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Common Traits of Great Basketball Rebounders

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In my opinion, the most important factor in determining basketball games is rebounding. The team that controls the glass is usually the team that wins. We have some exceptions like the Phoenix Suns, who get out-rebounded all the time. Especially in youth games, the team that wins the rebounding totals will more than likely come out on top. The unique thing about rebounding is that it's never really a talent players are born with. It's a skill that is learned and developed. This article discusses specific things all great rebounders have in common.

1. Desire

This is something that is difficult to teach. Every good rebounder has a strong desire to get to the ball. Every good rebounder understands the importance of possessing the ball and makes it an absolute priority. I have the benefit of watching  Paul Milsap, a power forward/small forward that presently plays for the Atlanta Hawks.

This man is incredible to watch. When the shot goes up, the opposing team had better know where he is on the court because he's going to be near the ball. He's always near the ball because he wants it more than most players. This man led the nation in rebounding for 3 straight years in college and is only 6 foot 8 inches tall.

Dennis Rodman led the NBA in rebounding for years and was very undersized also. The point is that every team needs someone who is willing to get the ball. Every team needs a player to rebound and accept that as their role. Players that rebound will always find their way into the rotation.

I have spent time watching several interviews with Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman over the years. I was very interested to see how they became good at rebounding. What I was most amazed at is the amount of study and understanding they had for where the ball was going to be. I compare it to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant who watch game film to see how the defense will play them. Dennis Rodman would watch game film to see where shooters missed shots and where the rebounds fell to. He spent time in shoot around watching angles and understanding shooters arch. It was amazing to listen to them discuss rebounding the way Michael or Kobe would discuss scoring the ball. The greatest rebounder of all time was a man named Bill Russell and he has constantly said that the key to being the best rebounder is wanting that ball more than anyone else. Bill Russell won a lot of rings with the Celtics so I'd say he's someone worth listening to.

2. Hand Position

When I work with young players I teach them to always have their hands up. Too many times players will have their hands at their sides and aren't in position to get the ball when it presents itself. I'm not suggesting that your hands are held up in the air like someone is about to shoot you. I'm suggesting that you keep them in an athletic position where the elbows are out with your hands at least shoulder height. How many times have you been watching a game where the ball falls off the rim and clocks someone in the face who isn't ready to rebound? Or the player is too worried about the man behind him so he has his hands down and back instead of in a ready, athletic position?

3. Preparation and Study

I touched on this a little bit before but it deserves stronger mention. Spend time during warm-ups watching the opposing team shoot the ball. Players with low trajectory or flat shots tend to create hard rebounds that are either long or short, either way, the ball with come off the rim hard. Watch angles where players like to shoot from and where they typically miss if they do. Develop a strong sense of anticipation but a stronger sense of desire and you'll be on the road to being a solid rebounder.

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