they're there second year. Okay, now you're a sponsor, hey I still have your ball divider and now it's a hundred bucks for a year too. So that's pure
Mark Burik (01:32:50):
Profit. And remember if you're gonna do guys, if you are early on, if you're gonna do sponsors, you have no idea how much extra time that is going to add. It is not going to add so much extra money in the beginning, but it will crush your time and it will potentially ruin a relationship because you have to talk to them in the beginning so that they know where their thing is going. You have to take pictures for them during the tournament, get videos of it, get, get all that information. You have to send them stats afterwards saying this is how many people we had, this is how many people had your stuff in our hands. And then you have to talk to them again for the next time. Because if you don't do all of those things, they will never sponsor one of your events ever again. Because like, oh, we did that five years ago and we didn't get anything out of it. And now you might be 10 times the size but because you're associated with it and you did it crappy the first time, they won't come back. So don't get sponsors in my opinion. Until you are established and you've built your systems first
Craig Lenniger (01:33:47):
And you have people that are there to handle it because day of a sponsor shows up and you're in the middle of doing pool plays or you're doing playoffs and you have 10 pools coming in and the sponsor's there and they've paid you, you know, some money, you're gonna want to get up and shake their hand because they're gonna feel like you're ignoring them. They go, hold on a minute, I, I have to hold, let me run these events and then I'll talk to you. And then two hours later, by the time everything's going, the sponsor's gone. They're like, oh that guy blew me off. Yep. So you have to figure out what's going on. So if you have a friend or something that wants to give you a hundred bucks, 200 bucks for a ball banner, great. But don't go out and getting those, you know, oh we can get $200,000 in sponsorships. Oh you can't if
Mark Burik (01:34:26):
You do, you should be working in Silicon Valley. You know, or they fundraise every day.
Craig Lenniger (01:34:30):
. Yeah. Or if you say, hey, I'm gonna have 10,000 people at the event and you show up and there's 50 people and a sponsor shows up cause you don't know who's gonna show up the first couple years. You know, build your database, build your picture so you can say here's opportunities that are out there. Yes. And now here's your chance to go do it. Take a picture of it and this is what our event looked like this year. Use Photoshop, throw some of their banners in or throw some net graphics on or whatever it is. Or get the sponsors if you know someone say, Hey, I'm getting nets. My cost is 500 bucks for the net or wherever it winds up being, you can sponsor it and we'll have it up there for all the events. I just want you, you know, you need to buy. Or if your friend runs an auto garage or seven 11, whatever it winds up being and you're friends with them, Hey, do you wanna do this? I'm, we'll get it up there and then we'll play on it the rest of the year. If not, great. If not then can go get your nets. Yeah. Um, you, it's an opportunity for sponsors for me is an opportunity. It's not gonna be there in the beginning. It's, and that it's really, like you said, it's really hard to keep sponsors happy. as time goes
Mark Burik (01:35:24):
On. It's one thing that just came to my mind is that you have to, cuz people will always come up during your event and say, Hey, what's going on here? Mm-hmm.
, please just have one piece of paper set that says interested in our events tournaments. Write your name, write your email, write your phone number because then you can contact them again. But if they walk past and they're interested and you don't get any of their information mm-hmm , I'm telling you right now, they're not going to go home and Google you no perfectly in time for the next event so that they can sign up. So just get yourself one single sheet of paper so that they can write first name, last name, email, phone number and say, we'll contact you tomorrow. You know, we'll get you on our email list or what, whatever. But have that ability for the
Craig Lenniger (01:36:12):
Onsite on a clipboard. Yes. Hey, this is, thanks for cono, here's the information. If you put your name and phone number on here and even if you want to do something with that, do make it associated with it. So if you have a pa hey come sign up for our interest list. Out of the interest list, we're gonna give away a free CUI or we're gonna do this or something on it. So it gives people an ascent cuz people like stuff, it could be a 99 St. Cui but they're gonna sign up for it. And then you have that list and what's the worst case scenario? You create a database and maybe they come play, maybe they don't, but at least you're getting the information out. And how hard is it to give someone a CUI or a t-shirt or
Mark Burik (01:36:48):
Sticker? People love stickers. I can't believe people still love stickers. . They do. They love them
Craig Lenniger (01:36:53):
And phones everything. It's amazing. It's, you get some, everybody loves sticker for the back of someone's case or you know, their phone case or whatever it is. They love those things and it goes good for you. Or temporary tattoos, whatever it winds up being.
Mark Burik (01:37:05):
Know we use lanyards. Yes. People love lanyards. They're super cheap, super easy. You just go to uh, sticker mule.com and they have stickers but they also have like lanyards. They're really cheap and then people see them literally every day cuz they, it's actually a lanyard to their key. And people Yeah. Don't know, you know, what's missing from their lives until they until they get a free lanyard. They're like, this is awesome.
