Getting better at basketball isn’t as easy as it seems. Sure, you have to put the time in at the gym to get the best you can be. But if you don’t have unlimited amounts of time, you might just find it difficult to get better because you are chasing basketballs around everywhere. Even a made basket results in a random bounce, meaning your ball could, theoretically, roll or bounce away from you.
That doesn’t lead itself to you getting as many shots in, that’s for sure. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at a tool to help you negate that trouble. We’ll be going over the best basketball return systems in our guide today by breaking down the ins and outs, answering any questions you might have, and also reviewing the top systems currently available on the market. So, let’s get you nailing three-pointers like Steph!
Top Basketball Return Systems Comparison Chart
|Image||Name||Pros||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. iC3 Basketball Shot Trainer||Catches and returns||Teaches proper arc||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|2. Goalrilla Basketball Yard Guard||Very easy to put up and get down||No more running after the ball into the street||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|3. Rolbak Silver Basketball Return Net||Lasts a long time and stores easily||Covers a lot of room||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|4. SKLZ Kick-Out 360 Degree Ball Return System||Returns the balls to you||Can be moved around to different angles||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|5. SKLZ Solo Assist Basketball Rebounder||Easy to move and to store||Very versatile uses||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|6. Spalding Back Atcha Ball Return||Very affordable||Sends ball back to the free throw line||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|7. Athletic Connection Rebound Basketball Dome||Very durable and heavy duty||Easy to put on||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Basketball Return Systems Buying Guide
One of the main features of a return system is the convenience of it. If you are on a team of players, it’s not that big of a deal to have someone rebound for you. Coaches, parents, fellow players can do it. However, if you are looking to put in serious amounts of time shooting the ball and getting better, you’re not always going to have someone else to play with.
A return system, thus, is going to be a great option at helping you improve your game to the level you want it to be. Just having it isn’t going to make you better, no. It’s not a magic fix for all of your ills. But it can help you get much better if you put the time in. You can use it anytime, and that’s huge. No more waiting on friends or teammates.
Getting The Right Form
Depending on the type of return system that you go with, you also can help yourself learn the proper form for shooting. If you are playing at a high level, you will want to be putting a higher arc on the ball. You want to do so because it will help you shoot over the top of taller, lanky, rangy defenders that will only increase in number as you move up the levels.
It also can teach you how to have that soft touch that you need. Some return systems won’t have this sort of thing, so you will have to be cognizant and realize what you are doing. By throwing the ball too straight, you’re going to be ‘bricking’ a lot of shots. A return system, though it’s not necessarily its main purpose, can help tremendously in this endeavor for you.
Basketball is unlike so many sports where you can get real dividends simply be putting time in on the court. It’s hard to get great at passing a soccer ball because there is no one to pass with and unless you have a wall, it’s tough. With basketball, you can do so much more than in other sports. You can learn how to pass, dribble, and shoot all on your own. You have so many tools, and you can only get better with the more that you have. A basketball return system is something that can help you further increase your productivity, resulting in your becoming a much better player on the court. It’s not just about shooting, either. You can learn how to finish off entire plays by using one.
Types of Return Systems
As hinted at above, there are different types of return systems that are available, and they vary greatly in the price and quality. Some are made in order to simply send the ball back to you. We’ve all seen the yellow things that hang down from goals. These are really cheap, especially compared to others out there, and they allow you to have the ball sent right back to you.
However, they don’t do so well unless you are shooting straight ahead in front of the goal. So you’d either have to be doing free throws or practicing your treys to get the best use of it from straight away. That is the negative spot for that type, but it’s fairly cheap to buy one, so it’s good for someone that just wants to get in more time practicing.
Another type is what we mentioned before, the kind that lets you learn the proper form. This is most usually referred to as a “catch net,” which is pretty self explanatory. This type has a net or some sort of other mechanism up above. If you don’t get your shot up with enough arc on it, it will hit the net and drop to the ground. So you have to work to get it over the net and into the hoop.
This makes sure you are able to shoot over opposing defenders and also helps you get the best form so that you aren’t throwing the ball too straight and sending it careening all around the place. The best part of this type is that you can shoot from any angle on the court. From the sidelines to right in the middle of the court, this tool is versatile and will help you tremendously improve your shooting.
A further type is the “return chute.” A return chute is also pretty much summarized in the name. It can either be mechanical or not, and it figures out a way to return the ball to you directly. Contrary to the name basketball return systems, not all of them are going to return the ball to you in this manner. Instead, they will just catch them or do something similar. This eliminates the running part, but it does mean the ball doesn’t always end up right back at you. With a return chute, the ball will come right back to you. But not all return chutes are going to be conducive to missed shots.
