Here’s a simple question.
Can a player (A-1) while holding the ball, lift their pivot foot in the air and stand on one foot while holding the ball without dribbling, passing or shooting? Hmmm. Think about that for a moment.
Before you scroll down and we break this play down, what do YOU think?
As strange as this might look — a person pivoting with the ball, then lifts that pivot foot in the air — while standing on the non-pivot foot is perfectly legal.
While this may “look” like a traveling violation let’s take a “60 Second” review of the limitations of the pivot foot. Here are some key points to remember.
A pivot takes place when a player steps once (or more than once) in any direction with one foot, while the stationary foot (the pivot foot) is kept at it’s place in contact with the floor.
- After ending a dribble or receiving the ball with both feet on the floor – a player can choose EITHER FOOT to be the pivot. Once they lift a foot, the other becomes the pivot.
- If an airborne player receives the ball and lands on both feet – EITHER FOOT can be the pivot.
- If the airborne player receives the ball and one foot TOUCHES FIRST – that becomes the pivot foot.
- If a player receives the ball on one foot — jumps off that foot – and lands on two feet, NEITHER FOOT can be a pivot. This is the “jump stop” scenario.
- When pivoting, the player is not permitted to SLIDE that foot. Maintaining contact is not enough – it must be kept in it’s original place.
- For a dribble to be legal, it MUST be started (leave the dribblers hand) BEFORE the pivot loses contact with the floor.
- A pivot foot may be lifted (legally) PRIOR to the ball being released on a pass or try for goal. But not a dribble!
- If a player jumps in the air (lifting pivot and non-pivot foot) they must release the ball (try or pass) before coming to the floor.
- A pivot foot can be lifted without penalty provided it’s not RETURNED to the floor while a player is still in control of the ball. This is the strange one described in our scenario today.
While it’s perfectly legal to pivot using the foot, a player’s knee cannot touch the floor during this process; this would be ruled a traveling violation. And a player that receives the ball while they are lying on the floor is not permitted to establish a pivot foot and stand up, unless they begin their dribble first.
Hopefully, you will be calm and confident in ruling on these pivotal moments in all future games..
NFHS 4-33, 4-44