Pivoting in basketball is an action the ball-handler can take by rotating around a pivot foot without picking it up. Pivoting helps a player avoid a defensive player and find an opening on the court to take a shot, make a pass, or dribble toward the basket.
A pivot foot is one of the ball-handler's feet that must remain on the floor while he or she pivots. The ball-handler can either choose his or her pivot foot or have it automatically be assigned by the way they catch the ball.
When the ball-handler picks up his dribble, he has the choice of choosing his pivot foot. Picking up your dribble means the player stops dribbling and holds the ball in his hands. When choosing a pivot foot, the ball-handler can pick either his left foot or right foot. Try to choose your pivot foot based on which will give you better options for a pass or a good shot!
Sometimes, a player doesn't get to choose his pivot foot. The ball-handler's pivot foot is automatically assigned if he catches a pass or rebound while one foot is on the floor. In that case, the foot that is on the floor is his pivot foot.
Traveling is a violation in basketball that will be called on you if you violate the rules of dribbling. An example of traveling is lifting your pivot foot off the floor. You can think of the pivot foot as a rooted tree. When pivoting, you must keep your pivot foot rooted on the floor. If you do not, your team will lose the ball and you will return to defense.
A five second violation will be called on the ball-handler if he holds onto the ball once his pivot foot is established for longer than five seconds. Five second violations result in a turnover and the other team getting the ball. When you begin pivoting, immediately start looking for your best option for getting rid of the ball. Pass, shoot, or start dribbling!