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How To Become A Better Rebounder In Basketball

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Rebounding is one of the most valued skills in basketball. To be a great rebounder you need to have heart, grit, and great anticipation to the trajectory of the ball.

By becoming a great rebounder you instantly add value to your self as a player, and your team as a whole. In this article, I will be giving you the necessary tips and tricks to dominating the boards, regardless of your height, or position.

1. Boxing Out

We've all heard our coaches say it constantly. But at the end of the day it really is true, boxing out allows you to get in great positioning, and even overcome height differences in order to get that rebound.

In order to ensure you have the most success blocking out, there are a few tips and tricks to boxing out that so many players over look.

Getting low- while it might seem paradoxical, since you need to get up in the air, on your rebounds, getting low helps a lot with boxing out, since it allows you to get a stronger base, and leverage on your opponent.

Having a stronger base allows you to easily stand your ground, and in turn makes it harder for your opponent to push you forward and get good rebounding position.

Below is a perfect example of what I am talking about, notice even Curry standing a whole 7-8 inches shorter, and being outweighed by 60 pounds, is able to stand his ground and still get a rebound over Dwight Howard.

By getting Low and building a strong base this can be possible for you as well

Using Your Rear- As silly as it sounds, your behind is one of the greatest tools you have for rebounding. You see by using your behind this will allow you to keep your opposition off of you, allowing you more space for the rebound.

For example if your boxing someone out and your opponent is trying to go around you, or push into you for better positioning by getting low, and moving your body back, you can easily push him back and get that rebound. Even if you are much smaller or less athletic.

Just like Steph Curry on the rebound over Dwight Howard.

By using your behind, you can get more leverage, stability, and strength in the process, while it might look and sound silly using your behind is a great effective strategy any player can implement, to get more rebounds in basketball.

Locate your opponent- One of the biggest mistakes I see players make when trying to box there opponent out, is not locating there opponent. While it might seem obvious just glancing over at the player your going to box out gives you a much better chance of effectively boxing them out.

Pro Tip: This does not even have to be a long process by quickly glancing over, and getting contact with your opponent, you can then feel him and know where he is going, so you do not even have to look at him, instead you can focus on the ball coming off the rim.

Here is a great video where Javalee Mgee describes the importance of identifying your opponent and locating them, before your box out.

2. Anticipation

Anticipating is one of the greatest ways to improve your ability as a rebounder. There is an old saying that goes

"Be proactive instead of reactive."

By anticipating and having an idea of where the ball is going before your opponent, gives you a leg up on your competition, and can even have you snagging rebounds over taller, or bigger players.

Below are a few tips to mastering your anticipation.

Studying The Game- What I mean by studying the game, is getting an idea of where the ball is most likely going to go in certain situations. Basically using your brain and understanding the law of averages.

For example a ball shot on the three point line, or farther away from the basket, is likely going to be a longer rebound farther from the hoop, vs a missed shot up close, is most likely going to be a shorter rebound closer to the hoop.

You can even study which way the ball is most likely going to go, based on other factors like court positioning, or arch of the shot.

Knowing Who You Are Playing Against- If you ever seen the Documentary about the Bulls called the Last Dance, you will see Dennis Rodman talking about this in one the episodes.

Dennis would study hours and hours of certain players, and see where the ball usually goes based on there missed shots. Even if you do not study hours and hours of certain players, by understanding how they shoot, you can still get a good read on where most of their misses will go.

For example, a player with a higher arc is more than likely going to miss closer to the hoop. Where a player with a much lower arc, is going to miss much farther from the hoop.

Understanding Angles- What I mean by understanding angles, is looking to see where the ball is most likely going to go. You can do this by quickly glancing, the opponents shot trajectory, and then anticipating where the ball is most likely going to go.

For example if you see your opponents shot in the corner going long, then it would be ideal to position yourself on the other side of the basket. Or if you see a really short shot, then it would be best to go closer to the basket.

With more time and studying you will get a better feel of where the ball will go after a miss, that is why with basketball, and especially rebounding, to study film and watch what the other greats do, so you can implement that into your game.

