Those who know volleyball know that the libero position is one of the most difficult. First, because liberos don’t attack, and the second is that they don’t stand out in the team because they don’t have many touches in the game. (similar to a goalkeeper in soccer).
That does not mean that the Libero does not play a vital role. If you have ever played league of legends, you know what support can mean for a team. The Libero plays the similar role.
The most critical tasks of Libero, especially at the highest level, are:
- Good reading of the play and block
- Libero must take all the easy balls that come over the net
- Communication with blockers when they should and when they shouldn’t jump on block
- Leader in the reception
- Set those balls that the setter defends.
- Know how to take up more court in the reception.
In this blog, we will discuss two situations. When, and how the Libero should help other receivers in the reception? Either the receiver in the front row or the one in the back row.
When the volleyball setter is in zone 1, taking more court from the receiver in the front row.
Above we see the scheme of the volleyball court when the server is in zone 1. The receiver in the first line is in zone 2. The receiver in the second line is in zone 5, and the Libero is in zone 6. In this situation, the opposing team’s server targets the receiver in the front line. If that receiver has trouble receiving, the Libero must take responsibility and relieve him by covering his/hers spot so that the receiver has the opportunity to think only about the attack.
Of course, this reception tactic only comes into play when the opponent is serving a float serve, as it is practically impossible to do this with a jump serve, as the ball is too fast.
Likewise, the receiver in the second line must cover a slightly more part of the court as well in case the server recognizes the situation and serves in the zone between 5 and 6.
If everything is done correctly, the setter marked with the number 1 above, should have all his attackers available. During the game, the Libero has to pay attention to how the opposing team behaves in serving. They also have their own tactic, and they can quickly change it, so it is necessary to constantly adapt and communicate with other receivers and decide whether it makes sense to take up their place and help them or not. This is how the game is played at the highest level, which also depends on the daily form.
When the volleyball setter is in zone 1 taking more court from the receiver in the back row.
The picture above shows a situation where the Libero takes up court from the receiver in the second line. In this case, the opposing team’s server targets the receiver in the back row.
If the back row receiver has problems with the reception, the Libero can also take over the responsibilities and jump in his place. As with any covering, it is essential to do this at the moment when the server of the opposing team starts serving. (in an instant, he throws the ball in the air for the service).
This way, the server does not see a change in tactics or coverage. Covering a receiver in the back line can also be done to help him focus more on the attack instead on reception.
Example: The goal of the opposing team’s server is to exclude the pipe attack with a short serve in the back-row receiver. If the Libero recognizes the situation, he must immediately take responsibility, communicate that he will take the reception, and thus protect the pipe attack.
It mostly happens when Libero is in zone 6.
Covering attackers is easiest when the Libero is in zone 6, although a situation can also occur when the Libero is in zone 1.
The receiver who stays in the reception must, in any case, cover more of the court because even the best liberos in the world cannot cover and take all court in the reception.
Most important things to remember when taking up more court as a libero
- Changing positions on the reception only when the server of the opposing team throws the ball on the serve
- Self-confidence at the reception
- The other receiver must be ready to change the opposing team’s tactics.
- In the case of an ace, the Libero must not lose confidence.
- Recognize the situation when it makes sense to cover
Taking the reception from the receivers can positively affect the team’s performance; as a libero, you need to be extremely confident, even if an ace falls. It is best for the team that such tactics and situations are adjusted during the match. Still, communication and chemistry between the players are essential because there is not much time for it between points. It can quickly become a mess on the volleyball court in case of bad communication.