When I was a kid, I spent many hours shooting hoops in the driveway of my parent’s house. This driveway wasn’t exactly a regulation-sized basketball court: the front end of the sidewalk was our free-throw line, there were walls on each side of the narrow driveway, and the cobbled pavement was slanted significantly towards the street. Forget about working on your dribbling in these conditions!
But it turns out that the slanted driveway was a huge plus for working on my free throws. I could spend hours shooting the ball, and if I swished a shot the ball would automatically return to me. I only recognized this advantage later when I was shooting hoops on a perfectly even basketball court – rebounding my misses significantly reduced the number of shots I could get up in an hour!
That’s where basketball return systems come into play. They will rebound your made shots (and some will rebound your misses too) and help you to maximize the number of shot attempts you can take.
In this article, I am going to explain the differences between various types of basketball return machines and show you which one will work best for you.
The Best Basketball Return Machines:
- Very affordable and quickly installed
- The mechanism isn’t 100% reliable and doesn’t rebound misses
- Works on every basketball hoop
- Rotation of the chute lets you pick the direction of rebounds
- The net returns made shots and close misses
- Doesn’t work if you shoot from the corner
- Receive rebounds in a more natural shooting position
- Will rebound almost 100% of your shots
- By far the best ball return system under $1000
- Rebounds 100% of your shots to where you want
As you can see, there are many different types of basketball return machines on the market. But how do you find the perfect one for you? There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:
Do you miss a lot of shots?
The most basic and affordable rebounding systems like the Spalding Back Atcha are attached to the bottom of the ring and only change the direction of basketballs that are actually falling through the net. – you still need to rebound misses yourself!
If you are making 90% of your free throws, this won’t pose much of a problem, but if you are still a beginner, rebounding systems like that won’t help you much.
More advanced basketball return nets will also rebound shots that bounce off the ring, but if you want a system that returns 100% of your shots you will need to invest in a more professional basketball return machine like the iC3 Basketball Shot Trainer .
Do you want to work on your corner three?
A lot of return systems will always return the basketball towards the free throw line no matter where you shot from. If you want to work on your corner three, that’s counterproductive as you need to run towards the middle of the court after every shot!
The Top 5 Basketball Return Systems:
The Spalding Back Atcha is probably the most affordable basketball return system on the market. It is made from thick plastic and comes with two hooks that attach to the back of the rim. If you make a shot, the basketball will hit the plastic structure after passing the net and will be kicked slightly towards the free-throw line.
The success rate of this mechanism varies somewhere between 50% – 95%, depending on the length and material of your net (nylon or metal?) and how well the plastic hooks attach to the hoop. However, don’t expect long shots to be returned all the way to the three-point line. Also, the rebound of the ball will always go towards the middle of the court which can be annoying if you are shooting from an angle.
Overall, the Spalding Back Atcha is a very affordable basketball return system that you can attach to most hoops within seconds. While it doesn’t do a perfect job of returning made shots and won’t return misses at all, it will still allow you to save a lot of time. Chasing down the rebound after every second shot is still much better than running every time!
The SKLZ 360 works very similarly to the Spalding Back Atcha presented before, but the mechanism is a bit more complex and versatile.
The installation is pretty simple: If you own an height-adjustable basketball hoop you just lower the hoop and clip the four hooks to the rim. Otherwise, you will probably need a small ladder unless you’re 7ft tall.
The chute of the SKLZ 360 hangs about 28 inches below the rim and does a great job of returning the ball. The best feature of this chute is the fact that you can rotate it by 360 degrees! This way you can get the basketball returned no matter where you are shooting from. Small kids will not be able to do this on a 10ft hoop, but anybody taller than 5’8″ should be able to do it without a ladder or lowering the hoop.
The quality of the SKLZ 360 is a lot better than the Spalding Back Atcha, but some people still report that the chute might change direction on its own and that the plastic hooks won’t last forever. However, you should be able to fix these issues with a little bit of duct tape and metal wire ties.
Overall, this is a basketball return system with much-improved functionality that I can recommend if you are looking for something you can attach and detach easily. The only downside: it doesn’t rebound missed shots.
Goaliath is known for producing high-quality in-ground basketball hoops but they also sell accessories that make the life of basketball players easier.
This basketball return system is the first in this article that can rebound missed shots too. That’s especially useful for beginners who are still missing a majority of their attempts.
The installation is pretty simple: You attach the webbing harness to the metal bar at the top of the net and pull this harness over the back of the rim. On the other side, the net is attached to two bags that you can fill with water or sand.
The Goaliath return net especially well if you want to prevent the ball from going into the neighbor’s yard or a thorny bush of roses. However, if you are looking for a system that will replace your buddy passing you the ball while you are moving along the 3-point line, then you better keep looking.
The SKLZ Rapid Fire II is comparable to the Goaliath net but comes with one significant difference: the net is attached to two hip height stands. This small change is fantastic because you no longer have to bend down to collect rebounds. Instead, you receive the ball in a much more natural shooting position.
This ball return system easily attaches to the top-left and top-right corner of any metal frame backboard, unfortunately, it won’t work for molded backboards. The net is held by two adjustable metal arms that extend from the top of the backboard. By placing the stands differently and rotating the arms of the net, you can direct the rebounds to different spots on the court. You can also use the net as a ball stop by fully folding back the arms.
Overall, the SKLZ Rapid Fire is a very versatile basketball rebounding system that allows you to get shots up at a much higher frequency because you receive the basketball in a position that comes close to a regular pass in a game.
The iC3 Basketball Shot Trainer plays in a different league than all the other rebounding systems presented so far. It’s an affordable entry-level model by Dr. Dish Basketball, a well-known company that also builds basketball passing machines that cost thousands of dollars and are used by professional basketball players.
The iC3 is made of a sturdy steel frame that you hang over the back end of the rim and fix to the pole of your basketball hoop. If your basketball hoop doesn’t have a pole, you can still use the iC3 if your backboard is at least 60 inches wide.
The net stretches over the rim and catches almost every missed shot. This design also forces you to shoot with a proper arc and actually improves your technique. The net funnels the ball into a small ramp that you can rotate by 180 degrees to receive rebounds in every position on the court. The rebounding system is not very fast, but if you use two basketballs you can shoot nonstop rapid-fire style!
The iC3 Basketball Shot trainer is by far the most professional rebounding system that is still affordable and doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. If you are an ambitious basketball player and you want to work on your shot, then this is the system to get!
I recommend you to go for the iC3 Basketball Shot Trainer . It’s the most expensive system in this roundup, but also by far the best! It rebounds almost 100% of your shots, you can change the direction of the rebounds, and it even forces you to improve the arc of your shot!
If you are looking for a cheaper option and you are a pretty good shooter, then the SKLZ 360 is a good option too.
If your kids are learning to play basketball in the driveway and you want to prevent the ball from bouncing into the neighbor’s garden then check out the Goaliath Basketball Return Net .