The 3-Cone Shuttle Drill agility test is part of the fitness testing battery for the NFL Combine, replacing the “4 Cone” or “Box” drill. It is also sometimes called the 'L-Drill' due to the shape of the cone layout.
purpose: this is a test of agility, including speed, quickness, flexibility, change of direction, body control.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Measure and mark out the course. Ensure that the participants are adequately warmed-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
test layout: Three marker cones are placed to form an "L." with cones at the corner and at each end, 5 yards apart (see diagram).
procedure: The player starts by getting down in a three-point stance next to Cone 1. On the command 'Go', he runs to Cone 2, bends down and touches a line with his right hand. Then he turns and runs back to Cone 1, bends down and touches that line with his right hand. Then he runs back to Cone 2 and around the outside of it, weaves inside Cone 3, then around the outside of Cones 3 and 2 before finishing at Cone 1. The player must run forward while altering his running direction, as opposed to strictly stopping and starting in opposite directions. Each time they perform the 3-cone drill for a different side (e.g. first time they curve to the left, second time they curve to the right). See 3-cone shuttle drill video.
scoring: The time to complete the test in seconds is recorded. The score is the best time out of two trials.
results: US Decathlete Bryan Clay scored 7.85 seconds in this test during a SPARQ testing exercise (published in SPARQ Magazine, Summer 2008). See also some results from the NFL Combine.
target population: This test is part of the NFL testing combine, though it would be suitable for athletes involved in many team sports where agility is important such as basketball, hockey, rugby, and soccer.
The Test in Action
- The 3-Cone Drill is the newest addition to the NFL Scouting Combine, replacing the “4 Cone” or “Box” drill.
- This test was once part of the Football Pro Rating SPARQ
- See a video of the 3-cone shuttle drill.
- “4 Cone” or “Box” drill — run around a 10-yard square course, testing agility.