Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020

Why One Volleyball Player Always Wears a Different Color During an Olympic Match

That player is a defensive specialist, and there's a lot of strategy behind how they're used during a match. #Tokyo2020

7/27/2021 4:44:00 AM

That player is a defensive specialist, and there's a lot of strategy behind how they're used during a match. Tokyo2020

In volleyball, there's one player who wears a different colored jersey than the rest of their team: the libero, who's a defensive specialist.

. Introduced in 1998, there are some specific limitations on what a libero can and cannot do while they are on the court. In international play, liberos cannot serve, spike, or rotate into the front row positions. Essentially, they're a defensive specialist who's there to help receive serves and make crucial saves during longer rallies.

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However, the greatest benefit of having a libero comes in the rules for player substitutions. This unique quality of the role makes it a highly strategic position, especially because the other players on the court rotate throughout the match, and teams may swap in hitters for defensive players, who will eventually end up on the front row.

Although liberos don't count towards the overall substitution limits, there are some rules about how they can be swapped in. According to the rules of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, the official international governing body of the sport,"

there must be at least one point played between a libero substituting off for a playerand going back on the court for another player." In other words, the libero cannot be on the court for the entirety of the game. Now that you know exactly what a libero does, see if you can pick out the strategies for using this unique player as you continue watching the Games.

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