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Restatement of the group's idea

Our group's idea is to develop an app that allows coaches of any sport to develop, edit, manage, and record statistics for all of their plays, as if they had a virtual playbook on their iPhone.

Group Brainstorm Link:

List of related applications


Application 1: Soccer Playbook

The app claims to be targeting "coaches, players, and fans," which is essentially exactly the same target audience that our group has, although we're focusing primarily on coaches and not limiting ourselves to a single sport. The app allows you to draw out on a soccer field positions of the offense and defense and the routes that they can take in typical X & O format. It also has frames where you can draw out each stage of the play. However, where it differs from ours is that it's specifically made for soccer and it isn't animated, while our app will allow for animation and be generalized to fit any sport including custom sports. The usability of the app, however, is quite strong in that it does essentially provide a mobile chalkboard, but it does not go much further and is essentially a digital piece of paper. It also allows for the plays to be saved, but mentions nothing about statistics tracking, something our app will definitely try to attain.

Application 2: Football Playbook

This app is actually made by the same company as Application 1, Fone Sportz Inc. The primary difference, of course, is that it is geared towards football instead of soccer. It has the same target audience of "coaches, players, and fans" as before, but only those that partake in football. At a closer look, however, the app does not differ in any way in terms of functionality from Application 1, which was supposedly made specifically for soccer. The only noticeable difference is the background that the app uses, in that it's now a football field instead of a soccer field. The could have easily combined the two apps to be used in for any sport and just allow the user to change the background, which is exactly what our group plans to do. Why they didn't do so makes me question the quality of the company, and the 1/5 and 3/5 star reviews come as no surprise, with 1 person saying "worst application ever" and the other pleading for more features.

Application 3: Soccer Coach's Clipboard

This app claims to be targeting "soccer coaches and fans," which is again essentially the target audience of Application 1. There are some differences in functionality, however, which include different views of the field, a "reset" button to clean lines and initialize player positions, an icon for each player representing their position, and a soccer ball icon denoting the ball's position. However, there is no framing to allow for play progression and their is less of a focus on motion, as you can't draw out a player's path, you can only draw generic arrows denoting where they should go. The lack of features from Application 1 is a downside, but our group does plan to use different views of the field and unique icons for players instead of generic X's and O's. One advantage in usability is that the graphics look much cleaner than in applications 1 & 2, and the single 5 star review reflects that, praising the apps simplicity. The review does ask for the feature to "lock" a player into place due to how cluttered the screen can get, which our app will plan to address either by enabling a lock feature or allowing the user to zoom in.

Application 4: Playboard XT Volleyball

Unlike the previous apps, this app is targeting only coaches in specific, claiming it to be a "coach's dream come true." Perhaps the best functionality that it has, and that the previous apps didn't have, is an automatic line snap feature to allow for straight lines to be drawn on demand. This is definitely something our group wants to do, and even possibly having preset arrows and curved arrows that the user can place and simply stretch or rotate on the screen as it is very difficult to draw something clean on a tiny touch screen using only your fingertip. Aside from that, though, the app has very little else to offer. It strictly only allows six players to be drawn, and the graphics are the worst seen so far. However, like the ones before it, it does have a save feature and has a strong focus on arrows and motion as seen in the first 2 apps. Yet it doesn't have any sort of animation, not even the frame feature in Application 1 & 2.

Application 5: X's & O's Football

This is the first app that is quite unlike the rest, in that it does not strictly focus on play development. It is a football video game that targets gamers and football fans in specific. It is different from most football games, though, in that the entire game is played as X's versus O's; there are never any players on the field. It allows you to pick a play from a preset list, make player position adjustments on the field before you hike, and then run the play and control your players. Although it does not offer the creation and storage of plays like the previous apps, it does do something that neither of them did before, in that it has full animation and runs the plays in real time. This is exactly how our group wants our app's animation to work, in that you can watch your play being ran in real time after you create it to see how it looks. The usability of the game for our purposes, thus, is quite low since it offers no playbook functionality, but it appears to succeed at what it was designed for due to the plurality of the 5 star reviews it received.

Application 6: PlayMaker Football

This app targets the "football maniac" and anyone who ever wished that he/she could be on the sideline coaching a football team. It is still essentially a game, except it focuses less on actual playing and more on the coaching aspect. Unlike Application 5, you don't control the players directly, you can only design and call the plays and they're then automatically ran in a simulation. Due to more of a focus on coaching, this game is much more related to our group's app. The graphics and layout of the play creator are the best ones out all of the apps I've seen, allowing for multiple styles of lines (dotted, zig zag, etc.) and a straight line feature similar to that of Application 4, with all of the features conveniently located on a toolbar at the bottom of the screen in the play creator. The only thing it's missing is allowing the players' routes to have interim nodes instead of simply a start and finish, and possibly more customization in how a user can make his/her plays, since this app is pre-defined and only specific to 11-man football. The usability is limited, however, in that the plays can only be animated through the app's simulation style game, in that you can't simply pick a play and see how it plays out on an open field. Hence, it is less suited as a playbook and for storage of plays and geared more towards its own gameplay.

