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Lloy's Corner: Breaking Down the Libero

Feb 9, 2018 6:03:56 AM

Hey, all. It's Lloy. Today we're going to talk about.... 
The libero!!!!  It's the biggest mystery to volleyball novices yet today.  Why the different colored jersey? Why do they get to come in and out of the match so freely?  
To be honest, when the libero position was created, I hated it!!  Sorry E-Sull (Sullivan) who was our first libero on the USA team.  It seamed like a gimmick to give short players a spot.  I loved when the old school middles like Bas Van de Goor and Brian Ivy got to play back row defense and hit pipes or D's from behind the 3 meter line.  But we also used a white ball back then and played for 3 1/2 hours sometimes.  Things change :(
Now, the libero is common place.  Here is my quick breakdown on how I use the libero.  
1. They should play LEFT BACK!!!  I saw Georgia Univ. play their libero in right back, and I see many many many vb clubs and HS teams play theirs in middle back. If you're going to use them, left back makes the most sense to me (unless there is a particular situation that calls for something different).
2. From left back, they can get great vision on the OH's cross court attack.  And don't we want our best defender digging the hardest attacks? (yes)
3. From left back, they can attempt to get EVERY free ball.  Moving left to right and getting the ball to target is much easier than moving right to left and trying to go back against the flow. On my team, if the libero doesn't get the free ball, there is hell to pay.
4. The libero MUST be the serve receive captain.  They give instruction before every serve, decide if the three passers are passing left or right, and discuss who has short serve responsibility.
5. The libero MUST be the defensive captain.  Giving instruction before every play who has tip responsibility, sets second ball if played by setter, and making any "special circumstance" switches from scouting report.
Here is what I look for from my libero:
1. Fearless.  The strap-the-helmet-on and take a shot to the face kinda of fearless!!!
2. Point scoring serve.  They can't have a lolly pop serve, otherwise I might as well leave the big middle in :)
3. Over-communicative. The kind of talking that by the end of the practice/match, you just want to tell her to shut up :)
4. Best teammate. Every ball is hers!!!  Even when it's not hers. Like the setter, she must accept more responsibility than the OH's or MB's.
So, in the end, I get the libero position.  I do miss the old days of big players being more well rounded, but I get it.  Watching the liberos from Nebraska and Minnesota the other night makes me realize the libero position adds great value to our game.  Now, you just have to go find/develop a good one.
Posted in Volleyball By

Smack Sportswear

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