I spend a lot of time wondering how things work. For that reason I really enjoy television shows like Mythbusters and How it's Made. I feel this way about the sports I so enjoy watching too. What is Carey Price looking at as Pavel Datsyuk is bearing down on him, when does Andrew McCutchen pick up the spin of a curve ball, how does Russell Wilson work through his progressions to find the open receiver? This of course extends to athletes I actually have some access to.
The libero position is one of the most interesting in all of sports. Like the DH in baseball, it focuses mostly on one really important skill. The most successful coaches know matches swing on how well their teams perform in the "serve and pass". Having a solid libero gives a good team the edge it needs to be great.
So how does the libero go about his/her business on the court? That's what I set out to find. Luckily for me I have been able to get some answers in the past from Team USA Libero Kayla Banwarth and when I sent her my idea she was quick to respond with these great insights and tips on how her position works. Mythbusters meets volleyball greatness. Here is a look inside the mind of the libero, with Kayla Banwarth!
How much of what you do is preparation, how much is just reaction and instinct?
Preparation is a huge part of being a great volleyball player. We spend a lot of time scouting, watching video, and making a plan for how we want to defend our opponent.
So let's go through this step by step...
The ball is in your teammates hand at the service line. Do you know where the coaches want her to serve and how does that effect where you are on the court?
I know where the coaches want our servers to serve. I wouldn't say that effects my position on the court...
The ball is passed and your opponents are in system. What is your first read? Any other cues after that?
The first read is whether or not the ball is over the net. If it isn't, then you have to get your eyes on the setter as soon as you can. The setter will tell you everything you need to know about where the ball is going.