What is Rebounding in Basketball? Basketball 101

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Would you like to know what is rebounding in basketball? Would you like to know how to become an effective rebounder? In the game of basketball, a player that can rebound the ball is a very significant asset for any team to have. This is especially true if the player is an excellent rebounder on both ends of the court.  

Many players, regardless of their size, find it difficult to rebound the ball consistently. If you are having difficulties to rebound or if you would like to know how to improve your rebounding game, you have come to the right place.  

After reading this article, you will be able to understand why you are getting outrebounded during games. This article will provide you with all the information necessary about rebounding, such as the greats that did it and how you can work on becoming a better rebounder.  

First Thing First What is Rebounding in BasketballFirst Thing First: What is Rebounding in Basketball?  

In basketball, rebounding is an essential skill that all players should learn. The definition of a rebound is “gaining clear possession of the ball after a missed field goal or free throw attempt. In addition to that, a rebound is also credited to a player that tips the ball into the basket after a missed shot attempt.”  

Rebounds can be both offensive and defensive. Defensive rebounds are rebounds acquired by the defensive team after the offensive team misses a shot attempt. It is generally easier to grab defensive rebounds due to player positioning on the court.  

Offensive rebounds are rebounds acquired by offensive players after their teammates or they miss a shot. It takes a special kind of mental and physical skill to be an effective offensive rebounder. These rebounds are harder to come by for the same reason that makes it easier to rebound defensively.  

Please note that we said that defensive rebounding is easier and not easy. Some players possess the physical and mental traits to rebound at a high level, but unfortunately, the majority of players do not. For this reason, coaches must teach players the fundamentals of rebounding. It is also crucial that rebounding is integrated into training exercises regularly.  

Catching a rebound is also called grabbing a board or cleaning the glass in basketball. 

What are the Types of Rebounds in BasketballWhat are the Types of Rebounds in Basketball?  

There are two types of rebounds in basketball, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds. An offensive rebound is a rebound collected by a player from the team that shot the ball or when a player tips in a missed shot attempt.  

Because offensive boards are most times close to the basket, players who collect them are usually in great positions to score immediately. Offensive rebounds are generally harder to come by for most players; however, with practice, you can improve your offensive rebounding capabilities. 

What are the Types of Rebounds in Basketball

Defensive rebounds are rebounds secured by the defensive team after their opponents miss a shot. Defensive rebounds are crucial as they can start fast breaks, limit the opponent to one shot per possession, and help teams to control the pace of the game.  

Coaches should always ensure that they incorporate rebounding drills into their training sessions. Rebounding can be a very physical and mentally taxing aspect of the game, so some players may not want to rebound as much as they should. It is vital that coaches continuously reiterate the importance of rebounding to their teams.

Why is Rebounding Important in BasketballWhy is Rebounding Important in Basketball?  

Rebounding is a crucial aspect of basketball at any level and in any variation of the sport. Rebounds can change games in drastic ways. If teams have players that excel at this skill, that team will have a significant advantage over their opponents that cannot match them with similarly skilled players.  

Defensive rebounds limit the ball possessions of the opponents, and this subsequently limits their shot attempts and made baskets. Teams need to efficiently rebound the ball on the defensive end to keep their opponents at bay. A team that grabs offensive rebounds can run away with the game from scoring second-chance points.  

Defensive rebounds are also used to instigate fast breaks, which are easy opportunities to score while your opponent’s defense is out of place. 

Offensive rebounding, if done effectively and consistently, is a killer in games. These types of rebounds are essential because they provide teams with extra possessions, which are additional opportunities to score the ball. Offensive rebounds are also a morale killer. You can demolish your opponent’s morale when you grab offensive board after offensive board.  

Teams are very vulnerable when they play with low morale. Basketball is a game of momentum, and low morale can cause momentum to shift.  

Rebounding can be both an individual and a team effort. Rebounding is best done when a team works together to grab the boards and not just one individual player trying to be a carpenter. Get it? Carpenter, board? Teams that box out as one unit can secure the boards easier than one or two players, usually the four and five, being tasked with grabbing rebounds.  

Don’t get it twisted though, each player also needs to work on their rebounding skills. Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. 

Tips and Tricks for Rebounding EffectivelyTips and Tricks for Rebounding Effectively  

99% of coaches will tell their players, never jump to shoot, and then pass. With this in mind, players should start the process of rebounding the moment the offensive player jumps to shoot. A common misconception is that players should start the rebound process after a shot is released.  

The best rebounders know that positioning and timing are the most significant factors to rebounding. If you start the rebound process, which is moving into position and stance to jump for a rebound, before your opponent, it is highly likely that you will get that board.  


Boxing out is one of the fundamental aspects of rebounding. Boxing out is the process of getting into a semi-squat position with your backside pressed against the opponent. Your arms should be used to lock your opponent behind you. 

