5 Keys to Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball

5 Keys to Becoming a Great Rebounder in Basketball

This article was written by Kyle Ohman.


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
  • Release to 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.

Related Basketball Rebounding Drill: Reaction Rebounding Drill


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.

Related Basketball Rebounding Drill: Superman Rebounding Drill


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.



5 Keys to 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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One Response

  1. Thank you for your tips in Rebounding and detailed explanation on the “5 Keys…” Which is one of the basics (which kids today try to ignore) in basketball. Sometimes its hard for “old skul” coaches to explain certain things to young “ballers” today, considering a lot of new terms about the game that’s coming out. But this article is “on point”, simple but precise.

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