Agility is a crucial skill in the game of American football. Agility tests are used to determine the skills of football players through high school and college. In the professional ranks, the NFL Combine puts potential professionals through a battery of physical testing that includes speed and agility testing.
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20 Yard Shuttle Drill
The 20-yard shuttle drill is an agility drill that teaches proper footwork. The 20-yard shuttle drill is performed at the NFL Scouting Combine. A football player begins the 20-yard shuttle drill in a three-point stance. When the whistle blows, a player sprints five yards to the side to touch a cone. The football player then sprints 10 yards in the other direction and touches the cone, before turning and sprinting back through the beginning yard line. This football agility drill helps football players increase lateral quickness and avoid wasting steps before changing direction.
60 Yard Shuttle Drill
The 60-yard shuttle drill is an extended version of the 20-yard shuttle test. The football player starts in a three-point stance, and when the whistle blows, run 10 yards to one side touching the cone. The player then runs back 20 yards to the other side before touching the cone, before finally changing direction and sprinting back 10 yards through the finishing line. This football agility works on quick feet and change of direction. The longer distance covered adds an element of stamina training in this football agility drill.
The W drill requires cones to be set in a diagonal slalom fashion with five yards between them. The University of Vermont football players use this drill. The football player starts in a crouched stance and on the whistle, sprints forward and diagonally to the first cone. The player rounds the first cone before backpedalling diagonally to the next cone. This process continues until the player backpedals to the sixth cone. This football agility drill develops sprinting and change of direction. Football players who practice the W drill also improve their footwork and speed while moving backwards. Backpedaling is an important skill for defensive players, in particular cornerbacks and safeties who are required to backpedal to cover wide receivers and not allow offensive players to get open in behind them.
Three Cone Drill
The three-cone football drill requires three cones to be placed in an "L" shape five yards apart. The three-cone drill is used as a performance measurement at the NFL Scouting Combine. The football player starts in a three-point stance and sprints five yards forward to touch the second cone, before changing direction quickly and returning to touch the first cone. The player then runs back to the second cone before rounding and sprinting to the third cone. The player runs round the third cone then returns to the start by rounding the second cone. Philadelphia Eagles college scout Matt Russell states that this drill helps a player practice bending, pivoting and shifting their body weight.