The libero volleyball position has often been called the toughest position in volleyball. But what exactly is it that makes this position so challenging to play well?
Well, in our opinion, there are four things.
It’s no secret that the libero tends to be underappreciated by others – not so much by their teammates and coach, as these people know the importance and the intricacies required to play this position well, rather it is the fans who may not be as clued up about the libero position.
It can therefore be tough to keep playing to be the best of your ability if you feel as if you’re not getting much love.
A libero also wears a different colored jersey to the rest of their teammates. How many times have liberos heard, “you’re the person who wears a different colored jersey, right?” and that is all casual fans know about the position.
Wearing a different colored jersey also means that a libero is put under the spotlight and any mistake made is easy to see. Therefore, it can be tough for some players to deal with the pressure that comes from playing the position.
One final thing is that due to the nature of the volleyball position it can be hard to make up for any mistakes. For example, a middle blocker can miss an easy block, but can soon make up for it by making a great block on the next play and winning the point for their team.
A libero, on the other hand, simply cannot make another mistake – a libero after all is concerned with making as few mistakes as possible in a game – and even then as liberos are not known for hitting winners there is not much recognition.
Reading the Game
A player who is able to play the libero position well must really love the game and therefore possess excellent game reading ability.
The ability to anticipate where the opposition is going to hit the ball is absolutely key, so a libero may have to work harder on analyzing the opposition players’ tendencies than others, such as determining whether a player is a power hitter or what their favorite shots are.
Ball Handling Skills
The libero position is all about digging and passing; therefore, excellent ball handling skills are paramount. In fact, a libero should possess the best ball handling skills out of all the other players on the team.
Not only is a libero key in improving the defense, but this position can also have a greatly positive effect on offense, particularly by improving serve-receive capabilities.
As stated above, being able to read the game is a key skill that liberos must possess. Reading the game though is not enough to get to the ball most of the time – quickness and fast reflexes are also necessary.
A libero with an exceptional game reading ability can make up for a lack of quickness, but combining the two is what is really required to play this position as well as possible as liberos find that they get to the ball more often than not.
Fast reflexes are paramount because it is one thing getting to the ball as it comes at you at full speed, but it is another thing to make the right decision in a fraction of a second.
Take a middle blocker, for example, who may simply just have to block at the net and another position may just a couple of things to consider on court. A libero though has several options to keep in mind and then needs to make the right choice near instantaneously.