Volleyball Libero Facts Defensive Rules, Responsibilities and History

The volleyball libero is a specialist in digging, passing and playing in the backcourt who wears a contrasting color jersey and has defensive responsibilities.

The libero is a defensive specialist who wears a contrasting color jersey that differentiates her from her teammates.

The libero goes freely in and out of the court to take the place of a front row player who's rotated to the backrow when the ball isn't in play

The volleyball libero position was first introduced In Italy in the late 80's early 90s.

As a professional volleyball player in Italy, my fellow Americans and I were playing with liberos for several years before the concept was officially introduced in the United States in 1999. 

The word "libero" means "free" in Italian. 

The Italian concept of the "libero" meant that a particular designated player was "free" to roam in and out of the court in the back row positions to play defense.

That meant, liberos were "free" not to follow the traditional rules of volleyball for rotation and substitution and they could come in and out of the game with few limitations.

You might like these volleyball libero pages. 



Although, the designated libero had a lot of freedom in the back row to roam anywhere behind the ten foot line, they were actually prohibited from becoming a spiker who could hit the ball in the front row. 

Libero Volleyball Rules

According to the volleyball libero rules, the player in the libero position is prohibited from playing any front row or front court position.

They are limited to the back row where they are able to take a front row player's place to play defense when that player rotates to the back row.

Okay I promise I won't use the word "free' anymore but I think you get the point.

  Liberos, Liberos, Liberos           Volleyball Shirts           click to shop

What Are Liberos in Volleyball?:

Olympic Libero Stacy Sykora (USA)

The professional men's game was popular but it needed more spectators because the TV audience was attracted to the women's volleyball game which kept their attention longer because of the longer defensive plays and unpredictable but longer rallies.

One of the ways that the "powers-that-be" wanted to make the game more exciting was to introduce and promote the use of liberos in volleyball.

You see the men's game in the 70s and 80s and early 90's had always been a power game with lots of strong hitting and very little defense since many coaches emphasized front row skills in their practices like hitting and blocking

Introducing and promoting the role of liberos and by adopting a few special rules that applied to the volleyball libero positioninternational tournament and professional league organizers thought this new position with its new rules would draw more television spectators to the men's game because they hoped these elements would make the game more exciting.

Volleyball event officials hoped that with shorter, more agile and athletic players coming in for the taller players when they rotated to the back row would produce more defensive plays and more exciting, longer and more suspenseful rallies which would hold the interest of the television audience longer.

Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out more of my volleyball passing articles by clicking one of the links below! (April Chapple)Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out more of my volleyball passing articles by clicking one of the links below! (April Chapple)

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Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 

Volleyball Positions:
What Are Liberos in Volleyball
Where Do You Go From Here?

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

Discover more info about the volleyball libero position!

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