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In basketball, traveling is a violation that occurs when a player takes too many steps without dribbling the ball. Traveling is also called, predominantly in a streetball game, "walking" or "steps". If the pivot foot is lifted, the player must make an attempt at a pass or a basket, before it is placed back onto the floor.

In the NBA and FIBA, when a player has taken more than two steps without the ball being dribbled, a traveling violation is called. The NCAA and NFHS do not allow two steps. A travel can also be called via carrying or an unestablished pivot foot. If the pivot foot of a player changes or moves, it is considered traveling.

In basketball



Rule 9, Section 5. Traveling[1]

Art. 1. A player shall not travel with the ball.

Art. 2. Traveling occurs when a player holding the ball moves a foot or both feet in any direction in excess of prescribed limits described in this section.

Art. 3. A player who catches the ball with both feet on the playing court may pivot, using either foot. When one foot is lifted, the other is the pivot foot.

Art. 4. A player who catches the ball while moving or ends a dribble may stop and 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 simultaneously land on both, in which case 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, in which case neither foot can then be the pivot foot.

Art. 5. 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. 6. 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 playing 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 dribble.

Art. 7. It is traveling when a player falls to the playing court while holding the ball without maintaining a pivot foot.


The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) traveling rule is almost identical to the NCAA rule, with an additional article clarifying restrictions regarding a player holding the ball while on the floor.


Rule 10, Section XIII—Traveling[2]

a. A player who receives the ball while standing still may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.

b. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing must release the ball to start his dribble before his second step.

The first step occurs when a foot, or both feet, touch the floor after gaining control of the ball.

The second step occurs after the first step when the other foot touches the floor, or both feet touch the floor simultaneously.

A player who comes to a stop on step one when both feet are on the floor or touch the floor simultaneously may pivot using either foot as his pivot. If he jumps with both feet he must release the ball before either foot touches the floor.

A player who lands with one foot first may only pivot using that foot.

A progressing player who jumps off one foot on the first step may land with both feet simultaneously for the second step. In this situation, the player may not pivot with either foot and if one or both feet leave the floor the ball must be released before either returns to the floor.

c. In starting a dribble after (1) receiving the ball while standing still, or (2) coming to a legal stop, the ball must be out of the player’s hand before the pivot foot is raised off the floor.

d. If a player, with the ball in his possession, raises his pivot foot off the floor, he must pass or shoot before his pivot foot returns to the floor. If he drops the ball while in the air, he may not be the first to touch the ball.

e. A player who falls to the floor while holding the ball, or while coming to a stop, may not gain an advantage by sliding.

f. 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.

g. A player is not allowed to be the first to touch his own pass unless the ball touches his backboard, basket ring or another player.

h. Upon ending his dribble or gaining control of the ball, a player may not touch the floor consecutively with the same foot (hop).


According to some observers, enforcement of the rule as written is not necessarily rigorous in the NBA, and traveling violations are often overlooked.[3][4][5]


Article 25 of the FIBA Official Basketball Rules 2018:[6]

25.1 Definition

25.1.1. Traveling is the illegal movement of one foot or both feet beyond the limits outlined in this article, in any direction, while holding a live ball on the playing court.

25.1.2. A pivot is the legal movement in which a player who is holding a live ball on the playing court steps once or 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 floor.

25.2. Rule

25.2.1. Establishing a pivot foot by a player who catches a live ball on the playing court:

25.2.2. A player falling, lying or sitting on the floor:


The ball becomes dead and a throw-in is awarded to the opposing team out of bounds nearest the point where the violation took place under NCAA and NFHS rules.[7] Under NBA rules, the ball is awarded to the opposing team at the nearest spot but no closer to the baseline than the free throw line extended.[8]


Historical Rule Changes

The interpretation and enforcement of this rule have seen various changes over the years, reflecting the evolution of the game and the establishment of rules by different leagues. Here's a brief overview of the progression of traveling rules:

Early Basketball: Initially, there were no concrete rules governing player movement. Referees had to rely on their judgment, without specific guidelines to determine a traveling violation.