Only when you combine the catch net and the return chute would you see something that eliminates both hassles. If you miss a shot, then it could still catch it and then return it to you. Be aware that this sort of setup is going to be the highest costing one out there, for obvious reasons. It has so many moving parts, so if you are able to find one, it would take quite a bit to buy.
You also can find what is called a rebound cap out on the market. This type of tool isn’t great for shooting drills as much as it is just for rebounding. This ‘return system’ helps you learn the basics of rebounding by fitting to the top of the rim, and it creates a randomness to the ball after it hits the rim. This way, you are able to practice getting into the right angle to grab a board no matter from which direction the ball is coming from. This is not ideal, at all, for shooting, but it’s quite an effective tool for the big man around to have if he wants to be a monster in the paint in several different ways.
The last type we will mention is what is known as “the rebounder” in most circles. A rebounder net is something that is pretty common in a variety of sports. Whether it is baseball or soccer, this net can be to be quite useful for a number of purposes. It can be placed under a hoop and will help return the ball to you. It isn’t the best thing in the world if you have more than one person on the floor at a time, and you have to get the angles just right when setting it up, but when it comes to cheaper options this is a pretty good one to think about. It’s easy to move around, and it also has other uses to it as well.
If you want to become a better passer of the ball, it’s a great tool to do that with instead of just using a wall. A lot of people don’t become good passers, and it is a very valuable skill despite what you might see or think, because they never practice passing the ball. With a rebounder, you can work on that as well as your shooting. In my estimation, this isn’t the perfect idea for a return system, but it is worth pointing out and can certainly be an asset to someone that wants to improve his or her game.
Coverage Angle and Width
In very general terms, the width of the return system is going to determine just how much the ball is caught when you miss. Some systems will catch virtually everything, while other systems are only intended to catch made shots. Because of this, you need to be careful and examine the system. The wider the net, or whatever mechanism is used, is the more likely you are to have the ball returned to you without making a quick run for it.
Another thing that is worth pointing out is that the closer the top of the net is to the hoop makes for more shots being caught as well. When the system is placed just a little bit lower, the ball can bounce off and end up missing the net. It might be rare, but it can still be a pain to deal with, especially if you seem to be missing in that same spot over and over again.
Beginners vs Experts
A lot of times, it is encouraged for a beginning player to start slowly and work his or her way up. It’s usually smart in most arenas to go with the cheapest items. You don’t want to spend a bunch of money on an item that might not even get used by you months from now because you might not like playing all that much. With that said, in terms of return systems for basketball, we recommend that you flip that rule over on its head.
A player that is better at the game can and probably should spend less on a return system than a player that is just starting or one that isn’t very good. The reason why this inverse is true is because the beginner or bad player is going to be missing a lot more shots and will thus either have to end up chasing the ball or will want a large net to practice with. A player that makes the majority of his or her shots, however, might not need such a thing at all.
If you are draining your shots like it’s no problem at all, you can get one of the cheap systems that will funnel the ball right back to you. This is simplified, of course, but the principle here is a smart one. If you want to get better at the game, you’re going to need to take more shots. We all have limited amounts of time, so you can reduce your time chasing balls and stop the waste with something that might seem to be a little bit ‘extra’ to you.
Purchasing anything, just about, online is a joy, but it can quickly turn into heartache when you realize it is going to take some time to put together. This might not be a problem for some people, but for others it’s an extremely big pain to have to deal with. With return systems, then, you need to consider who you are and what you are good at.
Maybe you are very good at using tools and working with your hands and won’t mind it. Maybe, though, you aren’t and you don’t want to be forced to fool around with any tools. If this is the case, then you need to look for a system that doesn’t require tools to set up. Even people that are inclined to working with their hands will want something that is easy to put up and then take down. So, never underestimate this step, lest it come back to bite you.
Taking apart your new basketball return system is going to also be an important thing to look at, and after you have figured out how to do that, you will have to pinpoint somewhere to store it. If a system is difficult to put back into its packaging or takes up too much room, it won’t be used nearly as much as you’d like to and you will end up wasting your money.
So, be on the look out for those that are easily stored. If we see any issues with systems, we will make a note of that when we get to our reviews here in a little bit. As a quick aside, there are some that are so lucky to have an extra goal. If this is the case for you, then you might not even have to worry about taking it down. You can simply leave it in place and then maybe remove the whole thing once the season is over!
