April 1, 2024

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What Is Carry In Basketball? A Complete Explanation

7 min read
13.what is carry in basketball

You might not be familiar with a carry unless you play in youth leagues or watch high school basketball. Given how skilled the players are and the fact that referees don’t focus on it, it’s possible that the casual fan is unaware of it because it isn’t often called in professional or collegiate basketball.

What exactly is carrying in basketball, then? When a dribbler continues to dribble after letting the ball rest in one or both hands, they are in violation of the basketball rules known as a carry. Carrying is similar to a double dribble where the player briefly stops dribbling before continuing. Carrying is equivalent to traveling for a moving ball handler.

We’ll examine the carrying rule in basketball in this article.

What Is Carry In Basketball?

A carry-in basketball happens when the player with the ball abruptly stops dribbling to raise the ball into the air. It is rare to see a carrying violation called because some players are skilled at hiding them.

In the NBA, carrying can occasionally occur so quickly that officials miss it. The player’s hand remains on top of the basketball while executing a legal up-and-down dribble. A player carries the basketball by pushing it up with their hand from underneath.

When the ball handler palms the ball while dribbling it, that is a different kind of carrying. The interruption of the dribble that results from palming makes it a carrying infraction. Any interference with the dribble is supposed to result in a turnover, and the ball should then belong to the opposing team.

Players should always keep their palms downward to prevent being called for a carry. Players should make an effort to avoid ever placing their hands on the bottom of the basketball.

Different Variations Of A Carry In Basketball

We can categorize carrying errors into different groups depending on the player’s method of handling the ball. In some situations, even though you are technically stopping a dribble when you start carrying the basketball, we have a double dribble. Another situation where you can still move while holding the ball stops in your hand is when you are traveling.

This section will give you a summary of the two variations of this basketball mistake.

Carry – Double Dribble

Most basketball games feature a lot of violations of this kind. When the player’s hand is under the ball as the ball handler is dribbling and it stops, it is called a double dribble.

It will be regarded as a carrying error if the player keeps dribbling. Due to the player’s stopping and restarting of their dribble after it has finished, the referee calls it a double dribble.

Carry – Traveling

When a player’s hand is on the bottom half of the ball and they travel, the ball briefly stops while they are still moving. Instead of continuing to dribble, players opt to move forward with their feet. Some referees refer to this activity as carrying or traveling.


Finding a carry and making the call in the moment can be challenging for a referee. It is even more difficult for officials to spot a carry because the best players in the world are very skilled at masking one.

what is carry in basketball

Many athletes use a hesitation technique that makes it appear as though they are picking up their dribble before they actually keep going and drive to the basket. If done correctly, it is completely legal, but if the hesitation lasts too long or if they rest the ball in their hand, it might be considered a carry.

Modern players are so skilled that it is nearly impossible for a referee to do their job, especially if they are new to the league and haven’t seen any superstar moves firsthand.

Another common move that can verge on being illegal is the crossover. A carry may occur if the ball hovers or rests in the player’s hand for an excessive amount of time. However, this is another instance where what appears to be a rule infraction may actually be one that is legal.

The crossover dribble of Hall of Famer Allen Iverson was well-known. Many people think he was the best to ever do it. More than any other player before him, Iverson revolutionized the game. Opposing teams would sometimes claim that it was a carry, which made it contentious at times. Iverson himself has stated, “I carried my crossover all the way into the Hall of Fame”.

What Is The Penalty For Carrying The Ball?

Both have double dribble and the same effects when they travel. A turnover occurs as a result of the team making a mistake. The point on the touchline that is closest to where the error was made is where the referee returns the basketball to the opposing team. Only when the referee notices and signals a foul during play does this penalty apply.

If You Don’t Carry The Ball, How Can You Dribble?

You must practice a lot if you want to compete without carrying any violations. Making sure your hands are always on the top or sides of the basketball is a trick we frequently see NBA players use.

They should endeavor to keep their palms facing up as much as they can when a player is dribbling. When you have practiced dribbling extensively, it can be challenging to execute some basketball special moves. Nothing is, however, insurmountable if you persist.

Tips On How To Dribble To Avoid Being Called For A Carry

Basketball rookies may be concerned about receiving a carrying violation call. Here are some pointers to prevent that on the court.

  • Always keep your hand on top of the basketball while dribbling
  • You can dribble with the side of the ball a little bit but never raise your palm to the sky
  • Don’t fool with crossover moves or hesitation dribbles until you’re a seasoned ball handler
  • Work on dribbling the ball as low to the ground as possible

Special Moves That People May Mislead Into A Carry

In professional basketball leagues like the NBA, there are a few special moves that are frequently used. To distinguish themselves from carrying mistakes, NBA referees must have a great deal of knowledge and experience.

The Hesi

The Hesi, also known as “Hesitation Dribble,” is a technique that can easily be confused with carrying if the player lacks the skill. You must appear to be about to shoot as you dribble down the court and toward the three-point line.

While dribbling, you’ll need to simulate a shot. One technique is to pretend to be picking up the ball with your other hand, pause for a brief moment, and then resume dribbling. They all happen simultaneously.

what is carry in basketball

The defense of your opponent is duped by this move, forcing them to get up and attempt to block your shot. It requires a lot of practice and is a difficult move. Highly skilled players like Isaiah Thomas frequently take advantage of the game’s hesitant movements to open up numerous scoring opportunities.


Today’s game frequently uses this maneuver. It takes place when players try to exploit defenses and deceive them by moving in one direction rather than the other.

To put it simply, imagine that you are carrying the ball as it is falling and moving it the other way around against gravity.

Sometimes subtle crossovers can get past the referee’s eyes and convince them to count it as a legal move. The majority of the time, there is no room for doubt or anxiety. You can easily draw the referee’s attention to the mistake at any point during your pause.

Stationary Dribble

The players defending the ball will run as they wait for the play to develop. They passed the ball to another teammate who was prepared as the defense closed in.

The natural reflex of the dribbler is to squeeze the ball to gain control if the defender becomes aggressive and tries to steal it.

Over Hand Crossover

During the transition, if a player is dribbling down the middle of the field, they might try to stop the opposing player in the wide open space.

To pass an opponent, for instance, a right-handed dribbler would catch the ball with his right hand and throw it over his left hand in an overhand motion.

Final Thoughts

What is a carry-in basketball? When a player places his hand under the ball and stops it in midair, the action is known as a carry violation. Because the players are less experienced with the ball at that time, you will typically see this mistake more often when watching young or amateur matches.

It’s fortunate that this call doesn’t cause much concern in the college and professional games. It’s not because there isn’t any carrying; rather, it is disregarded by officials because of the players’ skill, speed, and perception that original moves and fast-paced action are more exciting.

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