A good defensive team, however, will reduce the impact of those factors through “blocking out” the offensive players.

“Blocking Out” is simply establishing a position between the basket and the offensive player. It is important that the defensive player has made contact with their opponent, not simply standing in front of them.

The defender must make sure that they are at least a step or two away from the basket, otherwise rebounds will bounce over them. The “no charge” circle provides a good reference point.

The keys to blocking out are:

  • When a shot is taken, turn to face the offensive opponent
  • Step towards the offensive opponent, making contact with your forearm, while still looking at the offensive player
  • As the offensive player attempts to get around the defender, the defender pivots so that their bottom makes contact with the offensive player. The defender is now facing the basket, with their hands up ready to jump and rebound!

Getting Rebounding Position

Although very important, it is not enough to simply go for the rebound. A defensive player must first “block out” or take steps to ensure that their opponent does not get position to get an offensive rebound. For offensive rebounders, they must beat their opponent to get to a rebounding spot.

There are three key “rules” regarding rebounding spots:

  1. Do not be positioned under the basket. The preferred position is to be at least a metre from the basket, so that you are catching the rebound in front of you
  2. A missed shot from one side goes most often to the opposite side
  3. Long distance shots rebound longer than short distance shots.

Offensive players should be especially alert to their defender going to help or losing sight of them, as this is an opportunity to get to a rebounding spot. A simple cue for offensive players is that if they can see the back of their opponent’s head, their opponent cannot see them!

Getting to a rebounding position is not a matter of racing your opponent to see who gets to the position first. Both offensive and defensive players must be prepared to use their body to establish a rebounding position.

The key to blocking out is:

  1. See your opponent. When a shot is taken, many players simply turn towards the basket, thus losing vision of their opponent.
  2. Balance. Players must have good balance with knees bent.
  3. Contact with your opponent. Next, the player must move to establish contact with their opponent. This should be done using an “arm bar” that is kept close the body (within the “cylinder”), so it requires
    moving the feet! Players that extend their arms and push their opponents are fouling. A defender that is on the “split line” may be a significant distance from their opponent. In this instance, step to the side of the key, so that if their opponent moves to rebound contact is made there.
  4. Turn to the basket. After making initial contact, the player should then pivot to face the basket, again keeping contact with their opponent.
  5. Hands Up and rebound. One of the most common mistakes players make is having their hands down. Hands should be just above shoulder height, elbows out, which makes the player “wider” and harder to get around.

Jumping and Catching the Ball

This will be instinctive for some players but others will need instruction and guidance. The following points are

  • Be balanced before jumping as high as possible;
  • Timing is crucial. Players must learn to jump at the proper moment to catch the ball as high as possible.
  • Jump and move arms upwards, without fouling the opponent. The temptation to have their hands in the opponents back must be resisted.
  • Land in a balanced stance, with the ball protected, holding the ball in two hands with hands on each side of the ball and elbows pointing out, not down.

Sometimes, the offensive player will be outside the key when the shot is taken, but the defender is inside the key (e.g. the defender is in a “help” position. In this situation, the defender still looks at their player, but does not move all the way to them. Instead, they move to the edge of the key. If the offensive player is going to contest the rebound they will need to move into the key, and the defender can then make contact.

1 shoots the ball and their defender contests the shot and then “blocks out”.

X3 (who is close to their opponent) steps towards them, making contact and “blocking out”.

X2 (whose opponent is outside the key), watches their opponent and steps to the side of the key. They will “block out” if 2 comes to rebound the ball.

With young players, coaches should not emphasise making contact but should still emphasise “finding” their opponent and getting a position between them and the basket.



Suggested Change

“Plyo Rebounds”

  • Athletes are in pairs, with 1 ball
  • One stands on a chair and holds the ball at a height their partner can reach, but must jump high
  • The partner jumps and taps the ball with their right hand, lands, and immediately jumps to tap with their left hand
  • Make 5 touches with each hand
  • Balanced landing
  • Use arms to help with momentum of jump

“Put Backs”

  • Athlete stands in the key and throws the ball against backboard
  • Jump to rebound and then jump to score
  • Make 5 shots with each hand
  • Look at the basket before shooting
  • Keep the ball at shoulder height or higher

“Get to the Spot”

  • Activity can be done with 1-3 players
  • Players start outside the keyway. Coach shoots (to miss)
  • Players move into the keyway, and compete for the rebound
  • Players should focus on getting to a rebounding position quickly
  • If near another player, establish contact to keep them out of position.

“1x1 Rebounds”

  • Coach shoots the ball and the offensive player attempts to get the rebound
  • Defensive player “blocks out”
  • Work from different positions
  • On defensive rebound, outlet to coach. On offensive rebound, shoot and continue until there is a score or defensive rebound.
  • Defence – establish contact
  • Offence – don’t accept being “boxed out”

“Disadvantage rebound”
  • Offence starts with the ball, near the basket. Defence starts behind them.
  • Offence shoots (defence does not defend shot) and players compete for rebound.
  • Continue until defender gets the rebound.  Offence gets a point for each successful shot.
  • Offence should make contact with defender before shooting
  • Defence should move to at least the side of the offence player in an attempt to claim the rebounding position.

“2x2 rebounds” & “3x3 rebounds”

  • Same as for “1x1 Rebounds”
  • Vary starting position, to replicate different game situations.  This can be done by the coach moving, and the defenders adjusting their position as they would in a game.
  • Anticipate the shot and move to the rebounding spot as early as possible
  • Defenders establish contact

& Rebound”

  • Play 3x3 or 4x4, with two rebounders in the low blocks
  • Perimeter players play 1x1 or 2x2, looking for an open shot or penetration into the key.
  • Offence score 1 point if:
    • Made shot;
    • Dribbler gets into keyway;
    • Offence rebound.
  • Defenders in the keyway help to prevent penetration.
  • Offensive rebounders look to take advantage when their defender moves to help guard penetration

“Split Line Box Out”

  • Defender (x2) starts in a “split line” position.
  • Coach passes to Player 1, who shoots the ball.
  • Player 2 contests rebound and x2 must move toward them to Box Out.
  • If offence rebound the ball, make an outlet pass.
  • Activity continues until the defender gets a designated number of rebounds (e.g. 5)
  • Defence must move toward offensive player – do not stay on split line
  • Offence use change of pace and direction to avoid box out

“Box out, box out, box out”

  • Offensive players each have a ball.  The defender is in the keyway and the coach has a “bump bag”
  • Offence shoot, the defender steps to box out the coach (“hit the bag”) and then passes back to the shooter, who relocates to an outlet position.
  • Once an outlet pass is made, the next shot is taken.  The coach moves around.
  • Defence must see the coach first, then move to get box out.

“Square Box Out”

  • 3 defenders in line with the low block. 3 offensive players along the foul line
  • Defenders pass the ball between themselves and then move to guard an offensive player.
  • 3rd defender passes to the middle offensive player, who shoots. Contest rebound until defence get the ball or offence score.
  • See your player – don’t just look at the ball
  • Remain balanced
  • Make contact and then spin to face the basket.
Blocking Out
Movement Fundamentals Jumping