Virtual Reality Training & The Future Of Elite Sport
January 9, 2023
2 min read
Has technology been able to adequately disrupt the sporting industry?
No doubt the industry has seen its fair share of funding piled into innovative health and diet monitoring apps, fitness and performance tracking apps, mental and psychological preparation apps, IoT and sensors, wearables and plenty more. It seems like every new startup is trying to put some sort of tracking device in or on our athletes just to extract information used to improve the probability of victory on the field. Although valuable, a mobile app, a wearable device and calorie consumption report carries finite advances in adequately preparing a professional athlete for the unpredictable stage of elite sport. This article seeks to delve into what elements converge to develop an elite athlete, how current technological attempts fall short and how VR is paving the path to immediate and exponential improvement in athletes performance around the globe. Where adequate technological disruption falls short in sport is that most applications are simply 2-dimensional and using some form of sensor to track how an athlete’s body and mind reacts or performs under different circumstances, may it be dietary/health tweaks, environmental factors, fitness levels etc and measure performance improvement under a multitude of variables. The data is applied to peak performance training schedules so athletes are physically and mentally prepared to handle an unpredictable environment. For decades’ trainers have attempted to simulate real world eventualities through practice games, team training sessions, game tapes and the like to expose their player’s minds and bodies to possible game day scenarios. This I like, but professional sport is immersive, it requires; experience, spatial awareness, real time decision making, repetition, composure, intuition and lastly, injury avoidance.
Welcome Virtual Reality Training!
Virtual Reality involves applying a HMD (Head Mounted Display) as a way of creating a 3-dimensional, 360 degree, computer generated environment. Our experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information (touch, sight, hearing, taste, smell) and our brains interpretation thereof and so VR entails presenting our brains with a computer generated virtual environment that we can explore and physically interact with. The VR sets makes use of Head Tracking (360 degree visual display and Binuaral Audio), Eye Tracking (Depth perception and reaction monitoring) and Motion tracking (Spatial awareness and interaction) to build out the illusion of reality and train our conscious and subconscious minds. With StriVR leading the pack, Virtual Reality is being applied into sports across the globe and has been the single technology capable of producing exponential performance improvements across professional athletes in a fraction of the time. As sports teams adopt the new technology, 360 degree cameras are brought into all team practices and the teams can run 100’s of different original and competitor moves to record the real life environment. In a controlled environment players are able to wear the head sets and be exposed to thousands of eventualities while specialists monitor foot movement, posture, composure, timing, special awareness and decision making under different circumstances. With repetition being the father of excellence, players are exposed to real life simulations that are stored in the subconscious mind and can be applied in real world scenarios. The technology allows professionals to exercise and train a multitude sensory and muscular organs using practically real life examples without the risk of injury, thereby improving longevity and performance of athletes. Sounds like any coach’s dream. It begs the question, how cheap does experience come and how young can it be attained when anyone can interact with thousands of rea-life simulations?
Of course the technology does fall short of perfection but statistical results have proven an exponential improvement in reaction time and decision making across almost all athletes that have been exposed to the technology. Although still young in the sporting industry, VR has been used for decades to train pilots and doctors through simulations and is now being radically implemented into entertainment , tourism, automotive, education, retail and the obvious gaming industries. This 3-dimensional, immersive technology has only scratched the surface of peak performance training in professional sport and with almost unlimited possible applications, it seems to be at the forefront of an industry wide disruption across the globe. For more information on VR application development contact SovTech, we’d love to hear what you have in mind.
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