Dribbling's Introduction: Contrary to what many might think, dribbling wasn't an original component of basketball. It was introduced by the Yale University basketball team in 1897, and over time, became a fundamental part of the sport.

NBA and FIBA Standards: Both the NBA and FIBA define traveling as taking more than two steps without dribbling. However, the NCAA and NFHS have stricter interpretations, not permitting the two-step motion without a dribble.

Gather Step Addition: In an effort to bring more clarity and consistency, FIBA, in 2018, incorporated the "gather step" into its traveling rules. This change made FIBA's interpretation more aligned with that of the NBA.

Pivot Foot: Another dimension of the traveling rule is the pivot foot. If a player shifts or moves their established pivot foot, it's deemed a traveling violation.

Slip Foot: If a player stops with the ball but they are in an unstable position and have to take a small step to regain balance, depending on how far the 'slip' is, it will be deemed as a travel violation.

These adaptations over the years have aimed to bring uniformity to the traveling rules across various leagues and organizations. Such standardization has made the game more comprehensible and consistent for its players, coaches, and enthusiasts.[13]


In netball

Netball rules do not permit players to let their landing foot touch the ground again if it is lifted at all while in possession of the ball, so players can take 1+12 steps while holding the ball. Pivoting does not count as a step.[21] Players are entitled to balance on the other foot if the landing foot is lifted. An infraction of this rule is usually called traveling (or steps) as in basketball.

IFNA Rule 14.3 states:

A player in possession of the ball may not:-
(i) drag or slide the landing foot;
(ii) hop on either foot;
(iii) jump from both feet and land on both feet unless the ball has been released before landing.

A free pass is awarded to the opposing team where the infringement occurred.

In korfball

In korfball, either foot can be used as pivot, no matter which foot touches the ground first. This means that in practice, one can take 2+12 steps, e.g. landing on the right foot, putting down the left and displacing the right. The left foot is the pivot in this case. The left foot can then be lifted, but may not be repositioned.

See also


  1. ^ 2020-21 NCAA Men's Basketball Rules, Rule 9, Section 5
  2. ^ "2018-19 NBA Rulebook Rule 10, Section XIII". NBA Official. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  3. ^ John Walters (June 19, 2014). "The NBA's Extra Step: What Happened to Traveling?". Newsweek. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  4. ^ Dave Schilling (April 21, 2018). "Traveling in the NBA: The Price of Making Art". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  5. ^ Dwight James (September 24, 2019). "How the NBA explains away all of those missed traveling calls". NBC Sports. Archived from the original on March 17, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  6. ^ "Official Basketball Rules 2018" (PDF). FIBA. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  7. ^ 2009-2011 Men's & Women's Basketball Rules Rule 9, Section 15, Article 1. Retrieved July 26, 2010
  8. ^ NBA Official Rules (2009-2010) Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine Rule 6, Section I, g(1). Retrieved July 26, 2010
  9. ^ NCAA 2009 Basketball Rules: Rule 4, Section 66, Article 6
  10. ^ NFHS Basketball Casebook - Section 4.44.5 Situation A
  11. ^ [1] FIBA rule changes for 2008
  12. ^ "Player controls a rebound and falls to the court"
  13. ^ "Basketball Mentality - Shoe and Gear Guides, Vertical Jump Info & More!".
  14. ^ a b Archived 2012-03-01 at the Wayback Machine NFHS Basketball Rules Fundamentals
  15. ^ a b 8 Misunderstood Basketball Rules
  16. ^ NFHS Basketball Casebook - Section 4.44.5 Situation B
  17. ^ NCAA Basketball Approved Ruling 113 (3)
  18. ^ FIBA traveling rule cases
  19. ^ NBA Official Rules (2009-2010) Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine Rule 10, Section XIII, F. Retrieved July 26, 2010
  20. ^ [2] Rule 4, Section 15, Article 4c
  21. ^ Murrary, Peter (2008). Netball, The International Sport. Bath, England: Murray Books (Australia. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-4075-2962-2. OCLC 700886957.