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Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball

Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball


When you think about great rebounders in basketball, the top players that probably come to mind are Kevin Love, Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard, and a few others. What makes these guys so good at rebounding the basketball? Size and athleticism can help in rebounding, but there are lots of players that are 7 feet tall and others who can jump out of the gym that aren’t good rebounders. So if that is the case, then what goes into becoming a great rebounder?

This basketball article is going to explain some of the things that go into becoming a great rebounder. So whether you are a player learning how to rebound, or a coach teaching their team, this article is for you.


5 Keys to Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball


1. Rebounding Desire

  • Mentality
    • The first thing that every great rebounder must have is the right mentality. Rebounding must be a conscious choice that you make as a player. You must decide to give maximum effort every time that a shot goes up. There are no plays off when it comes to being a great rebounder.
  • Outwork
    • It is not always about size, but how much you are willing to work to get the ball. If you are willing to do your work early and finish all the way through to the rebound, you will give yourself a great chance of getting the ball, regardless of size.


2. Rebounding Technique

  • Defensive Rebounding
    • Along with desire, rebounding the basketball has a lot to do with technique. The better a player’s technique is, the better a rebounder they will become.
    • Forearm: The first thing that you must do when the shot goes up is to locate the offensive player with your forearm. If you try to go straight for the box out, you will allow the player to fake one way or the other and potentially get around you. A forearm to the offensive player’s chest allows you to locate and stop them as you go into your box out motion.
    • Hip/Butt: You mustn’t allow the player to break contact with you after the forearm by immediately putting your hip/backside on them and driving them backward with a low strong base. If you have good positioning, the offensive player may try to drive you under the basket to take away your rebounding angle. So make sure that you keep this low strong base and drive them back instead of being driven forward.
    • Hands Wide: Keep your hands up as you box out; a good visual term for this is “thumbs in your ears.” This will help with a few different things; it will make you wider and harder to get around, it will keep you from reaching and grabbing the offensive player – which could be called for a foul, and it will allow your hands to be quicker in reacting to the basketball as it comes off of the rim.
  • Offensive Rebounding
    • Depending on your location when the ball goes up, you will have different strategies on what type of move you use to get the offensive rebound.
    • Close to the Basket: If you are already close to the basket and the defender has inside position on you, then try to drive them under the basket so that they do not have a good angle once the ball comes off the rim. Don’t extend your arms when driving them under the basket. Instead, use your legs to generate force and leverage to drive them under the basket.
    • Away From the Basket: If you are out away from the basket and your defender has good positioning, you will want to try to use a swim move or a spin move to get past them. The key to this type of move is not to let them make solid first contact with you. Fake one way to get them to shift, and then make your move past them the other direction.
    • Inside Position: If, for some reason, you have an inside position when the shot goes up, treat it just like a defensive box out.

3. First to React the Rebound

  • Locate the Ball
    • The player that can locate the ball first will be at an advantage and will be able to make the first move to the ball. So it is important that you can quickly locate the ball as it comes off the rim.
  • Release to the Ball
    • If you are in a defensive box out, don’t wait for the ball to drop down to you. As soon as you locate the ball off the rim, you need to release from your box and pursue the ball.
  • Percentages
    • Depending on where and what type of shot is taken, the ball will have a higher percentage of bouncing off the rim either; long, short, hard, or soft.
    • Misses from the wing and corner areas have a higher percentage of bouncing off the rim long.
    • Long-range misses typically mean longer rebounds.



4. Out of Area Rebounding

  • Pursue
    • Be willing to pursue the ball out of your area. Rebounds are not always going to drop right into the spot you are boxing out at; you need to pursue the ball when it is out of area.
  • Highest Point
    • Don’t let the ball drop down to you, but go up and get it at the highest point possible for you. The longer you wait on the ball, the more chance you give other players to get their hands on the ball.
  • Tip Outs
    • There are going to be times when the ball is too far out of area to be able to grab and pull in. This is a great chance to tip the ball to yourself or out to a teammate.
    • Defense: You may not always be able to corral the board, but if you see a free teammate, you may be able to tip them the ball so that they can control it.
    • Offense: If you are not able to control the board, you should, if possible, be trying to tip the ball out to a good shooter on your team. One of the best times to shoot a 3 pointer is after an offensive rebound kick out, or in this case, a tip out.


5. Finish the Play on the Boards

  •  Two Hands
    • Your goal when rebounding the basketball should always be two hands. This makes you stronger with the ball and will help to keep your opponent from wrestling the ball from your grip.
    • There will be times that you can only get one hand on the ball, but you want to try and use two hands if possible. Here is a great basketball rebounding drill for working on one-handed rebounds in traffic: Kevin Love Rebounding Drill.
  • Chin the Ball
    • Defense: Getting your hands on the board is great, but you need to complete the play by bringing the ball into a place of strength. If you are a post player, you want to also be thinking about being able to outlet the ball as well once you have secured the board.
    • Offense: When you get an offensive rebound, it is important that you chin the ball and don’t bring the ball down to where small guards can reach in and strip the ball. Keep the ball high where you can be strong with the ball and then finish if there is an opportunity.


