5-10-5 Short Shuttle Technique returns

I just went out and filmed myself running some 5-10-5 shuttles today and thought I would open up a discussion on the new forum about technique.

For those who don’t know, the short shuttle is essentially a 5yd-10yd-5yd run like this:


A = athlete
x, y and z are cones. The distance from x to y and x to z is 5yds.
The athlete starts with the feet straddling a line from x in a three point stance. From there, they move to y, touch the line, run to z, touch the line and finish up by running through the line at x again. The clock starts when they move and stops when they cross x.

I would like to start with the start.

My first question is which foot do you take the first step with? If, as in my example above, I am starting off to the right, should I step out with my right foot or should I immediately cross over with my left. I have been coached both ways. If you turn your hips in the direction you want to go (right) then cross over, you have effectively just done a traditional 3pt start (if you had your right hand down as well.) This provides good push off, but the cone comes up very quickly. Perhaps stepping out is better technique to put you in a better position to change direction?

Which foot you step out with also effects how many steps you take before the first transition. For example, if I step out with my right foot (going right) then I can cross over and on the next step hit the line with my right foot and touch with my hand.

If I cross over for my first step (move my left foot first when going right,) then I need to take 4 steps to get right foot down on the line. Try it. If you crossover first, and take only three steps, you have to spin around, which I have been told is much slower.

So it is either step out and take 3 steps or cross over and take 4 steps

I’m thinking that stepping out is better, since it requires less steps, but the steps have to be larger and this may cause overstriding while you wait for the COG to come over the foot. I tried it both ways on the video and I’m going to analyze it tonight.

In the mean time, all of you football players out there, try a short shuttle and let me know which technique you use and how many steps you take to the first transition (5 yds)

Speed Demon are you still around? This is your bread and butter. Let me know how you do it.


i always step out first instead of crossing over. i believe if you are powerful enough, this way will be more beneficial to you. i will have to go out and run it to tell you how many steps, but i am 6’3" so we might have a different number of steps based on that alone. i will get back to you.

my stance changes depending on the direction i’m going.

if i’m going left, i start with the left hand down. push off with the right foot.

if i’m going right i start with right hand down. pushing off with the left foot, never stepping over on the first step.

epsn3 and tbone,

Sounds like the concensus is to step out.

espn3, I’m 6’1" and can make it in three steps, so I’m guessing you will be the same. Basically, you drive off both feet and step out with the right foot (if you are starting to the right), cross over with the left and then plant the right foot on the line. Remember to reach down and touch the line, then drive back the other way.

t-bone, I also change my stance just like you do.

ok, now how do you guys handle the second change of direction. Since it is after 10 yards, you are coming in much faster. Does this change your strategy? How many steps over the 10 yard segment? How many are acceleration, how many are decelleration?



I tend to break down and rotate, but I think I will be working on using the power slide for the first transition - as described above. I’m still trying to figure out what is the best way to hit the second one. I usually to break down in about three quick steps, then touch the line and rotate around for an all out blast to the finish line.

I’m not at all sure that this is optimal from a biomechanical point of view. My 10 yd sprint is one of my strong points, so you would think that I could have a good shuttle time, but it is “only” at 4.35. I would expect I could do much better, hence my reason for opening this discussion.

On the other hand, I haven’t done much 5-10-5 work in the last couple of years so perhaps I simply need to groove the motor skills again and re-learn how to use my short speed. I am hitting it hard now with the combines coming up.

I wish I had the ability to post video clips, but I’m stricktly analog at this point. Anyone else want to put up their video clip for us to discuss? (We promise to be gentle!)


And this is a big hypothetical

can the athlete use a sort of jumping stop and get a quicker time in this test? A sort of hop at the end of each run with a 90 degree turn and a sort of plyometric bounce back the other way


I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Have you tried the drill using the hop technique? Can you post a video of it?


Originally posted by marshall
can the athlete use a sort of jumping stop and get a quicker time in this test?

he is referring to touching after the 10y part, instead of decceleration, one can jump a few yards from the line & stop directly on the line and burst back for the final 5y. i am going to try both ways & hopefully tape them so i can post. if i cannot post the video footage, i will at least post my times both ways. XLR8, what is your 10y time?

exactly, espn3
I’m interested to hear those times

OK, by popular demand…my three best times for a 10 yard sprint from a 3 pt start are:
These are automatic electronic times. My timer has a touch pad for the start, so the timer starts when you lift your down hand and it stops when you break the finish beam. If you are comparing to hand-times, the usual conversion is to subtract 0.1 - 0.2 from the times listed above (i.e. I would be in the 1.2 sec range.)

