What the Heck is a Libero?


Libero-a word many people have heard though many don’t know what it means. Difficult to pronounce and an obscure idea to those outside the volleyball world, the Libero, or defensive specialist, is a position in volleyball that is strictly a back-row player and can only be replaced by the same player he or she replaces. The most common question among first time volleyball spectators is- “why is there one player wearing a different jersey?” The simple answer is that the Libero is a defensive player who has special privileges that other players don’t have.

To go into more detail, the Libero cannot complete an attacking play. While the college rules have some similarities to club and high school rules, the rules listed here are explicitly collegiate. We would like to explain the rules used for High School Liberos, but those are much harder to find online and we received contradicting explanations about them. According to official NCAA rules, the libero must perform an overhead aerial set in front of the 10-foot line with both feet on the ground in order for their teammates to be able to jump for their attacking hits.