Best Volleyball Position for Short Players? (Explained)


best volleyball position for short players

If you are not as tall as you think you need to be for a sport like volleyball and still would love to enjoy practicing it. Then, this article breakdown the right position for you! Indeed …

Libero is a perfect position for short players. If you check the best volleyball players in this position, you will notice they are usually below the average height. This is because Libero doesn’t have to execute moves that require height, like jumping and spiking.

In this article, I provide you with all necessary resources and information that you need to know to be successful as a volleyball player even if you are short!

What makes Libero a perfect position for short players?

Libero is an interesting position. It was created in 1999, and since then it has had a prominent role in volleyball. You can notice a libero on the court easily as he wears a different jersey than the rest of the team.

Libero has a mainly defensive role even when playing offense. Libero players are usually in the back left corner.

Helpful Tip: Regardless of their talent and overall skills, shorter volleyball players tend to struggle quite a bit in moves that require jumping. That’s why, using shoes with higher soles, solid grip and reliable cushioning is very helpful to promote their vertical jumping. For example these quality volleyball shoes have these features all combined.

The role of the libero is to receive the serves, and do the passing so other players can set the ball for the hitter, also it has the role of defense or digging as it is called.

They do the digging by first guarding the T, where the 10 foot line meets the boundary. They do this at the middle first, so that they can get back to the end line if needed.

The position is considered by many as one of the most difficult volleyball positions out there!

Is this also the case for women volleyball?

The Libero position is a universal … Both short males and females can thrive in that position.

There is no difference between men and women when it comes to this position. The only thing that differentiates them is the average height for men and women.

Men have a range from 185cm to 210cm and woman from 170cm to 195cm.

Libero can be and is played by short females as well!

Is being short a disadvantage in volleyball?

No, being short in volleyball is not a disadvantage, in fact it can be a serious advantage for the team if the player knows what he is doing.

There are two professional players who rank among the shortest players ever to play professional volleyball.

Farhad Zarif who has a height of 165cm or 5 foot 5 inches in male volleyball. For the female category the players name is Joella Marie de Jesus who stands at 152cm or just 5 foot.

So in volleyball it is not a disadvantage to be short, it is all skills and practice.

So do not worry even if you are short and want to practice volleyball, go for libero and do not worry about your height.

It can be an advantage since libero needs to be short, in order to get quicker to the ground, as funny as it seems, it is true, and libero is often more explosive than the rest of the team.

By the way, Libero is one of the most paid positions in volleyball!

What is a good height for volleyball?

When it comes to height, volleyball, just as basketball or american football, for example, has its own standards. Those standards are not discriminatory, they are conditions for playing volleyball.

There is a chart that represents the average height for every position, and the average range of height. In the table below you will get the average heights for men at the olympic games of 2012.

Team/Position Russia Brasil Italy Bulgaria Average
Libero 188 184 183 185 185
Setter 195 190 200 202 195
Reciever 202 194 195 200 187
Opposite 207 205 202 203 205
Middle Blocker 210 207 203 206 206
Average 203 197 196 200

There is no good height for volleyball, every sport and every position on a team has its own requirements.

Too short people can have a tough time on the team, since there is only one libero that has the luxury of being shorter than the rest of the team.

To truly grasp volleyball positions, take a look at this all-encompassing guide on the 6 essential positions. You’ll walk away with valuable new information!

Why liberoes tend to be shorter?

Liberos tend to be shorter because of the nature of their position. The role that libero has is pure defence. Even when the team is on offense libero is on the defence.

Libero needs to be explosive, fast and sharp minded. On the defence libero is the one who receives the serve and who sets the ball for the team.

When the team is on the offense libero is the one who patiently waits for the enemy teams counter. He cannot be used as an offensive player, even if the team is attacking.

The position of libero is a needy position, and it is as we have seen so far best for short players. They can reach the ground faster, which means that the response time is shorter for a fast ball.

By the way, I highly invite you to check this guide on choosing a solid volleyball position for you!

Can short players be spikers?

A spiker is maybe the most important position in a volleyball team. He receives the most sets and attack attempts.

Libero is the one receiving the serve, then the rest of the team (depending on who gets the ball) sets it up for the spiker so he can hit it and eventually score some points.

The spiker also known as the outside hitter is the one that is always near the net. The spiker needs to be quick on his feet and adapt to specific situations, also the spiker needs to be tall, in order to jump as high as possible.

Keep in mind that spiker is one of the best volleyball positions for tall players!

Long story short, a short person can play a spiker, but only in amateur volleyball. Professional volleyball, on the other hand, requires a tall outside hitter, and it is not recommended for short players.

Any recommended drills for shorter players?

For short players there are some drills that can be utilized in order to get better at the execution of the moves during a game.

There is a drill called `hitting off the block` which can help shorter hitters during a confrontation with taller blockers.

Hitting off the block is one of the most effective ways for players to compensate for the shortage in height. It is designed also to make it harder for the opposite team, especially the digger, to switch to defense from offense.

The goal of hitting off the block is to be as clever as possible. In order for this to work, you need to hit the ball in a way so it hits the hand of the blocker that is closest to the end line, in order to get the ball out of the court and score a point.

When this is executed correctly the diggers of the opposite team cannot pick up the ball, it is virtually impossible to do it.

Examples of short but successful volleyball players …

When it comes to short people who have made great careers in volleyball the best examples are the ones we already mentioned.

Farhad Zarif is an Iranian volleyball player that plays for Paykan Tehran, and who also played for the national team of Iran form 2006 to 2013.

He stands just 165cm tall and has been awarded seven times for the best libero, three times for the best receiver and one time for the best digger.

The second player is Joella Marie de Jesus. She played for Ateneo de Manilla  University from 2010 to 2015, for PLDT Home Ultera Fast Hitters form 2015 to 2016, she is currently playing for Perlas Spikers.

She has a height of 152cm and has been awarded the best blocker and best spiker in highscool, and she has won several championships with her University team.

Final Thoughts …

If you want to play volleyball as an amateur, then there is no need to stick to a specific position. Indeed, you can really enjoy every position, even those that require being tall …

… However, if you want to play at a higher level, then it won’t be possible to player in any position other than the Libero, because of all the reasons I’ve talked about earlier.

By the way, if you are a southpow and you are looking for a good position, then check this good position suggestion for left handed players.

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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