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Meet Mark Burik of VolleyCamp Hermosa in Hermosa Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Burik.

Mark, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I think the story of my company really started when I was 19. I had gotten hooked on volleyball the year before that and I wanted desperately to improve and see how far I could get. I’m originally from Queens, New York and was going to school at the University of Delaware but I knew California was the land of volleyball. It’s where all the legends were born and are still made to this day. I hunted down a summer internship with the San Diego Fire Department’s Wellness Program so I could get something out of the trip besides volleyball and drove across the country. All the eagerness in the world didn’t matter because I had no idea where to find volleyball courts, players or coaches. I did manage to find a nice leather couch to sleep on for 3 months though. I was eventually told where to find some beach volleyball courts and I strolled down their day after day hoping someone would just invite me into a game a la “White Men Can’t Jump”. It took me about 6 trips until I convinced a 60-year-old man to let me be his partner for one set. The games eventually started flowing from there but I never thought about finding a quality coach so I wasted a lot of energy doing things the wrong way. Fast forward 10 years and after playing a few professional indoor volleyball seasons in Europe, I decided to pursue beach volleyball full time and make a permanent move out to California. I didn’t have a job lined up but I knew I wanted to create something that 19-year-old Mark needed way back when. I wanted to give non-Golden Staters a place to pursue their beach volleyball dreams without any of the wayward path, the searching, the confusion, the wasted time and energy. I told myself that I would make the dream accessible and easy for everyone. So I brought together accommodations, coaching and player networking under one roof.

That was two years ago and today, VolleyCamp Hermosa has hosted and coached over 1500 people from 16 countries, we have an amazing manager in Alison Wise and an internship program. We’ve created a class schedule unlike anything any other volleyball company has ever done. We’ve worked with local schools like Montessori, Manhattan Beach and hosted corporate team building days for various companies. We provide the most affordable and high quality coaching around while still keeping our class sizes small to provide great individual feedback. We’ve got great partnerships with local hotels and we are bringing in great business to our gym and restaurant partners like Rock & Brews, Beach Cities Yoga, Velocity Sports Performance and Anytime Fitness.

I never once thought this would become what it has but I couldn’t be more proud of the players who have gone through our curriculum and write back with letters of all their successes in the sport. When someone allows me, my other coaches, and my company to become a part of their athletic journey, it is truly an honor that I don’t take lightly and brings a fulfillment in life that I can’t get from any other activity.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
That is a laughable question. I have been pursuing my personal beach volleyball career while running this business. It allows me to stay on the beach instead of running to a job and it keeps me in constant study of the game. However, I never envisioned myself cleaning toilets at 2 am to make sure my players had a nice place to stay when they signed up for coaching. I didn’t think I would have to learn coding or HTML to run a website which I am still awful at. I didn’t think I could coach for 12 hours in a day and then do marketing and website work for 8 hours. What kind of professional athlete runs on 2 hours of sleep?! Last year, with no exaggeration, I averaged 4 hours of sleep in the spring and summer yet managed to have the best competitive season of my life while DOUBLING VolleyCamp Hermosa’s revenue from the previous year. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve stared bankruptcy in the face three times since starting because I didn’t understand the rhythm of the seasons and we only had one product.

Funny story; I remember finishing 5th at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open, jogging from the court to my bike and zooming to Hermosa so that I could get to my beginner’s class in time to coach.

Hiring our manager, Alison, was the best thing I did last year because she has picked up ALL of my slack and helped speed the process of everything we have done. She handles nearly all of our digital marketing. She is the main contact for every camper, every guest, every player and all of the ones who might be some day. This year one of her major tasks is to assign our other coaches to more classes so that I can save some energy for my athletic endeavors.

Please tell us about VolleyCamp Hermosa.
VolleyCamp Hermosa provides affordable accommodations and elite training for beach volleyball players from around the world. Our company gives you the opportunity to live with and train under current PROFESSIONAL BEACH VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS and coaches. We are centered in Hermosa Beach California, widely known as the Mecca of Beach Volleyball.

We are your one-stop shopping for accommodation, elite coaching and training partners. We have made it easier than it has ever been to plan and book your trip to the best beach volleyball city in the world. Our company brings together housing, competition and high quality training under one roof. Even better, you get to spend your time with other like-minded, hardworking athletes who are pursuing their dreams. But don’t be intimidated! We invite beach volleyball enthusiasts of all levels to come out and experience the best that our beautiful game has to offer! We also offer lessons and volleyball classes to our local players.

This concept was built on years of experience from traveling, practicing and competing around the world. Every year, thousands of players from around the world make their pilgrimage to the ‘Volleyball Mecca’. These brave athletes wander the sand hoping to “GET NEXT” on a court. They spend hours wasting time searching for players at their level, strangers who will play with them and the elusive “Great Coach”. VolleyCamp Hermosa is the opportunity they’ve been looking for. Whether you are looking for lessons, regular classes, intense competition or team training, we can accommodate you.

We don’t stop there! We are continually seeking out new beaches, camps and opportunities around the world. Every year we organize several international trips from the Caribbean to Europe. These beach volleyball vacations are once in a lifetime trips. Subscribe to our email list and stay up to date with our next adventure!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
A lot of my best memories circle around sport and my brothers. There is no specific instance I can remember that stands out from the others. But anytime my older brothers let me play and compete with them, I knew it was special and I felt in my heart that I had to prove to them I could hang with older, bigger, faster, stronger athletes. I think playing against people twice my size early on in life ensured that I don’t fear bullies, proverbial monsters in closets or other outstanding athletes.

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1 Comment

  1. Alison

    March 29, 2017 at 03:44

    Really appreciate the article! I’m proud to work for such an incredible boss, and love getting to be part of sharing this beautiful sport!
    -Alison Wise
    One note: Our Facebook Page is http://www.facebook.com/volleycamphermosa

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