The Libero: Volleyball's Most Unique Position Explained

ByRebekah Morris

Published on Sat Feb 13 2021


3 min read

The Libero: Volleyball's Most Unique Position Explained

The libero position on the volleyball team is one of the most important positions in the game of volleyball (Rank by importance were Setters, Outsides, Liberos). Defense is important but serve receive passing can sometimes be the game changer that it takes to win a game. The only time the libero isn't on the court is when another player serves during their opposite position, and so the libero is ultimately on the court at all times.

Serve - Receive - Pass

Many coaches during the recruiting process have claimed that "A lot of players can defend, but can they pass well?" As much as passing might not be fun (which I would argue that it is) it is probably the most important fundamental skill that the libero needs to possess. And not only does a libero need to possess that skill, they often need to be the best passer on the team. Passing a three ball so your offense can be in system (your setter can set to any hitter) is more important than getting that amazing dig. Consistency at the serve receive pass will put you above other liberos, and so when you think that you've passed enough during practice, there's always more passing that can be done.

You Need to Be a Leader

It doesn't matter if you're a freshman or senior on your college team, being a leader as a libero is crucial. Because the libero is essentially on the court at all times, controlling the atmosphere and energy will go a long ways. The libero has the ability to tell the hitters what spots are open on the other side of the net while also frequently talking about what is happening on the other side of the net is essential. A quiet libero, while still talented, will not be as beneficial to the team as a vocal leader libero.

The Spark Plug

While the libero cannot jump above the height of the net and attack the ball, the libero can spruce up the energy when a fellow teammate gets a kill. Coaches are on the look for players that have a great energy while playing. You want to be the person that every one would pick to play with. Are you fun to play with? Cheer when your hitters get a kill, recognize that amazing set from your setter, and motivate everyone around you to play as hard as you do.


A libero has to hustle to cover her hitters back to base position, and then read a play and moved to defensive position, and then repeat. Hustle to get the tip up, hustle to save the off-blocker hit, hustle to chase a shanked pass, hustle, hustle, hustle. By hustling 100% of the time, you are showing your teammates what you expect from them and when you hustle to save a ball that no one hustles after, you can tell them that they should have gotten the ball. Provide an example with your hustle and your teammates will follow. Work ethic is contagious and to think that you can simply help your teammates out by hustling!

A Never Give Up Attitude

The libero position is the most competitive college volleyball recruiting position because there are more high school liberos than there are freshmen libero spots for college teams. And not only are you competing with defensive specialists, in many cases a fantastic outside becomes a libero during college because of her commitment and play at the defensive level. Because of this, the libero needs to be the hardest working person on the team and needs to separate themselves from others: which can be done by being a leader, hustling, being consistent, having a great energy, and being the best serve receiver in the building. By being relentless and not giving up, the libero shows a strong mental game with the capacity to handle tough situations and play well under pressure.

Volleyball is a sport with quite a few different positions, and while these are important aspects for every type of position to have, when the libero has all of these features, it would be hard for a coach not to play that libero.

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