In general basketball terms, boxing out is impeding the progress of an opposing player. It mostly occurs in rebounding scenarios when the ball is in the air and up for grabs. To box out is to put yourself in front of the opposing player so he can’t secure the rebound.
What is boxing out in basketball?
Boxing out, also called blocking out, primarily happens in rebounding situations. A box out is a style of positioning in basketball so one can put himself in a better spot to rebound. To box out, a player moves his body into the body of an opposing player, impeding his progress. The player boxing out places his body low, either with stretched arms or putting an armbar on the opposing player.
By its definition, boxing out may also occur outside of rebounding scenarios. For example, an offensive player posting up may seal his defender, ‘boxing him out’ in the process. With that being said, to avoid confusion, we will refer to boxing out in the context of rebounding the basketball.
- Boxing out is primarily to get an edge on rebounding position in case a shot is missed. Therefore, although the defense always makes it a point to box out, a player from either side may box out.
- To perform a proper box out, lower body strength is critical. You have to stay low and push the opponent away using hip strength.
- Generally, a player is tasked to box out his defensive assignment. But since playing defense requires rotating to different players in a single defensive possession, the best rule of thumb is to box out the player closest to you.
- Missing box out assignments, especially during free-throw shooting situations, will make any coach go ballistic.
- Boxing out is so effective that smaller players could outrebound, or at least keep bigger players from securing the rebound.
Boxing out is the key to grabbing more rebounds and requires discipline and mental toughness. Coaches employ different drills to instill a ‘box out mentality’ to young players, which often pays off in the long run. This is not the pretty part of basketball, so you need toughness and determination to succeed in boxing out an opponent.
Check out the Double-double in Basketball
How to Block Out Video
This video wonderfully touches on the basics of boxing out.
Here are some frequently asked questions about boxing out in basketball.
When is boxing out considered a foul?
A ‘box out’ may be considered a foul if any of the following happens: the one executing the technique hooks the arms, pushes, swings the elbow, or shoves the opposing player.
What are the advantages of boxing out?
The key to rebounding is boxing out. Now, securing the rebound means an extra possession for your team. In turn, the more possessions you have, the more chances you get of making a shot. The team which controls the rebounds often controls the game.
Can you box out on offense?
Yes, you absolutely can! However, boxing out is much harder to do when you’re on offense. This is because when you’re on offense, everybody is looking to score, pass, set screens, and so on. Also, the majority of offensive sets in modern basketball emphasize outside shooting and spacing.
This takes offensive players farther and farther away from the basket, making it much more difficult to box out. Still, if you’re primarily an interior player, you can give your team a chance by boxing out and putting yourself in a position to grab offensive rebounds.
How To Rebound on Offense Video
The video below does a pretty good job explaining these concepts:
Are there ways to counter to a box out?
Yes. To do this requires agility and anticipation. Know that your opponent will always try and box you out whenever a shot goes up, so be ready to avoid or go through it.
To avoid a box out, you can do a fake. This simply means that you sell hard going in one direction and move towards the other direction as soon as the defense reacts. If done correctly, it ends up in a switch: you will be the one boxing him out.
The other counter to the box out is called the ‘swim move.’ Simply put, when someone who’s boxing you out raises his arms sideways, put your arms over his, exerting enough effort to pin him down so he can’t stop you on your way to the basket. Be careful that you don’t grab the arms because that’s a foul.
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