Coach Doaty on Outstanding Box-Out Mentality


Randal S. Doaty
Focus & Attitude Coach

   “We didn’t box-out”! If you have never heard a basketball coach make this proclamation in the locker room after a game, you have never played basketball. The failure of a team to effectively box-out their opponent is usually the underlying reason for a low yield in the rebound column. So, why doesn’t every player simply box-out their opponent? What is so incredibly difficult about this physically simplistic maneuver? As you may have guessed, it is purely mental and yet another ailment for the Focus and Attitude Coach to cure.

   When I ask players why they didn’t box out their opponent, they simply look at me with a dazed stare. They have no idea. Many of these players have been in the sport of basketball for more than a decade. The fact that boxing out is simply an unspoken part of their responsibility when on the court is fully understood. Yet, again and again they fail to do this simple task during a contest. The explanation for this phenomenon is mental overload. The neuron signals in the brain are log jammed and the player’s box-out response is frozen.

   Most basketball players are taught at an early age to yell “shot” when the opposing team launches a shot toward the basket. In time, players believe there is no need to continue the use of this rudimentary basketball skill. When a player on defense hears the audible announcement of a ball in the air it instantly triggers awareness in all of the defensive players to prepare for a rebound. When a team fails to call “shot”, the mental response time is significantly reduced and the resulting box-out effort becomes mediocre at best.

   Some players believe they are too good or too seasoned to revert back to this fundamental basketball practice. The better you get, the faster the pace of the game and the more it becomes necessary for calling “shot”. As a Focus & Attitude Coach I marvel at player arrogance in matters that can easily be overcome with simple solutions. If you want your team to improve your rebounding stats, you might want to go back to some advice from your junior high school basketball coach. It was good advice then and it is still good advice today – call “shot”!

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