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How to Excel at the Libero Position in Volleyball

author image Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.
How to Excel at the Libero Position in Volleyball
Volleyball Photo Credit AndrewSoundarajan/iStock/Getty Images

The volleyball libero is a back-row defensive specialist who cannot block or attack balls above net height and cannot serve in international play. The libero's job is to receive serves, dig hits, pass and occasionally set. The position emerged internationally in 1998 to improve defense and ball movement. "The thought was that tall players have more difficulty with ball control and smaller players are quicker, more agile, and can play better court defense," Winthrop assistant coach Chuck Rey explained on his website.

Step 1

Develop your ability to receive serves and pass accurately. Typically a libero will cover much of the court against the serve and make many of the passes that start the offense.

Step 2

Develop your digging skills. The libero often replaces the center blocker and is called on to defend hits. Digging demands solid technique in addition to tremendous hustle. Reaching a ball doesn't help your team if you don't control it. "Only with a solid foundation of defensive moves can you become the amazing defender that you want to be," advises Volleyball iSport. Work on your landings as well. Master the shoulder roll, which allows quick recovery, and the pancake, which allows better extension while limiting the injury risk. Stay after practice and have coaches or teammates hit or throw balls all over the court, forcing you to expand your defensive range. "No matter what kind of drill you’re doing," Volleyball iSport recommends, "make sure you have a target position in mind."

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Step 3

Learn to read serves and hits and anticipate where the ball is going. "I tune everything else out and concentrate on the server and what my job is on the court," Ironwood Ridge High School player Michelle Link told the Arizona Republic in October 2008. "But digging the ball is definitely the highlight of the position. It's a really big adrenaline rush, especially on a really hard hit."

Step 4

Improve your quickness and agility through consistent plyometric training. Stress drills that build lateral and diagonal mobility. Jumping rope improves athleticism and sprinting improves forward movement.

Step 5

Become determined to reach everything. Develop an aggressive mindset. "It takes a lot of heart and a heck of a lot of athletic ability to play that position," Basha High School coach Jim Kann told the Arizona Republic in October 2008." If you get both of those together, you can have really good player."

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