You may have seen it during the last game you watched or even during a pick-up game at the park - but what exactly is a "box out" in basketball? Keep reading to find out!

As a former basketball player in my High School years and beyond, I can still hear my coach yelling “you’ve got to box him out”! Our team spent countless hours doing “box out” drills! Boxing out is probably one of the most important defensive moves there are.

It’s the key ingredient in getting rebounds defensively and offensively. Every basketball coach emphasizes the athletic stance as a fundamental posture for effective boxing out, establishing a solid base to prevent fouls and maximize rebound chances. Continue reading below to find out what it actually is and how it’s done.

What Is A Box Out In Basketball?

What Is Boxing Out?

When most people think of rebounding in basketball, they think of two big guys jumping up and trying to tip the ball to their teammates. And while that's certainly one way to rebound the ball, it's not the only way.

There's a technique called "boxing out" that all good rebounders use, regardless of their size. Here's a quick guide on how to box out your opponents the next time you're on the court.

Boxing out is when you, especially as defensive players, position your body between your opponent and the basket so they can’t get to the rebound. It's crucial for defensive players to master this technique as it significantly contributes to preventing offensive rebounds and second-chance scoring opportunities.

The art of boxing out involves getting low and wide - think of yourself as a wall that your opponent, particularly the opposing team's shooters, is trying to climb over.

By effectively executing this strategy, defensive players play a pivotal role in zone defense and in guarding against mid-range or three-point field goal attempts and shots from the free throw line. If you can keep them from getting past you, then you’ve effectively fulfilled a critical defensive role.

What Is A Box Out In Basketball?

Why Is Boxing Out So Important?

Rebounding is all about position and timing, and if you can't get yourself into position, then you're not going to be able to grab many boards.

By boxing out your opponents, you give yourself a better chance at getting to the ball first. Not to mention, it'll make it harder for them to score second-chance points if they do happen to get the rebound.

Mastering boxing out techniques can significantly impact the outcome of a basketball game by limiting second-chance scoring opportunities, thus influencing the game's result.

How Do I Box Out My Opponents?

The first step is to get in a low stance - imagine that you're sitting in an invisible chair. From there, extend your arms and put your body in between your opponent and the basket.

Once you have a good position, hold your ground and don't let them push you around. Remember, they're trying to climb over a wall, so make sure you're standing strong!

To further enhance your boxing out technique, incorporating basketball drills, specifically box out drills, can be highly beneficial. These drills focus on improving basketball rebounding fundamentals, court awareness, and body position, which are crucial for a successful box out.

What Is A Box Out In Basketball
Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

Some Final Thoughts

Boxing out may not be the most glamorous part of basketball, but it's one of the most important. The next time you're on the court, make sure you use this technique so you can give yourself a better chance at grabbing those all-important rebounds.


What is a box out in basketball?

A box out, also known as boxing out, is a fundamental technique in basketball where a player positions themselves between an opponent and the basket to secure a rebound. This method is crucial for effectively preventing the offensive player from gaining possession of the ball after a shot attempt emphasizing the importance of establishing first contact, maintaining physical contact, and moving the player away from the basket to enhance defensive strategies and reduce second-chance scoring opportunities.

Why is boxing out important in basketball?

Boxing out is crucial because it helps players gain positioning for rebounds. By effectively boxing out opponents, players create space and opportunities to secure possession of the ball, which is vital for both offense and defense. Additionally, boxing out significantly reduces the chances of the opposing defensive team securing an offensive rebound, emphasizing the strategic importance of the technique in preventing second-chance opportunities and scoring advantages for the opposing team.

How do you box out in basketball?

To box out, a player typically establishes a wide and low stance, using their body to create a barrier between the opponent and the basket. This technique is crucial in preventing the offensive team from securing rebounds after a missed shot, thereby reducing their chances of scoring on second-chance opportunities. Players maintain contact with their opponent while tracking the flight of the ball, positioning themselves advantageously to anticipate and secure rebounds.

Is boxing out only important for big players?

No, boxing out is essential for players of all sizes and positions. While taller players may have a natural advantage in grabbing rebounds, effective boxing out relies more on positioning, technique, and determination rather than sheer height. Players in positions such as the power forward benefit greatly from boxing out, but the technique is essential for all players, regardless of size.

What are some common mistakes players make when trying to box out?

One common mistake is failing to maintain contact with the opponent while attempting to secure a rebound. Another is standing too upright, which makes it easier for opponents to maneuver around and grab the rebound.

Can you get fouled while boxing out in basketball?

Yes, players can commit fouls while boxing out, such as pushing, holding, or making illegal contact with the opponent. It's essential to box out legally by using proper positioning and technique without resorting to fouls.

Are there any drills to improve boxing out skills?

Yes, there are several drills that players can practice to enhance their boxing out abilities, such as the "Warrior Rebounding Drill" and the "Circle Box Out Drill." These drills are designed to improve players' response to 'shot attempts' and their ability to effectively box out in 'zone defense' scenarios, focusing on developing proper technique, footwork, and timing for effective boxing out.

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