The pro agility is a good drill for both measuring and training for change of direction.
It is included in the NFL combine and it is easy to implement.
The rules are simple. Set up 3 cones, five yards apart, spanning 15 yards.
Start on the middle cone. Run left or right to the first cone, then to the far cone, and finish through the middle. Also, known as the 5-10-5 because those are the yardages ran. It is also called a 20 yard shuttle sometimes.
I like this as a test because it is good for showing progress. We do before and after testing and we often see the pro agility times improve the most.
This is because most athletes lack quickness because they are not able to decelerate well. No sport teaches athletes to decel properly. It is always about taking off or conditioning. The ability to slow down under control and take off going the other way is what makes athletes quick.
Running the pro agility can be done in two ways. One way is to use it to “beat the test.” Athletes that are going to be timed need to know how to run the drill to get the fastest time.
The other way is to use it for good deceleration, reaction, and short area quickness. Both uses have their advantages.
Tips and tricks for improving the pro agility are as follows.
Keep Your Trail Hand Off the Ground
Many athletes go into a turn and have the hand that is away from the cone on the ground. Sometimes they may even have both.
They may think this is faster but they are basically sliding into the cone. There is no control and it actually takes longer to get going in the other direction.
Instead athletes should work on sinking the hips back and hinging to touch with the lead hand.
This type of decel works best on the court or field and is the quickest way to move.
Gain Ground out of Turns
Too many athletes pivot in their turns. This means that no ground gets gained from the cone.
Instead, you can push both feet into the ground and basically jump back the other way. This means the first step is a few yards ahead of where it would be in a pivot.
The slowest way to slow down and turn is to stand up and turn in place. Stay low and use the ground to your advantage.
This can help athletes appear to be more explosive. Without actually developing anymore power, we can move quicker. It is a small technique change that can really impress.
Mix in Some Reaction Work
Some athletes get paralyzed with their time in the pro agility that they only run it to pass the test. Training for a pro agility time is like taking a test with the answers to it. You know everything that is going to happen, you just need to perform.
Sports change up the test questions. You might have the all of the answers to the wrong test. You need to know the info in order to pass.
I like using reaction on the pro agility to help break up the routine of it. You can have the fastest pro agility on the planet but you are only quick if it shows in a game.
Use reaction in the following ways to add variation to the drill:
- Use left or right to determine start direction
- Do the same with different color cones
- Add in changes before you actually reach the length of the cones
- Get a partner and run it against them
- Mix in shuffles, crossovers, and backpedals
The pro agility can be very useful for athletes to improve their quickness. Run it to not only get a good time but also to help transfer to your sport.