Basketball Defense: Boxing Out

Help your team win the rebounding battle by working on how to properly box out.

January 28, 2019

Rebounding is one of the most important factors in basketball. The team that wins the rebounding battle can often put themselves in a position to win the game.

Defensive players can help their team get this rebounding advantage by regularly working on boxing out.

“Great team defenses often win the defensive rebounding battle each game,” says former collegiate player Jason Ronai. “To become a great defensive rebounding team, we must understand the technique of boxing out.”

Boxing out requires the right attitude and discipline on every possession by every player. On the defensive end, when the shot goes up, all five players should attempt to box out.


To perform a box out:

  • Don’t wait for the offensive player to come to you. Attack and initiate the contact so you can control positioning.
  • As the shot goes up, start and remain low with your body and movement.
  • Move toward the player you’re guarding. If in a zone defense, move toward the closest offensive player.
  • Create contact with an arm bar into your opponent’s midsection. This can give you a feel of where the offensive player might be going.
  • Use your hips to stay low and try to force the offensive player back.
  • Keep your elbows up and hands out. If you move your hands down or to your side, you could be called for a foul.
  • Stay low and shuffle in the same direction to keep the offensive player behind you. If they go right, you go right. If they go left, you go left.
  • When the rebound comes in your direction, move toward the ball and try to catch it at its highest point. When the rebound goes in another direction, maintain your box out until your teammate has the rebound secured.

“Boxing out requires the right attitude, discipline and technique,” Ronai says. “Learn how to box out well and do it on every defensive possession.”

Rebounding is a skill that requires quick reflexes. Try the Reaction Rebound Drill to work on reaction speed on the basketball court.