I was on a talk today with legendary American coach Sue Gozansky as part of the series organised by John Forman. The topic of rule changes came up, which is one that I occasionally wade into. Sue had one interesting suggestion: two liberos.
My first thought was, no way. Taking out another player would reduce the number of attack options which I have written about here. It would make volleyball more boring, even if the rallies might be longer. Then she mentioned seven players and my mind immediately made a massive leap.
What if the second libero was not allowed on the court, but instead was allowed to patrol the free space around the court. I have already talked about the value of the free space before. So the 2nd libero, the 7th player, would not be allowed within the 9x9m of the court. Anything outside there would be legal.
There would be no impact on offence, which was the unintended consequence of the libero in the first place, and which would ensure the essential qualities of volleyball would remain. The only impact would be on defence, and on the part of defence that spectators love most (i.e. players running after the ball).
I have literally spent upwards of five minutes thinking about this, and I am absolutely convinced it would be enormously entertaining.