March 29, 2018 • DrillsWinning Hoops

Six drills to improve offensive rebounding

by Don Kloth, contributing writer

Most of the teams that I’ve coached over the years have been outstanding at grabbing offensive rebounds. Second-shot opportunities mean extra points for your team and, potentially, extra fouls for your opponents.

Good offensive rebounding teams regularly get to the free-throw line. It’s a huge advantage to your team if you can get a key player from the opposing team in foul trouble. Offensive rebounding also plays a major role in games where your team is struggling with shooting.

Here are four major reasons my teams have excelled at grabbing offensive boards:

  • We verbally emphasize it in practice and games, while strongly encouraging players who grab offensive rebounds. Players know it’s a part of our offensive attack.
  • In our system, players are designated as either offensive rebounders or “get-back players.” This allows rebounders to attack the glass.
  • We drill offensive rebounding techniques regularly in practice.
  • We set a goal to rebound at least 35 percent of our missed shots. If we miss 20 shots, we want at least seven offensive rebounds.

These are some of the offensive rebounding drills we use in practice. None of them are complicated, but they do a good job developing the necessary skills to attack the offensive glass.

Two-man volleyball

DIAGRAM 1: 1 and 2 tip the ball back and forth over the rim to the other side. After 10 tips, the coach yells, “Tip it in!” This helps teach player positioning, because after a player tips the ball off of the backboard, they must step back a couple steps to get a better angle to attack the glass.

Three-man figure eight

DIAGRAM 2-3: In this drill, 1 throws the ball high off the backboard to 3 before moving quickly to the other side of the lane behind 3. 3 tips the ball to 2, who tips it back to 1. The goal is to get 15 tips before the coach tells them to score, and a player tips in for a basket.

Single-line tip in

DIAGRAM 4: The coach stands on the left side with a ball, and players line up on the right. The coach throws the ball off the backboard, and 1 tips it in. This drill helps the offensive rebounders with their timing.

After 1 tips in, they hand the ball to the coach and line up behind him. The drill continues with the coach throwing the ball off the backboard to 2. The drill is repeated on the opposite side.


DIAGRAM 5: This drill emphasizes finishing through contact and scoring. We all know that players will get fouled, and many times there’s no call from the referee. That’s why your rebounders must play through the contact.

All players have a ball, and the coach is under the basket with a blocking pad. 1 throws their ball off the backboard and, after they secure the rebound, the coach hits them in the chest with the blocking pad. The player has to score, and that might require multiple attempts from the shooter.

Coaches can run the same drill a second time, but this time they hit players from behind with the blocking pad (DIAGRAM 6). This drill helps our rebounders with their balance and strengthens their abilities to take the ball up strong while giving multiple efforts.

Techniques drill

DIAGRAM 7: This drill has paid big dividends for us. It’s extremely important for a coach to encourage rebounders to be aggressive to get after the boards. It’s just as important to give them specific techniques to do it.

The setup for this drill has a coach on the left holding a ball, and another coach with a blocking pad just inside the lane on the right. Players are told what technique to use. When the coach with the ball yells “shot,” the offensive player uses the specified maneuver to get around the coach with the blocking pad, while the coach provides some resistance. The offensive player must work for position.

As the player executes the move, the other coach throws the ball off the backboard. The player must grab the rebound and work through contact to get the score. By the end of the season, you’ll start to see players favor these techniques in games.

Here are some of the techniques we work on:

  • Swim move: The player steps through with the left leg and brings the left arm over the coach with the pad.
  • Fake and go opposite: Fake left and go right, using their quickness.
  • Spin move: The player steps with their right leg, going between the coach’s legs. They then put their right forearm in the back of the defender and spin toward the baseline with the left arm and left leg.
  • Inside out: The player cuts toward the baseline and works their way into the defender to get inside position.

Two-ball pickup

DIAGRAM 8: 1 is the offensive rebounder, and 2 and 3 retrieve the ball and place it down on the box after player 1 shoots. We have two players underneath with pads.

1 grabs the ball from the box, taking it up strong with both hands as the coach on that side of the floor hits him with the pad. 2 gets the ball and puts it back on the box, as 1 repeats the drill on the other side of the post.

We typically have players take three shots from each side of the floor. The first two shots are power moves, and the last one uses a shot fake and power up.

Don Kloth is the sophomore basketball coach at Warren Township High School (Illinois) and is the all-time winningest varsity coach at Lake County High School (Illinois).