How to Choose a Basketball Return

When training on your own, chasing down the ball between each shot can eat up valuable time. Squeeze more reps into your routine by installing the right ball return for your basketball hoop.

September 19, 2017
Man waiting for a ball to roll down from his basketball return net

Going after loose basketballs sure does build endurance during practice. But what if you want to specifically work on your shooting skills? You can spend those valuable hours of solo training time working on your free throws or three-pointers more efficiently.


A good basketball return lets you stand in place while the ball rolls back to you, freeing up more time for taking shots. Whether you’re a coach looking to create an efficient, shot-focused environment for your team, or a parent or player trying to find a convenient way to keep your basketballs in your driveway, a basketball return may be exactly what you’re looking for.


But what style is right for you?




The yard guard style is a net that sets up behind your basketball hoop. It hugs the baseline and prevents balls from going far out of play. This style does not return your ball when you make a basket, but it does limit how far you’ll need to run to retrieve a shot.


Consider a yard guard to help protect your landscaping, garden or house behind your hoop.

Basketball Yard Guard



The second style is a ball return net. It typically hangs from the basket and stretches toward the player, secured to the ground with weight bags, which are normally included.


With a wide area of coverage, it can collect basketballs that go through the hoop or miss by several feet, gracefully rolling them back to a stationary player. For more versatility, find a model that adjusts easily so that you can practice shots from multiple angles.


Keep in mind that return nets may require a lot of space to accommodate their wide coverage area. At their smallest, return nets are around 5but many cover an even wider area. Check the dimensions of your playing space and the return net before making your final decision.

Basketball Return Net.



A third style, and a significant variation on the previous two, is a rim-attached return system.


Whereas the yard guard and return net helped return missed baskets, this rim-attached style only kicks out sunk shots. If you’re a consistent shot maker, it can be an excellent option. Some models return the ball to a point directly in front of the basket, but other variations rotate, returning the ball to the player wherever the shot was taken.

Basketball Rim-attached



All three styles include a range of features and options. The most desirable models are made of durable metal or plastic and offer easy installation, removal and storage, especially for the winter months when you’ll want to keep your ball return or hoop guard safe from inclement weather. Before you buy a ball return, make sure that it pairs with the style of hoop you own — whether you have an in-ground, portable or mounted basketball hoop. This information should be found on the return’s packaging.


Basketball returns and net guards are valuable accessories for any gym or driveway hoop and can help you or your athlete maximize practice time for a more focused, intense session.