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Three Methods - Boxing Out

In this installment of the Three Methods Series, we are looking at how to incorporate boxing out into your practice plans.

In this week's installment of the Three Methods Series, we are looking at how to incorporate boxing out into your practice plans. Regardless of size, boxing out is a critical component in helping your defense end a possession. If the defense does everything right and then gives up an offensive rebound it was all for naught. If this happens enough it can become extremely deflating to your defensive effort. Although we recognize that we aren't going to secure every rebound we can at least put ourselves in the best position possible to make it happen.

In this post, I gave three examples of how we can work on this in practice, one that I've used with youth teams, and two that we use at the high school level. For each method, I tried to break down how I set it up, how we might make it more competitive, and how we would play it out in practice. Regardless of which concept we are using, I want to harp on the same few teaching points in order to send a consistent message to our players. At the high school level, our players need to be physical and be willing to use their bodies to secure rebounds - the groundwork for that needs to be laid at practice.

Teaching Points -

In general, I try to keep my teaching points simple with every concept. When it comes to boxing out and rebounding I think your willingness to be physical and pursue the basketball is probably more important than technique. With being said I do think we need to give players at least a few points of emphasis that we want to see on film. For me, I think it boils down to three ideas:

1. Make Contact First - We want our guys to be the first ones to make contact and not the other way around. If we aren't first then we are going to get pushed towards the basket and reward them with all of the rebounds. We want to place a lot of emphasis on using our forearms to make contact initially.

2. Get the Better Position - We need our players to be thinking about getting "inside" of the offensive players. This might mean fighting around them, getting to a 50/50 or "shoulder to shoulder" position, keeping them on our backs, etc. Even if we don't get the rebound we need to keep our assignment from getting it as well.

3. High Point the Ball - I do not want to de-emphasize the importance of boxing out, but the reality is that we can have a perfect box out, but if don't pursue the ball it means nothing. We really want to stress that our players abandon their box out and pursue the basketball at its highest point once the shot hits the rim.

Method #1 -

The first method I included in the video was a 1/1 Ball on the Floor concept. This might be something you can use to introduce the concept of boxing out your opponent. Obviously, we can progress to a 1/1 live rebound from here, adding in the element of high-pointing the rebound. This winter we used this a few times with our 6th-grade team as a way to introduce boxing out and the technique behind it. Like most concepts, we tried to get it going at multiple baskets to maximize our reps.

1/1 Ball on the Floor -

The concept is drawn up using the two main hoops, but if you have side hoops or room on the side I would recommend adding a third group.


I tried to split up the team into smaller groups of 3/4 players. We assigned one coach per group and instructed the players to emphasize our "make contact first" philosophy.

The rotation would have players go from offense to defense to out, out to offense.

Drill Progression:

As the players go through the drill we are just trying to increasingly emphasize making contact with our forearm first and then "taking the best position possible". One recommendation I might use is setting up a few cones that your players have to stay within. This will eliminate the "defensive end vs left tackle" feel to the concept. Make it more realistic, and just place emphasis on guys using their bodies to stop crashers.

Method #2 -

The second concept I added to the post is one I use quite often in the early parts of the season. We are simply going to set up a 2/2 scenario where we have to make live box-outs on crashers, and box-outs on shooters. I typically use this to get repetitions so I set up a rotation where players are going from offense to defense and vice versa. However, I do think that you can create two teams and develop a scoring system where you award points for made shots and def rebounds and get a winner.

Two Line, "X Outs" -

We are going to start the drill by getting into four lines, two on the baseline and two in the slots. I like getting my most physical players right in front of these lines to set the tone.


The drill starts with one offensive player flipping the ball to the other and then cutting behind them. The player who received the pass now prepares to deliver a pass of his own to a shooter.

Once the pass to the shooter is made we get a catch & shoot opportunity which requires a closeout, contest, and box out. For our other player (X1) we are getting a live box-out opportunity on the backside. Now that we are working on live box-outs we need to stress our players getting the basketball at its highest point as well.


If we are not creating two teams and competing against each other then I will typically ask the defensive players to now become our two offensive players (crasher and shooter) and then get two new ones up on defense.