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How to Coach and Teach Offensive Basketball Rebounding that Wins Games

Height and good jumping ability have certain advantages in offensive rebounding. They are by no means the only factor in becoming a good rebounder. There are many instances, at all levels, that a seven foot center is out battled for a rebound, even out- rebounded for an entire game by a player as much as six inches shorter.

Rebounding is an important basketball skill that is developed and improved through these three ingredients:

  1. Aggressiveness
  2. Positioning
  3. Determination

Combine these factors, even though you are not 6'11'' and don't have good jumping ability. You will be well on your way toward being a good rebounder.

How do you pick off all the loose balls that come from your teammate's, and your own, missed shots? You try to anticipate where you think the ball will come off the rim. Position yourself so that you have a better position to get the ball. The big problem is that you usually have a defensive man in front, blocking you to keep you away from the basket. It always takes extra effort to establish good rebounding position, especially on offense.

One of the biggest mistakes young players make is standing around watching the flight of the ball, maybe only for a moment. They should be going for the rebound. If your teammate misses a shot, and you watch it first, before going for the rebound, you give the defense plenty of time to effectively box you out. This will keep you from ever getting to the basket.

A good way to get out of the habit of watching shots before going in for the rebound is to always think that every shot will miss. This will force you to think where the shot will come off the rim.


Your rebounding motto should be, "The ball belongs to me and, come hell or high water, I'm going to have it!"

Take a lot of pride in your offensive rebounds. They are harder to come by. It takes a lot of work to be good at rebounding; however, there is nothing more satisfying than a rebound pulled down in a crowd under the glass, and then going back up with it, scoring, and getting a foul shot, too.

Mental outlook is one of the most important factors in rebounding. You need the proper frame of mind when going for the ball. You have to be determined that you will do your best to get the ball. Rebounding starts with determination. There are nine other players on the court; but, you have to want the rebound the most. This mental and physical toughness will pay off.

Many times the ball will come off the rim and not be grabbed right away. It may even bounce off your fingers. It might slip through outstretch hands. A lot of times you have to go up two, maybe three times on one play to get one rebound. Rebounding is hard work; but, never give up. By concentrating, going up that many times for the ball, and then finally coming back down with it, and putting it back in the hole for two points, you can take the energy and heart right out of the other team.

One important thing to remember, once you have the ball in your hands, is to bring it down to your chest with elbows out wide. This protects the ball. When you land on the floor, with the ball, be sure to come down with a wide and strong position. This will keep you from being knocked over when the defense bumps you. This, also, helps you to protect the ball.

If you are in a crowd, under your offensive board, the tip-in is a good thing to use. Even if you miss, you are keeping the ball alive. Even if you can't get it with your second and third effort, perhaps a teammate might.


Positioning for offensive rebounds is important. A good strong position is the secret of both offensive and defensive rebounding. First of all, you have to reach that spot in the lane where you think the ball will come down. Don't get too far under the basket. You don't want to be too far away from the rim, either.

Once you are here, you must be able to hold your position for two or three seconds. Keep low with knees bent, and legs wide to provide a large and strong base. This will keep you from being pushed out of position by the defense. Your back should be slightly bent forward and your arms at a 45-degree angle over your shoulders. By holding your arms like this, the defense will not be able to hook you and pin your arms at your sides. Do all these things and you will be in a good position to rebound.

Another thing you should always remember, don't try to dribble the ball when you grab a rebound and come back down to the floor. Immediately go back up strong to the basket.


The painted area is one of the most physical places in the world of sports. When you are there, your job is too rebound. Be prepared to be elbowed, shoved, pushed, or even knocked to the floor. That's the nature of the game. If you are not willing to take the pain, you will never develop into a rebounder.

Even though it is so physical in the paint, even in high school, you must be extremely aggressive to get in there and rebound. Whenever you are blocked out by your defensive man, keep moving around and try for a better position.

Quickly note where your teammate has shot from. Tell yourself, "That ball is not going in!" Then, move in aggressively for rebounding position.

Remember that 75 percent of all missed shots go in a direction away from the shooter. Generally, the further away the shooter is from the basket, the higher and further out the ball will bounce. Shots taken from the side have a tendency to bounce to the opposite side. Shots taken straight on at the basket will generally bounce straight back to the shooter.

Study the way your teammates shoot. Note the type of arc the give their shots. This will tell you approximately where you can go for the rebound.

How to Go for the Offensive Rebound

There are many simple moves you can make that will help you to become a good rebounder. Make yourself aware of them and use them in practice and games.

When Not Blocked Out

If your defensive man is facing you, when a shot is taken, and hasn't begun to block you out, take a strong step in one direction. Make a head and shoulder fake at the same time. Follow this with a change of direction and a change of pace to go over him.

When Blocked Out

If your defensive man has effectively blocked you out, lean on the middle of his back with your shoulder. Using his back as the pivot point, make a reverse by actually rolling around his back, placing your lead foot in front of his feet. If you do this correctly, you will end up in front.

