Virtual Reality for Players Training Experience

July 9, 2019

Nadia Marzuki

Can VR Fully Replace Physical Training?

Too much training time is detrimental to an athlete’s physical health. Slow body recovery time deters athletes from optimising their preparation schedule, in fear of injuries.

However, Virtual Reality (VR) can overcome this problem by allowing athletes to practice at a slower pace while they recover. For example, they may experience multiple repetitions of practice and walk through plays, as if they were on a practice field.

Integrating VR into training regimens also allows for athletes to improve strategic knowledge, by allowing them to experience and visualise various scenarios. This implementation gives an added advantage to the athletes as they are able to train in a simulated/replicated version of the sporting event. Take skiing for example, in order for coaches to train the players, they will need to be where the icy slopes are. But what if certain conditions don’t permit skiing?

The US ski and snowboarding team applied VR into their training regime for the 2018 Winter Olympics. They trained using 360 video that replicated the course with VR headsets paired with balance boards, which tilt in tandem with the on-screen action, to create the sensation of going down specific slopes. To further bury the point, this US team were medalists in their event, so it is not so far-fetched to wonder when sporting institutions or organisations will be able to invest in VR technology to give local athletes these added advantages.

Apart from giving an added efficacy to training regimens, using VR has the potential to speed up the learning process as it has been proven to help retain information. Furthermore, with this type of training, coaches are able to monitor athletes’ head movements, so they can make sure they’re focusing at the right places.

With that said, VR technology can be utilised in various ways to accommodate specific sporting events. But not replace training sessions in actual reality.