Craig Lenniger (01:37:26):
. Like, I have a, I have a little, little key chain with a, with a Caribbean around a little clip on it. I don't know what I do without that now. Just even for being at events, I just take it and clip it to the tent or clip it somewhere else so I know where my keys are. Yeah. And one day it broke and I went and I was like, oh, this is the worst day of my life. Cause I don't have like , you know, I can't clip on it. I gotta get my keys in my pocket. I'm gonna lose them, you know, and the beast charming that gets, they get heavy as the day goes on . Yeah. So it leaves me losing things. But
Mark Burik (01:37:51):
Yeah. Craig, uh, I've kept you for two hours now. No,
Craig Lenniger (01:37:54):
It's been a while. Um,
Mark Burik (01:37:55):
I I do have, uh, uh, another meeting coming up. I wanna wrap this up, but I, I, you know, I would like to utilize you for some mentorship for me for sure. Us. And, uh, I, I don't know how that'll look or what, what type of time you have, but you've, you've proven yourself to be an absolute resource, uh, just by giving all of this free information to people who, who wanna start volleyball in there, like this episode on its own. Mm-hmm. stands its own course, you know, for, to be able to build an event, what to look out for and, and at least get the steps rolling. I know that I have your information, but yeah, if anybody else is out there and they have any questions or they need to contact you or they're interested in your academy or your events, uh, how could somebody reach out to you or what website should they go to to, to
Craig Lenniger (01:38:44):
Get in touch? Um, they can look up DME Beach vo DME Academy Beach Volleyball. Um, okay. That is out there. I think it had some of it listed earlier on the Lincoln on there we're on Instagram, DME Beach vb, you can find me on there. That's probably the easiest ways to do it. I think it's craig dot leer dme sports.com. Um, is the email address. You can do that, you know, just kind of get out there. I'm, I'm the only Craig Leer that's in the United States that I know of. So if you Google my name, you're gonna find me, uh, . But, uh, it's there. But you know, that's kind of, yeah. It's there to do and there's Instagram that's up there. So find that. And you know, I'm here to help anybody that wants to help or anybody that's willing to listen, I'm always happy to share ideas because like we talked about earlier, it's, you know, getting people out there and playing, it's, we've gotta get people doing the right things and get there having great experiences. Cuz we wanna grow this sport. It's, it's the best sport in my opinion, in the world. Yeah. And more people should be playing it. And it's brought me across the world and back and I love every day of it. And it, it's my passion to go out there and do things and it's, you know, I'm happy to help anybody that wants to do it and happy to help you guys out in any way we can. And, you know, just let me know. I'm here for you.
Mark Burik (01:39:52):
Awesome. Guys. You know, along with what you see on screen, if you're listening here and you check the show notes, uh, we've put all of the contact information that Craig's allowed us to, to put there. So if you want to get in touch with them or you're wondering, you know, little questions like insurance or, or, or what that LLC or scor or, or just starting an event or if you just need some confidence in starting it, this guy's, somebody who's worked with major, major organizations and each one that he's touched has then become a jump in success. So absolute resource and, uh, I'm so thankful that, uh, we got to have this conversation. Craig, I, I just wanna thank you really. This was awesome.
Craig Lenniger (01:40:31):
Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate, it's been a lot of fun. I always enjoyed talking about it and just keep going and going cuz enjoy it so much.
Mark Burik (01:40:36):
Yeah, . I love it. Well, let's have you on again so we can uh, we can dive deeper into one of the other, you know, 20 things that you're excellent at .
Craig Lenniger (01:40:46):
Thank you. I appreciate that. Happy to come back anytime, lemme know.
Mark Burik (01:40:50):
Awesome. All right, great. That's it. Uh, I'm gonna gonna run and yeah, thanks for coming on. Really appreciate your time. Thank you time. Thank you. All right. Have a good one. Bye too, guys, that episode blew my mind, uh, coming into it, not kind of knowing where we're gonna go with the conversation and then being able to absolutely go to school in terms of like tournament facility, event organization. I'm telling you right now that , whether he likes it or not, I'm gonna try to lean on Craig's for, for advice in the future and, uh, see where we can go. But if you save this episode or you subscribe right now or you want to share it with a friend, remember that we all probably know somebody who's thought of or is attempting to try or start just putting together a tournament or an event. You know, I think a lot of us have, have looked at an event or a tournament and thought like, oh, I could probably do that.
This is a great starter pack for you and I really think you could share this lesson and you could save this episode and refer to it again and again so that you have that step-by-step process to really get started. So there's a lot of gems in here for anybody who is, uh, is really going up that alley. And I'm so happy that we got to have this episode where we can really give you guys a place to start, an actionable steps to take, to start your own event. And don't be afraid to start your event. And I'll tell you one thing as well from my experience, don't be afraid to let people know that it's your first time. I know that we all think that we have to like, look and seem professional, uh, with my online members and the people who are learning from me in beach volleyball.
I lean on them to tell that to, to help me say like, Hey, where does my website suck? You know, what, what am I not showing you that you needed to know before signing up for all of our camps and clinics? We send emails afterwards saying, tell us your worst part, the worst part of the experience. Tell us the best part of your experience. It is completely and 100% okay to say, Hey guys, it's my first time running an event. I think it's gonna be awesome. I'm gonna work my tail off. But I want you guys to be open with your opinions all the way. I'm not gonna tell you to accept everybody's opinions immediately because you're going to change too many things before you actually get start running. And then you might get stuck, but have a form set up and have a email ready to go after the event that says, specifically tell me the two worst parts of the entire experience.
Tell me the two best parts. Right. Have them be honest and, and, and ask both questions. We send a lot of those emails and messages and we leave ourselves open so that we can advance, we can grow and we can create better things. And hopefully if you guys ever come to one of our camps or clinics, you get to experience all of the change and reformation that has come with each event because we love listening to our players and it's for them, right? Like the, the whole thing is for them. So, uh, have that set up this fall. All right, man. This is packed, uh, this morning. Fired me up. I hope you liked it. Please throw us a share. Uh, throw us a subscribe. I think you can rate our podcast somewhere somehow, if you can and you liked it, give us a good rating. If you hated it, send me an email or send me, uh, a DM at Mark Berg on Instagram and, uh, help me change and make it better for you. All right. Really appreciate your time. Thank you for listening. Hope we're able to give you a ton. I, I know I got a ton to have this conversation, so I hope you did too. And as always, I'll see you on the sand.