Main Body

5. Fundamentals – Spacing & Rebounding

Spacing/Movement without the Ball

To begin, watch a video by MonkeySee about spacing and movement on the court when you do not have possession of the basketball. Next, read the content below to better understand this offensive skill concept.

  • Spacing is absolutely critical. Teammates on offense should maintain proper spacing so as to spread the defenders out on the court
  • Spacing is also dependent on who has the ball and the opposing team’s defense. If a teammate is dribbling and begins driving toward the basket, you have a few options as an offensive teammate, based on the opposing team’s defense. REMEMBER: the ultimate goal is to score; so there are times which you will be helping your teammate score and not necessarily scoring yourself
    • If your teammate appears to drive the ball outside of the 3 point line, you may want to set a pick on your teammate’s defender. This pick/screen allows your player to gain separation from his or her defender and have space to drive the ball. After the pick is set, if another defender steps up to stop your player with the ball, you, as the person who set the pick, may choose to roll toward the basket, giving your teammate with the ball a passing option. Further, suppose your teammate is dribbling and you notice a teammate without the ball who is being closely guarded. You may choose to set a pick away from the ball to open up a player who does not have the ball. When setting a pick, women often cross their arms over their chest, and men often cross their arms below their waist. This is done for protection when the player they are picking runs into them.
    • If a dribbling teammate is driving toward the basket from the opposite end of the half court, you may wish to cut toward the ball in such a way that if the opposing team’s defense all move toward your teammate with the ball, it leaves you open behind the defense.
    • If a dribbling teammate is guarded but with few other defenders between your teammate and the basketball goal, you may wish to stay on the outer parts of the half court set. For example, if your defender is guarding you wherever you go on the court, and your teammate dribbling the ball starts to drive toward the goal, moving toward your teammate could bring your defender closer to your driving teammate, causing double-team. This typically happens during a “man-to-man” defense, which you will learn about later in this sub-module.
  • Ultimately, spacing is about chemistry. Over time, you will learn your teammates’ tendencies and how to best position yourself in an offense.


  • A lot of people think rebounding is more important on the defensive side of the ball, and in reality, rebounding is absolutely critical on both sides. If your team shoots 100%, then offensive rebounding is obviously not necessary. However, good teams shoot 40-50% from the field, and that’s good teams.. Thus, there are plenty of opportunities to rebound the ball and maintain offensive possession.
  • If you are shooting the ball, remember to “follow the shot”. Sure, shooters often like to be confident and then every shot will go in, but often, missed shots bounce off the rim in such a way that the person shooting can actually grab his/her own rebound. Thus, after you shoot, look to run toward the basketball, not away or remain stationary.
  • Positioning is critical. When a player shoots the ball, find where your defender is and try to move inside of him and move him away from the basketball. This creates more space for the ball to land and for the opposing team not to get it. Rebounding in basketball is done by “boxing out.” Boxing out requires a player to bend his/her knees at roughly a 90 degree angle and use his/her legs and back to forcefully block the other player from reaching the ball. Please note though, the extent to which you use your hands and arms to contain the other player is significantly limited.

Watch the instructional video on rebounding


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Ch.1 - Basketball Copyright © by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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