Offensive rebounds, no matter the level of basketball, can win or lose games for your team. Not only does an offensive rebound create a new opportunity to score, but rebounding your own miss can change the momentum of a game.

Take the NBA for instance. A team can play hard defense for 24 seconds, force a poor shot, and do everything right to take control of the ball and score on the other end. When that ball comes off the rim and lands in the hands of an offensive player, the shot clock starts over and all of that hard work will have been for nothing. This is especially true at the end of a close game when possessions mean everything.

Current coaching strategies teach offensive players to get back on defense rather than crashing the boards when a shot goes up. The idea is that it is more important to get back on defense and stop the other team than to go for a rebound. This stems from the fact, especially in the NBA, that teams generally shoot around 42% from the floor, so there are not that many opportunities to start with. On top of that, a good defender keeps himself between the player he is guarding and the basket so that the defender should always be in a better position to grab a board.

While that makes sense logically, if you have ever played basketball at a high level, then you know momentum and hustle can play a huge role in the outcome of a game. The emotion built when a player outfights another guy for a rebound and the way it can shift the momentum of a game at any moment is difficult to quantify, but easy to see when it happens. Most teams will send in one or two players to crash the boards while sending the rest to get back on defense.

In high school basketball and lower, this, however, would be a mistake. In the NBA, you can count on guys being where they are supposed to be and rebounding when they are supposed to rebound. Other than a few special players, there have not been a lot of offensive rebounding specialists throughout the years because it is quite difficult at the professional level.

In college ball and below, that is not often the case. There tend to be more misses leading to more opportunities or more people in different or unique positions. If you are a college or high school basketball coach… crash the boards! It can change the outcome of a game very easily.