What is “Traveling” in Basketball?

What is “Traveling” in Basketball?

The game of basketball has a lot of rules but they are all easy to understand. However, do people really know what is “Traveling” in Basketball? It’s a rule violation that is misunderstood and often not called by basketball officials.

“Traveling” in Basketball

In basketball, traveling is a violation of the rules that occurs when a player holding the ball moves one or both of their feet illegally. This rule is intended to prevent players from gaining an advantage by moving with the ball ball without dribbling. When a player has taken more than 3 steps without the ball being dribbled, a traveling violation is called.

The rule was 2 steps before 2018, but The International Basketball Federation, also known as FIBA changed the rule. Since 2018, there is a step called the “gather step” before you take the 2 steps. A travel can also be called via carrying or a pivot foot that’s not grounded properly. If the pivot foot of a player changes or moves, it is considered traveling. If the referee blows his whistle for a travel, the team that committed the violation loses possession and the ball is awarded to the other team.

What is “Traveling” in Basketball?
Basketball Traveling

Basically, the player who picks up the ball while running or dribbling is allowed to take two steps before getting rid of it with a pass or shot. However, as we established above, the gathering step is not part of those two two allowed steps. For example, the player picks up the ball and the step he makes while picking up the ball is called the “gather” step. From that point on, the player is allowed to make two more steps before having to get rid of the ball. All in all, anything more than three steps after the ball is picked up will be called for a travel.

Traveling Rule

Traveling rules better reflect the actions of the players on the court. Concentration is very important for the game of basketball and lack of it leads to travelling. It usually happens when a player is put under pressure from the opposing team. When a player is moving and has one foot on the floor while catching the ball or ending a dribble, the next foot to touch the floor becomes the pivot foot. From that point on, moving the pivot foot will result in a travel.

Also if a player without any possession of the ball, slides across the floor to recover a loose ball, he is permitted to slide with the ball without being called for a travel. Read more about basketball traveling right HERE.

It’s important to note that the travelling rule is very strict in FIBA competitions. It’s called all the time and referees rarely miss it. However, in NBA, especially during the regular season, officials are very forgiving when it comes to players making an extra step. This is because players move very fast in the NBA. A lot of times, an extra step is ignored and traveling is not called. However, during the playoffs, they are much stricter with this rule.