Traveling and Spinning...Identifying the Pivot Foot

4-44 – Traveling and the Spin Move

The Points of Emphasis released by the NFHS for the 2018-2019 season included identifying the pivot foot and traveling.  The spin move is a perfect example of why identifying the pivot foot is vital.

The Rule on the Spin Move

Rule 4-44 on traveling states, “Traveling is moving the foot or feet in any direction in excess of the prescribed limits while holding the ball.  The limits on foot movements are as follows… … Art. 3 – After coming to a stop and establishing a pivot foot: a.  The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the floor, before the ball is released on a pass or a try for goal.”

Play Discussion

As implied in the rule, the first step in ruling a traveling violation is to identify the pivot foot immediately after a player has control of the ball or ends the dribble.  Once the pivot foot is identified, the official can easily rule a traveling violation if the pivot foot comes off the floor, and then returns to the floor.

The spin move happens quickly, and if the pivot foot is not identified immediately, the ability of the official to rule on the traveling violation goes down dramatically.


The following video includes 3 examples of the spin move; one that is ruled incorrectly, one that is ruled correctly, and one where the player executes the spin move correctly.

 The purpose of showing these 3 scenarios is to give you an idea of how quickly the pivot must be identified – but also, once you see this play done correctly and incorrectly, it is easy to rule when it is legal or illegal.

The key to increasing your consistency on ruling traveling violations is to quickly identify the pivot foot.

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