Basketball Defense – The Art of Traveling
Traveling is an often overlooked rule in basketball where the player in possession of the basketball but not touching the rim makes an intentional illegal move with his or her feet without touching the floor. An offensive foul is called immediately when a traveling violation occurs. A travel violation results immediately in a turnover, meaning the ball is given to the other team immediately. The player who was illegally touching the floor will now be assessed a technical foul and the ball will be tossed. A shooting foul is also called when a traveling violation occurs and the defender attempts to make a shot within five feet of a shooting foul line.
Many people incorrectly call a traveling violation a jump shot when it is actually a pullup. In order to properly determine the call, look at the offensive players on both teams and see how they are set up. If one player has a gap in his form, then that player may not be able to Travel. This is called a “Pivot Foot” and is a common call on traveling teams.
A “Pivot Foot” can be very useful for defenses to figure out how to defend against a specific player’s ability to get to the basket. For example, if a big man is set to the top of the three-point line and wants to shoot, then he can pivot foot and take a jab step to the left or right to find an open man in the paint. If he’s not able to do this, then he’ll just use his normal crossover dribble and attempt to go around the defender. This type of defense is used quite a bit at the top of the three-point line.
Teams will often use a double pivot set up. With the big man in the middle, two other big men will set around him. When a player is traveling, he can either take a jab step or a cross over to the left or right. If he’s traveling right, then the defender is going to trap him in the corner. If he is pivoting left, then he can hit a pullup over the defense.
The advantage of traveling in transition is that it makes it easier to score layups because it gets them into the paint. This is where most offenses begin: on the wing. However, some defenses will start trips to the top of the three-point line to stop the driving before the shot clock even starts. This is called a “traveling violation”. A traveling violation causes a points penalty and sometimes even a game misconduct.
The best defense against traveling is the “Airbnb”. The Airbnb is a set up where the defender comes from the back of the court to act as a buffer between the two teams. The offense sends a small ball forward to the defender who then uses his or her rotation to block the flight path of the ball to the basket. The idea is that the defender can’t commit to blocking the shot until he or she has come to a complete stop. This way, the offense can put the ball through the hoop and still have a free throw attempt.