Price is always going to be a factor in a buying decision, no matter what we may say or believe. Regarding price, it really just depends on what you are wanting to buy in regards to basketball return systems. There are all sorts of options, from low to high on the totem pole. You can find some super cheap options out there, but they will be good for mainly just kicking the ball back to you in the event of you making your shot.
There are also some very expensive options that will be available, and they would be good for both the novice as well as the highly experienced player that is looking to get or cut an edge to their game over their opponents. As far as our list goes, it’s going to mainly concentrate on the most popular options available. Because of that, there won’t be a ton of them that cost a ridiculously high amount of money.
This is a good thing on one hand, but if you’re looking for something a bit more, you will have to look elsewhere. With a lot of things, you are going to get what you pay for here. The more you spend, in very general terms, the more quality you’ll be getting. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a bargain, though, because you certainly can do so if you do your research and/or just happen to get a little bit lucky!
We’d be remiss to not mention and talk about durability here in this buying guide as well. Durability is crucial in anything we buy. None of us want to spend our hard earned money on an item, no matter how cheap it may be, only to see if tear up in the blink of an eye. With that said, though, it is important that we point out that some items are just naturally going to be less durable than others.
Whether it be due to the materials that they use, the price that it was sold at, or a combination of the two, some items just do not hold up nearly as well as other ones might. You also have to factor in what your use is and where it will be used. Even if a system is resistant to bad weather, it’s going to probably not last as long as the same exact system used indoors. How you use it is also crucial.
If you are taking care of it and using it properly, no matter how expensive or how cheap it is, you’re much more likely to get a ton of use from it. But if you are using it the wrong way, then you can expect it to not last as long. Another point well worth mentioning is that durability is also affected by how and where you store it.
If you are storing your system, no matter what it is, by just throwing it around or exposing it to the elements, whether inside or out, then you are going to see some problems result from it. You have to take care of the equipment if you want it to last, so 50% (if not more) of the battle comes down to how you treat your return system.
The materials a product uses are always well worth taking a look at. We’ll keep it short here, but there are some key things to look for. If you are wanting to purchase a net, then you will want a net that is made out of either Nylon or polyurethane. Both are very good in terms of resistant rips, and each also can be made to be resistant to the elements. This might not seem like it’s necessary for you to have, but even inside humidity can creep in and cause problems.
So if you are in certain parts of the country, you’ll definitely want to take a look at those that have some weatherproofing built into them. As far as simple return chutes go, the products need to be made out of either metal or heavy duty plastic. Plastic has come a long, long way, so don’t roll your eyes when we say it. Just make sure it is the heavy duty kind. The kinds we all have witnessed before will just break and leave you very disappointed. It’s often very easy to spot those types of systems, but we will point out to you if there are any potential pitfalls with durability resulting from the materials used.
Best 7 Basketball Return Systems Reviews
iC3 Basketball Shot Trainer
If you’re looking for full range coverage, then this is just about as good as it gets, especially at a price point that is manageable. While being easily the highest priced option on the list, it’s still affordable for those that are serious enough to make an investment in it. Not only does this net catch your shots, but it will also return them to you as well.
It’s got a high net to it, on all sides, so you will be forced to learn how to shoot with the proper arc and get the correct spin on the ball in order to make shots. This is such a valuable tool for the game, and it’s a great fit for both the driveway and the gym as well. This design is also incredibly easy to store and is easy to put up and down, too, cutting your hassle and time spent doing that down.
It allows you to shoot up to 16 shots per minute, which is a ton of shots to get off consistently. It will make you better and will do so without breaking the bank. With that said, it is the highest priced item on the list, so you might not be prepared to pay it.
- Teaches proper arc
- Allows a ton of shots per session
- Catches and returns
- Price can be an issue for some
Goalrilla Basketball Yard Guard
Goalrilla is a veteran in this market, and they also do an excellent job with this product, their Yard Guard. This return system also utilizes a net to help you get the most out of your time, and it’s a little bit cheaper than the previous option. The big difference with this one is that it is a ‘guard,’ rather than a ball return. If you are on a busy street, or if you just find the ball going behind the basket too much and then escaping, this is for you.
I’s going to catch anything behind the goal, but it will not catch the ball made shots, unless it has back spin and rolls or bounces into it. So for that reason, it is a whole lot different. This, though, is still a valuable tool that a lot of people could put to use to not only improve their game but also to make sure that safety is paramount in their yard.
