For former athletes, the shuttle run is a familiar task. However, for those that haven't done it before, it's a short but exhausting drill that is used at the NFL Combine to put the prospects through their paces. Here's how it works.
The shuttle run is a simple cone drill. A player starts in the middle in a three point stance, sprints five yards to his right, touches the ground and sprints 10 yards to the left. He then touches the ground again, and sprints five yards back to the middle, where he finished right where he started.
The shuttle run tests a player's lateral quickness, ability to change direction quickly, and explosiveness over short distances. Explosiveness is extremely valuable in the NFL at almost every position, so a good showing in the shuttle run can help allay fears that a player may not have the lateral burst required to keep up with the competition.
The best shuttle run time since 2005 was from cornerback Carlos Rogers, who finished the drill in brisk 3.82 seconds. Last year, Packers cornerback Casey Hayward put up the fastest shuttle run at the Combine at 3.90 seconds, followed by Steelers running back Chris Rainey at 3.93 and Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore at 3.94.
As you have noticed, the offensive and defensive skill position players typically score the best in the shuttle run. Defensive backs, wide receivers, and running backs will almost always crowd the top of the list, but occasionally a linebacker will sneak into the top results.