More Thoughts on How to Become a Great Rebounder in Basketball


Desire to Rebound the Basketball

The first and most important thing that goes into being great at rebounding is desire. It doesn’t matter what you are capable of if you aren’t willing to be tough as a basketball player and work to rebound. You have to want it more than anyone else on the court.

Rebounding the ball is such a big part of the game. A defensive rebound ends the other team’s possession and allows your team to transition to offense. If you can throw a good outlet pass off of the rebound, it can end up in an easy bucket for your team. An offensive rebound gives your team another possession, which means more chances for your team to score. Winning teams have players that have bought into the value of rebounding.


Basketball Rebounding Technique

Having the right technique is another big factor in being a great rebounder. It is critical that you don’t try and just out jump or out tall everyone for the rebound. You see many players doing this, but against other good rebounders, this will not work. Every time the ball goes up, hit your man with a solid box out, and then pursue the ball.

If your man has an inside position on you, then try to ride him under the basket so that he doesn’t have a good angle to rebound the ball. If your man is behind, find him with your forearm, turn, put your butt/hip on them, and keep your arms up and out. Stay low and strong on your box out, and don’t let your man ride you under the basket.

When you release to grab the ball, try and grab it at its highest point, and then bring it down and chin it. You must be strong with the ball.

On the offensive end, if you are trying to board, you can try the strategy of riding your man under the basket and a couple of other moves. The first thing you can try is the “swim” move. When your man goes to box you out, fake like you are going one way, and then cut back to the other side. As you cut back, bring your inside arm down on his arm and sweep by him. Think of a swimming motion as your arm raises and then pushes down through the water.

The other move that you can use is the spin move. When your man goes to box you out, fake one way, spin-off of his box out, and try to get inside position for the rebound. Without fouling, do whatever it takes to get the offensive board.


First to React to the Rebound

When the ball comes off the rim, you have only a split second to figure out where it is going, release, and then track it down. Great rebounders have a nose for the ball and are somehow always around the ball. If you can see or predict where the ball will bounce before your opponent can, you will have an advantage.

This skill comes from watching games, playing in games, and doing basketball rebounding drills. As a rule of thumb, though, long shots equal long rebounds. The majority of baseline misses hit off the rim and go long. On offense, if you crash hard and track down the ball, you will have a good chance of coming up with the board.

When doing basketball drills where you are the rebounder for a shooter, it is great practice to study where the ball misses depending on where the shooter is shooting from.


Own the Paint

Sometimes getting the rebound comes down to whoever wants it more. You have to be a monster inside and think to yourself that every miss is yours. Don’t think, “maybe one of my teammates will get it.” Take it upon yourself to get every rebound. This is one of the few times in basketball where it is good to be selfish.

When your opponent comes in hard to rebound, hit him with a strong box out a couple of times, and guaranteed, he won’t come in as hard after that. Make sure that the other team knows that you own the paint and they are not getting any free rebounds in there, be a beast on the boards.


9 Essentials for Rebounding the Basketball

Just as there are fundamentals for shooting a basketball the right way, there are fundamentals for rebounding. To become great at rebounding, you need to first learn the proper way to do it, practice it in practice, do basketball rebounding drills, and then desire to rebound in a game.

Here are the 9 essentials for rebounding the basketball.

  1. Balance and Leverage; keep feet apart in a low stance
  2. Keep your feet under your head – the key to two-handed rebounds
  3. Anticipation; be the player to make the play… not watch
  4. Moving your feet until the ball is rebounded; never stop moving them
  5. Play with your hands up at ear level
  6. Study the flight of the ball
  7. Anticipate the bounce off of the rim
  8. Pursue the basketball as you fight through the contact
  9. Rebound with two hands and have a wide secure base




Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball Conclusion

Rebounding is not seen as glamorous, and it may not be appreciated as much as it should be by most fans. Still, it absolutely has a direct correlation to winning basketball games. Controlling the boards finishes defensive possessions and creates second-chance points on the offensive end. Just look at the value that a player like Dennis Rodman added to the Bulls and the Pistons in his playing career.

Having a player who buys into being a great rebounder can directly impact a game or an entire season. Being a great rebounder is not a once in a while thing, though. It is competing and executing great technique on every shot that goes up. It is controlling the glass and setting the tone for an entire team.

Great rebounders are contagious. They not only do a great job of rebounding for themselves, but they also inspire other teammates to compete on the glass. Teammates see how hard the player is working on the glass, and before you know it, you have an entire team of players that take pride in rebounding and dominating the glass every game; this type of play turns into wins.

If you want to be a great rebounder, you have to be willing to put in the work. It takes time to develop great rebounding technique, being able to locate the ball quickly, and then finish the play. This means time spent in the gym, specifically working on rebounding. So start adding value to your game and your team by becoming a great rebounder.




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