3. Energy And Hustle

The simple truth of the matter is, that all the other tips go out the window if you do not have the hustle required to get rebounds.

Sometimes this just comes to wanting it more than the other player.

Think about it some of the best rebounders ever were not the biggest or tallest players on the court they just wanted it more than there opponents

With hustle this also comes down to be willing to bang with your opponents and fight through your Opposition. Hustle also includes being relentless, basketball can be a long game, and your not going to be a great rebounder if your not consistently attacking and go at your opponent at all times of the game.

You need to be just as aggressive and hungry for that rebound in the 4th quarter as you were right after tip off.

4. Great Hands

When I say great hands for rebounding I do not just mean your ability to catch the ball, while obviously that is important.

It is equally if not more important to get used to catch the ball in awkward situations or circumstances.

For example in basketball there is this old saying that you always need to come down strong with two hands. While I do agree with that statement to a certain extent, I also believe you need to be a player who can come down with one hand, or be able to catch the ball across your body, or any awkward circumstances.

A reason for this is because, in basketball there are just so many factors and things that going into it ,that make each rebound and catch different from the normal catch.

For example lets say you are using your arm to hold a player off, and the rebound is coming off to your other hand, well your going to need to have great hands to secure the ball and get that rebound.

Simple Drill For developing better hands in rebounding- A great way of working on this, is literally playing catch with a basketball.

While it might sound to simple to be effective, it can actually be quit effective for learning how to rebound. Just emphasize on making hard catches, and mix up certain catches, whether thats speed, arch, or hand positioning.

5. Athleticism

Now when talking about athleticism there are things you can do to improve your rebounding and make it easier in general.

I mean obviously it is going to be a lot easier to get rebounds with a 40 inch vertical. But, working on things like mobility, cardio, and strength are excellent ways to improve your athleticism for rebounding.

Strength- While a lot of athletes in basketball overlook this part of the game, to get more rebounds, it definitely will not hurt to get stronger. Guys like Charles Barkley, and other shorter players, were able to get rebounds over much taller players because of there strength.

By having more strength this will make boxing out and initiating contact much easier, and allow you to get in proper positioning for the rebound.

If your new to working out and need to put on more size as a big man or a player who plays a lot in the paint a main thing you can focus on are the 5 main lifts, like, squat, dead lift, dips, rows, and bench.

Cardio- Like I said in a previous passage as a rebounder, being able to perform and attack your defender, with as much pace and speed in the 1st quarter and 4th quarter is vital for your success as a rebounder.

That is another reason why Dennis Rodman was such a great rebounder, his cardio was top notch, and he was able to bang in the 4th quarter just as effectively as the first quarter.

Speed and vertical- What people fail to understand about rebounding, is it is very similar to any other type of movement in basketball, it requires great fast twitched explosive movements, and plays.

So in order to improve your rebounding your going to need to improve your speed and vertical in the process.

A great way of improving these aspects and qualities of your game is too do workouts called plyometrics. Which are exercises designed to help improve and strengthen your fast twitched muscle fibers.

For more information on how to improve your athleticism in the comfort of your own home, that will help your athleticism in the process click here.

6. Initiating The Contact

Initating contact can be essential for rebounding in basketball especially as a smaller player.

See by initiating contact, as a smaller player for rebounding you automatically take away a bigger or more athletic players advantages over you. Like vertical or size.

Doing this gives the power back in your hands because it takes away all the other players momentum, athleticism, while giving you more time in the process. See by the very nature of this by you initiating that contact they automatically, do not have the proper mechanics to go up and even get that rebound.

For example lets say a player is coming in for a board at high speed, by initiating that contact, they automatically either stop in there place, or at the very least slow down. Try this out if you are a smaller player, or any player looking to improve there rebounding.

By the way when I say initiating contact I do not mean being dirty, I am just saying be physical, and box out and use the right fundamentals to get yourself in better rebounding position.

7. Volleyball Move

Tip Drill- The tip drill is basically, when you tip the ball to yourself from a rebounding situation to give you a better opportunity to catch it.

A player might want to do this if the lane is really congested, and does not have enough space to grab the ball with two hands and come down with a rebound.

