Thad Matta Has a Practice Drill Called 'War Rebounding'

By Jason Priestas on March 20, 2013 at 11:50a
Deshaun Thomas particpates in Thad Matta's War Rebounding program

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at throwback approaches coaches are using to balance the new technologies emerging in college basketball. For Ohio State, "war rebounding" is where it's at:

Ohio State runs a drill in practice called "war rebounding," which is about as delicate as it sounds.

Coaches cover the basket with a bubble so the shots can't go in, thus forcing the defense to battle the offense for every loose ball. The torture lasts until the defense claims a certain number of rebounds, or head coach Thad Matta has mercy on the panting, sweating souls of his players. The drill's maximum length: about 45 minutes.

"It's a dogfight," said Ohio State guard Lenzelle Smith Jr.

This sounds amazing and may help explain why Amir Williams has progressed from a big that can't rebound to a big that can rebound a little.

"War rebounding" isn't the only throwback element of the team's practices, though:

The Buckeyes, members of the bruising Big Ten conference, also perform an exercise called "eight-man passing" that consists of eight guys sprinting the court for 35 seconds while whipping around two balls that can't touch the floor. "Eight-man passing does suck," admitted Ohio State guard Aaron Craft.


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dubjayfootball90's picture

war rebounding sounds like a fun drill to watch. I would love to see that battle for 45 minutes

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Oyster's picture

Coach Matta's version of Bloody Tuesday!  I'm not sure which would be worse, elbows to the face for 45 minutes or having Coach Meyer dog the crap out of you.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

toad1204's picture

Coombs making fun of you for getting water.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

SilverBulletNYC's picture

"This sounds amazing and may help explain why Amir Williams has progressed from a big that can't rebound to a big that can rebound a little."
Ouch. Amir's gotta work on those T-Rex hands...

The South will NOT rise again!

dubjayfootball90's picture

One specific play caused me to lose all hope in Amir's hands, and that was a soft bounce pass under the  hoop that (Q or scott) gave him this past game against Wiscy, and he would have dunked it home, but it ricocheted from his knuckles out of bounds. I put my face in my hands, yelled an expletive, and just stopped caring because its not changing this year. I hope I am wrong though.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

81Alum's picture

Is it his game or just not caring enough? IMHO, it's a little bit of both. The game, he can work on but if he doesn't turn up his intensity (and concentration), he may turn out to be a lost cause.

SilverBulletNYC's picture

My reaction when Amir misses an easy bounce pass:

The South will NOT rise again!

sirclovis's picture

My personal nickname for him is "soft hands". Its amazing when he strings together competent plays at the ball like that one defensive possession when he blocked like 3 players shots.

AJBor41's picture

It wouldn't be appropriate to share my own personal nickname for him on here.  I keep hoping I'll see an improvement...some power, soft hands, aggressive rebounds, a drop-step and finish, etc...but now I mostly wait for us to put in Ravenel or go with a smaller lineup.

dubjayfootball90's picture

sadly, I am in the same boat on the expectations

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

thatlillefty's picture

45 minutes??? that's some serious conditioning

RBuck's picture

We did that rebound drill in high school for about 10-15 minutes a practice. I can't even imagine doing it for 45 minutes.

Long live the southend.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Same here. We also had a drill where everyone would line up on the baseline and coach would roll the ball down the court and call out 2 numbers. Those 2 numbers had to then sprint down the court and wrestle for possession of the ball then make a layup back at the other end. It was no rules and no holds barred. It got heated. People would cry and people would vomit. In fact we weren't allowed to end until someone was bleeding. Pretty sure coaches can't get away with that now a days.
Anyhow, Thads rebound war is intense. And no way we could have lasted 45 minutes at it.

81Alum's picture

The secret ingredient to Matta's success. Looking forward to more championships.

Seabass1974's picture

I wonder if they do lightning as a fun drill. I always liked that one, it made me go from an average free throw shooter to a great free throw shooter. It also taught me how to retrieve my own shots for rebounds better but it was too much fun so we didn't do it a lot. I grew up in the days of "if it's fun, it can't be working!"

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

Enzo's picture

Based on the FT % lately, I'd say they never heard of that drill.

D. Anthony's picture

We did those same drills in high school in the 80's...I think most teams do.

D. Anthony

BROSEPH's picture

We ended every practice with a drill like this.  Losers run.  It was awesome. 

The TresselMeyer's picture

Is it bad that I'd rather have my point guard on defense with me instead of my starting center for this drill?

Brady Hoke's reaction to the Urban Meyer hire: "Not good."

southbymidwest's picture

Also from WSJ, here is the West bracket pick chart. Those who don't agree with the picker get to chuck vegetables at the picker and the chart. Lemme just say, you'd be throwing tomatoes at the guy too. Amusing, nonetheless. They also have picks for the other three regions, but really, who cares about them (at least at this point)?