You can travel to as many places as you wish and it is most likely to not bring any troubles in your life. Unlike in real life, the term ‘traveling’ is unwelcome in basketball. It is a violation that mainly involves the improper movement of the foot. Traveling results in a turnover in favor of the opposition.
The traveling violation hardly takes place in prestigious competitions like the NBA. Thus, lots of basketball fans are unfamiliar with the term. For them, we dig deep into the different topics associated with traveling in the article. Let’s get started.
Facts About Traveling
Different occurrences or situations can result in a violation called traveling. However, some people may misinterpret certain events as traveling. We can’t really blame them because it seems like a traveling violation sometimes when it is not.
The rules of traveling also vary from one league to another. It means if someone has followed a league for a while, he may think the same rule applies to another competition. It indeed creates confusion. Therefore, we will provide a few facts that apply to all the leagues.
The rule of the thumb is a player cannot cause a traveling violation while dribbling.
- In-bound Requirement
Another simple fact to keep in mind is that it is never called a violation if the player is not in-bound.
- Ball Control
A player travels only when he is controlling the basketball.
- Pivot Foot Movement
Travelling occurs the most when an athlete illegally moves his pivot foot in basketball. If you are not sure what pivot foot is, head to the next section to know about it.
You may also hear commentators referring to traveling using phrases like ‘walking’ or ‘taking steps.’ Another term they frequently use is ‘up and down.’ It is also a traveling violation caused by a player when he won’t pass the ball or shoot it while landing.
You won’t understand traveling properly without knowing about the pivot foot. Let’s discuss its definition and some of the rules that can help you have a clear idea regarding the term.
The pivot foot stays connected to the floor in order to act as an anchor. It is always a single foot, but it may change between right or left foot depending on circumstances.
You can spin using a pivot foot provided it does not move from its original spot. In addition, sliding with this foot won’t allow you to spin on it.
Keep in mind that the pivot foot may not be available all the time. Its availability depends on the movement of a player. When someone has possession but does not move with the ball, he successfully created the pivot foot.
Dribbling or jumping with it breaks the contact with the ground, leading to the other foot to be the pivot. Moreover, the foot that lands before the other one after a jump becomes the pivot foot.
There are cases where an athlete jumps in the air and lands on the ground simultaneously on both feet. This maneuver is called a ‘jump stop’ in basketball. None of the feet is a pivot foot when the jump stop takes place. As a result, players are unable to move any of their feet.
NBA Definition of Traveling in Basketball
If you are looking for a definition of traveling officially from the NBA, you are at the right place. The NBA rulebook has a surprisingly long definition and a set of rules of the violation. Let’s see it.
- When a player is standing, he can pivot upon receiving the ball. He is free to use either of the feet for the purpose.
- After gathering the ball, a player has two choices: a. He takes two steps and passes the ball or shoots it, b. Provided he did not dribble, he can take one step before releasing the ball.
If a player collects the ball while dribbling, he is allowed to take two steps for shooting or passing the ball.
- The first step is completed when the player gets possession of the ball and his one foot, or both touch the ground.
- The second step takes place immediately the other foot comes in contact with the floor. Touching the floor with both feet at the same time counts as the second step too.
- Players can use any foot to pivot if both feet touch the floor at once. Upon leaving the ground with both feet, he must let the ball go before either foot lands on the floor.
- If the player lands with one foot, it is his pivot foot.
- The progressing player is allowed to land both feet at the same time if he jumps off one foot during the first step. In that case, he can’t use any foot for the pivot purpose. If any foot leaves the floor, it is mandatory to release the ball prior to the return of the foot.
- When a player receives the ball after being stationary and proceeds to dribble, he cannot keep the ball unless he has raised the pivot foot. The same rule applies when someone comes to a legal stop.
- The player possessing the ball can lift the pivot foot. Before the foot returns to the ground, it is mandatory for him to shoot or pass the ball. Losing the ball in the air will prevent him from touching the ball first.
- When a player falls to the ground, and he has possession, he will fail to get the advantage by sliding. The same goes for the athlete who is about to come to a stop.
- The player attempting the field goal is unlikely to touch the ball first if the ball doesn’t touch another athlete, backboard, or the basket ring.
- The ball needs to come in contact with the basket ring, backboard, or another player. Otherwise, the player may fail to touch his own pass first.
- The player cannot touch the floor continuously with the same foot after getting control of the ball or finishing dribble.
Penalty: The opponent gets the ball on the sideline as a reward. It will be the nearest location close to the spot where traveling is committed.
We previously discussed the possibility of illegal movements leading to traveling. You can find them below if you’re wondering what those movements are.
- In a jump, the player is supposed to shoot the ball or pass it while still in the air. He cannot land either of his feet without doing so. Otherwise, it is an illegal movement.
- Another illegal movement is sliding or dragging any of the feet.
- When the pivot foot is available, the player cannot drag or slide it. If they do, it is considered illegal.
- When the pivot foot is eligible to use, and a player lifts it, he must shoot or pass the ball before stepping on the floor. Failing to pass or shoot makes it illegal.
- If an athlete falls and doesn’t maintain his pivot foot, it will be another example of illegal movement.
- One more instance is when someone rolls on the court.
- Raising the pivot foot but not releasing the ball to dribble counts as an illegal movement.
Common examples of Traveling
Travelling occurs due to numerous reasons. A lot of the time, you may mistake something to be traveling when it is not. It is hard to differentiate a few situations from traveling because it is such a comprehensive concept. The following points are the most common examples of traveling. These should help you to clarify some of the misunderstandings.
- Three-Point Steps
In three-point steps, the player collects the ball from near the 3-point line. He goes behind the line and decides to shoot without dribbling. As soon as he lifts the pivot foot, he calls the violation.
- Early Step
The early step is perhaps the most commonly committed offense by players. It happens due to a player releasing the ball after moving a step forward and lifting the pivot foot. You would see this violation mostly when someone is stationary with the ball and then tries to drive to the basket.
- Up and Down
Sometimes a player wants to shoot the ball or pass it to a teammate. He withdraws himself from the floor to do so but fails to release the ball. Eventually, the athlete returns to the floor. It is up-and-down traveling.
- Pivot Slide
Players sliding around the ground while stretching or spinning causes pivot slide traveling.
Oftentimes in the NBA, you’ll see a player dribble, take a step forward, and then take another down a different direction. It helps them to avoid defenders who may block them. The maneuver is known as Euro-step in basketball. It may seem like a traveling offense at times which it is not. The second step is an evolved part of the dribble. Hence, the euro step is legal.
Sarunas Marciulionis, a former player of the Nuggets, was the first to try euro-step in the NBA. Though he was the pioneer, Marciulionis could not demonstrate the ideal technique to utilize the move. It was Manu Ginobili who later showed how effective the maneuver is if used correctly.
Nowadays, the euro step is an increasingly prevalent basketball move in high school, college, and professional competitions.
Traveling is an essential aspect of playing basketball. It is one of the vital fundamentals that you must learn. Players in low-level basketball leagues tend to make this mistake more often because they lack the necessary knowledge. As you begin to learn about traveling, you may experience confusion because different leagues use different rules. If so, focus more on the same traveling violations in all leagues.
Why is traveling rare in the NBA? Let us know in the comment.