The Volleyball Defensive Player

Known as the libero, this defensive player is a specialist in passing, digging and serving in the back row.

Kristin Winkler, Volleyball Defensive Player aka LiberoKristin Winkler, Volleyball Defensive Player aka Libero


Most liberos, male or female, are the best defensive players on

their team.


They tend to be shorter, quicker and faster in defense than their

teammates which makes them ideal players for this position.


The Responsibilities of the Volleyball Defensive Player Known as the Libero


The volleyball defensive player known as the libero specializes

in playing defense in any of the three zones in

the back court.


They take over larger areas of the court when passing the

ball in serve receive and should have a killer serve if they play in some

high schools and in college.


Many times, they will be allowed to take more area of

responsibility on the court in serve receive because they are so

specialized in what they do.


The more of the court a volleyball defensive player or libero can take in

serve receive, the more her outside hitting teammates can

concentrate on just getting ready to spike the ball.


On some teams there will be defensive specialists and liberos

which some coaches think is advantageous. But, for most 

teams they limit their defensive positions to just their liberos.



Who Do Liberos Come In The Game For?



For the most part, middle blockers are the ones most often

replaced by their teams liberos when it comes time for them to rotate

to the backrow to zone 1 to serve.


First, the liberos play all the way through the back row, then when they

get to zone four (4) they substitute out of the game to let their middle

blockers play the front row. 



Before the referee blows the whistle, the libero can come in and out of

the game.


Only when the ball is not in play can a libero come up to the

sideline, which is located between the end line and the attack line, to

enter the court to substitute into the game for their designated

middle blocker or player they are coming in for.


                       Olympic Volleyball Libero: Arisa Sato (Japan)




Once the middle blockers have rotated through all three front

row positions, and have played in position two or after they have been

allowed to serve the ball,  then that's when the libero is

substituted back in.



More Volleyball Libero Rules



Once a player is chosen as the libero, then they are the

designated libero for the entire tournament, or match. 




If for any reason this first designated libero needs to be changed

because of illness or injury, then whoever is chosen to substitute her

will have to remain the libero for the rest of the tournament.



How and Why Do Volleyball Liberos Distinguish Themselves From Other Players?



Volleyball regulations require the libero jersey to be a different

color than that worn by their teammates.



The rules also state that each team is given a certain amount of

substitutions they can use during a match.


Since there are no limitations to the number of substitutions a

libero can make, by wearing a different color jersey it's easier for the

referee and stat keepers to keep track of the times the libero enters in

and out of the game.


The two key points that should be remembered about a libero going in

and out of the game is that

a) there needs to be a rally between two libero substitutions and

b) once a libero goes in for one player, they can only continue

to go in and out for that same player.



Can a volleyball libero hit the ball?



Actually a volleyball libero can hit the ball, as long as they don't 

make contact with the ball when any part of it is above the level of the

top of the net.


So, for clarity, a libero can hit a down ball, by spiking the ball

without having her feet leave the ground to make a spike approach.



Also, a player can't hit the ball from higher than the top of the net, if

the ball is coming from an overhand finger pass (a set) by a libero in

the front zone. 


The ball may be freely attacked if the libero makes the same action

from behind the end zone.




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