What is the Short Shuttle?


Let’s talk about training for the short shuttle (a.k.a. “shuttle run”, or “5-10-5”).

This drill tests your short area quickness and explosion.

WR Austin Pettis clocked a 3.88 in the short shuttle in 2011, running the fastest short shuttle time for a WR in recent NFL Combine history. (ICON Sports)

In case you don’t know what drill I’m talking about, here’s an explanation of the drill, from NFL.com’s NFL Combine site:

…The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.

Related: 40 Yard Dash Training


Being that I’m not a trainer, I did my best to find information for you on training for this drill that came from a credible source, and I think I was successful in doing-so.

Today’s training tips come via The National Athletic Training System (NATS), which is ran by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

The AFCA has existed since 1921, and consists of over 11,000 football coaches that coach on all levels, from high school, to the NFL.

I think it’s safe to say this information comes from a credible source.

Let’s go.

Training for the Short Shuttle

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The National Athletic Testing System has a page that gives you tips on training for the short shuttle and they do a great job of explaining the drill in-detail; they even have a detailed diagram of the drill.

Once you’re there, scroll down, and you’ll see three links:

1. One that covers the procedures of the test,

2. One that gives you tips on taking the test,

3. And another that gives you some guidance on training for the drill.

In case you care, I thought I’d give my quick break-down these three videos:

Related: Three Things Prospects May Not Know About the NFL Combine


Short Shuttle Procedure Video

This video explains exactly what the short shuttle is, and explains the rules and guidelines of the test…

…including what you want to avoid doing, to keep from disqualifying.

This is good info to know, because instead of hearing it for the first time when you get on-site at the combine or tryout, you can know this stuff weeks, or months, in-advance.

In a nutshell, the procedure video is basically a longer rendition of the speech the person administering the test would give you before you started.


Short Shuttle Tips Video

This one gives you four tips that should help you reduce your time, if you practice doing the drill enough.

The first tip suggests that you run the entire drill on the balls of your feet, since that’s where your explosion comes from.  That definitely makes sense, at least to me.

The second suggestion, is that which ever direction you start-out the drill going, you put the opposite arm down.

Related: Combine Preparation – Combine/Pro Day Numbers that Scouts Are Looking For – By Position.


So, for example, if you were going to the right first, you’d put your left arm down before you start.

Their philosophy is that you use the opposite arm to push you and give you momentum as

Wide receiver Kevin Kasper ran a whopping 3.73 in the shuttle drill in 2001. (ICON Sports)

you start.

The third tip is to run low throughout the whole drill.

Their reasoning, is that in order for you to change directions, you have to drop your hips…

…so the lower you can run, the less distance you have to bend to touch the lines.

Brilliant, right?

The fourth tip, is that you trick your mind into thinking you’re about to run a 40 yard dash on the last leg of the drill.

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The logic, is that as you finish, this should help ensure that you’re accelerating through the finish line.

A lot of guys “let up” before they cross the line, slowing down their time.

From experience, I can tell you that it’s tough not to “let-up” as you approach that finish line, so I can see how having this frame-of- mind can make a big difference in your time in the drill.


Short Shuttle Training Video

This video gives you drills to work on to help you train for the short shuttle.

The good thing about the drills they suggest, is that they help you become a more dynamic, explosive football player; they don’t just help you with the short shuttle test.

For example, the side one-leg hop that they introduce will help you with your body control and explosion, which’ll definitely help you on the field.

Related: Core Training for Football – Why Core Training is a MUST for NFL Hopefuls – Part One


The one thing I didn’t like about the training video, is that they recommend you go through the short shuttle drill with a friend or training partner, using a resistance band, or flexicord.

There’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll help you, but it kinda goes-against what I’ve tried to do in the previous training posts, in that it would obviously require for you to buy something.

All-in-all, buying a resistance harness/band (or whatever they’re called) may not be a bad investment, though.

From what I’ve seen online, you should be able to find one for under $200, for the cord and harness.

Watch former Notre Dame CB Mike Richardson train for the short shuttle, running a 3.97!


So take this information, use it, and go out and impress some coaches and scouts. 

Good luck!

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Reference web pages:

Combine Drills: Agility (via nats.us)


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