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'Get In Where You Fit In'

Carly Cerna-Balanoff is going to be a sophomore in high school and wants to tryout for the varsity volleyball team, but she is attending Saint Thomas Aquinas and the team she's trying out for is a 4 time state champion and last year runner up for the state title. This is quit a daunting task, one Carly eagerly awaits. Here are some of her thoughts on training at IMG Academy, her goals this upcoming season and more...

Carly Cerna-Balanoff @ IMG Performance Instuite
Carly Cerna-Balanoff @ Athletic & Personal Development program

When did you first realize your love for the game of volleyball...I have been playing volleyball since I can remember mostly beach volleyball but 6th grade is when I became a serious student of the game.

Who in the volleyball world do you follow and what team is most exciting for you to watch....In the volleyball world I would say Misty May Treanor, even though she is on sand I don't anyone can say her work ethic, skill and will to win can be questioned. That's how I want people to view me. The team that's most exciting for me to watch would be Nebraska and Penn State. Those girls play with so much passion and energy not to mention they are huge.

What type of off-season work have you been involved in...Being that I'm am transferring to Saint Thomas Aquinas, a school with a rich volleyball history I have to make sure I'm prepared. Athletic & Personal Development program is that place to get me in shape from all angles. The decision to choose IMG Academy was quit easy because a lot of the elite athletes that I follow have come through here. For example, Maria Sharapova, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams to just name a few. It's the place that helps you do great things. Working with Vinnie Burns, the performance specialist, I have used muscles I didn't know I had.

Carly, you have been through all the eight different disciplines of the Athletic & Personal Development program, give me some comments on a couple of them... Mental Conditioning- I love it. In volleyball you have to have a short memory. One mental lapse can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Mental conditioning works on keeping your mind always on the next play and how to make the next play the best play. Game On- I wasn't quit sure what this was at first but now I see how it has affected my communication skills, my ability to get my point across with eye contact and body language and the ability to get out of awkward situations. Vision- One of the more important skills that a volleyball player needs. We have worked on my court vision and peripheral vision which I noticed has made me aware of things in my sight that I haven't noticed before.

Are you ready for this upcoming season... I feel more than ready for this tryout. I highly doubt that many of the other girls have been not only going to volleyballs camps this summer but also training at a facility like IMG Academy where all aspects of their game is being analyzed. I can't wait.

What are you concerns about going into this new environment and beyond to college...The competition and talent level is of course higher and I'm ready for it but this means my position may change. Girls are bigger and hit harder so my current position as outside hitter may change do to the sheer size of another girl. Even more so in college, I'm only 5'8 right now and usually in college you'll find outside hitters 6'1 and up so I may have to get used to another position. I'm going to have to get in where I fit in. If the team needs me at another spot, I'm there.

What does a team high school/ college gain by having you on the roster...Despite giving 100% all the time. I see myself as the glue that keeps the team together. Being that person that the coach knows they can count on to be the rock for the team when things aren't going so well.

Carly perfoming Med Ball excercises in IPI

Do you know your volleyball slang:

What is a 'Frosty Walrus'...Slide on stomach to get a ball.

Actual Meaning: Diving for the ball while sliding on your stomach.

If I'm in 'Spiketown/Bouncetown' where am I... Your getting a lot of kills.

Actual Meaning: A fictional place that a hitter claims to go to when he/she gets an impressive kill that bounces very high and no one can return (a lot of times near the 3 meter line.)

If someone was to get a 'Facial' how does that feel...Not good because they're getting hit in the face with the ball by opposing team.

Actual Meaning: When a defending player gets hit in the face with the ball either from an attack by the opposing team or by a deflection off the block.

Carly Cerna-Balanoff is daughter of William L. Balanoff, DDS, MS, FICD and Cathy Balanoff. Carly has 2 younger siblings.

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