February 6, 2017

The Libero and College Volleyball Recruiting

Coach, despite the obvious good serve receive and defense, what does a college coach look for in a libero? If DS 1 and DS 2 are both good passers, who gets the libero position?

My daughter is in 8th grade and will be trying out for perennially one of the top high school programs in the state (and even nation some years) this summer. Her goal is to make JV as a freshman though that is a super lofty goal - they are loaded with back row talent in the grade above her.

Right now we are on a so-so club team but good coach, and are taking weekly libero lessons from a former libero at this high school. Working on all aspects of back row play.

Any other suggestions to get her in a position to set herself apart? 


Effort and Attitude.

The most competitive college volleyball recruiting position is the Libero/Defensive Specialist.  This is because there are significantly more high school Senior Liberos than there are Freshman Libero roster spots; and we are not even talking about Scholarships (Scholarships, scholarships, we're talking about scholarships?...channeling my inner A.I. - ASJr. gets the reference).

With the development of this position in International (Club volleyball) and College volleyball, it has become the catch all position for club volleyball - The short player, the not tall enough outside, the setter who is too short or not talented enough to set in college, the outside who doesn't hit with power, etc.

Generally, the LIbero position is the last one recruited by college coaches (OH, MB, Setters and then.......Liberos); this is because college coaches can usually find a solid Libero late in the recruiting process as a result of the sheer number of players in this position.

Because the Libero position is so competitive, separating yourself from the other Liberos is critical to obtaining your collegiate playing goal.

Effort and Attitude.

VolleyFamilies would be surprised at the sheer volume of back row players (Liberos/DS's) which are spectacularly average yet feel comfortable in their belief of deserving a collegiate roster position.  Just because you play the position on your club team, and are on the court, does not mean you are talented enough to play at the collegiate level.

I will randomly watch club volleyball matches, with nationally recognized club programs, and routinely see Liberos not move their feet, not go to the floor after a ball, pass easy serves to the 3 meter line, dig easy balls at 20 feet, forget to cover their hitters, etc.  Even more surprising, is to see club coaches accepting these poor quality plays. When 17's and 18's club players are allowed to make routinely marginal, below grade plays by the club coach, then the player has no motivation (other than the endangered species of self motivation) to play to a higher standard.

Effort and Attitude.

The difference between the Libero who gets the collegiate roster spot/scholarship and the one who doesn't is Effort and Attitude.  The difference between the Libero who plays and the one who doesn't is Effort and Attitude.

Effort - Being physically where you should be at all times.  Taking the extra step on serve receive to center the ball into your torso.  Making the effort to get your body lower to the ground to properly present your passing platform.  Pushing through the pass to get the ball to within 3 feet of the net for the setter.  Having the leg strength to get under a dig and push it up in front of the 3 meter line.  Exploding through a low defensive posture to dive forward for a tipped/deflected ball.  Going from standstill to full speed in 1 second to chase down another player's bad touch upon the ball.  Sprinting cross court to get into coverage position.   Holding your defensive position when the block fails, and you know you are going to take a body shot.

None of the above examples are anything exceptional; they are the job description of being a good Libero.

Attitude - Attitude will determine your Effort.  Your mind controls your body.  Attitude is communicating with your passers and defenders about positional responsibility before the rally starts.  Attitude is going after that deflected ball which you only have a 3% chance of actually touching. Never letting a ball touch the floor without getting as close to it as possible.  Ensuring that all down balls, free balls, easy digs, easy serves are always within 2 steps of the setting area.  Calling each and every touch upon the ball, and reinforcing when the ball is another player's responsibility. Never taking a play off.  Always supporting your team mates efforts; praising when great plays happen and lifting up when poor plays occur.

None of the above examples are rah rah cheerleader examples but rather having the mind set of being great in your position.

I have had 2 great Liberos play for me - One was almost silent as a player and One was never silent as a player.  Both were great Liberos because of their Effort and Attitude.


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