It is not always about size, but how much you are willing to work to get the ball. If you are willing to do your work early and finish all the way through to the rebound, you will give yourself a great chance of getting the ball, regardless of size.
Along with desire, rebounding has a lot to do with technique. The better a player's technique is, the better a rebounder they will become.
Forearm: The first thing that you must do when the shot goes up is locate the offensive player with your forearm. If you try to go straight for the box out, you will allow the player to fake one way or the other and potentially get around you. A forearm to the chest of the offensive player allows you to locate and stop them as you go into your box out motion.
Hip/Butt: It is important that you don't allow the player to break contact with you after the forearm by immediately putting you hip/butt on them and driving them backwards with a low strong base. If you have good positioning, the offensive player may try to drive you under the basket to take away your rebounding angle. So make sure that you keep this low strong base and drive them back instead of being driven forward.
Hands Wide: Keep your hands up as you box out, a good visual term for this is, "thumbs in your ears". This will help with a few different things; it will make you wider and harder to get around, it will keep you from reaching and grabbing the offensive player - which could be called for a foul, and it will allow your hands to be quicker in reacting to the basketball as it comes off of the rim.
Depending on your location when the ball goes up, you will have different strategies on what type of move you use to get the offensive rebound.
Close to the Basket: If you are already close to the basket and the defender has inside position on you, then try to drive them under the basket so that they do not have a good angle once the ball comes off the rim. Don't extend your arms when driving them under the basket. Instead use your legs to generate force and leverage to drive them under the basket.
Away From the Basket: If you are out away from the basket and your defender has good positioning, you are going to want to try to use a swim move or a spin move to get past them. The key for this type of move is to not let them make solid first contact with you. Fake one way to get them to shift, and then make your move past them the other direction.
Inside Position: If for some reason you have inside position when the shot goes up, treat it just like a defensive box out.
3. First to React
Locate the Ball
Release to the Ball
If you are in a defensive box out, it is important that you don't wait for the ball to drop down to you. As soon as you locate the ball off of the rim, you need to release from your box out and go pursue the ball.
Depending on where and what type of shot is taken, the ball is going to have a higher percentage of bouncing off the rim either; long, short, hard, or soft.
Misses from the wing and corner areas have a higher percentage of bouncing off the rim long.
Long range misses typically mean longer rebounds.
4. Out of Area
Don't let the ball drop down to you, but go up and get it at the highest point possible for you. The longer you wait on the ball, the more chance you give other players to get their hands on the ball.
There are going to be times when the ball is too far out of area to be able to grab and pull in. This is a great chance to tip the ball out to a teammate.
Defense: You may not always be able to corral the board, but if you see a teammate that is free, you may be able to tip them the ball so that they can control it.
Offense: If you are not able to control the board, you should if possible, be trying to tip the ball out to a shooter. One of the best times to shoot a 3 pointer is after an offensive rebound kick out, or in this case a tip out.
5. Finish the Play
Your goal when rebounding should always be two hands. This makes you stronger with the ball and will help to keep your opponent from wrestling the ball from your grip.
There will be times that you can only get one hand on the ball, but you want to try and use two hands if possible. Here is a great drill for working on one handed rebounds in traffic: Kevin Love Rebounding Drill.
Chin the Ball
Defense: Getting your hands on the board is great, but you need to complete the play by bringing the ball into a place of strength. If you are a post player, you want to also be thinking about being able to outlet the ball as well once you have secured the board.
Offense: When you get an offensive rebound it is important that you chin the ball and don't bring the ball down to where small guards can reach in and strip the ball. Keep it up high where you are able to be strong with the ball and then finish if there is an opportunity.
Rebounding is not something that is seen as glamorous, and it may not be appreciated as much as it should be by the majority of fans, but it absolutely has a direct correlation to winning basketball games. Controlling the boards finishes defensive possessions and creates second chance points on the offensive end.
Having a player that buys into being a great rebounder can directly impact a game or even an entire season. Being a great rebounder is not a once in a while thing though. It is competing and executing great technique on every shot that goes up. It is controlling the glass and setting the tone for an entire team.
Great rebounders are contagious. They not only do a great job of rebounding for themselves, but they also inspire other teammates to compete on the glass. Teammates see how hard the player is working on the glass and before you know it, you have an entire team of players that takes pride in rebounding and dominating the glass every game; this type of play turns into wins.
If you want to be a great rebounder you have to be willing to put in the work. It takes time to develop great rebounding technique, being able to locate the ball quickly, and then finish the play. This means time spent in the gym specifically working on rebounding. Add value to your game and to your team by becoming a great rebounder.
Rebounding Drills: Basketball Rebounding Drills
This article was written by Kyle Ohman