5-10-5 Agility, Shuttle, Yard, Metre, Hand or Foot?

By Graham Dudley

I was once approached by a coach ranting about the times of his athletes when performing the “Pro-Agility Test”, a simple distance v’s time test assessing change of direction. His frustration was based on the faster times all athletes in our GPTQA managed NFL combine were getting over his own pre-trial training. He quizzed our team and suggested we had all the measurements wrong however what he hadn’t considered was the context of the test being run and the fact that it was in YARDS not METRES.

To confuse the matter, let us consider the main 5-10-5 agility tests:

  • Pro-Agility Test or 20 Yard Shuttle or 5-10-5 Shuttle
    • Measurement in Yards (5 yards + 10 yards + 5 yards)
    • Point of contact = Hand
  • 20 Yard Agility Test
    • Measurement in Yards (5 yards + 10 yards + 5 yards)
    • Point of contact = Foot
  • 20m Agility Test
    • Measurement in Metres (5m + 10m + 5m)
    • Point of contact = Foot

Generally, the equipment used is the same with timing gates triggered by the departure of the subject from an “in-beam” location and then broken again at the 2 x 10m split times after the turns. It is however really important to mark the turn points with a clear line not just the gap between two cones to ensure consistency.


“When placing a line for a 5-10-5 agility test, make sure the measurement is to the INSIDE edge of the line or tape. The distance travelled must be consistent so “touching” the line must be equal to or greater than the test distance” (Learn more about line marking in GPTQA Level 1)

Another point of difference is around the point of contact being the hand or the foot. More commonly the hand-based test is associated to sports like NFL, or NHL however some consideration should be made when defining this test to the actual uniqueness of the sport i.e. is it more relevant for the subject to touch the floor with their hand in the context of the sporting action or is the foot more realistic?

Make sure you understand the changing of direction purpose too. The tests are designed to assess the change of direction including acceleration between the points of contact however the hand-based tests specify that the RIGHT hand will touch the RIGHT line and the LEFT hand will touch the LEFT line whereas the foot-based tests allow EITHER foot to touch both RIGHT and LEFT lines.

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