This is a new segment that I will be starting along with a few others that will be weekly posts and HOPEFULLY I can keep up with the posts because so far, I am really enjoying writing and sharing my knowledge about volleyball that I have accumulated over the past two years. NOW, I definitely still have a lot to learn and hopefully I will learn a lot more about volleyball from future mentors and friends. ALRIGHT, now onto Libero Love Saturday!
So, for those of you who don’t know what a libero is. A libero is defined by…Urban Dictionary (LOL) as
The libero is the best defensive specialist but it is still necessary to attack and set. The libero is always on the court getting serve receives and digs. She/he must be willing to do anything to keep a ballup and must want it passionately to succeed. Libero means free, the libero has unlimited substitutions and wears a different colored jersey. The libero is the toughest position in volleyball.
USA men’s national team member and member of an Italian club. Erik Shoji is considered to be one of the best men libero’s in the world. (Now, first off, I promise that all of my posts about future won’t be about men because lets be real here, women’s volleyball is more prominent in the States, and there are a ton of amazing women volleyball players 🙂 )
Shoji helped lead the USA mens national team to a gold medal at the 2014 World League and 2015 World Cup and even grabbed a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Shoji has a brother who also plays for the USA mens national team, Kawika Shoji is a setter for the team. Both brothers are Hawaiian natives.
Now, everyone knows that players who are tall are just naturally better at volleyball. That is just a fact. But, shorter people who love the sport of volleyball have a way to fight too. For instance, Erik Shoji is only 6 feet tall. Thats three inches shorter than me! Now let’s be real, 6 feet is not “short” by all means but in the sport of volleyball, players exist that are 6’7&up. Now I don’t really want to be a libero in the future (because quite frankly my receiving has always been sub-par :p) so I have to step up my game if I want to keep up with taller and more athletic people. Although, players like Erik Shoji give players of all heights hope that they can play the game they love, at any level of gameplay that they wish, its just about how much effort you put in. Have you ever heard the quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” by Tim Notke? That quote directly applies to volleyball in a way that most people don’t think about. In Japan, they use a phrase for shorter people (whether in actual height or in stature) who make a big difference, they call these people, Little Giant. Erik is Little Giant. Shoji is an inspiration to me and should be an inspiration to anybody who loves the game of volleyball but have felt at a disadvantage. There are ways to fight while not being 6 foot 9 inches lol.
The reason I picked Erik Shoji for my very first Libero Love Saturday was not because of his achievements in the wonderful sport of volleyball (Although he has racked up some amazing accomplishments) but because of how inspirational he is, and I wanted people to know how much of a champ Erik Shoji really is. Of course there are other short players in the world but I personally really enjoy Erik’s gameplay and so I felt a duty to write about him. With that being said, that is the end of my first Libero Love Saturday and I hope you all enjoyed and if you ever get the chance…
SHOW ERIK SHOJI SOME LOVE ON THIS WONDERFUL LIBERO LOVE SATURDAY.
p.s. he has a volleyball compilation, check that out :)…