SoFloPT SPORT: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Is the Pro-Agility Test a valid test of agility?

The Pro- Agility Test, also referred to as the 5-10-5 shuttle, is popular in the NFL and NHL combine, and SPARQ rating for baseball, basketball, and hockey. The Pro-Agility Test is recognized as a test to measure an athlete’s agility; however, it doesn’t quite hold up to its name.



Agility in sport is defined as a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus.

The term ‘agility’ and ‘change of direction speed’ are often used interchangeably, but recent knowledge has distinctively separated the two. Agility involves reactive abilities in unpredictable environments, while change of direction speed is pre-planned and focuses solely on physical ability. This implies that traditional agility tests (Illinois, T-test, L-run, and Pro-Agility) are not actually capable of measuring agility, and thus should be referred to as change of direction speed tests. 

What is the Pro-Agility Test?

Three cones are placed in a horizontal line 5 meters from one another. The participant begins in a 3-point position on the start-line at the center cone with feet shoulder width apart and placed equally on either side of the line. The hand in contact with the floor during the 3-point position determines which direction the athlete should travel. On the count of “3-2-1 GO”, the participant must accelerate maximally to the first cone, then change direction and accelerate to the opposite far cone, then again change direction, and accelerate through the finish line.  Once the athlete reaches each turn-around line, they must touch the line with their lead foot and hand. The opposite hand (inside hand) must not touch the floor during the change of direction. The timer begins at the start of “Go” and ends when the participant crosses the finish line.


Components of agility that are not involved in performance of the Pro-Agility Test

  • Visual processing
  • Reaction time
  • Perception
  • Anticipation



Is the Pro-Agility test a valid measure of agility?


Validity is defined as the degree in which a test measures what it is intended to measure. Despite its name, the Pro-Agility Test is not a valid test of agility due to its lack of reactive response. The test can be deferred to as a change of direction speed (CODS) test.


But wait, there’s more…


Is it really an accurate measure of change of direction speed?

Most agility or CODS tests are measured by an over all time to complete the test, opposed to measuring entry and exit velocity during change of direction. Any test with a large amount of linear sprinting, such as the 10 meters involved in the pro-agility test, may ultimately mask the actual change of direction performance of the athlete. The athlete may be poor at making the COD but can recover through their superior linear speed.

Alternatives to measuring true change of direction speed include modified scores involving statistical analysis and deficit models to subtract the linear speed or more precise measuring at entry and exit during change of direction.  

Take Home

There are several components of a good test. Traditional agility tests that are pre-planned without a stimulus are reliable, reproducible, and feasible but not valid. If the intent is to measure a participant, patient, or athlete’s agility, the test must include a cognitive reactive component.


Stay tuned for our next blog post discussing the most valid, reliable, reproducible, and feasible agility tests that can be performed in the clinic or fitness facility.


Written by Hannah Sweitzer, DPT, OCS, CSCS




Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur
adipiscing elit. Pellentesque vitae nunc ut
dolor sagittis euismod eget sit amet erat.
Mauris porta. Lorem ipsum dolor.

Working hours

Monday – Friday:
07:00 – 21:00

07:00 – 16:00

Sunday Closed

Our socials