Over With The Arms

Another trick to use if you find your defensive man beside you on a rebound is the old "hook the arm" trick. When your defensive man has his arms raised, raise your arms and hook one of them over the crook of his arm and push it down. As you do this, step in front of him and take his position. If you can't get in front of him, at least try to get parallel with him. Tip with your other hand. It may surprise you, how high you can reach. At least, you will have a better shot at keeping the ball alive.

Rebounding Drills

On a strictly physical level, rebounding is an explosive act that involves the contracting and tensing of the leg muscles. Then, jumping upward by straightening out those muscles. The higher you can jump, the better your chance of getting the rebound. Not everyone has natural jumping ability; however, everyone can improve what jumping capabilities he possesses. The following drills will help you improve your jumping ability and lateral movement.

Leg Bounds

This drill will develop strong muscles in your upper legs. This gives you the explosive power needed to leap quickly and continuously. The drill goes like this:
  1. Stand at an end line with your legs together.
  2. With your arms at your sides, bend your knees until you are in a half-squat.
  3. Jump out as far and as high as you can, thrusting out your arms and straightening your body.
  4. When you land, end in the same crouched position and take off again with your next bound.
  5. Continue these bounds until you reach the far end line.
  6. Grab a ball and shoot 10 free throws, then bound back.
  7. Start by doing this once, then gradually increase the number until you can do it five times each session.

Squat Jumps

This drill will develop tremendous leg strength. Remember to jump as high as possible on each jump. Perform the drill as follows:
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder's width apart.
  2. Put your hands behind your head, lacing the fingers of your hands together.
  3. Drop to a half-squat position and then explode upward as high as possible. Keep your hands behind your head.
  4. When you land, begin the squat-and-jump process all over again. Continue until you have completed 25 jumps. This constitutes 1 set.
  5. Do 3 sets and shoot 10 free throws between sets.

String Jumping

This drill will help develop quickness, endurance, and power in your legs. Perform this exercise as follows:
  1. Place two chairs about four feet apart. Tie a string between them, about 12 to 18 inches off the floor.
  2. Stand sideways on one side of the string with your feet together.
  3. Hold your arms at your sides and flex the knees until you are in a half-squat.
  4. Explode up and over the string using your legs and arms for power.
  5. Land on the balls of your feet.
  6. Repeat the motion and jump back over to the other side.
  7. Do this continuously for one minute, keeping track of how many jumps you performed.
  8. Grab a ball and shoot free throws for one-minute, then repeat two more times.

Back To The Basket

This drill will help develop power and quickness. You will need a friend to help you with this drill. Do it this way:
  1. Have your friend to stand about 6 or 8 feet from the backboard.
  2. You stand with your back to the backboard about 2 feet closer than your friend.
  3. Have your friend throw the ball up underhanded.

    When you hear the ball hit, pivot and face the backboard. Spot the ball as quickly as possible.

  4. Jump up for the rebound. Bring the ball down to your chest, with your elbows out wide.
  5. Spring up with the ball and put it in the hoop.
  6. Repeat this over 10 times. This constitutes 1 set. Shoot free throws for one-minute between sets. Do 3 sets per session.

Continuous Tap-Ins

This is a good exercise to develop jumping ability, timing, and fingertip control of the ball. Two players are needed to perform this drill. The drill goes like this:
  1. Start by facing the backboard, one player on the right side, the other on the left of the rim.
  2. The first player begins by tossing the ball over the rim to the opposite side of the backboard and then runs to that side.
  3. The second player then jumps up and taps the ball over to the other side of the backboard and then quickly runs over to that side.
  4. Repeat this drill 20 times, which constitutes 1 set. Shoot free throws one minute between each set. Do 3 sets per session.

Lateral Movement Drill

This is an excellent drill to enhance lateral movement, an important, yet, often neglected aspect of rebounding. Do it like this:
  1. With a basketball in your hand, stand four feet away from the backboard. Face the direction of the baseline with one foot inside the lane and the other, outside.
  2. Toss the ball over your head to the opposite side of the backboard.
  3. Quickly move and catch the ball, with arms extended, before it hits the ground.
  4. Step back, once again keeping one foot in the lane and one foot out, and toss the ball back up again. Repeat this until you have done it 10 times. This constitutes a set.
  5. Shoot 10 free throws and repeat.

Links to other articles in this manual:

  1. Basketball summer manual for the gym rat
  2. How to play basketball defense
  3. How to play basketball offense - description of team positions
  4. Physical training on the off-season for the basketball player
  5. The basic basketball moves without the ball
  6. Basketball rebounding
  7. Passing and catching the basketball
  8. Dribbling the basketball
  9. Setting and using basketball screens
  10. 0ne- on- one basketball moves
  11. Summer workout for post players
  12. Summer workout for perimeter players
  13. Home 

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  5. How to Teach the 8 Basic Fundamental Plays in Basketball

  6. How to Teach Players to Dribble a Basketball

  7. How to coach and teach the basketball pick-and-roll play

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  9. How to Coach the 1-3-1 Basketball Zone Pressure Defenses

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