I have written about the ability to bounce back and how determination and desire can overcome a lack of athletic ability. Former NBA players like Paul Silas, Nate Thurmond and Dennis Rodman have had stellar careers primarily by rebounding. Can the young everyday player become an NBA player as a simple rebounder? Probably not, but here are five rebound drills for coaches and parents that can help their players and children improve their individual and team bounce.
1) Basic two-handed. This is one of the easiest and most basic rebound exercises that some of the best coaches in the country use in every workout. Line up the players on one side of the panel about six feet from it. Throw the ball against the backboard, run to get the rebound, secure it with both hands and go down with it. When the player lands, he should have a nice wide base with his feet. The feet in fact should be farther than the shoulders of the player. Once the player is gone, they turn and pivot outward for the out pass and pass the ball to the next player. This is done continuously. Coaches can use both sides of the panel with two lines. For younger players who may have difficulty throwing the ball against the backboard, coaches can use a wall. This is one of those simple exercises that gives coaches a great opportunity to point out fundamental mistakes and correct them.
2) Bull in the ring. This exercise can get very physical. Anywhere from two to five players will be matched with someone. This drill is done around the circle at the free throw line. So let’s say we have three pairs of players participating. The three defensive players will be distributed around the circle. The three pairs of offensive players will be distributed outside the circle. Each pair will be face to face. The coach will place the ball in the center of the circle and come out. When the coach whistles, the offensive players will try to enter the circle to retrieve the basketball. Defensive players will pivot at the sound of the whistle back to their partner. Defensive players will try to keep offensive players out of the circle and away from the basketball using their boxing skills. The coach can use 3, 4 or 5 seconds as a goal to keep attacking players out of the circle. Coaches can adjust this drill according to the age and skills of the players being coached. And there is a safety factor here, so coaches have to be very careful and be prepared to whistle quickly. This exercise can also be done around the middle circle. Due to the size of the circle, here you can only have one pair of players. One idea for coaches is to use all circles in the gym.
3) Ball Bangs. This is a great exercise for older kids who have a certain height and jumping ability and can hit the backboard. That said, coaches and parents of young children should never be put off by advanced basketball drills they see or hear about. I bet 90% of the more advanced drills can be adjusted for the youngest young basketball players. In “Ball Bangs” exercises, start on the right side. The player holds the basketball with two hands above his head. The player will jump and hit the ball against the backboard. He does this as hard as he can three times. In the fourth jump, he puts the ball in the basket. You can work up to ten, fifteen or even twenty jumps and coaches can “cheer” on players by shouting to hit the ball harder against the backboard. The players can then switch sides. For younger players, a wall is as good as the back panel. Coaches and parents should make sure that the players keep the ball above their heads. Hitting the ball hard against the backboard or wall will condition the player to use their strength to hold the basketball. There is no rest or wrap between jumps.
4) On top. These rebound exercises start at the block level (square color) on one side of the wrench. Each player has their own basketball and is on a row. The player will throw the ball towards the target over the rim. When he does this, while the ball is going to the other side and the player himself has to move where the ball will go down. The goal for the player in gaining the rebound is to make the effort to attack the ball at the highest point he can reach it. When the player lands, coaches want to emphasize that the player needs to create a large base with their feet and shoulders perpendicular to the baseline with the ball around chin height with their elbows out. With shoulders perpendicular to the baseline and elbows out, this helps protect any defensive player from the ball. After securing the basketball, the player will try to put the ball into the basket without dribbling or with a powerful dribble. Then the next person in line leaves. This is a great exercise for using many baskets in a gym. Or a player can do it continuously from side to side. It can also be a dual purpose conditioning drill.
5) Carousel. In this rebound exercise, we have two regular teams of five men in different colored t-shirts. They are in the circle at the foul line. The coach is in the middle and the players will start to circle the circle. The coach will then throw the ball at the backboard. The players will scramble for the rebound. They will play a one-point game and start over in the circle. Coaches should ask players to go one way and then the other way. It is important that as the players walk around the circle they can see the coach at all times so they all know when he is shooting the basketball.
These are just five of the many basketball rebound drills that teams of all ages can use. Coaches should emphasize to their players that the rebound is one of the most important parts of the game of basketball although there is no guarantee that the best rebound team will win the game. This is not a guarantee but it will help keep teams competitive and put them in a position to win matches.