The 5-10-5 agility shuttle is the staple for finding out how quick an athlete is simply because it defines the word agility to its exact science. The ability to accelerate, decelerate, stop, and reaccelerate without losing balance is basically all summed up in this one drill. But how can we do all of this in a matter of the fastest time possible? Simple. Just as you are trying to get your Olympic lifts more explosive and your 40 yard dash time faster, you must have an increased attention and emphasis on technique in this drill. A drill like the 5-10-5 agility shuttle is a little difficult to teach the techniques to an athlete, especially at a slow motion pace, because balance is the key to changing direction, and losing balance during an explanation will happen. Usually filming your athlete and then showing them their errors in slow motion is the best way to coach this drill.
Most athletes, especially at a young age or some with poor training, have poor core strength and balance. This is key to changing direction (agility). Aside from doing a whole bunch of drills that have your athletes going from one cone to the next, focus on the 5-10-5 drill and it’s technique to get the times you want in your athletes in that specific drill. Example, if you want to get your bench press stronger, you won’t shy away from the bench press, you will do the bench press exercise and other exercises that involve the muscle groups that are used in the bench press to get you stronger for bench press. (IT IS AS SIMPLE AS IT GETS!)
The 5-10-5 drill involves a 5 yard side run, a 10 yard sprint, and a 5 yard sprint at the end. In order to get your athletes times down in this drill, your focal points should be keyed on the way the body moves in this drill. Here are some techniques that are helpful for the 5-10-5:
1 Stay low
2 Lower center of gravity/hips at the line
3 Lean inside, plant outside
4 First 5 yards = 3 steps, 10 yards = 5-6 steps, 5 yards = 2-3 steps
Remember, the 5-10-5 is a short quick burst of sprints, so any drills that you include in your training should not exceed anything over 10 yards. What I love to do, is to set up cone drills inside of 5 or 10 yards and have my athletes move in the same pattern as they would in the 5-10-5. Here are 3 of my favorite drills that have worked for my athletes on a consistent basis, time after time:
1 Sprint to decelerations (5 and 10 yards)
2 L drill
3 X drill
The L drill, is an NFL combine drill that also tests for agility. This is also another drill that is complex and needs a set of skill to be learned to be ran at a high intensity. This drill works because it mimics the sprint/deceleration and hand touching of the line, and also has the short quick burst as the 5-10-5
The X drill is another one of my favorite and is a drill that I run everytime I train for agility. It is a 5 by 5 yard box that has athletes sprint up/across/up/across. This is a perfect drill because it gets your athletes to lower their hips and reach for the cone that they are running to, and also has them lean on one leg and plant on the other, the same way you would in the 5-10-5. So their body position in this drill will have them in the same body positions as the 5-10-5 will when they are touching the line.
Balance is also another part in the 5-10-5 drill. Training balance is as easy as having your athletes hoping on one leg to jumping over hurdles on one leg and also doing ladder drills on one leg. So balance drills can be whatever you would like them to be as long as your athletes are comforable doing them and not hurting. Know your athletes' strengths and weaknesses!
Also, an increase in athletic core strength is key. Doing weight training standing up will increase one's core strength in itself, so that the athlete's core will stabilize the spine during a movement. Also adding ab exercises will also help.
Remember thinking outside the box is good, but once you are too much outside the box then your athletes will be out of success.