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29/03/2020 17:38
Zhana Todorova’s top five things that make a good libero
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women

Luxembourg, March 29, 2020.  What does it take to be a good libero? The up-and-coming star of Maritza Plovdiv and the Bulgarian national team gave her answers to this important question in an episode of the VolleyComment podcast, run by legendary Bulgarian players Nikolay Ivanov and Evgeni Ivanov with well-known Bulgarian radio show host Gencho Genchev, also a former Volleyball player.

“With a perfect reception or a great set in a key moment, and especially with one or two phenomenal digs, a libero can change the course of a match,” Zhana Todorova pointed out. “You have to keep your calm or at least make it look like you are calm during the match. The best liberos in the world learn the right techniques, but to have the fast reflex and the good sense of predicting the situations they need to be touched by God. There are many components to success and they need to be in harmony, but everyone who has ever achieved something has also had a little bit of luck.”

Zhana Todorova in action with the national team jersey

According to the talented Bulgarian player, there are five important things that make one libero a good libero in modern Volleyball:

1. To have discipline, stay in the right positions and do the small things that may seem insignificant to others in the most perfect of ways.

2. To be able to anticipate the situation – based on the body language and the arm/hand position of the opponent, based on the blockers’ positioning, and even based on the score; to be able peak inside the head of the rival.

3. To have leadership qualities. This is also very important because the libero is in charge of a team’s reception and of positioning not only self, but also the teammates on the court before the opponents’ serves. You have to have earned your teammates’ trust so they would listen to you and act as you instruct them. This is the psychological side of things, which is very important...

4. To lead by example by showing that there are no impossible balls and by fighting through the end of every situation. This entices the team to follow and sets the tone of the game.

5. Last, but not least, to be able to set the ball in the best possible way, delivering both speed and precision, because you are expected to be the second best setter of the team on the court, after the main one.

Zhana Todorova has played for Maritza Plovdiv since the start of her athletic career and has been on the team that won five consecutive national titles and were well on their way to their sixth before Bulgaria’s National Volleyball League came to a halt because of coronavirus pandemic. Todorova and her teammates had a fabulous season in the Champions League, narrowly missing the cut for the quarterfinals after three wins over top-level European teams in a row. The 170-cm-tall Plovdiv native is also a member of the Bulgarian national team. As such, she was the best digger across all six Intercontinental Olympic qualification tournaments in August 2019 on an incredible average of 4.17 digs per set, the second best digger of the 2019 VNL preliminary round and the best receiver of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup. Todorova was twice named Dream Team libero - of the 2017 U23 World Championship and the 2015 U20 World Championship.

“I think a libero becomes a truly mature libero at the age of 26 or 27,” Todorova added. Obviously, for the 23-year-old player the best is yet to come...

Full episode of the VolleyComment podcast featuring Zhana Todorova (in Bulgarian):

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