Traveling. It's about movement.
Traveling is often misunderstood and miscalled. With a quick or crafty basketball player, it can be a challenge to determine if a travel violation or legal movement has occurred. The guiding principle of being sure before calling a violation fits particularly well for traveling. It is better to pass on a questionable travel violation than to take away the advantage gained by an offensive player via legal movement.
With the best of intentions, consistently getting the travel call right is hard. Without a solid understanding of the rule and careful study of travel situations, positive consistency is beyond reach.
This article addresses the traveling rules as defined by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Fortunately, basic concepts and much of the detail is consistent across these rules.
The remaining sections of this article are:
Simple Truths:Applying a few simple truths goes a long way to avoiding basic travel miscalculations.
Jump Stop:This extension of allowable pivot foot movement is described.
Pivot Foot:The key traveling concept of establishing a pivot is outlined.
Travel Gotchas:Back for three, bunny hop, head start, late dribble and post shuffle are among the common missed travel violations that are identified. Some video examples are provided.
Travel No Gotchas:Some travel calls ain't travels. These include a legal jump stop, hustle slide, advancing without control of the ball and multiple steps during a dribble.Definition
Traveling is illegal movement by a player controlling (but not dribbling) a live ball inbounds.
Lifting the pivot foot (or either foot if no pivot is available)and returning it to the floor before passing or shooting*before releasing the ball to start a dribble.
Lifting both feet and returning either to the floor before passing or shooting.
Dragging or sliding the pivot foot, or either foot if no pivot is available,Falling to the floor without maintaining a pivot foot or when no pivot is available.
**Rolling or progressing on the floor, after sliding while holding the ball.
*The jump stop is a legal except
Additional illegal movement is:
From a standing position, touching the floor with any part of the body other than a hand or foot.
Controlling the ball on the floor and attempting to get up without dribbling.
Simple Traveling Truths
Traveling often but not always involves illegal movement of the pivot foot
A player cannot travel while dribbling
A player who is not in control of the ball cannot travel
A player cannot travel while the ball is out of bounds such as during a throw-in
Establishing the Pivot foot
Determining the presence or absence of a pivot foot is central to understanding traveling.
A pivot foot is established after a player catches the ball as follows:
Both feet on the floor when a foot is lifted the other foot is the pivot
Both feet off the floor touches on one foot followed by other first foot to touch is the pivot Lands on both feet simultaneously when a foot is lifted, the other foot is the pivot
A jump stop is legal movement that occurs when a player 1. catches the ball while moving (airborne or not) or dribbling 2. stops with one foot on the floor 3. jumps off the foot on the floor and lands simultaneously on both feet*
After a jump stop is completed, no pivot foot is available.
Traveling gotchas (ILLEGAL)
Back For Three: Player inside the 3 point line takes 2 steps back behind the 3 point line before shooting. Bunny Hop: Frequently occurs when a player receives a pass, takes a small hop and then jumps to shoot. Head Start Player lifts pivot foot before releasing ball, often as the beginning of a drive to the basket. Jump, Drop Touch: Player leaves the floor for a field goal attempt and purposely drops the ball before shooting or returning to the floor. Same player is first to touch the dropped ball.
Jump stop and step: After a legal jump stop, player takes an additional step before releasing the ball Late Dribble: Moving player catches ball and lifts and returns the pivot foot to the floor before dribbling. NBA 3 Step: Player takes it to the hoop with 3 steps. Post Shuffle: Player shuffles feet in post area, frequently to establish position before a shot or after a rebound. Spin 2 Step: Player lifts pivot foot and returns it to floor as part of spin move.
NBA Stand-up: Player on the floor and holding ball, stands up without dribbling.
Traveling no gotchas -LEGAL
No control: Player takes several steps while attempting to gain initial control
Throw-In Move: Player throwing the ball moves beyond the 3-foot restricted area for a spot throw-in (a throw-in violation, not a travel)
Air ball: Player attempts a shot that fails to hit the rim or the backboard. Player takes several steps and is first to touch and retrieve the ball. No violation has occurred .
Drop, No Touch: Player leaves the floor for a field goal attempt and purposely drops the ball before shooting or returning to the floor. A teammate or opponent retrieves the ball.
Hustle Slide: Player dives to the floor, gains control of the ball and slides. Player may legally slide as far a momentum takes him/her
Legal Jump Stop: Player catches the ball while moving (airborne or not) or dribbling, The player stops with one foot on the floor and jumps off that foot to land simultaneously on both feet.
Multi-Step Dribble: Player takes 2 or more steps during dribble.