As I said before, I think the start and first few steps are my biggest strength and I want to learn how to better leverage this in the 5-10-5.

ESPN3, I would love to see some video of your technique. I’m going to try the ‘jump stop’ technique myself and I’ll let you (and marshall) know how it goes.


those are some very fast 10y times, especially being electronically timed. your 20 yard shuttle & 40 times should be much better because your acceleration is great. BTW, the video footage should be along shortly.


Yes, like I said, my initial burst is my strength although I will throw in a few caveats. First is that the timer stops when any part of yor body breaks the beam, so my best times are probably when my arm rhythm works out such that a hand crosses first (which will shave some time off the end result compared with waiting for the chest to cross.)

I’ve also been told that I tend to rock forward a bit before I start. I don’t feel like I do this and haven’t gotten flagged for a false start when I run track. If I did this, it obviously wouldn’t be legal in an official track race, but the electronic timer doesn’t notice since it only monitors my down hand and when the pressure releases.

In any case, you are right, even if the times are off by a tenth or so, it still seems to me I should have a faster shuttle. In the 40, my problem tends to be that I top out and feel like I stop accelerating after about 20 or 30 yards. I need to work more on my top end speed so that I have more velocity to achieve and can therefore continue my acceleration longer.

I think that my shuttle just needs some technique work and before I ingrain a specific technique, I would like to make sure that I am doing it right.

I’m looking forward to your video!

I ran shuttles again today since the weather has been so bad outside and felt like I got worse! I took some (analog) video and will analyze it tonight. It would be nice to have a good model to compare against.



to me a jump stop takes up too much energy and time. newton’s law.

although i’ve been thinking about jumping after the final line touch, much like a sprinter out of the blocks.

quick question… i am assuming you do not use blocks for training. so, what kind of stance do you use for speed work? the modified 3 point, a wide receiver type stance, a running back stance? i’m interested to hear…

I use a 3 point stance, no blocks. I did a lot of tests with my timer and found that this version of the 3 pt stance got me out the fastest.

Here are the details:

-left foot forward, toe is approximately 1 - 1 1/2 of my foot lengths back from the start line.
-right foot toe even with the heel of my left foot. This puts it about 2 - 2 1/2 of my feet back from the line.
-right hand knuckles down on the touch pad.
-left hand loaded near hip.
-my feet are about shoulder width apart, maybe a bit closer.
-shoulder is directly over the down hand…that is, no leaning back and no leaning forward.
-I try to keep my shoulders parallel to the track (there is a tendency to raise the shoulder of the up hand.)

When starting I try to think about one of the following things:
-keeping my hand down (so that I don’t pop up)
-shooting my up hand forward
-getting my right foot down quickly after the first step

Note that none of this lines up with what Charlie would say. Of course, the challenge for a 40 and 100m race are quite different. For one thing, in the 40, I get to start when I am ready and whenever I want. For the 100, you have to react!

In any case, more recently I have been attempting to just focus on just flicking the wrist/hand and driving the arms. I’ll let you know how that works next time I get out to the track (did I mention that the weather here sucks right now!?!)


Hey ESPN3,

Are you out there somewhere? I’m still looking forward to that video of your short shuttle.

In the mean time, I used my retro analog video camera to tape some of my own technique and by counting frames, determined that if I step out and try to make it to the first transition in three steps that I am consistently slower than if I cross over and use four steps. So, I’ve been practicing the crossover technique.

I also realized that I tended to run too far before each transition. That is, I seem to be faster if I plant my outside foot on the line and reach back with my hand (as opposed to planting my foot a bit beyond the line and not reaching back. Sounds obvious now that I say it, but it was a significant mistake that I didn’t notice until I looked a the tape.

I’m anxious to get someone out to time me to see how my time improves now that I have had a bit more practice and a better idea of which technique I should use.

I also have to check out the field surface at the combine because I have found that footwear makes a bit difference both from a grip and support perspective. For example, I used basketball shoes for some of the runs which provide good support but feel kind of heavy for my burst. On the other hand, my indoor track shoes are nice and light but don’t inspire confidence when I plant to change direction.


yeah bro i’m always lurking. within the next week or two i will have the vid up. i understand when you say you are running too far between each transition. one thing to keep in mind, do not run any further than you have to, not even a few inches. check your u2u.