5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Basketball Rebounding

Do you want more playing time? Want to help your team win more games? Basketball coaches love players that can rebound. So anything you can do to improve your rebounding will get you more playing time and help your team win games.

Here are five simple and effective tips to improve your rebounding. In fact, these tips are so simple you have no excuse to not start working on them right now!


Run to the Front of the Basket on Your Fast Break

If you want to encounter a lot of offensive rebounds, run to the front of the basket during your fast break. This is a great time to do so because the defense is not in position for the rebound yet.

Run to the Front of the Rim on the Dribble Drive

During dribble penetration, follow your teammate to the rim so you can be there to retrieve the ball if he misses. This is a great time to rebound because the defense usually collapses on the drive and they forget to block out. This will allow you to get more offensive rebounds as well as points.

Practice Drills That Teach You to Rebound Outside Your Area

Great rebounders go for the ball no matter where it's at. Bad rebounders stand and watch because they think the ball it out of their reach.

You can teach yourself to rebound out of your area by running basketball rebounding drills that make you go a long ways to get the ball. For example, throw the ball off the back board on the other side of the rim and "go get it!"

Make Contact Before Your Opponent

You will be able to be in control of what happens if you make contact first when boxing out. Make sure to hit them first before they make contact with you to ensure leverage. Remember, anticipate and always be first. This will give you the edge.

Start Moving as the Shooter is Uncoiling

If you react and mover quicker, you will improve anticipation and get more rebounds. As the shooter is uncoiling start the contact by blocking out. Do the same on offense; as the shooter uncoils go after the rebound. You will get more rebounds!



Brad Stevens Butler Defense Notes!

  • Coach Stevens Big into the process, statistics, and numbers.
  • This helps him to coach his team.
  • Always trying to get guys to do the things that are important.
  • Having a Defensive DNA is a big part of that.
  • Gained an appreciation when he became a head coach for how hard it is to prepare the right practice.
  • Your team has to be good at practicing the right things. This puts a huge premium on the head coach being right.
  • Broke their Defensive DNA up into 6 categories
  • Did this because he was coaching a team with 6 freshman who needed to learn how to play  their system
  • What is the best way to teach something at the beginning of the year that instills your system, but is also able to be changed/adjusted later on in the season?

1. Commitment

  • Your players must be completely committed to the system
  • In 11 years, never had a player in the program that worked his tail off on the defensive end that wasn’t a great teammate/student
  • People that do their job on every play make you feel proud to be a part of the program
  • Starts with establishing the correct mindset
  • Referenced Doc Rivers from last year’s clinic: Believe or Leave
  • If your players believe, you can establish a Defensive DNA
  • Felt that when he had young teams, having a great defensive team gave him the best chance to win
  • Challenge your team statistically
    Example: Earlier this season, Butler was giving up 45% from the floor, but they found out that if they had gotten three more stops per game, they would be giving up 39%. Defensive FG% dropped 2 percentage points for every stop.
  • Your team is never too far away from being great, and never too far away from being bad
  • Uses the 10 day break during the season to be tremendously beneficial .
  • Really admires how davidson plays-They are unpredictable, yet they have a system that they believe in.
  • Your system must be built to defend everything, no matter what is being run against it. (i.e. something you didn’t cover in scouting)
  • At the same time, have a degree of unpredictability.

2. Positioning

  • First Step to proper positioning is your transition defense.
  • Your transition drills have to simulate what happens in the game
  • Goals for transition defense
    Stay in front of the basketball
    Protect the basket
    Pick up the basketball
    Find good shooters
  • Defending the ball
    First important question where are you on the floor?
    If you have an athletic advantage, you can pressure more
    If you are at an athletic disadvantage, you can pressure more
    If you are at an athletic disadvantage, you have to trick the offensive player in different ways to keep him off balance
    Butler plays a lot of 1 on 1–both bigs and guards.  Everyone must be able to guard 2 dribbles on the perimeter (Bigs will often switch onto a guard late in the shot clock)
  • Closeouts
  • Three steps then break down (chop your feet) with your arms up; closeout to his dominant hand
  • Closeouts are dependent upon personnel
  • If you’re closing out to a great shooter, close out to his shooting hand and give him less room to get his shot off.
  • If you’re closing out to a great driver, you don’t want to break down as much.  ”A great drive beats a great closeout every time.”

