What Is Double Dribble In Basketball? An Ultimate Guide

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In sports matches, making mistakes is inevitable. Sometimes, there are some fundamental errors, but they appear quite often.

Double dribbling is one such error. When observing the match, the audience can recognize it through the players’ actions.

So, in basketball, what is a double dribble? Let’s find out with Scott Fujita through the article below.

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What Is Double Dribble In Basketball? 

A double dribble violation is a term that refers to the illegal ball movement of a player who pauses during dribbling and then starts again.

One of the basic rules of dribbling prohibits a player from holding or stopping the basketball with two hands and then continuing to dribble. It got its name because it is a double dribble with an alternating pause.

According to rule 10 of the National Basketball Association, players can make this mistake whenever they hold the ball. If a player touches the ball twice before it hits the floor, this action will be counted as a foul.

The double dribble rule is a fundamental rule of basketball. It is more common in youth matches than in college and professional tournaments.

Examples Of A Double Dribble During A Basketball Game 

Double-dribble violations are pretty common in basketball games. It happens when a player holds the ball or stops it with two hands, then dribbles again.

A number of common scenarios lead to this error when a match is in progress.

The most common example is when a player has just received the ball from a pass. Usually, he would dribble and then stop. If that player continues to dribble to get past the opponent’s defense, he will make a mistake.

Another example of double dribbling is fake ball moments. Players often use this trick to trick the opponent.

Usually, they will pretend like they want to pass the ball to their teammates, but it is dribbling. This situation counts as a foul because they dribbled, stopped, then resumed dribbling.

The offending team must switch the ball into defensive mode if either occurs.

Unlike making a mistake, double dribbling never results in a free throw, thrown-in, or free throw. Its penalty is usually a change in ball control.

Why Is Double Dribbling Illegal In Basketball? 

Double dribbling allows players to dribble and block multiple times without passing the ball. This action will unintentionally put a lot of pressure on the opponent’s defense.

According to common sense, the team will devote all resources to the star players. Therefore, they will usually keep the ball for most of the game.

If the players have absolute control and dribbling ability, they will always be afraid of the defense. They have many options, and it will be difficult to predict their next course of action.

However, when a person is limited in the number of dribbles, they are no longer scary. The defense can ignore them to focus on other objects.

Besides, a player who holds the ball for too long will hinder the game’s flow. It makes the game less attractive and does not establish the team’s teamwork.

Giving the defense many advantages also helps create attractive steals. Sometimes, an effective defense is an effective offense.

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Men playing basketball together.

What Happens When A Player Double Dribbles? 

Like other dribbling violations, the penalty for double dribbles is turnovers. It means that the defense will receive the ball immediately.

However, different leagues will have rules about the area and the team that can receive the ball.

At high school or college basketball games, the NFHS, FIBA, and NCAA allow the defending team to throw the ball into the area closest to where the violation occurred on the court.

In contrast, the NBA requires players to put the ball in the middle of the field. The team is also not allowed to put the ball in the area in the middle of the free-throw line baseline.

The reason is that inbounding in this area helps shorten the team’s distance from the net. Thanks to that, they can quickly reach and score immediately.

Other Dribbling Violations

The rules of basketball record three different dribbling violations, and double dribble is just one of them.

These moves are all violations and have the same penalty as double dribbling. The offending team loses possession of the ball.

The first offense is traveling or walking. This violation occurs when a player picks up the ball and then moves or steps with their pivot foot.

Unless they actively move towards the hoop, any movement without dribbling is a violation.

Conversely, if a player approaches the basket area within two steps, they will not be in violation. This move is also known as the “two-step rule.” If two actions are exceeded, the player will make a traveling error.

The second violation is a palm. This action refers to the player turning the ball over in their hand while dribbling instead of returning the ball to the field.

It is effortless for the referee to notice this violation because it causes the player to be stopped for a considerable amount of time during play. 

Controversy Regarding Double Dribbles In The NBA 

NBA critics discourage the use of double dribbling during play. However, the NBA does not seem to put too much emphasis on this foul.

This error is quite familiar, and longtime fans of the NBA easily recognize it appears. Therefore, the audience will feel uncomfortable, which reduces the tournament’s professionalism.

In contrast, dribbling violations are more common in high school tournaments like FIBA. Therefore, when participating in international arenas, American players are more likely to make mistakes.

Since the punishment is not too severe, it will be difficult for the players to correct this bad habit. It has a lot to do with ball handling and control skills.


If you still have questions about double dribble, please refer to the section below.

what is double dribble in basketball


What Are The 2 Types Of Double Dribble?

There are two types of double-dribble fouls. The first mistake is when the player dribbles with two hands instead of one.

The second error is when the player dribbles, stops, and continues to dribble.

Can You Double Dribble In A 1v1?

Yes. The attacking side must make at least one backup dribble before moving forward. The maximum number of backup dribbles by a player is two.

What Is The Difference Between The Double Dribble And Carrying The Ball?

Many newbies to basketball may confuse double dribbling and carrying. However, there are two different errors.

The most obvious difference lies in the fact that the carrying error involves the act of placing one hand underneath the ball.

The player who holds the hand for a long time while moving will make a mistake.

How Many Times Can You Dribble A Basketball?

A player can only dribble once when in control. He can only dribble twice if he loses control of the live ball on the playing field for some of the following reasons:

  • Another player touched a fumble or their pass.
  • The opponent touches the ball.
  • A shot on a field goal.

How Long Can You Hold A Basketball Without Dribbling?

You can only hold the ball for up to five seconds or dribble for five seconds if you are well protected.

A close guard is a state in which a player controls the ball in the front yard with an opponent standing within 6 feet of them.


What is a double dribble violation in basketball? It is a dribbling violation that involves the player pausing after dribbling and then starting again.

This rule is quite simple and very recognizable. However, many think they do not get much attention in professional leagues like the NBA.

Now, you know the rules. Think about it and follow the players’ movements; chances are you will notice them before the referee.

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