6 Tips for Rebounding in the Zone

By Al Marshall
Home > Coaching > Basketball Defensive Strategy > 6 Tips for Rebounding in the Zone
One concern that coaches must confront when playing the zone defense is defensive rebounding. In the man to man it is relatively easy to identify a person to block off the boards and secure inside rebounding position. This is not the case in the zone, so additional attention must be paid to defensive rebounding.

To help overcome this problem we try to keep some things in mind that we have to work on.

1.) We try to create an aggressive mind set towards rebounding. The more mentally ready and aggressive we can make our players, the better chance we have of securing the rebound.

2.) We create a mind set of "5 to the boards". We feel it is important to gang rebound and the guards are vitally important in this process. It is important to keep this on the front burner since it is easy for the guards to relax on the shot attempt. With longer shot attempts there are likely to be more long rebounds which would be the guard's responsibility and are the best with which to start the break.

3.) Keep your hands up and ready to rebound. It is apparent from our DVD on the zone defense how important it is to us to have "high hands". However, it is very typical for players to drop their hands when they turn to rebound or to help them jump higher. Each day at the start of practice we do some shadow drills, two of which involve turning with our hands up and jumping with our hands up and jumping without dropping their hands.

4.) The block area opposite of the shot attempt must be controlled by the back side forward. We feel that about 75% of misses will go to the opposite side from the side that the shot was attempted, therefore it is imperative that the forward control that opposite block area and the guard on that side of the floor must also be ready to help rebound the back side.

5.) We use a drill that uses the 5 players in the zone with no offensive players. A coach or player will shoot the ball moving from one baseline to the other baseline. We emphasize turning with our hands up and jumping without lowering our hands, while acquainting our players with the areas the players will be in as the ball moves from side to side.

6.) We also walk our players through the opponent's offense so our players can identify where the opposition players are most likely to be located. This helps our players have an idea of where the box out is most likely to occur.

These are some of our thoughts and ideas that we use to help our zone rebounding.

Related Pages:

Zone Defense Concepts & Tips
2-3 Zone Defense Basic Rotations
1-3-1 "Lob Pass" Zone Defense
Al Marshall 2-3 Zone Defense - The Defense Your Opponents Will Hate

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

peter says:
1/15/2020 at 7:06:18 PM

i need basketball practice for 20 weeks


Robbo` says:
7/15/2019 at 7:43:56 PM


Can you elaborate on side to side contact when rebounding? How much is allowed and when should a foul be called. Specifically shoulder to shoulder, not in the back or anything like that.


Coach Oller says:
10/17/2016 at 4:39:08 PM

One thing we''ve implemented is to have the weak side/back side wing screen out towards the baseline. We are in a 1-2-2 and if the ball is in the corner, our weak side wing is dropped to the block. As Al stated above, missed shots usually come off opposite. Boxing out towards the baseline puts them in a better position for these rebounds.

Another thing we''ve taught is to have our bigs "box in". We front the post and that can put our 4 & 5''s in a tough position. By boxing in, we are able to get them under the hoop (only rebound they are getting is an airball) or box them out of bounds. It is has been helpful in zone d rebounding for us. But I agree, the most important thing is to get 5 going to the boards on the defensive end.


kenyan coach says:
3/18/2015 at 9:39:40 AM

we have been struggling with rebounding on the weak side...how do we deal with that


D Morris says:
3/4/2015 at 9:02:55 AM

Thanks for the tips. We struggled big time with back side rebounding this past year. We had a young team. This will help a lot.


Al Valencia says:
2/20/2015 at 10:38:31 AM

In item 5 should that be defensive rather than offensive? Since its a focus on offensive boards.

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
2/20/2015 at 2:08:11 PM

It is a defensive rebounding drill. Item 5 states there are "no offensive" players.


Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Two times four is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.