3. Prioritizing

  • Are you prioritizing what’s important?  The goal is to stop the other team from scoring
  • Scouting is a large part of the equation
  • Their system must be adjustable and flexible in terms of guarding different teams/players
  • Coach Stevens gave an example of how he used their trip to Italy to work on some different things, and “it took (Butler) three months to get back to our identity.”
  • Even though you (as a coach) are thinking about jumping to the ball/your identity all summer doesn’t mean your players are.
  • Learned that you need to start back over every year
  • Tony Dungy example from his new book: Concept of “regenerative leadership”  Older players spreading the culture to the younger players, and the younger players continue the cycle when they become older players

4. Awareness

  • Awareness can allow a marginal athlete to become a very good defender—more so than a great athlete with marginal awareness
  • The 4 levels of competency:
  • Unconsciously incompetent-You don’t know what you don’t know
  • Consciously incompetent-You know that you have no clue
  • Consciously competent-You know what’s going on
  • Unconsciously competent-You begin to see things before they happen.  You can rely on your habits because of how many times you’ve done it before
  • Coach will allow players to have “mature freedom” to make reads when they are in this stage of competency.
  • When you’re in the first two categories (unconsciously/consciously incompetent), you should be a great follower/listener.
  • 60% of awareness comes from what you have built through practice/drills/habits
  • 40% of awareness comes from who you are guarding or what the other team is running
  • Uses lots of 4 on 4 work in practice

5. Execution/Technique

  • Technique is easy to work on in indivìduals
  • Coach Stevens spent some time at the Indianapolis Colts offseason
    Was struck by the consistency in their approach
    Quarterbacks spent 5 minutes per day watching their handoffs with no defense. (Attention to detail)
    Described Peyton Manning as “Elite in his preparation”
  • Butler ¡s big on drilling and technique
  • Be deliberate in your practice and approach
  • The strength and conditioning coach will drill the players in the offseason around techniques that the players will be executing all season (i.e. hedging a ball screen) ”Deliberate conditioning”

6. Completion

  • The importance of “finishing plays”
  • Guys that really care and understand the concept of blocking out
  • Butler teaches blocking out based on the individual personnel of their players
  • Less mobile player’s responsibility is to keep the offensive player from getting the ball
  • A more mobile player (with a nose for the ball) may just hit his man then pursue the ball.I will be posting the drills from the notes later in the week.



Kobe Bryant's 3 Tips for Defensive Slides

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is known for his five NBA championship rings and, more specifically, his amazing scoring ability.

But did you know that Kobe has been on the NBA's All-Defensive team 11 times in his 15-year career?

Defense is one of Bryant's strengths, so it pays to listen to him give tips on guarding your opponent. At the 2010 World Basketball Festival in New York, Bryant grabbed the microphone and instructed about 40 young players on how to properly execute defensive slides during a clinic at Rucker Park.

Here are three tips he wants young basketball players to remember:

Stay Balanced

When watching the young players do defensive slides, Bryant noticed several of them leaning their torso in the direction they were moving.

"When you're doing defensive slides and start leaning," Bryant said, "now when your man changes direction, it takes too much time for you (to change direction) and slide."

If you keep your torso centered while you're moving your feet, you're ready to go either direction your opponent might take you.

"Everybody needs to think about staying in the middle," Bryant said. "Your top part shouldn't be moving."

Active Hands

Bryant told the story of playing summer basketball in the Philadelphia area. He would often get top defenders guarding him, yet some of them would do their defensive slides with their arms still and down below their waist.

"They thought it looked cool," Bryant said. "It wasn't cool when I was shooting the ball in their face."

Bryant has become a lockdown defender in part because he never lets his opponent get comfortable. One of the best ways to do that is to keep good lower-body form when sliding, but also make sure your hands are a nuisance to the ball-handler.

"You have to keep your hands active, all the time," Bryant said. "Up, down, side to side, jabbing at the ball."

Wide Base

Many young players, when doing defensive slides, don't have their feet wide enough apart, so they don't get as low as they should.

"If you keep your feet further apart, you have a wider base so your man can't change direction," Bryant said. "I keep my wide base, and if you change direction, I'm still with you."

Widening your base when doing defensive slides might be a little uncomfortable at first, but it is the best way to play lockdown defense.

Just ask Kobe Bryant--one of the best in the world at it.

"Keep your feet really wide apart," Bryant insists, "even as you stride."



Close Out - Box Out Drill

Ask any coach and he’ll tell you that the art of rebounding is in the positioning, not how big the player is. When it comes to grabbing rebounds, you have to be in the right spot.

The Close Out/Box Out drill will teach you how to closeout on the offense while staying under control. Remember, if the defender is out of control, the offense will have an easy time beating the defender to the basket. This drill teaches defenders how to stop and change direction at game-speed while in a low, defensive stance.

To perform the drill, you’ll need two players. The offense starts at the free throw line extended, while the defense starts underneath the basket. The defender closes out on the offense, sprinting halfway and then chopping his feet the rest of the way. The offensive player runs toward the baseline while the defender pivots and keeps his body between the offense and the basket. Perform this drill on both sides.

You must remember to close out, so sprint halfway to the offense, and then lower down in a defensive stance and chop your feet the rest of the way. When chopping your feet, keep your butt down and your inside hand high to contest a potential shot.

Next, close out the ends when the defender is about one arm length away from the offense. Stay low on your back pivot, and keep your hands and elbows up so as not to grab the offensive player with your hands. Remember not to close out too high and get out of control or close out with your hands down.

