An upstart program in Cary is taking a different approach to the club volleyball system.
Patty Langanis’ new venture, Balance Volleyball Club, seeks to do just what its name suggests: find the balance in an athlete’s life.
Langanis, a coach with more than 20 years of experience at Cary-Grove High School and Sky High Volleyball Club, said that volleyball was one of the first sports to train year round, even before AAU basketball or baseball. While the dedication has helped many improve their skills and catch the attention of college recruiters, Langanis said it has also led to overuse injuries and burn out.
“Some kinds want to go 11 or 12 months out of the year. That’s fantastic,” she said. “This is for the kids who are feeling a little tired. Maybe they’re hurt or a little burnt out. Hopefully we can find the balance in their life.”
Most local volleyball clubs begin their seasons in December, but Balance Volleyball Club’s season will not begin in earnest until March. Instead, athletes will be free to play other sports, lift weights and recover mentally and physically during the 3-4 month time period when the other clubs are competing.
The team, which will be based at Trinity Oaks Academy's (old Cary-Grove Junior High) gym, will hold optional once-a-week practices focused on strengthening volleyball players’ skills during this offseason. Langanis said she feels these sessions will be critical because she can focus on technique without worrying about preparing a team for an upcoming tournament.
Though the team will take more time off than most clubs, Langanis said athletes who hope to play collegiately will still have that opportunity. They will gain exposure at national competitions and Langanis plans to use the relationships she built over her career to help her athletes get noticed.
She emphasized that the new club is for a “niche” athlete and said Sky High Volleyball Club owner Scott Harris is "completely supportive of this split."
“We’re going to be working hand in hand,” Langanis said. “There’s no tension between the new clubs. I think everyone has the athletes’ best interests in mind.”
Tryouts for Balance Volleyball Club will begin in October, after which an 18-year-old team and a 17-year-old team will be selected.
The club’s website will also be up and running in about a week.