Rebounding is easily the most overlooked skill in basketball. I've never heard the crowd cheer when a dominating rebounder pulls down his 12th board of the game. Do not let the crowd noise fool you! Rebounding is absolutely critical in basketball. Here are 3 skills that will make you a better rebounder.
# 1) Anticipation – Dennis Rodman, AKA "The Worm", had a long and successful career in the NBA by being extremely good at anticipation. For those of you that remember him he was not much of an offensive threat. But he averaged double digit rebounds per game for his entire career. He had a great ability of anticipating when a shot would be taken. He also had a great vision of how the ball would come off of the rim. In doing so he was able to put himself in the best position to secure the rebound. To practice anticipation you have to make a conscience effort to think about it while you play. Next time you compete to try after adverse rebounds by anticipating when your teams are about to shoot and then pursuing the basketball. On the defensive end it's important to box out your own man. Once you box out pursue the basketball aggressively. You can become a better rebounder just by learning to expect.
# 2) Leverage – Charles Barkley was far from the tallest power forward when he played in the NBA. He is in the basketball Hall of Fame and is also known as one of the best rebounders to ever play the game. He used leakage to drive space between his opponent and the basket. The lower man wins in basketball and this is especially true when it comes to rebounding. It's important to get your center of gravity lower than your opponent so that you can drive him out of the key. To improve this skill practice wall sits with your legs at a 90 degree angle and your back against a wall. This will help you build muscle memory and get into a low position quicker.
# 3) Physicality – One of my coaches once told me that if you are physical with your opponent for the first 3 possessions of the game they will likely lose their intensity. This was proven true and I made it a habit during my career. If you push your opponent back out of the paint for the first 3 possessions of the game the majority of players will stop crashing the boards to try and get an offensive rebound. It does not happen 100% of the time but in my experience about 90% of players do not like to get pushed around and will avoid the contact. This will make your life much easier during the game and your rebounding statistics will skyrocket.
These are 3 quick tips that will help you become a better rebounder. Rebounding gives your team an extra opportunity to score. The fans will not normally cheer when you pull down that board but your coach and teammates will value you as a player.