I often hear players frustrated that their size inhibits their ability to do certain things on the court. One of the most common excuses players use is they are too small to rebound over bigger players.
You must realize that it’s not about how big you are, but how big you play.
Players tend to care about rebounding statistics but don’t practice things that make them better rebounders. Rebounding deserves more of your focus. Once you focus on these five secrets and turn them into habits, you will average 3 more rebounds per game and be a part of the select few that rebound way bigger than their size
1. Move First
When I was coaching in college, we had the opportunity to play Kevin Love’s UCLA Bruins and I was on scouting report duty. It was my job to figure out how we could keep Kevin Love off the glass. Good luck to me. I watched 10 games of film and the number one thing I saw that made him an elite rebounder in college, which he has taken through his pro career, was his ability to move first. The best rebounders know a shot is going up before the shot is taken. So a clever rebounder is proactive in establishing position and moving a defender to put themselves in the most optimal location to retrieve the rebound.
2. Run to the opposite side of the basket
Another way to get more rebounds is to play the percentages. I’m about to say something you all know but few actually do. The majority of rebounds bounce to the opposite side of the rim from which they are shot. So run to the opposite side of the basket when the shot is taken. If the ball is shot from the right-wing, sprint to the left side of the rim. If the ball is shot from the left corner, sprint to the right side of the rim. Don’t battle the person near you. Don’t try to use traditional box out methods turning and putting your body on the opponent. Get to the space where the ball is most likely to be. Many thoughts make for slow feet. When you try to decide a lot of things when going to rebound, you will move too slow and oftentimes, fail to get the rebound.
3. Spin-Off First Object (SOFO)
– the vast majority of players run into an object: a box out, a defender, maybe even a teammate when they attempt to rebound. Often times, when a player’s path becomes obstructed by an opposing player, they stop pursuing the ball and allow their opponent to get it. Imagine you are a defensive lineman in football attempting to sack the quarterback with great urgency. You keep moving, spinning, and maneuvering until you tackle the quarterback. Same principle. If you do this, you will find yourself in open space collecting more rebounds.
Traditional box outs have you putting your back to a bigger player, attempting to keep the player out of position, then going after the ball. When smaller, you are already at a disadvantage so that doesn’t consistently work and tends to lead to frustration. When attempting to erase a larger opponent from rebounding the ball, you should actually turn, face them, put your forearms on them, and bulldoze them under the rim away from the paint. This allows you to be stronger than them and move laterally with more speed to keep them from getting to the basketball.
5. Check & Go
Many players miss out on multiple rebounds per game because they are obsessed with boxing out their player even when that player is not a threat to get the ball. When guarding someone on the perimeter when a shot goes up, you merely need to check them with your eyes and a stiff hand to their body in order to discourage them from pursuing the ball. Once you check them, go and get around the ball. Many rebounds will bounce right to you if you are in the field of play, something that would happen with minimal occurrence if using a traditional box out on a shooter at the three-point line.
If you master one of these things, you will get 3 more rebounds per game. Imagine if you mastered all five, then you will become one of the best rebounders around.
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