When it comes to measuring lateral speed, power, and change of direction, not many drills beat the pro-agility. While this drill is most popular for being used as a testing parameter in the NFL combine every year, it’s actually applicable to a variety of sports such as basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and baseball. This is personally one of my favorite drills to teach because it actually requires a lot of technique and detail. Typically athletes will simply attempt to run through this drill as fast and as hard as possible, but this drill is about efficiency of movement, (like most drills) which is why many athletes with elite level linear speed oftentimes struggle. So let’s get into what makes this drill so technically intensive and how you as an athlete can master it.
Setting up for the pro-agility is very simple. You’ll need to position 3 pairs of cones 5 yards apart to form a straight line that covers a distance of 10 yards. The starting point for the drill is in the middle of the 10 yard distance. The cones should be set up so that they represent 3 lines: left, center (the start and finish line), and right.
Athletes will use a 3-point stance with their feet parallel to the start test, straddling the centerline while also having their hand down on the line. When ready the athlete will turn and sprint 5 yards to the right and touch the line with their right hand. Next, the athlete will turn and sprint 10 yards to the opposite line and touch it with their left hand. Finally the athlete will turn and sprint back an additional 5 yards finishing where the drill initially started.
- Failure to touch the lines with the correct hand will result in a scratch, and will not count
- Timing begins as soon as the athlete’s hand leaves the lines and finishes as soon as the athlete runs through the finish line
- The athlete is allowed 2 trials in each direction. (one going right & one going left)
Check The Technique
At my gym, the Boost Performance Center, there’s continuity amongst all of my coaches in how we teach pro agility. Here’s how we do it:
- In the starting stance athletes should have their feet slightly outside their hip and be sure not to lean into the direction they are going as this will lead to them losing leverage in the initial burst needed in the get off.
- The initial 5 yard sprint, be it right or left, is actually a lateral run. This is important as it’s more efficient to move laterally out of the initial get off then it is to turn and sprint linearly.
- In order to efficiently change direction from the first touch, athletes will need to properly decelerate. At Boost we coach the load and plant technique when teaching our athletes how to effectively slow down. The load foot absorbs the force when decelerating while the plant foot redirects that force to properly change direction.
- After the first touch and before the second, the athlete will need to begin to decelerate at least 8 yards from the line in order to effectively reposition themselves and change direction, again using the load and plant technique.
- Athletes should finish with their head down maintaining a low center of gravity.
The pro-agility 5-10-5 is one of my favorite drills to coach because when done correctly you can shave off some serious time. I’ve coached a number of youth athletes to be top performers in this drill, and if you follow the coaching points listed here, there’s no doubt you can be a top performer as well. -Boostman
Owner, Boost Training Systems
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance