Introducing: Boxing Out

The fine art of putting the butt on their gut


| 2 min read

It’s time to talk about one of the most essential defensive skills in youth basketball: boxing out. Boxing out is about positioning, strength, and out-hustling the opponent in order to prevent — or grab! — the rebound.

Here’s how it looks. 

First, players need to know who they are boxing out and be quick to react when a shot is taken. This (should) be easy if you play man, or match-up, defense, because each defender will have an assigned offensive player to box out.

Then, defensive players need to seek out their target and get into the proper position: facing the basket, with the opponent behind them. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, with the knees bent. This provides a solid foundation.

Next, they need to know how to use the body to keep an offensive player from the basket. One technique is known as “putting your butt on their gut.” This is when players use their butt to create a barrier between their opponent and the basket. 

Up top, it’s arms up and elbows out to create an even larger barrier. When a player is boxing out and feels their opponent on their out-stretched arm, they should shuffle in that direction to maintain “butt on gut.”

Then, it’s all in the eyes. Players need to be aware of where the ball is at all times. That way, they’ll be ready to pounce if and when it comes their way.

Advanced players will also start to think about timing, in addition to positioning. Boxing out happens on the shot release; rebounding happens once the ball hits the rim. If they can anticipate when the ball will hit the rim, they can be ready to pounce from their box out to rebound as soon as it does. 

Positioning, awareness and timing will give them the advantage they want when it comes to securing the rebound.

To practice boxing out in a game-like scenario, try the rebounding drill, On the Board

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