Derek Olson is a hungry person. Metaphorically more than

literally, although Derek can plow through a big meal too!

I’ve been fortunate to know Derek for almost fifteen years,

and what comes across in the most authentic way is that Derek

is hungry, almost starving for improvement. For himself as a

coach to improve, for the players he coaches to be at their best,

for the sport of beach volleyball to improve as a whole.

For context, Derek and I played against each other in numerous

beach volleyball tournaments over the years in our late 20s,

mostly in California. We then adventured through Brazil while

I coached him and Jeremy Casebeer in FIVB tournaments.

After Derek transitioned into coaching, our teams played each

other many times, and I always felt that his teams were wellcoached,

tough opponents. For the sake of congeniality, we’ll

just say that our record against each other is split fifty-fifty.

We’ve shared meals, hotel rooms for national team events,

swapped too many stories to count, and Derek’s thirst for

knowledge of the game is as deep as the ocean.

The blueprint that Derek has laid out for us is tremendous—

it’s a launch pad for any hungry player to gain a sense of

control over their journey; a journey that can feel isolating,

confounding, and frustrating!

The Volleyball Journal addresses so many areas in which I’ve seen

players of all ages struggle, and this book will help them bring

their own dreams to fruition. Growth mindset breakdown?

Check! Authentic confidence explanation? Boom! Mindfulness

and awareness tools that are simple? You know it! Figuring out

how to actually watch and learn from video? Absolutely!

Another key strength of this book is that you could read

it cover to cover in fifteen minutes and then actively use it

for years. I can be impatient with extraneous clutter, and I

appreciate the radical clarity and simplicity that Derek laid out.

Derek has taken the best of so many resources and crystallized

them into a tangibly useful instrument of improvement. I’m

honored to sing not only his praises, but the praises of this

book, and I look forward to using it with the beach volleyball

team that I coach!

– Andrew Fuller

Head Beach Volleyball Coach at Stanford University

2021 AVCA National Coach of the Year