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Ways to Improve Your Rebounding Skills

by Dave Stricklin, head coach Umpqua Community College

Develop a Rebounder's Mindset

We like to think that everyone can be a great rebounder but in reality that's not really true. Rebounding is hard work and not every player has the required mental toughness. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to develop a rebounder's mindset and make rebounding a top priority.

The great rebounders are a lot like defensive lineman - they relentlessly rush the quarterback each and every possession even though they will only reach him a relatively few times. You can't be afraid of contact and must be willing to constantly "get after it." Hall of Fame coach George Ravelling says that outstanding rebounders are "mobile, agile, and hostile."

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With all the new rules changes coming in it may not always be this way, but for now basketball is a contact sport and the aggressor usually has a big advantage. Many times the first step in getting more rebounds is to make sure your opponent can't get to the ball and that means blocking out.

I know many players have been taught to reverse pivot into the offensive rebounder to keep him from getting to the ball. However, in my opinion the best way to block out is to step towards the offensive player and then execute a front pivot right in front of him.

Using a front pivot allows you to wait a second longer before making contact which eliminates the offensive strategy of faking one way so the defense will reverse pivot and then going the other way.

Keep Your Hands Up

The younger the teams and players the more advantageous it is to be tall. However, height is only an advantage if your hands are constantly above your shoulders. It drives me, and many other coaches, crazy to see a taller player miss out on several rebounds a game simply because his hands are down below his waist.

A rebounder who keeps his hands low will not only get fewer rebounds but he will also get more fouls called on him when he blocks out as he will often give the officials the impression that he is holding. Every time the shot goes up get in the habit of putting your "thumbs in your ears" and you'll be happy with how many more rebounds you'll grab.

Play the Angles

Knowing that most shots that are missed bounce to the weak side and at the same angle that the shot was taken can be a huge advantage if you use it. If you don't believe me try this experiment - have a teammate shoot jump shots from the wing while you rebound for him. Stand with your bottom foot just above the big block and see how many rebounds you can get a hand on while standing completely still. Then see how many more you can get by taking just one step in any direction.

Remember that a longer shot usually means a longer rebound so adjust your positioning accordingly.

Know Your Teammates and Scout Your Opponents

Knowing your own teammates as well as your opponents can make you a better rebounder. Who shoots the ball every time he touches it? Who only shoots the ball from certain spots on the floor? Who always shoots the ball too hard? Too soft? Too flat?

Being able to anticipate who is going to shoot the ball, when they are going to shoot it, and how they are going to shoot it will enable you to get into proper position before your opponent does.

If you can do that while getting your hands up and playing the correct angles while relentlessly tracking the ball then you can become a legendary rebounder.

Thanks to Coach Stricklin! He is a regular contributor to the basketball training website, HoopSkills.com. HoopSkills.com is home of the 'Train Your Game' weekly ezine with 26,000+ subscribers. If you're ready to get on board and receive FREE basketball training & coaching tips on a regular basis visit www.hoopskills.com.

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