IntelliGym is a video-game-like training program designed to improve cognitive performance of competitive athletes. Due to its content and delivery methodology, it is considered a serious game. However, unlike many serious games, the IntelliGym is not a high fidelity simulation. Current release is available for basketball players (dubbed The Basketball IntelliGym) and for hockey players (developed in conjunction with USA Hockey). A release for Association football players is currently being tested in a number of European football clubs.
According to its creators, IntelliGym addresses a broad range of cognitive skills, such as perception, anticipation, decision making under pressure, special relations and pattern recognition.
According to the official website, the IntelliGym technology is based on a concept originally developed for Israeli Air Force pilots. The research was conducted by Professor Daniel Gopher of the Technion, Israel, following a DARPA project reviewing the cognitive training system called the Space Fortress. This study showed significant improvement in performance of trainees after using a specially designed computer game, compared to a control group. Following the introduction of the basketball application NCAA Division-I basketball teams (including Kentucky, Memphis, Florida and Kansas) as well as high school varsity teams adopted the IntelliGym as a training tool for their players. Coaches have reported significant improvement in performance of trainees, as shown by their statistical measures.
The IntelliGym is based on the notion of “Low Fidelity Simulation”: the game stimulates exactly the same cognitive skill-set that is required to play basketball, but without the visual resemblance. This way, the player is required to make meaningful choices with respect to making the right game decisions, but without the negative artifacts of a high-fidelity simulation found in research.
The Basketball IntelliGym
|The Basketball IntelliGym|
|Developer(s)||ACE Applied Cognitive Engineering Ltd.|
The Basketball IntelliGym presents the player with situations where rapid decisions are needed to be made. The game takes place in a space-like environment, and includes different scenarios. In its main training settings, two teams of five spaceships on each team are competing. Using various weapons and ammunition types loaded on a ‘Super Cannon’, a player can either steal points from its rival team or prevent the opponent from gaining points. The game consists of a given number of training sessions (19 sessions on the basic version and 34 on the premium release), each taking approximately 30 minutes to complete. The difficulty level is adjusted to the individual performance of the player.
The Basketball IntelliGym is available on a CD, with 2 versions for Microsoft Windows. The game requires Internet connection for initial registration, but thereafter can be played offline.
The game has been reported by mainstream media sources such as ESPN, Fox News, the LAB, primarily when leading NCAA Division-I teams have started to use it. The official site lists some 20 teams that are using the product but fails to provide the number of individual users.
The Hockey IntelliGym
|The Hockey IntelliGym|
|Developer(s)||ACE Applied Cognitive Engineering Ltd.|
In June 2009, USA Hockey and Applied Cognitive Engineering Ltd. announced a collaborative development of a training system for ice hockey players. The research and development is funded by Bird Foundation (the research and development fund operated by the US and Israeli governments). The program was released in 2010. The Hockey IntelliGym is used extensively by players of the USA Under-17, Under-18 and Under-20 Ice Hockey national teams.
Research conducted at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program demonstrated that the IntelliGym reduced the number of on ice injuries. The developers of the program claim that enhanced cognitive skills, and in particular spatial awareness, anticipation and working memory, allow players to avoid hazardous positions.
On March 2013, the Hockey IntelliGym has been adopted by the players' development initiative of USA Hockey (known as the American Development Model, or the ADM).
On May 2014, the Mayo Clinic adopted the IntelliGym as a training tool to all hockey players attending Mayo's Sports Medical Center.
The Hockey IntelliGym is available as a downloadable program for personal computer platform (Windows-based or Mac). The program requires Internet connection for activation.
According to USA Hockey, the Hockey IntelliGym is widely used among ice-hockey players in the USA. Various ice-hockey reporters published positive reviews about the program and its efficacy.
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