Boxing out

Boxing out is a fundamental skill in basketball that often goes underappreciated by casual observers, but stands as a key element in successful gameplay. It refers to the act of positioning oneself between an opposing player and the basket in order to secure a rebound after a missed shot. This tactic not only aids in possessions for the team, but also can lead to additional scoring opportunities and reduce the opponent’s chances of obtaining offensive rebounds.

Mastering the art of boxing out requires dedication and practice in order to efficiently use body position, awareness, and anticipation. Players must learn how to read the trajectory of the ball, react quickly to its movement, and assertively establish their position on the court. By doing so, they can effectively limit their opponents’ access to the ball.

While boxing out might not earn a player the spotlight or flashy highlights, its importance cannot be overstated. It is the foundation of a strong defense and can be the determining factor in winning tight games. Understanding and executing the technique of boxing out consistently will ultimately lead to more victories and contribute to overall team success.

Boxing Out Basics

Purpose of Boxing Out

Boxing out is a fundamental basketball skill that prevents an opponent from grabbing rebounds. It allows a player to gain control of the ball following a missed shot by placing themselves between the basket and their opponent. This position provides an advantage when trying to snatch the rebound, as the player can use their body to shield the ball from the opponent. Mastery of boxing out is crucial for teams to gain possession and maximize scoring opportunities.

Proper Technique

To execute the proper boxing-out technique, follow these steps:

  1. Identify your opponent and anticipate their movement as the shot is taken.
  2. Maintain a low stance with a wide base, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent.
  3. Pivot towards your opponent and establish contact using your hips and backside to create separation.
  4. Extend your arms outward, with elbows slightly bent, to maintain space and prepare for a rebound.
  5. Once the ball is released, focus on its trajectory and prepare to jump for the rebound with both hands.

Remember, practice is essential in mastering the boxing-out technique, and consistent effort can significantly improve your rebounding ability.

Benefits of Boxing Out

Rebounding Advantage

Boxing out provides a significant advantage in rebounding. By establishing a position between the opponent and the basketball hoop, players can effectively control the space and increase their chances of grabbing the rebound. This tactic is particularly important for:

  • Guards: Improving their rebounding skills in both offensive and defensive situations.
  • Forwards: Dominating rebounds near the basket, which plays a crucial role in their overall performance.

Defensive Stability

Another key benefit of boxing out is enhanced defensive stability. When players box out successfully, they prevent opponents from getting into prime scoring positions. They also force the offense to take more contested shots, which ultimately results in lower shooting percentages for the opposing team. Moreover, boxing out can lead to:

  • Reducing opponents’ options for in-close shots.
  • Generating more opportunities for fast breaks and transition plays.

Preventing Second Chance Opportunities

By boxing out, players can effectively limit the number of second-chance opportunities for their opponents. This allows the defense to minimize the number of times they need to defend against additional possessions, which in turn leads to:

  • Saving valuable energy for other aspects of the game, such as offense.
  • Disrupting the rhythm and confidence of the opposing team by preventing easy baskets.
  • Enhancing overall team defensive effectiveness and contributing to a stronger performance on the court.

Boxing Out Tips and Strategies


To effectively box out, it is crucial to maintain a low stance and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and place your body between the opponent and the basket. Keep one arm outstretched to block the opponent while the other arm is ready to grab the rebound.


Timing is a critical aspect of boxing out. As soon as you see the ball leave the shooter’s hands, quickly establish your position and create space between you and your opponent. Be proactive and not reactive; anticipate the trajectory of the ball and prepare to secure the rebound.

Effort and Determination

Boxing out requires continuous effort and determination. Stay persistent and keep fighting for position, even when facing a bigger or stronger opponent. Use your body to create leverage and always pursue the rebound with intense focus and energy.

In conclusion, mastering boxing out fundamentals can lead to a significant advantage on the court. Improve your positioning, timing, and effort to be a more effective player in the game of basketball.

Common Challenges and Mistakes


One common challenge players face when boxing out in basketball is overcommitting. This occurs when a player becomes too aggressive in attempting to block an opponent, resulting in them being out of position or losing balance. It’s important to maintain a controlled approach, staying within your own space while keeping your opponent at bay.

Lack of Balance

Another common mistake when boxing out is having a lack of balance. Players must establish and maintain a solid base, with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. This helps to prevent being easily pushed or moved by an opponent. Maintaining balance also enables a player to react quickly to changes in direction or movement, increasing their chances of securing the rebound.

Incorrect Body Position

Incorrect body positioning is another issue many players encounter when boxing out. Ideally, a player should position themselves between their opponent and the basket, using their body as a barrier to prevent the opponent from gaining access to the rebound. This involves extending the arms to create distance and using the hips and lower body to keep the opponent from inching closer to the ball. Proper body positioning not only increases the chances of grabbing a rebound but also makes it difficult for the opponent to commit a foul.

Keep these common challenges and mistakes in mind while practicing boxing out in basketball to improve your overall game performance. Remember to focus on maintaining balance, using proper body positioning, and avoiding overcommitting to ensure success in this crucial skill.

Drills for Practicing Boxing Out

Rebound and Outlet Drill

This drill aims to improve players’ rebounding abilities, especially after boxing out. To start, a coach or designated player will shoot the ball while two players beneath the basket perform a box-out. Once the shot is taken, the player on defense attempts to secure the rebound while the offensive player tries to grab it as well. After securing the rebound, the defender must then make a strong outlet pass to a teammate at the top of the key. This drill should be practiced in rotations, giving each player an opportunity to practice boxing out and rebounding.

1-on-1 Box Out Drill

The 1-on-1 Box Out Drill focuses on the fundamentals of boxing out, providing each player with direct competition. Begin with one offensive player and one defensive player under the basket. When the coach or designated shooter takes a shot, the defender must effectively box out the offensive player, preventing them from getting the rebound. Players switch roles and should rotate through multiple rounds in order to build proficiency in their boxing-out skills.

Box Out Relay Race

This relay race adds a fun, competitive element to practicing boxing out. Split players into two equal teams, with each team lined up on opposite baseline corners. On the coach’s whistle, the first player from each team sprints to the opposite end of the court, while a designated rebounder shoots a missed shot. Both opposing players must box out each other, attempting to grab the rebound. Once the rebound is secured, the player runs back and high-fives the next player in line. The race continues until every player has had a turn. The first team to finish wins. This drill emphasizes speed and agility, as well as the importance of boxing out during fast-paced gameplay.