offensive rebounding

Offensive Rebounding and Transition Defense: Tips from Coach Victor Lapeña

Explore the valuable insights shared by Victor Lapeña, who leads Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team. As the head coach, Lapeña brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the court, from the long time Spanish Basketball Federation coach, who helped Canada qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. His role goes beyond the court, as he’s committed to growing the game domestically and developing coaches. Dive into two critical aspects of basketball – offensive rebounding and transition defense. Discover Coach Lapeña’s expert advice on these essential skills.

Watch Coach Lapeña on The Basketball Podcast:

The Importance of Offensive Rebounding and Transition Defense

Offensive rebounding and transition defense play a crucial role in the success of any basketball team. Coach Victor emphasizes the significance of these skills, particularly when a team fails to score or experiences a turnover. Without proper execution in these areas, teams can give their opponents easy points and lose control of the game. To address this issue, Coach Victor reflects on his own experience and analyzes statistical details to develop his own set of rules and strategies.

Rule #1: Don’t Rest, Stay Active and Stay Focused

Coach Victor’s first rule is simple yet powerful: don’t rest, keep working always. He encourages teams to stay engaged during practice and not stop after a shot or score. By continuously working and staying active, players can develop good habits and improve their offensive rebounding and transition defense. Coach Victor emphasizes the importance of being ready for the next play, even if it’s just a few seconds after the previous one. This rule ensures that teams make the most of their practice time and develop a strong foundation in these critical skills.

Rule #2: Protect the Rim and Prevent Easy Points

Coach Victor’s second rule focuses on protecting the rim and preventing easy points for the opponent. By forcing the rival team to play in the half court and denying them easy transition opportunities, teams can control the game and limit the opponent’s scoring. This rule highlights the importance of pressure on the defensive glass, maintaining balanced positioning, and spacing on the court. Coach Victor emphasizes that these principles should be ingrained in the team’s offense and defense, ensuring that players are always prepared for any situation.

Rule #3: Boxing Out and Defensive Balance

The third rule introduced by Coach Victor centers around boxing out and defensive balance. He emphasizes the need for players to work on their angles and improve their positioning when going for offensive rebounds. By teaching players to take a diagonal approach instead of a straight-line stride, teams can increase their chances of securing rebounds and gaining second-chance opportunities. Coach Victor stresses the importance of drills and practices to reinforce these techniques and create a strong defensive foundation.

Rule #4: Penetration Defense

Coach Victor’s fourth rule focuses on penetration defense, particularly against guards. He highlights the need to anticipate the opponent’s moves and adjust positioning accordingly. By understanding the tendencies of the opposing players, defenders can anticipate their actions and be in a better position to defend. Coach Victor emphasizes the importance of working on angles and improving defensive position to counter penetration effectively.

Rule #5: Rebounding from the Wing

The final rule introduced by Coach Victor pertains to rebounding from the wing. He emphasizes that when shooting from the corner, two players should go for the rebound, while three players focus on defensive balance. This rule ensures that teams maintain a high percentage of rebound tips and maintain perimeter balance. Coach Victor highlights the importance of this rule as it relates to the positioning of the ball and the likelihood of rebounds falling near the free-throw line.

Developing the Skills and Habits

Coach Victor emphasizes the need for repetition and practice to develop these skills and habits effectively. He encourages coaches to create drills and games that simulate game scenarios and reinforce the team’s offensive rebounding and transition defense principles. By practicing these skills when players are fresh and not tired, teams can establish good habits and improve their ability to execute these strategies consistently.

Challenges in Becoming a Top Defensive Team

When asked about the biggest challenge in becoming one of the best defensive teams in the world, Coach Victor pointed out the difficulty of stopping talented players, specifically mentioning the challenge of stopping the USA national team. He emphasized that stopping exceptional talent is always a challenge, and it requires a combination of skill, strategy, and teamwork. Coach Victor highlighted the importance of adjusting defensive strategies and focusing on team defense to counter the offensive prowess of talented opponents.

Big Picture: Differences in Styles of Play

Coach Victor also shared his insights on the differences between the European and North American styles of play. He highlighted the emphasis on competitiveness in European basketball, particularly in Spain. He mentioned that while both North America and Europe have excellent coaches and skill development programs. However, the focus on competitiveness sets European basketball apart. Coach Victor believes that developing competitiveness from a young age and instilling a strong desire to compete can be a crucial factor in the success of a team or a player.


Coach Victor Lapeña’s expertise in offensive rebounding and transition defense is evident through his insights and practical advice. By following his rules and strategies, teams can improve and become more effective in these areas. The emphasis on hard work, competitiveness, and teamwork resonates throughout his teachings, highlighting the importance of developing good habits and executing strategies consistently. With Coach Victor’s guidance, teams can elevate their game on both ends of the court.

For more great offensive rebounding and transition defense systems, be sure to check out Aaron Fearne’s Tagging Up Offensive Rebounding System from Immersion Videos.

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