It’s football month here on the SAPT blogosphere and because testing is vital, we’ve decided to take a look at a few of the common tests that football players of all levels will likely face at combines or clinics. In this first installment we will take a look at the Pro Agility Shuttle run (AKA the 5-10-5) which is a foundational test used by coaches to evaluate a player’s ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction quickly and efficiently. In a game, football plays are constantly evolving and the ability of a player to stop, shift their weight, and accelerate in the opposite direction is very valuable.
The pro agility drill is a fairly simple test to administer because the only equipment needed is open space, cones, and a stop watch. The event is set up with three cones in a line, each separated by 5 yards. To execute this drill, the athlete will begin by straddling the middle cone with the other cones at their left and right. Timing starts on the athlete’s first movement from the center cone. Once started the athlete must sprint 5 yards to the right, sprint 10 yards to the farthest cone, and then sprint 5 yards through the center cone which represents the finish line. This test also has the option to be performed going to the left side. Click here to see video of the pro agility test performed at a very high speed
Probably the largest area that is ripe for improvement in this test is the person’s turning technique, which if sloppy, can cost valuable time along with possible injury. To be the most efficient with each turn, a runner must get low as they make the turn in order to maintain balance and slow down without toppling over. This position also allows the person to keep their center of gravity atop their legs which will be used to propel them to the next cone. An easy scenario to envision this would be to imagine a tractor trailer attempting to make a high speed turn and then, compare that to a high end sports car like a Lamborghini making that same turn at a high rate of speed. Barring any bad driving skills the sports car with its lower center of gravity will have more success in these turns. Would you rather be the big rig or the Lambo?
Another area where time can easily be lost is just shy of the finish line where some testers will try to finish with 3 or 4 really large steps as opposed to keeping their current stride pattern and slowing after the finish line. Correcting this is typically what is asked of an athlete when they are told to “run through the finish line.” Shown below is chart showing the normative scores for NCAA D1 athletes from a variety of sports. Check back next week as we discuss the broad jump and ways to unlock a few extra inches.
Table: Hoffman, Jay. Norms for Fitness, Performance, and Health. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006. Print.