Volleyball Libero Rules

Beginning in 1998, international volleyball rules introduced a player known as the libero. At the beginning of games, each team must designate one person the libero. She must wear a shirt that is a different color than the rest of their team and is not allowed to be the team captain. The libero follows a different set of rules than the other players.

  1. Back Row

    • The libero is in the game for defensive purposes and is only allowed to play in the back row. He can replace any player who is in the back row at any dead ball situation. The libero is not allowed to hit the ball over the net if it is above the net. He cannot block, attempt to block or participate in serves.


    • Substituting a libero for a back row player does not count against the number of substitutions a team is allowed to have. The substitution can take place only while the ball is dead. The player the libero came in for is the only one who is allowed to come back in. Once a libero is substituted out, she must wait one rally before she can come back into the game.


    • If the original libero is injured, a coach can assign the libero label to another player who is not on the court. That player must also wear the contrasting jersey and follow the same rules as the original libero. Once a libero is designated as injured, he cannot return to the match. The new libero must remain the libero for the rest of the set.

    NCAA, high school and juniors

    • In American college, high school and junior volleyball matches, the libero is allowed to serve. This rule was changed in 2004 so that more girls would be well-rounded players and be able to execute more aspects of the game in case they were not chosen to play libero on the next team for which they played.


    • The reasoning behind having a libero is that taller players do exceptionally well in the front row because they use their height to block balls and spike effectively. However, their skill sets and height are not well suited for passing and receiving. Volleyball officials wanted to make the game more exciting and have rallies go on for longer periods of time; hence they adopted the libero position to combat the problem of slower players in the backcourt.

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