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Basketball Traveling: Rule and Statistics Tracking


by Daniel Ferrero - December 24, 2010 ~ Updated: Daniel Ferrero - September 30, 2012


Basketball Traveling: Rule and Statistics Tracking

The Concept (external link): Traveling is progressing in any direction with the ball while moving one or both feet in one direction while holding the ball , that's means when the player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, exceeds in the use of a twocount rhythm in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball : which is in excess of prescribed limits as noted in Rule 4 - Section VIII and Rule 10 - Section XIV.

The Rule (external link): The traveling rule - and the related statistics formulas - has not changed. What has changed is the common use of the jump stop as an offensive move. officials and coaches are having difficulty determining the difference between a legal and illegal move. The key to making this determination properly is first finding the pivot foot. Then, if the player moves a foot or the feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits while holding the ball , a traveling violation has occurred. The limits follow:

1. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the floor may pivot , using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot.
2. A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stop and establish a pivot foot as follows:

a. If both feet are off the floor and the player lands;
(1) Simultaneously on both feet, either foot may be the pivot .
(2) On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch is the pivot .
(3) On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.

b. If one foot is on the floor;
(1) It is the pivot when the other foot touches in a step.
(2) The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both. Neither foot can be a pivot in this case.

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 try for goal;
b. If the player jumps, neither foot may be returned to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or attempt for goal;
c. The pivot foot may not be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble.

4. After coming to a stop when neither foot can be a pivot :
a. One or both feet may be lifted, but may not be returned to the floor , before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal;
b. Neither foot may be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a dribble.

Commentary (external link): The traveling rule is one of the most misunderstood in basketball  (external link). One of the basic tenets is that a player cannot travel unless that player is holding a live ball. A bobble or fumble is not "control" of the ball , therefore, it cannot be a traveling violation. If you immediately identify the pivot foot when a player receives the ball , you're well on your way to judging traveling correctly.

The FIBA (International) and NCAA rules are now for all intents and purposes identical. FYI, the NBA rule is somewhat less restrictive, and is identical to the pre-1994 FIBA rule. But for convenience's sake, here's a brief explanation:

The rules do not speak about the "number of steps" allowed; traveling is illegal movement of the pivot foot. Once you have established your pivot foot, there are limits on what you may do if you wish to move that pivot foot. They differ depending on if you dribble , shoot, or pass .

Briefly, when starting a dribble , you must release the ball before lifting your pivot foot. If you are passing or shooting, you need only pass or shoot before the pivot foot returns to the floor . In the classic layup, you actually receive the ball with both feet in the air (however briefly), take two steps and release the ball . This is how the travelling rule judges that motion:

- player gathers the ball with both feet in the air; no pivot
- left foot touches down; left foot is pivot foot
- right foot touches down
- left foot is lifted; player may no longer start a dribble
- player releases ball on a shot or pass ; legal play

The traveling rule, and it's statistics interpretation, says you have to be holding the ball to travel= you must have control. You not only give up personal control but team control as well when you make a legitimate attempt for goal (no matter how poorly executed). So it can't be a travel nor a turnover, consequently. And in fact, since you gave up control of the ball , if you recover it, it is just like any other rebound= you can shoot, pass , or dribble .

The Officials (external link): Many traveling violations are not being called. Review rule 4-35. Determine which foot is the pivot foot and
1) do not allow the pivot foot to be lifted before the ball is released to start the dribble , OR
2) after lifting the pivot foot, do not allow it to return to the floor before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal. Remember to identify the pivot foot early in the possession and call traveling every time it occurs.

The eBA Basketball statistics Analysis System (external link): a traveling may be an unforced ( without any opponent player influence ) or a forced ( caused b.e. by a close guarding ) turnover ( TO ) depending upon the opponent player action .

See the eBA Forced or Unforced Turnovers Guidelines (external link).




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