It is very easy to fold up and then store away, and it will keep your valuable stuff protected in the yard as well as the kiddos, too. The other issue that is present is that it must be used in conjunction with an in ground goal. So without that, it’s going to be tough to get the very best use from it. It’s also recommended to be used with Goalrilla products, too, so that could be a slight problem that requires adjustments to be made.
- Won’t ruin your property behind the goal
- No more running after the ball into the street
- Very easy to put up and get down
- Must be used with in ground goal
- A little expensive
Rolbak Silver Basketball Return Net
Another fine option for a net that will return your ball comes from Rolbak with this one. The net, which can be used with just about any portable goal that is between 48 and 60 inches wide, is good for those that want a lot of room to be covered so that you don’t have to chase. It’s also incredibly affordable to buy this model, too, so that is going to definitely help increase a lot of peoples’ appetite for it.
Coming with two sandbags, the net is going to be locked into place and will not budge. It’s very easy to attach to the goal, using a harness and Nylon brackets to do the trick. The net itself is nine foot high and five foot wide and tapers down wider toward the bottom. The net is easy to store and is also very durable, using thick polyethylene, a very strong material.
They offer a 90 day limited warranty and also will give a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with it. The big problem with this one is going to be the fact that it is best for free throws and other shots from straight away. The net can’t be, or at least can’t be effectively moved, to the side, so you won’t get much coverage with that. You also won’t be able to work on your shooting arc with this one, either.
- Excellent price
- Covers a lot of room
- Lasts a long time and stores easily
- Won’t help teach proper arc
- Best for shots from straight away
SKLZ Kick-Out 360 Degree Ball Return System
SKLZ are well known for making ingenious products in all sorts of sports, and this one is right up there with some of their finest work. This is a simple, affordable attach plastic attachable return system that fits on to your goal with ease. It’s made from heavy duty plastic and is built to last, and is very easy to get prepared. The thing that it offers that most others in its price range does not is that you can set it up for a number of angles.
You can practice your corner three or your free throws with this one. Of course, with this return chute you will have to make your shots in order for it to send them back to you, so there will be some extra running involved with this offering. The clips do occasionally get knocked off of the rim, so be aware of that. It does turn a little bit when shooting for some, so some have made modifications on their own to improve its performance. Overall, though, it’s a good way to get better and take more shots!
- Good price
- Can be moved around to different angles
- Returns the balls to you
- Only comes back if you make the shot
- Some required slight modifications to get best out of it
SKLZ Solo Assist Basketball Rebounder
SKLZ also has an awesome rebounder for the point guard or big man that is looking to improve their overall game. With this rebounder, you can get a lot of mileage out of your practice. It is best for working with players that want a good pass to them, but it’s also good for those that want to learn how to pass the ball well.
If positioned correctly, it could even return the ball after a made shot, but it’s going to take a little bit of tinkering and a knowledge of geometry to get the utmost out of that experience for sure. This rebounder can be used for hardwood courts or the driveway, so it is quite versatile. It’s also light enough to move around and folds up, making it easy for anyone to use. It does take a bit of assembly at first and it’s a little expensive, so look out for that.
- Great for learning to pass and catch and shoot
- Easy to move and to store
- Very versatile uses
- Not a true return system in the classic sense
- Takes assembly
- Little bit expensive
Spalding Back Atcha Ball Return
Chances are this is the thing you thought of when we first started this guide. The Back Atcha is a very simple contraption, yet it’s extremely popular because it has gotten the job done for so long and is just overall easy to deal with. It’s also very cheap and readily available, so even if there’s something wrong, it’s easy to replace it.
It’s easy to get on without using any tools, but one big issue is that it needs to be used with Spalding or Huffy Sports rims. This a simple tool, as stated before, so it will be sending the ball back to you as you practice your free throws, which is a critical skill that so many players have forsaken of late. It does not attach to all goals, so just be aware of that fact and double check!
- Very affordable
- Sends ball back to the free throw line
- No assembly needed
- Doesn’t send ball right back to you
- Not compatible with all goals/rims
Athletic Connection Rebound Basketball Dome
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s the case here. It’s also not a traditional ball return system, though this dome will be great for those that want to practice their rebounding skills. With a one year duty and the use of a heavy duty molded plastic, and seven rubber mounts included, it’s going to be super durable or you will get it replaced.
