Defensive rebounding on free throws is probably something we don’t practice enough. I know I was guilty of that as a head coach. And if we do practice it, I’m not sure we actually teach the right technique.
You hear the word “pinch” a lot when it comes to the defensive team getting ready to rebound the ball. The issue I have is that the two guys who pinch basically squeeze their opponent, one in front of him and one in back of him. The top guy on defense who lines up behind the offense player usually gets caught behind him, and ends up just pushing him towards the basket in an effort to find a way to get the rebound. And what he ends up doing is pushing his opponent into his teammate towards the rim, and helping his opponent get better position to get the rebound.
We all hate giving up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw. We have four guys in there, they only have three and one of them is shooting the ball. It shouldn’t be that hard.
I think the top guy on the lane has to be taught to step in front of his opponent, and make sure he doesn’t just lean on his back. Step quickly with his foot that is closer to the basket in front of his opponent and try and get in front of him. If you can’t get in front of him, spin around him and try and get in front of your teammate as well to get the rebound. You should have the long rebound covered with the opposite guy who is taking the shooter.
I just don’t think we pay enough attention to it and it can cost us games. Leaning into your opponents back on the free throw line only helps him get better position to get the rebound, but it happens all of the time. Attention to detail can be the difference between winning and losing a game.