The 7 Best Basketball Return Systems
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for shooting a few hoops on your own or for speeding up a game of horse with a friend, these basketball return systems send your ball back to you without having to chase it around. They're also ideal for competitive athletes working to improve their skills. Rather than wasting energy retrieving balls, you can put it into increasing your scoring percentage. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best basketball return system on Amazon.
A Brief History Of Basketball
The game would go worldwide in the early part of the 20th century, as American soldiers took it overseas when they went to fight in WWI.
It may seem hard to believe now, but there was once a time when "posting someone up" meant hitting them upside the head with a two-by-four.
That all changed in 1891 C.E., however, when Dr. James Naismith created basketball. He was looking for a way to keep young athletes in peak condition even when the weather turned nasty, as there was precious little opportunity to play baseball in Massachusetts once December rolled around.
Naismith's criteria for his new game were simple: it had to be easy to learn but complex enough to hold interest, extremely physically challenging, suitable for many players, and able to be played indoors.
Like any great inventor, Naismith borrowed liberally from other popular pursuits. He took the jump ball from rugby, the use of a goal from lacrosse, and the basic ball shape and size from soccer. He also used as inspiration a game he had played as a child called "duck-on-a-rock," which involved tossing a ball through a horizontal goal.
Fortunately for everyone, he didn't borrow the name, saving us from endless debates as to whether Michael Jordan or Lebron James is the better duck-on-a-rock player.
Naismith asked a janitor for two boxes he could use as goals, and instead the janitor brought him a couple of peach baskets. Naismith nailed these baskets to the balconies at either end of the gym — balconies that just happened to be 10 feet off the ground.
The good doctor quickly drew up a list of 13 rules and organized the first game. Using nine players on each side, the two teams played a thrilling 1-0 contest. Despite the lack of scoring, however, the game immediately proved to be immensely popular, and YMCAs all over the country began to join in.
The first pro league was founded in 1898, when six teams participated in the National Basketball League. Several competing organizations soon cropped up, but it was at the college level that the game truly took hold, spreading to schools across the country by 1900.
The game would go worldwide in the early part of the 20th century, as American soldiers took it overseas when they went to fight in WWI. FIBA, the first international governing body, would be created in 1932, entrenching the game in the international consciousness.
The NCAA would create their infamous basketball tournament seven years later, which would go on to cost American companies billions of dollars in lost productivity over the course of its existence. Meanwhile, the NBA would be formed in 1946, and despite a brief challenge from the ABA, it would become the most celebrated professional league in the world.
Basketball is now one of the most widely-played (and watched) sports in the world, and even merits a spot at the Summer Olympics. The game's growth shows no signs of slowing down, especially as the NBA welcomes more and more international talent.
Benefits Of A Basketball Return System
Basketball is one of the rare sports that allows its players to work on core concepts entirely single-handedly. Any gym rat who spends enough time shooting threes or working on their crossover will see huge dividends as a result, so any aspiring athlete should take their practice time seriously.
Coaches can use them to speed up practices, giving shooters the opportunity to put up a massive amount of attempts in limited time.
And that's the biggest thing that a basketball return system can offer you — time. Since the ball comes back to you after just about every shot, you can get more shots up rather than chasing down your rebounds (and if the ball doesn't come back to you, then it's probably time to really tinker with your jumper).
That's huge for high-level players, or anyone who hopes to get there someday. It gives you ample opportunity to work on your mechanics, rather than spending most of your practice session shagging balls.
They're not just for working on your game at home, either. Coaches can use them to speed up practices, giving shooters the opportunity to put up a massive amount of attempts in limited time.
Having one of these systems won't take you from zero to hero overnight — you still have to put in a lot of hard work. However, it's a great way to ensure that you spend your time working on what's truly important, rather than wrangling your own misses.
How To Work On Your Skills When You're Alone
You can't always have your dad, coach, or best friend around when you're looking to work on your skills — and you should be looking to work on your skills all the time.
Below are a few drills that are easy to do solo, but that can have a huge impact once you're actually in a game.
Try to knock down a jumper immediately after catching a pass, after a single dribble, after a catch-and-drive, etc.
Your handle will never get to a point where it can't be improved on, so set up some cones in the driveway and work on your figure-8s and zig-zags. These may seem like basic, elementary drills, but they're the building blocks of any successful skill set, so do them until you can do them blindfolded — and then do them blindfolded.
You should also take every opportunity to lock in your shooting motion. Challenge yourself at the hoop. Can you make five in a row without hitting rim? What about ten?
Also, be sure to simulate actual game situations. Try to knock down a jumper immediately after catching a pass, after a single dribble, after a catch-and-drive, etc.
Your conditioning is another thing that needs constant maintenance. Lace up those Air Jordans and do sprints. Drop and perform a few dozen push-ups so you won't get bullied in the paint. Stand under the basket and just jump. Working on the motions you'll actually use in a game will prepare your muscles for the rigors of a full session.
Most importantly, though, be sure to pretend like it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals before every drill — and provide your own crowd noise after you knock down the winning jumper.
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