What is a Carry in Basketball?

A Carry is known as having a hand over the ball and then “palming the ball” or “turning the ball over.” It’s also a violation in basketball when the ball handler scoops their Han d underneath the ball or places their hand on the lower half of the ball during dribbling — which causes the ball to come to a brief rest. If the ball handler then starts to dribble (or moves their feet), then this becomes a moving violation.

A carry, in basketball (football) terminology, is when a player steps out of bounds with the ball without an opposing player touching them. Carrying the ball can result in either a violation turnover or just having to replay possession if the other team did not have clear possession.

Rules of a Carry in Basketball:

The following are some rules that govern what counts as a carry:

The Ball Must Be In a Player’s Hand

In the game of basketball, the ball must be in a player’s hand or on their person. If the ball hits the ground, it is not a carry being that the player lost possession of it.

If a player is jumping, they cannot step out of bounds without another player touching them until after they have landed and established themselves with both feet on the ground.

Throwing Ball and Touching the Floor

If a player throws (pitches) the ball to another teammate, they cannot touch the floor without another player touching them until after it has been touched by their teammate. If they do, it is a carry and possession reverts to the other team.

Players Cannot Take More Than Four Steps

Players cannot take more than four steps after being pushed by an opposing player. Moreover, players cannot take more than three steps after ‘gaining control of the ball’ (e.g. receiving a pass).

Keeping One Foot in Bounds

It will not be a carry if the out of bounds line cuts through one or both of their feet while they are holding the ball. This means it is possible for a player to have one foot out of bounds while the other is in bounds.

Touching the Line

A car if the ball touches the line before coming into view between their legs.

Spilling Drink

If a player spills some of their drink, they can wipe off the spilled area with their hand before coming back into play.

Blood on the Uniform

If a basketball player has blood on their uniform, they must leave the court for at least one minute. If an opposing team member wipes off the blood before allowing them back into play, will be unsportsmanlike and will result in a technical foul.

The Distance of the other Player

-It will not be a carry if there is no other player within three meters (10 feet) of the player who stepped out of bounds (neutral zone).

Coming Into Contact With an Opposing Team Member

-It will not be a carry if the player does not come into contact with an opposing team member after going out of bounds.

Violation of Rules

-If a player violates any rule while carrying the ball, it will result in a violation turnover.

Making a Goal

-If there is a carry by the opposing team and results in a goal, it is a goal for them.

How to Make a Goal in Basketball…

-There are two ways to score in basketball: shooting and making a goal. The ball is shot through the net by propelling it upward with an offensive player’s hand, as they try to make as few as possible of these ‘shots’ for three points.

This results in a goal being made. Note that some rules don’t apply to this method of scoring.

-The players can make a goal by simply throwing the ball into the basket after dribbling. This only results in one point score instead of three.

-If a player throws the ball so that it hits anything before going through the basket, they get no points. Other players can swat away the ball before it enters the basket.

-If an offensive player makes a goal, there are no charges on defense for that possession, but they can be contested after the fact.

-In addition, if players score a goal without touching the ball, either with accurate passing or dribbling, it will count as two points instead of one.

-If the players make a goal with the help of an offensive player’s teammate, it will count as two points.

-Moreover, if a team score a goal as a result of their team losing possession, it will be a no point.

-Reducing or increasing the distance from the net on a shot does not affect the scoring value.

-Players play this game in four quarters, each lasting 12 minutes. There are two 20 minute halves that result in a 40-minute game when added together.

Some Basic Rules of Playing Basketball:

  • There are two teams in this game. Each team should have five players on the court at one time, including the goalie. If a player leaves from the court for any reason, another player will take their place after a short interval of time has passed. If too much time elapses without substitution, it will result in a delay in the game.
  • Players can’t walk with the ball because they must pass it in between players to keep possession. Players can do dribbling but they cannot have both feet off the ground while doing so.
  • There are five personal fouls that can earn a player an ejection from the court, leaving their team short-handed for the remainder of the game. These are:

-Illegal contact



-Holding an opponent’s arm or clothing so they can’t move freely

-Pushing someone to get them out of their way that doesn’t involve physical contact with any specific part of their body, but does have an effect on them

  • If a player commits five personal fouls, they are out from the court. If it happens again, they will receive ‘double technical foul’ which is really just two individual technical fouls instead of one. This can be accumulated four times in total for any team member before being ejected themselves.
  • A player cannot hold the ball for longer than three seconds without dribbling around. If they are not dribbling it, they must pass it between other players on their team.
  • Goalies cannot leave their designated area of the court while the ball is in play. They can do this if a player steals or rebounds the ball, but return to their area immediately.
  • If the ball goes out of bounds, it is awarded to the other team. If they intentionally throw it out of bounds, they lose possession automatically.
  • Players can score by making a basket after dribbling or shooting, or throwing the ball into the goal without taking any actions that involve them touching or directing the ball with their hands.
  • Making a goal with the help of an offensive player’s teammate will result in two points instead of one, or three if it they score it by dribbling instead of passing.


A carry in basketball is a violation that results in a possession that reverts to the other team. A player can commit one or more consecutive carries during a play — and it will count as one penalty. 

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