Application 7: NFL Blitz for N64

This is the first program that isn't an app at all, and was a game on the Nintendo 64 console that I personally played as a child. Its target audience, hence, were console gamers who didn't even have to have a phone. It's main features were its gameplay and graphics, of course, but it was the first football game I played that had an excellent play creation system. Unlike any of the apps so far, it's the only one in 3d and has actual players running, and it has an option to mark nodes along a player's route to denote a special action such as sprinting, blocking, waving, or juking. Hence it's the truly most customizable play creator discussed so far. Our app seeks to obtain that level of customization through a node system, but still allowing for modularity in that it can be used for any sport. 3d graphics are unfortunately out of are reach, but instead of player's we plan on using customizable icons for each player as in Application 3. It was not perfect, though, in that you couldn't set the route of the linemen, and of course the plays were only for football and only for that particular game. Hence the usability was poor, in that a coach could certainly not develop a play on the game and use it in reality, for example.

Application 8: Football Manager 2010

Like Application 7, this is another non-mobile game, instead developed on the PC and PlayStation Portable. Its target users were football fans, but not American football... actual football. It's for hardcore soccer players that wish they could manage all aspects of their own customized team. It's slightly different from most of the other apps in that it doesn't particularly focus on coaching, since there's no play creator at all. Instead you handle more of the off-the-field style managing, which isn't particularly relevant. What is relevant, though, is that you can sit on the sideline and shout commands to your team to change their overall strategy, and that you have direct access to all the stats on your team as you do so. This is exactly what our group wishes to accomplish with the record keeping portion of our app, in that you can determine the success of each individual play, potentially factoring in who your opponent is as well. In the game, you have also have access to these stats and can change your teams strategy accordingly (as they play even). This is a highly usable feature that we wish to attain to allow coaches better data about their plays and flexibility to the point where they can see their data on the sideline and change strategies accordingly.

Application 9: ESPN Gamecast

Although the link points to the NBA gamecast page, ESPN gamecast is a web application (for any ESPN-featured sport) that gives you play-by-play statistics of a game as it plays out. Thus, you could not even be watching or listening to the game but as long as you had gamecast open, you would know exactly what was going on. Its target audience is for diehard sports fans, particularly ones that don't have direct access to watch nor listen to the game that they're currently interested in. At first glance the app doesn't have anything to do with coaching or creating plays, but the app does give exact stats of every play in an entire game. Someone has to enter the data, of course, but it then gets multicast to all of the people using the app. This is exactly how we want to gather the data for our app's record keeping, so that a coach can easily record stats on a play after it's ran and can then move on. It must be fast and easy because a coach has to actually coach, it can't just keep track of statistics. ESPN's gamecast gives exactly the kind of data stream that our group wishes to emulate, and is highly usable for any statistic fanatic.

Application 10: Punch It In!...

The last app is actually an app, unlike the last 3 discussed. Its target users are anyone wishing to learn some basketball tips, whether it be a player, coach, or fan. It's perhaps the least interactive app, in that it's not game-based nor does it have a play creator. What it does, though, is provide video footage of 10 supposedly great plays to use "inside the paint" during a basketball game, with detailed explanation and commentary on each one. Although it's obviously limited in features, what it does provide is essentially a mobile tutorial that coaches or players can take with them wherever they go. At its core, this is exactly what we want our app to be, a mobile teaching device that a coach can use to aid his/her players on the sideline during the middle of a game. This tutorial app is rather limited in terms of usability, in that the videos are longer than a timeout and there are only 10 plays in total. Our app will certainly improve on that in that we'll allow for an infinite (memory permitting) number of plays. However, we won't be able to have real-life videos in our app, yet we will have the capability to animate each play on the phone so that the coach can provide his/her own commentary as the players watch.


Unfortunately most of what our app plans on doing has already been done in some form or another by another app. For example, there were several play creator applications, and even many sports video games have play creators built into the game itself. There are also many applications such as tutorials and data managers that target coaches or managers in specific and aim to aid their job on and off the court. Lastly, there are also several programs that keep track of statistics as a game plays out, such as ESPN's gamecast. What hasn't been done, though, is a collaboration of all these great ideas into one unified, ultimate coach's aid application. That is exactly what our group proposes to do, bring all of these helpful tools together to make them even better and more useful to coaches. We also aim to go even further, in that the app will simple, quick, and responsive so that most of its features can be utilized in game. If we accomplish this, we'll have an app that will take a coach and his/her team to the championship every single season.

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