CONCENTRATION GRID APP FOR ATHLETES/COACHES
Concentration grids (sometimes called focus grids) have been used by coaches and athletes as a mental skills training exercise for decades.
A concentration grid is a grid of randomly arranged numbers – for example, a 10×10 grid of numbers 0 to 100 – typically presented on a printed page. The objective of the exercise is to find in sequence each of the numbers in the grid – typically with numbers marked by pen as selected. Performance is timed as the athlete is challenged to complete the grid as quickly as possible. Success in the exercise calls for sustained focus and concentration from start to finish. Highly focused athletes can condition themselves to complete a concentration grid quickly and efficiently without losing focus. (Newcomers may struggle to maintain focus as they initially try the exercise.)
The concentration grid exercise – which calls for a level of sustained focus that a pitcher or batter strives to hold during a successful at bat — has been a long-time favorite of baseball/softball coaches. For many elite baseball/softball teams, the concentration grid exercise is an early season ritual. Many ballplayers will recall the concentration grid exercise – handed out by their coach as a printed paper sheet with a pen and timed with a stopwatch.
With the new Concentration Grid app baseball coaches can take a page out of their athlete mental skills conditioning program.
The Concentration Grid app allows coaches and athletes to exercise their focus/concentration – and save paper – using their Apple or Android mobile devices (or any computer with internet access). With the Concentration Grid app the grid is presented on the touch screen of the mobile device (requiring no paper, no pen). The user interface is simple and straightforward (intended to resemble a paper sheet). Progress through the grid during gameplay is clearly indicated (numbers turn from black to red as properly selected in sequence on the touch screen of the device). The grid completion time is automatically recorded and displayed (no stopwatch needed).
The Concentration Grid app offers flexibility and convenience not possible with a grid on a traditional paper sheet. The app can generate concentration grids in a variety of sizes in a range of from 3 to 14 columns/rows; the app also provides a convenient “replay” feature. The nature of the gameplay challenge can be varied by changing the size and shape of the grid – by selecting the number of rows and columns in the grid. A grid with fewer rows/columns (for example, a 5×5 grid) will present a test of dexterity as well as focus (over a shorter period of time); a grid with more rows/columns (more numbers in total such as a 10×10 grid) will require more sustained attention/time to complete. (Grids may have from 3 to 14 rows/columns but do not have to be square in shape.)
The app was developed for use by coaches, athletes, students, teachers, parents, children, adults – by anyone who wants to use the exercise to challenge/practice their ability to focus.
The “standard” concentration grid is the 10×10 size, which a practiced grid master will be able to complete in about 3 minutes. (The 10×10 grid may take a newcomer nearly 10 minutes to complete.) Practiced grid masters might complete a 3×3 grid in about 3 seconds, a 5×5 grid in under 12 seconds, a 6×6 grid in about 25 seconds and a 7×7 grid in about 45 seconds. A 14×14 grid will likely take over 15 minutes to complete.
Sustained attention and effort/practice are rewarded with improved performance and reduced completion times on any grid size.
Athletes can challenge themselves against target benchmarks, against their own personal best gridtimes or in head-to-head competition with other athletes/teammates.
The grid exercise can be practiced in complete quiet or with background noise/distractions intended to simulate "game day" conditions. The Concentration Grid app is perfect for use during travel/road trips (bus rides), during breaks at practices and as a pre-game ritual – wherever and whenever mobile device access is allowed. The app can be used for training during the season or in the off season.
The app will display the completed grid with the grid time (elapsed time to complete the grid) and a GRID_ID data record on the mobile device screen at the end of gameplay; a screenshot with the completed grid and time/data from gameplay can be saved on the mobile device. The Concentration Grid app saves information from gameplay in a data/history file on the mobile device (the file can be cleared/deleted when needed). The history/data file can be used to track performance/improvement. The app also includes a share feature; athletes can share personal best gridtimes/screenshots with friends and teammates using email/text messaging and on social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and at the Concentration Grid blog).
The Concentration Grid app is available (for 99 cents) on the Apple Store for iOS devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, iPod) and at the Google Play store for Android devices. Free gameplay is available over the web at www.concentrationgrid.com