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Creation of the libero position

This is an excerpt from Volleyball Fundamentals 2nd Edition PDF by Joel Dearing.

In the late 1990s, the libero position was officially introduced for international competition and was first used for NCAA women’s volleyball in the 2002 season. I remember that season well. I spent a lot of time considering each player’s skills (serve receive and defense) and attributes (ball control skills and quickness) to determine how best to utilize this new role.


I recall that coaches at the time speculated that one reason the libero was introduced was to give shorter players a bigger role in the game, even though from the outset no height requirements were attached to the rule. Initially, this designated back-row player was not allowed to serve, so I immediately considered our top defensive players and passers for this role. I quickly discovered that positioning the libero after our pass and set to cover our attacker was vital in keeping balls blocked by our opponent off the floor. Without question, the introduction of the libero to our sport affected systems of team coverage (which will be introduced in chapter 11) and many other aspects of team play. Over time, on-court leadership responsibilities and potential also made my short list of considerations for selecting players for this position.