Offensive Rebounding:
Basketball Moves that Win Games

Offensive rebounding is essential to any basketball team's success. It can also be very difficult and frustrating, since your opponent generally has the inside position. But since the average basketball team shoots less than 50% from the field, your big men need this basketball move in their toolbox if they are going to get rebounds and put points on the basketball scoreboard.

Unless you have a big man with a stellar vertical jump, who can soar over the outstretched arms of the defenders, your offensive rebounding will start off at a disadvantage. The team playing defense is usually in the best position to rebound the basketball, since they should be playing defense between their man and the basket.

In order to get the rebound, the offensive player needs to set up the defensive player with a quick fake and move to get in front of the defensive player. It's a quick basketball move that requires some forethought and a fair bit of practice to make it fluid.

Offensive Rebounding: The Set Up

The first part of the move is to set up the defender marking the offensive rebounder. If the defender is doing his job, he's going to try to box out the offensive player and keep him off the boards.

What he will do is watch the offensive player, see the direction the offensive player is moving, and then pivot into him to stop him from getting to the basket. This is a box out (see the How to Rebound page for more on boxing out.)

To set up the defender, the offensive player needs to fake as if he intends to move in one direction. The fake needs to be a hard, quick jab step toward the basket. If it is a good fake, the defensive player will pivot quickly in an attempt to box out the offensive player.

Offensive Rebounding: The Hook

The second part of the move is for the offensive player to step back quickly by pushing off hard from the foot that jabbed the fake - push back and step around in front of the defensive player in one motion to hook the defender's leg behind the offensive player's leg.

Hooking the defender's leg behind is the key - if the offensive player doesn't get his leg in front of the defensive player, the defensive player can get back into the action and likely still be in good position to push out the offensive player. But if the offensive player is able to hook the defender behind him, the defender is effectively out of the action and has very little ability to rebound effectively.

Essentially, what the offensive player is doing is turning the tables on the defensive player - putting the defensive player behind him and boxing him out.

It isn't the easiest thing to do and the whole move needs to happen in a split second, but with enough practice the movement will become more natural and quicker and players will be able to use it in the game with good results.

The offensive player needs to keep his hands up at all times, ready to grab for the ball when it rebounds off the boards or rim. He also needs to keep his eyes up, searching for the ball. Realize that the ball is more likely to rebound back along the direction it was shot, and almost as far back - e.g., a shot from the foul line will likely rebound back towards the foul line and land about two-thirds of the way back to the line.

Offensive rebounding is important for several reasons:

  • it slows down the opponent's fast break - even if the offense doesn't get the ball, their presence around the rebound will make it difficult for the defensive rebounder to outlet the ball

  • the team gets more shots at the basket - remember, most teams don't reach a 50% shooting percentage from the field. If they can get some rebounds on the offensive end of the court, that's a lot more opportunities to score.

Set goals for your team - "10 offensive rebounds this game" - and have them focus on it. And prepare them well by working this basketball move into team practices on a regular basis.

"Boards, Boards, Boards."
- Knute Rockne

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