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Defensive Rebounding Tactical Fundamentals

This is an excerpt from Basketball Essentials by Ryan Goodson.

The fundamental goal of a good defensive rebounding team is to limit the offense to one shot. To achieve this, each defensive player must focus on the following three keys.


Vision and Voice

As a defender, use your peripheral vision to maintain sight of the basketball and your offensive player at all times. For rebounding purposes, seeing both the offensive player and the ball gives you a head start because you can move on the flight of the basketball as it leaves the shooter’s hands, and you can keep eye contact with the ball from the beginning of the shot until it hits the rim. You should also use the proper pivot when executing the box out; I will discuss proper pivoting reads in subsequent sections. Once the shot is taken, each defensive player also says the word "shot" so each teammate is prepared for the rebound.


Inside Position

Inside position is the space between your opponent and the basket. As a golden rule, the defensive player always takes the inside position; this prevents the offense from making straight-line cuts to the rim for scoring opportunities, and it gives the defender an advantageous position when a shot is taken. Once the shot goes up, it is harder to maintain this inside position because the offensive player will fight around and through the defender to gain access to the basketball. There are three different techniques that are commonly used to maintain the inside position.

Hit-Go Technique

Use the hit-go technique to stop your opponent’s path to the rebound by striking them with a forearm to the chest. As soon as contact is made and the opponent’s forward progress is momentarily stopped, break contact and sprint to pursue the basketball. It is important to keep the elbow bent and to generate power from the lower body and not the arm. Exerting power from the upper body by extending the elbow will result in a foul.

Hit-Go Drill

Breakdown

Setup

  • Use one player and one blocking pad.
  • This drill is executed without a basketball. The player is inside the lane. The coach has the blocking pad and is outside the three-point arc.

Execution

  1. The coach blows the whistle.
  2. The player sprints toward the coach with short, choppy steps and blasts the coach with a bent forearm to the chest.
  3. The player then immediately sprints toward the rim, leaps off the ground, and secures the imaginary basketball.
  4. The player repeats the drill 10 times.

Coaching Point

A player should make contact with their forearm to the opponent’s chest for only a moment before releasing contact to pursue the basketball.

Boxout Technique

Use the boxout technique to stop your opponent’s path to the basketball by striking them with a bent forearm to the chest, making a front or reverse pivot, and ending with your posterior against the opponent’s thighs and your back to the opponent’s chest. When boxing out, keep your hands and arms high above your head and in the shape of a field-goal post to prevent your opponent from reaching over you for the basketball. When the basketball hits the rim, break contact with your opponent and pursue the ball.

Boxout Drill

Breakdown

Setup

  • Use one player and one blocking pad.
  • This drill is executed without a basketball. The player is inside the lane. The coach has the blocking pad and is outside the three-point arc.

Execution

  1. The coach blows the whistle.
  2. The player sprints toward the coach with short, choppy steps; blasts the coach with a bent forearm to the chest; and makes a front-pivot or reverse-pivot boxout.
  3. The player holds the boxout while driving the coach back until the coach blows the whistle again.
  4. On the second whistle, the player sprints toward the rim, leaps off of the ground, and secures the imaginary basketball.
  5. The player repeats the drill 10 times.

Coaching Point

The player should aggressively pursue the boxout with the goal of not allowing the coach to enter the lane.

The Chest-Out Technique

The chest-out technique is an emergency maneuver you can use when your opponent has forced you low and below the rim and thus negated your dominant inside position. In this situation, quickly turn and face your opponent, lift your hands high above your head, get low and wide at the base, and subtly push your opponent out and away from the basket with your hips. This technique may not allow you to secure the rebound, but it will help to prevent your opponent from obtaining it.

Learn more about Basketball Essentials.