Attention and Focus Exercise: Touch 9 Cones

Attention and Focus Exercise: Touch 9 Cones


This is a physical exercise ideal for physical training as well as concentration and focus. This exercise touches on many areas with the aim to make an individual more agile and precise while under pressure. In particular, participant will cover the following:

  • Think strategically to plan ahead and determine your moves
  • Execute moves perfectly based on a strategy
  • Move quickly with maximum speed and minimum error
  • Concentrate without making mistakes
  • Compete with others both physically and mentally

You can run this exercise as a competitive game and offer a prize to the winner.


Visit a series of cones placed as a specific pattern in your desired sequence in the least amount of time possible

What You Need

  • 9 small cones
  • An empty area, about 10m by 7m
  • Prize
  • Timer


  • Place 9 cones on a 5m by 5m square similar to the pattern shown in the image.
  • Draw a starting line 6m away from the centre of the square.
  • Explain that each person takes a turn and must do the following:
    • Sit crossed leg behind the starting line
    • On trainer’s mark, the individual should run towards the cones, touch all the cones and then run back to the starting line. This is subject to the rules explained below.
    • The time is recorded between leaving the starting point and returning to it.
    • For each individual, write the time on a flipchart so people can compare their performances.
    • After the first warm up round, carry out another round and promise a prize for the person with the shortest time.
  • Rules:
    • The centre cone must be touched first.
    • The centre cone must be touched after touching every cone. Hence, the centre cone is also the last cone touched before leaving the square.
    • Each cone must be touched once, and only once except the centre cone.
    • The sequence at which the cones are touched is up to the individual.
    • The sequence must be complete to validate the time. If an individual is running back to the starting line having missed a cone, simply flag it to him and make him go back and touch that particular cone. The time penalty is the price to pay!
  • Ideal strategies:
    • Aim for a pattern that minimises moving between the cones
    • Make sure the pattern is not too complex as to make it easy to forget a step
    • The pattern must be easy and customised for the individual to execute. What pattern is ideal for long-handed people? What pattern is ideal for people with quick feet?
    • Use both hands
    • Be fast!
  • What to watch for:
    • Participants may miss a cone in their haste to be quick.
    • Participants may miss touching the centre cone after touching other cones. If they missed, remind them to go back and fix the pattern.
    • Participants may forget to touch the centre button one last time before coming back to the starting point. This is perhaps the most annoying mistake after going through a fantastic run. Ask them to go back and touch the centre cone before finishing.
  • This is a lively exercise. There is usually a lot of shouting and encouragement from other participants watching each person’s performance. They are also likely to be vocal about mistakes. Just make sure the exercise is run in a fair way.
  • This exercise requires physical warm up as you don’t want participants to end up with pulled muscles after the exercise.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 10 min for each round = 20 minutes (depending on the number of people involved)

Group Feedback: 2 minutes


What did you learn from this exercise? What strategy did you use and were you right about it? What made the winner perform so well? Could you focus and concentrate despite the time pressure and the need for being correct?

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