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Testing Protocol:

  1. Three marker cones are placed to form an "L." with cones at the corner and at each end, 5 yards apart (see diagram). 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.
  2. Control your body!  Speed isn’t everything in this drill.  The ability of an athlete to get in and out of turns quickly will result in a better time.


This test measures the agility of the athlete, especially body control and change of direction.


Measuring Tape


Three cones and one small cone.



Preferably on a grass, track, turf.

How to Measure:

The athlete runs this drill twice, once in each direction, and his or her best time is recorded to the nearest two decimals (for example, a time of 8.523 should be recorded as 8.52).


L-Drill times are disqualified (not counted) if athlete: (1) fails to touch each line with a hand; (2) starts the shuttle and doesn’t complete the shuttle; or (3) touches a cone.  Warn athlete after first disqualification and allow athlete to redo.

Additional Info:

US Decathlete Bryan Clay reached 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.

This 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'.