Basketball Pivoting

Chapter 5.6

A player's movement on the basketball court is sometimes limited by his/her pivot foot. Get ready to learn what a pivot foot is and how it impacts a player's movement in basketball.


We've already learned about dribbling as a way to move the ball in basketball. Dribbling is the continuous motion by a player using one (1) hand to bounce the ball repeatedly off the floor. The motion looks like this:

Rookie Road Basketball Dribbling Image

In this chapter, we will learn what happens when a player stops dribbling, but continues to move by pivoting.

Picking Up Your Dribble

When a player is dribbling he/she can decide to stop dribbling at any point. When a player stops dribbling it's called picking up your dribble. Why? The player no longer dribbles and instead holds the ball in his/her hands. At this point, the player has three (3) options, he/she can:

PRO TIP: The option to pivot is also available to a player when he/she is in triple threat.

Rookie Road Basketball Picking Up Your Dribble Image


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

Rookie Road Basketball Pivot Image

REMEMBER: When a player picks up his/her dribble he/she can no longer dribble.

Choosing A Pivot Foot

A pivot foot is the the foot that must remain stationary on the floor at all times. Think of it like a rooted a tree. It can not be taken off the ground or a player will be given a violation called traveling. Once a player chooses a pivot foot it can not be changed to the other foot. The pivot foot must remain in place and can only be lifted in an attempt to make a pass or to shoot the ball.

Rookie Road Basketball Pivot Foot Image

Pivot Foot Assigned

A player doesn't always have the option to choose his/her pivot foot. Sometimes it is decided for them. Like when a player catches a pass or rebound while keeping one or both feet on the ground.

PRO TIP: That's why you'll see players jump slightly in the air when catching passes or rebounds. This allows them to make either foot his/her pivot foot.

Now What?

Our player now has a pivot foot assigned and can no longer dribble the ball. Our player has three (3) options. He/she can:

5-Second Violation

Our player must be quick to either pass or shoot the ball when a pivot foot is assigned. Once in the pivot stage, our player has five (5) seconds to shoot or pass or a violation called a 5-second violation is given. If it is called, the other team gets the ball.

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