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article imageMark Burik talks beach volleyball, Saint Francis Prep and future Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 28, 2014 in Sports
Professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik chatted about his career in the sport, his future plans, as well as his high school, Saint Francis Prep.
He is drawn to the sport of beach volleyball because it "has become an addiction" to him. "I can't live without it. I enjoy it. I don't know how or why, but I like it. The best part about the sport is being able to jump into the ocean right afterwards," he said.
Prior to getting into beach volleyball, Burik played four years of indoor volleyball professionally. "I had gotten my first taste of it in my junior year of high school. I only played it for two months there, and then I didn't play again until the middle of my freshman year in college. I actually went to the University of Delaware for football. In the evenings, I played with the volleyball guys that were practicing for their club teams and it got to a point where I was practicing with both teams for a long time. I eventually came to a decision where I needed to play volleyball instead of football," he explained.
Professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik and owner of VolleyCamp Hermosa
Professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik and owner of VolleyCamp Hermosa
Owen Hammond
Burik had nothing but the fondest memories for his high school, Saint Francis Prep. "I thought Prep was a great environment for me. I had a sense of pride going to that high school. There are several teachers that are still in my head everyday, who did an unbelievable job in supporting young people and making them feel like they mattered. They definitely pushed me and made me feel like I mattered. High school can be a tough time. I had some great relationships there. The influences that the teachers at Saint Francis Prep had on me is really continuing to last a lifetime. I hope to eventually be in a position, where I can make young people feel good about themselves as my teachers did," he said.
His proudest career moments include coaching and working with a Juniors club program, which involves working with younger teams. "Being able to work with younger players and making them aware that they are important is a great deal of fun," he said.
Burik's future plans are quite promising. "As we speak, I am driving out to California. I am all in now. I am trying to chase the Olympics and hoping to be a part of the 2020 Olympics. I have had mediocre success, but now I am moving to California and committing 100 percent to beach volleyball. This is me putting all of my chips on the table. It is a really exciting time for me," he said.
The professional volleyball player added, "I am also starting a company while I am out there. It's called VolleyCamp Hermosa. I am inviting players from around the country and around the world to train with me as their coach. I am making California the best place to train for beach volleyball. I am giving them an opportunity to live there for as long as they can, and they can have a professional coach with good experience. I already have two teams signed up, and they will be training with me five days a week."
Throughout his career, Burik has trained in such countries as Sweden and Norway. "The more I go and travel to places where English is a second language, I have become much quieter naturally. At dinner tables and social settings, I would always be the one talking. When you go overseas and English is a second language, you spend a lot more time listening. Then, when I come back to the United States and I am sitting at the table with my family, and I haven't said a word, I didn't notice that I wasn't talking. I was just listening to people. It has definitely opened up my views on a lot of things. It has helped me see everybody's side of an issue before I present any opinions that I may have. It has made me more thoughtful," he said.
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