Once you get your opponent on your back, you should start walking them back as far as possible from the rim. For maximum effectiveness, the boxout is a process that should begin the moment the shooter leaves the ground and not after the shot is released.



Timing is vital in rebounding. It is excellent if players can time their opponent’s reactions and react faster or do counter moves, they will be able to position themselves better to grab rebounds. For example, a defender will need to time an offensive player run from the perimeter to put a body on him and box out. Timing is also needed to know when to jump for the rebound. You should time the ball so that you don’t jump too soon or too late. 


The ability to anticipate the bounce of the ball off a missed shot attempt is another great way to grab more rebounds on both ends of the court. In order to anticipate the bounce of the ball, you can take a quick glance at the ball after it is shot, and you will get an idea of its trajectory both before and after it hits the rim.
If you get good at this trick, you can increase your offensive rebounds will increase ten folds. 

Fight your way around boxouts 

Some players will simply stand and allow defenders to box them out. They have the mentality that the rebound is rightfully the defenders, so they do not fight for it. Many defenders just do a basic box out stance as they do not expect a fight. 

Players that are willing to fight around boxouts will grab more boards than those who do not. Check our comprehensive guide on how to box out effectively.

Run fakes 

This is another way to grab offensive boards. A run fake is a quick change of direction while running. This move should be made while running towards the rim while a shot is being taken. 

A defender will try to box out offensive players that are trying to head towards the rim after a shot is taken. Run fakes will trick the defender and allow you to get between them and the rim, a better position from which to grab boards. 

Drop step without the ball 

If you are a playing offense in the post, and a designated shot taker receives the ball in an open position, it is usually safe to anticipate a shot by that player. When you see your teammate start his shooting motion, you can do a quick drop step without the ball and begin to box out your defender. 

You should do your drop step towards the center of the key. This move will immediately place you between the rim and your defender. This position will give you a better chance to grab possible rebounds.

How Do You Practice Your ReboundingHow Do You Practice Your Rebounding? 

Rebounding basketball drills are crucial drills that every basketball player need to work into their practice sessions. You can do rebounding basketball drills alone or with your team. We suggest that you start alone to get the footwork and then move on to team drills to work on your aggression, anticipation, and reaction. On your own, you can throw the ball against the glass and the time the ball and jump to catch it at the peak of your jump. A drill you can work on with your team is an aggression and boxout drill. Your teammate should shoot the ball, and you should box your teammate out until the ball stops bouncing. Your teammate should, at the same time, be working very aggressively to get the offensive glass before the ball stops bouncing. 

How Do You Practice Your Rebounding 

What Makes a Great RebounderWhat Makes a Great Rebounder? 

An excellent rebounder in basketball is a player that can consistently grab rebounds on both ends of the field. Rebounding requires strength, timing, aggression, anticipation, and footwork. An excellent rebounder will have all of these traits.

Generally, there are many good rebounders on the defensive end of the court because of their height or defensive positioning. 

It is a little harder to become an excellent offensive rebounder because there is a lot more physical and mental effort required. If you can find a player with a combination of both offensive and defensive rebounding skills, you have indeed found a gem. 

Who are Some of the Greatest Rebounders in NBA HistoryWho are Some of the Greatest Rebounders in NBA History? 

Let’s highlight some of the best rebounders of the NBA. We will look at the best rebounders by position and compare the legends of the past with the greats of today’s game.

Position Player Rebound per Game
Point Guard Oscar Robertson 7.5 RPG
Russell Westbrook 7.1 RPG
Shooting Guard MJ  6.2 RPG 
James Harden  5.2 RPG 
Small Forward Elgin Baylor 13.55 RPG
King James 7.43 RPG 
Power Forward  Bob Petit  16.22 RPG 
Kevin Love  11.3 RPG 
Center  Wilt Chamberlain  22.89 RPG 
Andre Drummond 13.84 RPG

Videos of Greatest Rebounds of All TimeVideos of the Greatest Rebounds of All Time

Some rebounds are so great that they even make the highlight reel. Let us look at a few.

This video shows a mixture of guards and bigs cleaning the offensive glass.

Our next video highlights arguably the top 5 rebounders of all time and their stats.

Wrapping Things Up: What is Rebounding in Basketball?

Rebounding is a critical aspect of basketball. A team’s ability to rebound the ball efficiently will determine their fate in games. Rebounding is a skill that coaches should spend a lot of time ensuring that their teams work on. Offensive rebounds are just as important as defensive rebounds.

Until next time ballers, keep cleaning the glass to keep winning. 

Did you enjoy this article? You might also like our other basketball FAQ articles here.

> What is an Assist in Basketball?

> What is a Steal in Basketball?

> What is Dribbling in Basketball?

> How to Do a Layup Correctly?

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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