Libero Volleyball Player Responsibilities, Roles, Qualities and Rules 

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

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

They tend to be quicker and faster in defense than their teammates which many coaches think makes them ideal players for this position.

The Responsibilities of the Libero Volleyball Player  

Libero Volleyball Player Responsibilities, Roles, Qualities and Rules (Mark Shaiken photo)Libero Volleyball Player Responsibilities, Roles, Qualities and Rules (Mark Shaiken photo)

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 Libero Volleyball Players 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 come 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 come into the game for their designated middle blocker or player they are coming in for.

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 comes back in.

Libero Volleyball 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 Do Libero Volleyball Players Differ 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.

How Do Libero Volleyball Players Differ From Other Players?How Do Libero Volleyball Players Differ From Other Players?

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. 

Volleyball Positions:
Where Do You Go From Here?

I got you! Here's where you need to go now! Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about the various Positions in Volleyball by reviewing the Related Links below. 
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Positions section in the drop down menu at the top of the page

Learn more about Liberos

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