It’s also lightweight, contrary to what you’d think, so it won’t be a big deal to put it on and get it off. While it’s not going to help you much with your shooting, it’s definitely worth a look if you are a coach or parent of a player that is needing to learn the basics and needs to do so quickly. It fits all rims, so that’s a major plus. The downside is the cost, which is pretty high relatively speaking, and it’s also not a shooting tool.
- Great for teaching how to rebound
- Very durable and heavy duty
- Easy to put on
- Not for shooting
- High price compared to others on the list
Conclusion And Final Basketball Return Systems recommendations
Today, we have looked at a number of different options that can and will help you improve your skills on the basketball court. Whether you want to just practice your free throws, or you want to master the art of that corner three like the best professionals in the game, you have a way to do so now.
If you want to practice your rebounding or your passing, you also have a way to do that. There are so many options for you, and it just comes down to what you want to spend and what you will be using your return system for. At the end of the day it comes down to you. So, see you on the court!
Frequently Asked Questions About Basketball Return Systems
Should I Leave My System Outside?
This one is a big question that only you can ultimately decide. It’s up to you whether or not you want to risk your system. If it is a net, then you can sometimes get away with this. It really just depends on if the net is weatherproofed or if it is not. If it’s a simple return system that we are all used to seeing in the store, then it’s not that big of a deal to leave outside. It might negatively affect the look of it and might make it a little bit less durable over the long haul, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a major problem.
What About A Broken or Damaged System?
Some systems will either wear out over time or will just inexplicably stop working the way that they were intended to work. If this happens, it can be very frustrating to you. Some companies have gone with warranties to help ease your fears that this might happen. It might be a slight pain to send the system back, but you will know that it will be replaced and you will be able to get back to it in short time.
If there is no warranty anymore, or if you never had one to begin with, then you can still try contacting the company that you bought it from. They could still help you out, even if it seems unlikely to you. If you really just want to stick with it, you can find kits to try and repair one yourself. But if you can’t figure out another solution, it’s probably best to just buy a new one. Things wear out over time, even really awesome systems. And there are duds in all sorts of production, so don’t feel like something is junk just because you had a bad experience. It’s not always the case!
What is ASTM and Why is it Important?
ASTM, standing for the American Society for Testing and Materials, is the organization that governs standards for residential basketball goals. You might not always see this on an item, so don’t freak out if it’s not there. It doesn’t mean it is automatically a bad system, it just will mean that it does not have the certification. If this is not the case, then you will just have to know what the use is.
If you are in a residential area, you really will want one that is certified. In a related issue, this group mandates that goals be kept at least 7 and a half foot high. This is to make sure that the likelihood of injuries is lessened both from playing and from cars as well. The regulation height of a basketball goal at most levels, of course, is ten feet, but with younger players, they can work their way up to it. Just be careful going too low!
Does a Return System Come With a Goal?
While there might be one or two that are out there, to our knowledge there aren’t any that come included with a goal. You will need to either have good, sturdy goal outside (in the ground or above the ground) or a gym hoop in order to make a return system work for you.
Luckily, there are a lot of affordable options that are also high quality out there, so just make sure that the system you choose matches up with the size and shape of the goal you buy or have, and you will be good to go! There are some mini hoops with this out there, but those won’t really help you get better, unfortunately. They might be fun, but they will not be the key to becoming a legend like Mike or LeBron.
Will a Return System Catch Every Missed Shot?
Let’s just face the facts. Even the best coverage return systems are not going to be able to offer 100% retrieval. That’s just asking for something that is infeasible. We’ve all seen those shots where the ball just inexplicably bounces high into the air and evades all ten players on the court. Those are going to happen occasionally with you, too. Unless you’ve got the equivalent of Megalodon out there to catch the ball (good luck getting it back from him) you’re simply not going to be getting every single ball back.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t catch a vast majority, though. Also, keep in mind the purpose of the system. Some systems are made and designed to spit made shots right back at you. Others are meant to collect both made and missed shots. So, if you’ve got one that catches made shots, you’re definitely not going to be getting the ball right back. Food for thought!
What Other Accessories Might I Want?
These are totally up to you, but there are some other things out there that you might like to make your experience a little bit better and more authentic. There are court marking kits available, which are great if you are outdoors and not on an official court. There are also all sorts of training aids now that can be tied to you that read the spin of your shot. Dummies to dribble around and shoot over are available, and there are even clocks that can be easily attached to goals. Portable lights can even be attached, relatively inexpensive, too, as well. The options are endless, and they all could add up to help you improve and have more fun while doing so.