Many coaches will tell you that rebounding is the key to winning in basketball. Rebounds mean more possessions for your team, which means more shots. Offensive rebounds can lead to easy put backs and quick scores.
The single most important concept in rebounding is boxing out. Even if your opponent is taller and can jump higher than you, if you properly box them out, you can get the rebound. Boxing out is getting between your opponent and the basket while the shot is in the air. You establish position and move to remain between the basket and your opponent. If they try to jump over you, they will often get called for an over-the-back foul.
All five players are responsible for rebounding. This is especially true on defense. When the ball goes up each defensive player should be boxing out an offensive player. This is somewhat easier when playing man-to-man defense where you primarily block out the player you are covering. In zone defense you have to find a player and box him out. When a shot goes up you need to find someone to box out. Also, don’t forget to box out the shooter. They can be a dangerous rebounder as they know where the ball is most likely going.
Offensive rebounding can get your team another shot and can sometimes lead to easy buckets. Offensive rebounders must be quick to get around the defensive players trying to box them out. If you can get inside position, even better.
One of the most dangerous offensive rebounders is the shooter. Always follow your shot. You have the best idea of anyone on the floor as to where the ball is going; if you missed it long, short, to the right, or left. Hopefully you’ll make the shot, but if not, you can be right there to snag the rebound.
What makes a great rebounder?
You may think that because you are not tall you can’t be a good rebounder. Not true, some of the best rebounders ever weren’t the tallest players on the floor. Charles Barkley, sometimes called the Round Mound of Rebound, was one of the best rebounders in the NBA at 6’6″. He was constantly playing against 7 footers and outrebounding them.
- Anticipation – Anticipation is being able to determine where the ball is going to go once it hits the basket. Will it bounce far away, drop right under the goal, go left, right? These are all things that great rebounders learn to anticipate. You can’t just stand there and hope the ball is coming directly to you every time.
- Hard work and determination – Great rebounders go after the ball every time and don’t give up until they have the ball in their hands. In their mind every time a shot goes up, the rebound is theirs.
- Jumping ability – Most great rebounders can jump quickly. Not just high but quick, like a pogo stick.
- Height – Of course, although height is not the most important factor, it doesn’t hurt either.
The Outlet Pass
Once you get a rebound, what do you do with it? The great defensive rebounders learn to throw an outlet pass. This is a quick pass to a guard on the wing down the floor. A great outlet pass can start a fast break and lead to an easy bucket for your team.