Traveling (basketball)

In basketball, traveling is a violation of the rules that occurs when a player holding the ball illegally moves one or both of his feet. Most commonly, a player travels by illegally moving his pivot foot or taking too many steps without dribbling the ball.

Traveling is sometimes also called "walking" or "steps."

The basic rules regarding traveling are fairly similar across the major leagues of basketball, but slight differences exist.



The following is quoted from the NCAA 2006 Basketball Rules and Interpretations.

Rule 4, Section 48. Pivot:

Art. 1. A pivot takes place when a player who is holding the ball steps onceor more than once in any direction with the same foot, while the other foot,called the pivot foot, is kept at its point of contact with the playing court.

Rule 4, Section 66. Travel:

Art. 1. Traveling occurs when a player holding the ball moves a foot or bothfeet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits described in this Rule.Art. 2. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the playing courtmay pivot, using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivotfoot.Art. 3. A player who catches the ball while moving or dribbling may stopand establish a pivot foot as follows: a. When both feet are off the playing court and the player lands: 1. Simultaneously on both feet, either may be the pivot foot; 2. On one foot followed by the other, the first foot to touch shall be the pivot foot; 3. On one foot, the player may jump off that foot and simultane- ously land on both; neither foot can be the pivot foot. b. When one foot is on the playing court: 1. That foot shall be the pivot foot when the other foot touches in a step; 2. The player may jump off that foot and simultaneously land on both; neither foot can then be the pivot foot.Art. 4. After coming to a stop and establishing the pivot foot: a. The pivot foot may be lifted, but not returned to the playing court, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal; b. The pivot foot shall not be lifted before the ball is released to start a dribble.Art. 5. After coming to a stop when neither foot can be the pivot foot: a. One or both feet may be lifted, but may not be returned to the play- ing court, before the ball is released on a pass or try for goal; b. Neither foot shall be lifted, before the ball is released, to start a drib- ble.

NFHS (U.S. High School)

The NFHS traveling rule is almost identically worded, with an additional article clarifying restrictions regarding a player holding the ball while on the floor.


The NBA travel rule can be found here [] . The wording is vastly different than the NCAA and NFHS versions. While the practical results are similar, the NBA rule does allow more flexibility in choosing a pivot foot in some situations.


The FIBA rule is almost identical to the NCAA rule with minor differences (e.g. for when a player falls to the floor)


The ball becomes dead and is awarded to the opposing team out of bounds at the spot nearest where the violation occurred.


* Any action where the pivot foot is lifted and returned to the floor, or dragged along the floor.
* Lifting the pivot foot before starting a dribble.
* Taking multiple steps or shuffling the feet before starting a dribble.
* While holding the ball, jumping and returning to the floor without releasing the ball.
* Securing the ball while on the floor and attempting to roll over or stand up.
* Falling to the floor while holding the ball, even if it was caught while airborne (NOTE: legal in FIBA)
* Attempting to pivot after a jump stop move (NOTE: legal in the NBA).


* It is not possible to travel while dribbling. The height of the dribble or number of steps taken per dribble is irrelevant.
* It is not possible to travel during a throw-in. While there are space restrictions for a throw-in, the thrower is not required to maintain a pivot foot or observe any of the other restrictions of the traveling rule. A referee who signals traveling on a throw-in violation is in error.
* A player must have control of the ball to travel. For instance, a player who bobbles a pass may well take several steps legally -- the traveling rule is not in effect until he has secured control of the ball.
* A player who dives and catches a loose ball on the floor may legally slide as far as his momentum carries him. This is "not" a travel. However, once he stops he may not roll over or attempt to stand.
* Lifting the pivot foot alone does not constitute a travel; a player may pass, shoot, or request a timeout in that position. It is a travel once the foot is returned to the floor, or if a dribble is started.
* A player who attempts a field goal may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, basket ring or another player (NBA rule only).


*cite web
title=2006 NCAA Basketball Rules
accessdate=December 24

*cite web
title=NBA Rule 10 - Violations and Penalties
accessdate=December 24

*cite book
year = 2006
title = Basketball Rules Book
author = National Federation of State High School Associations

*cite book
year = 2006
title = Basketball Case Book
author = National Federation of State High School Associations

*cite book
year = 2004
month = June
title = Official Basketball Rules
author = International Basketball Federation
url =

*cite web
title=Anthony's FIBA vs USA Basketball Rule Differences
accessdate=December 24

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