Some of the masters of this are Nikola Jokic, and of course Dennis Rodman.

Notice in the video below, Jokic decided to tip the ball to himself, instead of just catching this, he knew instinctively that, grabbing the ball would not be his best bet there, and he decided to quickly tip the ball to himself to get that rebound and tip in

8. Become A Better Offensive Rebounder

You cannot overlook this part of the game when it comes to rebounding, a good portion of your rebounds can come from this side off the floor, and if you want to become a better rebounder you have to master this side of the court as well.

Now while some of the principles of rebounding are the same as an offensive rebounder there are rules that are different, and some strategies vary from deffeisve rebounding.

Think about it like this as a defensive rebounder, you are the offensive linemen, but as an offensive rebounder, your more of a pass rusher.

So there are certain rules and moves to implement to improve this part of your game for rebounding.

Be sneaky- This is just a little simple trick and tip I have seen work over the years with offensive rebounding. See as a defensive rebounder your going to be looking for a guy running towards the hoop going for a rebound.

But by being a little more sneaky, he might not see you and you can get an easy rebound or points for your team.

A simple thing you can do to be more sneaky is by faking it. For example, you can fake running to the other side of the floor to go back and play defense, and then dart in past your defender.

Know when your team is about to shoot- By knowing when your teammate is about to shoot, that is your opportunity, to get behind the defense, and even put yourself in a defensive rebounding situation and get in front, so you have better positioning for a rebound.

Push Him Under The Basket- Since a defensive rebounder is going to have naturally better positioning then you on a offensive rebound. You can counter act this by pushing him toward the basket. Think of it like this if your opposition is under the basket, then he is cannot get the rebound, and is in terrible position.

Follow Your Teammates- This is a great opportunity for an offensive rebound, and even tip ins, a reason for this is because most likely on drives your defender is going to help off and contest the layup near the basket.

Since he is contesting then most likely he is not going to be able to box you out. Giving you the opportunity for a quick tip in or rebound.

Have Go to Moves- These are things totally up to player preferences. But since you are going to need to get around your opponents box outs there are certain things you can and should implement.

A lot of these tips are similar to being a pass rusher in football. I only use this as an example since both getting offensive rebounds and pass rushing can be similar. So if your a football player that can be an advantage toward you.

Spin Move- A spin move is great for offensive rebounding as this allows you to get by your defender quickly and effectively, while also giving you the proper time to snag that board.

Juke Move- The basics of this move are faking one way and going another. Its up to you how you want to set up this move, but it should be important to note you need to do this quick and change speeds in the process.

Swipe there hands away- This is a technique many football pass rushers use and you can use too for your offensive rebounding. By swiping there hands away this can give you more room to get by and perform other moves.

Many players like to hold on which can make it harder to get rebounds, so swiping away can give you the opportunity to, not let them get that chance so you can get those boards.

Important note here is too make sure you do not foul, this is not a slapping motion, but more of a pushing or swaying motion.

Other frequently asked questions

When boxing a player out they always seem to get by me some how. What can I do to fix this?

An easy way to fix this would be by getting more contact with your opponent. By getting more contact you will be better able to feel them and get a better idea of where they are going or what they are going to do.

Another simple thing you can do if your opponent does get around you in a box out is to go where you think the ball will be going. There is no use in a box out if you do not get the rebound in the first place.

How do I avoid getting over the back fouls called on me?

This is a problem I see with many players especially much taller players. A simple way to counter act this is following one simple rule. And that is too not reach over the player and be more vertical. This does not mean perfectly vertical. But another good simple rule is too not have your shoulder go past his shoulder. Anything else a ref should not call.

How would do you tip in a ball easier?

This can be hard to learn at first. But what I have notce works for players effectivley is not holding or trying to push the ball. Remember it is called a tip in for a reason. In these circumstances your playing like a volleyball player, so aim to where you want the ball to go, and quickly tap the ball. A ball is heavier than we expect when your just suing your hands so you might need to put a little force on it.


Thank you for reading, I want to know if this article gave you any tips, or what you as a player seen or done to help you get more rebounds in basketball. As always thank you for reading, and keep hooping my friends.

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