BASKETBALL REBOUNDING PRINCIPLES
by Glenn Wilkes
The team that controls the boards wins the majority of their games! Control of the boards reduces the number of shots taken by the opponents and increases the number of shot attempts by the good rebounding team. It also increases the number of fast break opportunities.
Though a great deal of rebounding is dependent on the size of a team, size alone does not result in backboard control. Through diligent work in practice, techniques must be developed that lead to successful rebounding on both the offensive and defensive boards.
The defensive rebounder must maintain a position between the opponent and the basket. This position is commonly called "blocking out" or "screening off" the boards.
As a shot is taken, the defensive player steps forward and pivots so that his rear and back make immediate contact with the assigned opponent.
Since the rebounder has only one or two seconds before having to find the ball, it is important to quickly establish a position to enable "feel" of the opponent with the body and to be able to use a slide step to keep the body between the opponent and the basket. The elbows in this position are wide and almost parallel with the shoulders. They are held firm so that the offensive player cannot get by to get at the ball. The feet are slightly wider than shoulder width. The combination of wide feet and wide, strong elbows presents as big an obstacle as possible to the offensive player. The defensive player's body should be crouched with the knees bent, ready to spring upward for the ball. The head is erect and the eyes are focused on the ball.
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As the rebound comes off the board, the defender leaps into the air with elbows wide and body in a slight jack-knife position. The jack-knife movement of the body throws the rear of the body backward and keeps the opponent off the defender's back. The defensive rebounder grabs the ball firmly with both hands and keeps it moving to prevent the opponent from gaining possession or a jump ball. Care must be taken not to move the elbows back and forth, since this is a violation and results in loss of the ball.
The offensive rebounder faces the defensive player's efforts to screen him off the boards. Realizing that the defender will turn into his path, the offensive player must attempt to get through to the basket by using quick fakes and changes of direction. The offensive player fakes left, goes right; fakes right, goes left; fakes right, left, goes right, and so on, in an effort to avoid defensive blockout. However, fakes must be done quickly, for only seconds exist between the shot attempt and the rebound. The offensive rebounder who hustles toward the boards using clever fakes is difficult to block out.
The offensive player must not allow the defensive player to "feel" him with the back or elbows, or the defender will be able to slide with any change of direction that is made. If the offensive player senses the slight contact with the opponent's back that allows the opponent to "feel" him, he should step backward, then fake and cut around the blockout.
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If the offensive player succeeds in getting by the blockout, he crouches with knees bent, enabling a quick spring into the air for the rebound. If the rebound is close to the goal, he may use a one-hand tip to attempt a quick score. The tip is executed with widely spread fingers and a forward movement of the wrists. The ball is controlled and guided toward the basket, not batted. If the rebound is not close enough to the basket for a tip, the ball should be caught with two hands. The rebounder returns to the floor, uses a ball fake to get the opponent into the air, then goes back up for a strong shot attempt. Such an attempt often results in a foul on the opponent and can turn the rebound into the devastating three-point play.
Hustle, effort, strength, quick jumping, and aggressiveness all go into making a good offensive rebounder. But the most important quality possessed by great offensive rebounders is anticipation. Great rebounders pass the ball, or watch a teammate pass the ball to an open shooter, then anticipate that the shot will go up. They immediately move into offensive rebounding position before the shot goes up! If the shot does go up, they often have inside position. If it does not go up, they move back out into the offensive flow.
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DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING SUGGESTIONS
1. Each defensive player must block his opponent off the board.
2. Use a front pivot to step into the opponent to make contact.
3. The body should be crouched with arms held wide to present an obstacle to the offensive player and to be ready to go for the rebound.
4. Grab the ball firmly with both hands to prevent an opponent from slapping it out.
5. Use a wide-spread body position to protect the ball as it is rebounded.
6. Keep the ball moving to prevent a jump ball.
7. Pass the ball away from the congested area of the basket as soon as possible. More fast break attempts occur with quick outlet passes.
8. Do not get pushed too far under the basket.
OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING SUGGESTIONS
1. Use fakes and quick changes of direction to get around a defensive blockout.
2. Be aggressive. The hustling offensive player is difficult to screen off the boards.
3, Anticipate a shot by a teammate.
4. Attempt a tip-in if the rebound is near the basket.
5. Catch the ball with two hands if it rebounds away from the basket.
6. Know offensive and defensive responsibilities. Don't crash the board if no one is back for defensive balance.
7. Don't foul the defensive rebounder as he comes down with the ball. His basket is 90 feet away-such a foul is foolish.
If you are the nearest player, press the rebounder to prevent him from making an easy pass-out to a teammate.
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