Basketball Dribbling

Chapter 5.5

One of the main ways players move the ball on a court is by dribbling. Get ready to learn about dribbling and how it works in basketball.


When a player first gets possession of the ball, he/she is in triple threat. It is called triple threat because a player has three (3) options he/she can choose that can be threatening to opposing team. A player can:

  1. Pass The Ball
  2. Shoot The Ball
  3. Dribble The Ball

In this chapter, we will learn about dribbling in basketball, its rules, and basic strategies.

Dribbling The Ball

Dribbling the ball in basketball is the continuous motion by a player using a one (1) hand to bounce the ball repeatedly off the playing-surface. The motion looks like this:

Rookie Road Basketball Dribbling Image

Staying Inbounds

While in possession of the ball, a player can dribble the ball anywhere on the court as long as he/she stays inbounds.

Picking Up The Dribble

When a player is dribbling he/she can decide to stop dribbling at any point. When a player decides to stop dribbling this is called picking up your dribble. Why? Because the player will pick up the ball and hold it. At this point, the player can only pass, shoot, or pivot. The player won't be able to dribble again.

Rookie Road Basketball Picking Up Your Dribble Image

Pivot Foot

If a player stops dribbling, can he/she no longer move? A player can only move by means of pivoting. A pivot in basketball looks like this:

Rookie Road Basketball Pivoting Image

When a player stops dribbling, he/she can choose which foot to use as his/her pivot foot. Once a player chooses a pivot foot, it cannot be changed. The pivot foot must remain in place and can only be lifted in an attempt to make a pass or to shoot the ball.

Two Extra Steps

If a player is dribbling the ball and decides to stop dribbling he/she can take two (2) extra steps before a pivot foot is established.

Rules Of Dribbling

The rules of dribbling are as follows...

A player CAN:

  • only use one (1) hand at a time to dribble
  • bounce the ball off the playing-surface as high as he/she wants

A player CAN NOT:

Dribbling Violations

If a player breaks the rules above it is a violation resulting an immediate turnover of the ball to the other team. Here is a list of violations in basketball related to dribbling:

For now, you should know that dribbling violations exist and that they result in a turnover. We will learn more about these dribbling violations in future chapters.

History Of Dribbling

The original rules of basketball never defined dribbling. Instead, it only defined passing and shooting. Dribbling was adopted into the game when clever players began inventing a new way to move the ball by passing it to themselves.

Coming Up Next

Up next, we will learn more about what happens when a player picks up his/her dribble and establishes a pivot foot.

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