Drill Details/Instructions:

1. Requires at least 2 players

2. Offense starts at free throw line extended; Defense starts underneath the basket

3. Defender closes out on the offense, sprinting half way and then chopping their feet the rest of the way

4. The Offensive runs towards the baseline while the defender pivots and keeps his body between the offense and the basket

5. Perform this drill on both sides

Drill Philosophy (Why):

The Close Out/Box Out drill teaches the defender to close-out on the offense while staying under control. If the defender is out of control, the offense will have an easy time beating the defender to the basket. This drill teaches the defender to stop and change direction at game-speed while in a low, defensive stance. The defender learns the proper technique for the box out

Points of Emphasis:

  • Sprint halfway to the offense then lower down in a defensive stance and chop the feet the rest of the way
  • When chopping the feet, keep the butt down and inside hand high to contest a potential shot
  • Close out ends when the defender is about 1 arm length away from the offense
  • Stay low on the back pivot and keep your hands and elbows up so as not to grab the offensive player with your hands

Common Corrections:

  • Player closes out too high and out of control
  • Player closes out with their hands down




Basketball Rebounding Drills

These Rebounding Drills came from the Arizona Men’s February Basketball Newsletter.  If you are interested in subscribing to their newsletter, please give me your:

1) name
2) email address
3) school or team
4) coaching position

War Drill (8 minute drill)

(1 basketball. 6. 8 or 10 players. Full Court)

Defense is in the paint and matches up. On the shot by the coach. their goal is to go meet the offense outside of the paint and keep them out of it.

The offensive players are set up behind the three point line and except for the point guard, (who gets back on defense), are going hard to the rim.  The defender on the point guard should look to help on boxing someone else out.

This is a highly competitive drill with a winner and loser. If the offense gets the rebound they get a point and can try to score a 2 or 3 pointer.  If they score we set the drill back up. If the defense gets the rebound or forces a turnover, there is no point scored but they push the basketball down court (transition offense) and try to score on the other end. On a score or turnover by them, play stops and we set the drill back up.

The ball will only go from one end to the other end one time and then the drill would be reset. If we don’t reset the drill it becomes a transition drill and not a contact drill.

There are no points on a made shot by the coach but it is still played like a rebound.

Knicks Drill

(1 or 2 basketballs. 6 or more players)

On the shot by the number 3 (could be a coach),  Xl and X4 come out and box out (they start with one foot on the baseline). Offensive players 1 and 5 are going hard to the rim. Numbers 2 and 4 are there for the outlet pass. If the defense gets the rebound they are going to pivot to the outside and outlet the ball. If it’s a made shot. they run out of bounds to outlet the basketball. The offense players try to stop the outlet pass. You could have one player deny the inbounder and the other denying the player receiving the pass.

If the offense gets the rebound they go 2 on 2 and try to score or the drill can be reset (coach’s option).

Offensive players switch between being offense or outlet players. The defense remains defense until you switch them out.

Try to match up the lines with perimeter players in one line and post players in the other.

This could be a competition drill with sprints for the losers. A defensive rebound is one point. a successful outlet pass is one point, an offensive rebound is two points and a made basket is one point.

The Defenders can cross and block out opposite line to vary the drill.

Get to the Basket Drill

(1 basketball, 3 or more players)

Place two defenders side by side facing the offense (if you have football pads, use them).  On the shot, the offense has to bust through to the basket.  This teaches them to never surrender going to the basket and being aggressive.

Only drill this from the wings.  If we have an offensive player at the top, we would normally want him to get back on defense.

Without the pads, the defense gives a little pressure, just enough to make them push through.




Gut Check


  1. Make 3 teams of 3-4 players. Two teams play while the third team is shooting on a side basket.
  2. Put 12 minutes on clock.
  3. Team gets a point for every stop.
  4. Foul is automatic loss of play.
  5. First two teams play for 4 minutes. Then the third team comes in after 4 minutes for one of the teams.
  6. When offense scores, the defense must sprint down and touch the opposite foul line. There is only 20 seconds for each possession so the team must sprint down and back to get more time.
  7. If the defense gets a stop, the offense must go down and touch the opposite foul line and come back. The coaches will pas the ball to the offense as they come back down the floor and they will be on offense again.
  8. The drill is a great conditioner


24 Second Drill


  1. This is a 5 on 5 half-court drill.
  2. Black vs. White as an example.
  3. There is 24 seconds on the clock.
  4. Black begins on defense and white on offense.
  5. The white team has 24 second and black must stop white throughout the entire 
24 seconds.
  6. If white takes a shot and the black gains possession at 12 seconds, then white still 
has possession but there are now 12 seconds on the clock. If what takes another 
shot and black gains possession at 5 seconds then the shot clock is at 5 and white 
has possession again. This continues until black stops white for an entire 24 
seconds of the shot clock.
  7. If white scores, they go on defense.
  8. If white gets an offensive rebound, the clock goes back to 24, but black is still on 
  9. Great drill to end practice because it is very competitive and difficult. Very tough drill.


Stop, Score, Stop


To win a team must get a stop, score, and a stop in 3 consecutive possessions.


  1. If defense gets a stop (stop) they go to offense and must score, then they go to defense and must get a stop to win.
  2. If offense scores, they go to defense and then must get a stop, score and stop.
  3. There is a change of possession after each play