Basketball Rebounding Skills Every Player Should Know

“Offense sells tickets, Defense wins games, Rebounding wins championships.” – Pat Summit, University of Tennessee

Master Rebounding And Win More Games With Our 7 Keys

Have you ever noticed that the teams who crash the boards best are usually at the top of their divisions? San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are prime examples. In order to win you must score and in order to score you must have possession of the ball.

Grabbing rebounds is going to be your number one way to obtain possession of the ball. There are far more missed shots than there are steals or turn-overs. So what separates top rebounding teams from everyone else? Their mindset!

You must be eager to regain or keep possession of the ball. No matter what your size or jumping ability is, you must aggressively seek to rebound the ball. Determination and technique will out-weigh a good vertical jump every time. Dennis Rodman is a great example of the determination and discipline needed to have success. At 6 foot, 8 inches he out-rebounded the 7 footers on a regular basis. So can you.

“It has been said that the team that controls the boards will probably control the game and this statement will usually hold true.” – Coach John Wooden

Rebounding is an important key to ball possession, fast breaks and winning. So take note of these sure-fire techniques to basketball rebounding.

Be Aware Of The Ball – You must know where the ball is at all times. You must especially know when a shot has been taken. Position yourself so that you can see your opponent and the ball at the same time. Once the shot is taken, communicate with your teammates. Yell “shot” when the shot is taken, or yell “short” or “long” respectively.

Be Assumptive – You must assume that every shot attempt is a missed shot and there is a chance for a rebound. This underemphasized mental technique could mean a second or even a third chance at a score when on offense.

Know Where Your Opponent Is – Don’t become a spectator, don’t get in the habit of zoning in on the flight of the ball. As soon as you’ve determined the direction and distance of the shot you should locate the opponent you’re supposed to block out. Become a proactive rebounder by developing your sense of direction and timing.

Block Out – Your main objective is to gain inside position so that you may obtain or regain possession of the ball. You have more of a chance to get the rebound if you are between the basket and your opponent. A three pointer with a long rebound might be an exception. You must move quickly, using pivots and turns to gain that inside position.

Go After The Ball – You must develop a nose for the ball. Learn where the ball is most likely going to go when the shot is missed. Shots taken from the side will rebound off to the opposite side about 75% of the time while shots taken from the middle of the court will usually rebound somewhere in the middle of the lane. Longer shots will rebound longer than the 10 footer so plan for that. Also you must be aware of the rim and how the shots are coming off the rim. Some rims are really stiff causing longer rebounds. So figure out where the shot is more likely to go and then go get the ball.

Protect The Ball – When you go up in a crowd as you normally do in basketball, opponents will be reaching and swiping at the ball in the attempt to steal it from you. Make sure you secure the ball with both hands, even if it was a one-handed rebound. Bring the ball down to just under the chin with your elbows out and both hands on each side, holding it tightly. Make sure you don’t swing those elbows! Keep your head up and don’t panic.

Do Something With It – Quickly decide what to do with the ball. If you are on offense the obvious first choice would be to shoot it, especially if you have gotten the inside position. If this can’t be done for some reason, look to pass. Find a teammate that may have a better shot or at least an open shot. These kind of plays often result in an open 3 pointer.

The last option for you would be to dribble. If the first two options are not available then you must dribble into position so that a pass or shot can open up. But try to use the first two options first.

On defense you must first protect the ball as we already discussed. Although your first option is to pass to a teammate, don’t force it. Hold the ball if necessary. You worked hard to get possession, don’t rush it and turn it over. The last option on defense is to dribble. Some players should never dribble. But do what is necessary to get the ball up court.

Again I urge you to be aggressive, don’t wait for the ball to come to you or stand around watching the pretty back spin on the ball. Assume the miss, locate the ball, find your opponent, block him out, go get the ball, protect it and then go score. If you win the battle of the boards, there is a great chance you’ll win the game!

– David Huizar



Matt & Dave run and enjoy teaching basketball players and coaches more about the basketball plays, drills, fundamentals and tips that result in individual and team success. For our free report, “How To Fly Higher With Plyometrics“, plus two additional player/coach reports, send a blank email to 

We give full permission for you to use this article in your
newsletter or on your site as long as you include our Resource
Box with our website link and email link included.

If you enjoyed this basketball article on improving your basketball rebounding, check out more articles by us here


Do you have problems with your over-all game? Could it lead to an embarrassing moment on the court in the future if you don’t dedicate yourself to improving your basketball skills on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?