Go to Archive Index April 1, 2013     Newsletter #9

Dear Coaches, Players, Friends,

Today's Quote
"If at first you don't succeed, you are like most people." - M. H. Alderson

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Today's theme is "Rebounding".

Defense and rebounding are the keys to winning most games, especially those games when your shooters and offense are struggling. Tom Izzo's Michigan State teams are perennial winners in large part because they win the rebounding war, game after game, wearing down the opponent, and being physically and mentally tough.

Offensive rebounding gives your team extra chances, and free throw opportunities, and frustrates the defense. Defensive rebounding is a key part of good defense in general, limiting the offense to just one shot... "one shot and out". Defensive rebounding combined with a quick outlet pass can be an effective offensive weapon, getting the transition game and fast break going, for a lay-up at the other end. All good rebounders "have an attitude" that every rebound is theirs and are very aggressive on the boards. Coaches love good rebounders and will reward them with more playing time.

Defensive Rebounding
There are three parts to a defensive rebound.
  • Box Out
  • Attack the ball, pursue!
  • The outlet pass
Boxing out near the basket, in the "war zone". When you box out, you must first make contact with the player you are guarding. Locate your man, get in front of him/her, pivot facing the basket, bend over, get wide with your feet and arms out, and put your backside into the offensive player, sealing him/her away from the hoop. Be aggressive, and don't let the offensive player push you under the basket. If you get too far under the basket, a taller opponent with long arms can simply outreach you for the ball. Keep your man away from the hoop. Keep your eye on the ball flight, and go get it!

If your man is away from the basket on the perimeter, do NOT use the standard boxing-out techniques described above... the offensive player will often get around you, or you may get a foul. Instead, find your man and "check" him by making contact with him with your forearm. If he tries to get around you, "arc" him outside, and then aggressively pursue the ball. If your man is stronger and pushes or forces you inside the war zone, then use the standard block-out technique used in the war zone. If your man releases away from the basket to half-court as a "safety", go to the closest elbow and rebound from there. Often the 3-point shot results in a long rebound to either elbow.

Pursue The Ball!
After you have boxed-out or checked the opponent, then aggressively pursue the ball. Attack the ball, jumping high with both arms extended, grab it strongly with both hands, and "rip it down". Expect some physical contact and protect the ball by pivoting away from the opponent, and "chin" it, by bringing the ball under your chin with elbows out. But you must not throw an elbow... a sure foul, often flagrant.

The Outlet Pass
Once you have the ball, think "fast break". Make a quick accurate outlet pass to a teammate to get the transition game going. Pivot on your outside foot, wheel around and make a strong, outlet pass to your outlet teammate on the wing. Only dribble if you have to, if you are in trouble and need to create some spacing to get the pass off.

Team Rebounding Concepts
  • The rebounding triangle With each shot, try to establish a triangle of players boxing out around the basket. Have one player on each side of the hoop and one in front, so that you have a triangle of players boxing out around the hoop.

  • Weakside rebounding About 70% of missed shots from the corner or wing go long to the opposite side of the hoop. So make sure you have a weakside rebounder when the corner-wing shot goes up.

  • Long rebounds Especially against teams that like to shoot the three-pointer (which when missed often results in a "long rebound"), whenever possible try to have two perimeter defenders (rebounders) get to the wing-elbow areas on each side to help pick off those long rebounds that go beyond the guys boxing out down low.

  • Rebounding missed free-throws Not boxing out the offensive rebounders along the free-throw lane loses games... include this in your rebounding drills. For techniques, see "Rebounding".
Offensive Rebounding
Offensive rebounding should be a very important part of your team offense in general. Nothing frustrates the opponent more, than their playing good aggressive defense, and you get one, two, or three offensive rebounds for more shots at the hoop, until you finally score. The keys are you've got to be aggressive and want the offensive rebound, and you must be quick on your feet and try to get inside position on the defender.

Getting Position:
If the defender is between you and the hoop trying to box you out, make a fake one way, and quickly move your feet and slip around him/her on the other side. Once you are inside, now you box out. Or use the "swim" technique over the defender. If the defender does not have his/her arms up, put your forearm on top of his/hers, pinning it down (without grabbing or holding it), and then move your feet and step around and over the opponent's foot on that side and get inside rebounding position.

Always know where the ball is and just assume that every shot will be missed. If the shot is coming from the corner, remember that 70% of misses will go long on the opposite side, so be ready on the weakside.

Once you get the ball, if you can, be strong and power it right back up to the hoop. There is a good chance you will get fouled, and a good chance for an "old fashioned" three pointer... a put back with a free throw. Expect contact, be strong, and try to finish the shot... or kick it out to a perimeter player for a shot, or to re-set the offense.

As good coaches, we know that many games come down to just one possession... getting those rebounds and extra possessions are critical to your team's success.

Also see:
Rebounding Free Throws
Rebounding Out of a Zone Defense
Rebounding War Drill

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Too much love...
Looking back, I think the best thing about coaching is not the wins and trophies, but the player and coach relationships that you have been a part of over the years... and those unimportant "little things" that you remember over the years. Here's one of mine... some years ago I was assistant girls varsity coach on a team that was 27-1, losing by 5 in the state final game. What a great bunch of girls!

We always started the season with a parent/player meeting. During that meeting I mentioned to the girls, "there may be times that us coaches will yell at you in practice, when the doors are closed, but do not to take it personally. Understand that we yell at you because we think you are a good player and can be even better, and are trying to help you. We don't yell at you because we are mad at you, or don't like you, or anything like that... we yell at you because we love you."

Well, one practice, Liz was having a bad practice, and her focus was just not there. Now Liz is the sweetest, cutest, nicest girl you will ever meet. Coach yelled at her once, then twice, and then a third time and finally told her to take a rest on the sideline (we were scrimmaging 5-on-5). Liz (almost in tears) walks over to me on the sideline and says, "Hey Doc, coach..."
"Yea Liz... what's up?"
"I kinda wish sometimes Coach didn't love me so much..."

Do you have a story you would like to share? Email me!

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Till next time...
Best wishes,
Dr. Jim Gels, aka "Coach Gels"
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