what is the Libero in Volleyball

What is the libero in volleyball? – Complete Guide

If you are a current player of volleyball game, then the Libero word is not a new term for you. However, talking about the time when I used to play volleyball in my school days, I never heard about this player and its role in volleyball games. 

Most of you might be wondering why there is a player on the back side of the court wearing a different shirt from the rest of the players. Well, here comes the Libero to serve with its defensive as well as passing skills.

What is the libero in volleyball – You Need to Know About the Libero Position

Libero players mostly found in indoor volleyball games have a special role in it. The Libero wears a different jersey from the rest of the players on the team, so they are easily recognizable. Libero are not allowed to play at the front line of the court and perform their defensive strategies at the back line of the court.

The Libero position in the volleyball team was first invented in 1998 and was accepted by worldwide volleyball governing bodies. The purpose of this additional body is to elevate the length of rallies in the court. Apart from defense and serving at the back line of the game court, the Libero also has to obey some additional complex rules.

The duties of a Libero

There is no restriction on age when choosing a Libero for the game. However, libero must own certain defensive as well as ball-controlling skills to serve with their best potential. 

  • A libero should be the best passer on the team. This skill decides which one is the number one libero.
  • It is not a hard and fast rule that the one who serves as libero in a match should mandatory serve at the next one. This position can be circulated between players. However, the adult teams rely on one libero all the time for several matches.
  • The libero usually serves as a weaker middle blocker. However, it can be on left side or right side of the middle blocker.
  • Liberos should be aggressive and vocally sharp to take a stand whenever needed. An ideal libero should how to throw himself on the -floor if needed.

Some complicated rules about the Libero

For a new libero or volleyball coach, it is crucial to understand the rules of this unique position.

  • The libero owns the special power of swapping out with another player in the back row, like a quick high five, without it actually counting as a substitution. This happens in between points, so it’s super fast. You’ll see the libero hustle on and off the court, usually replacing the middle blocker who’s chilling in the back row. This keeps your defense fresh with the full serving potential.
  • The Libero position is optional, it is not mandatory and the team decides whether they need the services of a libero or not.
  • Libero has the liberty to jump in for the back-row players. But here’s the twist you should know, whoever switches this crucial place with the libero at first (like a middle blocker), that same player has to switch back with the libero later. It’s like a one-way ticket for that round. Once they switch back, then the libero can swap with the other middle blocker, and so on. This keeps things organized and prevents confusion on the court.
  • Liberos cannot block any attack, their duty is only to serve as the back-row specialist.
  • Normally, the libero can’t hit the ball over the net for a point if it’s already way up there. It’s like they’re not allowed to “spike” the ball if it’s super high. However, there’s a little loophole! If the ball is kind of in between – not super high but not super low, just skimming the top of the net – then the libero can actually take a swing and try to score! It’s not something you see every day, but it can be a surprising and cool move when it happens.
  • Only one libero is permissible during one match, however, changing liberos during a match set is fine.

What should be the qualities of a Libero?

The Libero is one of the important positions in volleyball games. Apart from good defensive strategies, a libero should own the best serve-receive-pass skills, leadership qualities, a spark plug mindset, and a self-confident attitude. These collective things lead to the ultimate win. Let’s discuss these qualities in detail.

Serve-Receive-Pass strategy

As a coach for 5 years, I must argue that many of the top-notch liberos who are good at defending do not perform their best in passing. Although, defense demands strategy but passing needs both strategy and skills. So, while selecting a good libero for my team I always prefer the best passer over defender. The more practice you do, the more skills you get in this regard. The top serve-receive-pass skill will create your distinction from the rest of the liberos.

Leadership qualities

Among all other qualities associated with a libero, leadership is my top priority. A talented but quiet libero is not beneficial as compared to a vocally aggressive one. A libero should possess motivating skills and tell what is happening on the other side of the court. Also, telling the team which spot of the opponent team is empty is also a winning duty of the libero. A libero should be proactive all the time and cheer their teammates.

Quick actions

The quick response for each strategy is the key. A libero should always be quick in covering the hitters and then swiftly ready to play as a defender and repeat. The immediate defense and pass are the top-notch qualities of a libero. This incredibly energetic stamina during play time sets an example for other teammates that how they should spike or target the empty spots in no time.As crucial as their role is, having the right shoes for Libero is equally important.

Self-confident attitude

Libero spot in college? Super competitive! More players than openings. You’re not just competing with defensive specialists, but also converted outside hitters. Stand out by being the hardest worker, a leader, hustling constantly, and being super consistent. Master serve receive and show a strong mental game to handle pressure.


Being a libero is a crucial task especially when the rest of the team relies on your motivation and spirit. A libero bore some exceptional rules in the playing court, and their position during the match allowed everyone to play with liberty. However, after my 4 years in the libero position and 5 years of coaching the volleyball team, I assure you that quick actions, motivation, aggressive vocal, and supporting the team are the best qualities of a libero.

Moreover, this crucial position demands some extra defensive and passing skills, communicating with their teammates and understanding the complicated rules even during great pressure makes the best libero. Let us know in the comment section about the other best qualities of libero. Also, share your experience of serving as this crucial member of the volleyball team.

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