Virtual reality for sports training – is it a legit option?
Virtual reality is changing the way you play and watch sport, whether you like it or not. The only real choice is whether you get on board or watch your opponents outclass you with their superior vision, skill, and performance under pressure.
Just a few years ago suggesting virtual reality as a training method would have got you laughed out of the room – now English Premier League players, among many elite leagues, are using it before they go on to the pitch.
We needed to know how the pros are using this futuristic kit, and how the everyday athlete can use VR to make an impact at all levels. That’s why we welcomed Andy Etches onto episode 99 of the Science for Sport Podcast.
Etches has vast experience in the sport science and data world and is the founder and sport director of Rezzil, a VR software company that works with top athletes throughout the world, including in the Premier League and NBA.
So why would these world-class pros use VR software? Well, firstly, it allows them to review game footage in a realistic environment.
“Premier League teams will use it for the situation analysis – to recreate moments of the game looking at what could have been done better; you know, taking a viewpoint of a player’s actual position in real-time from the game on Saturday,” Etches said.
This has been done for years to improve a player or team’s tactics and decision-making, but until now, never from the player’s own perspective.
So from a real-world perspective, a player can not only better learn how and where they can improve, in fact, they can practice the situation over and over again using VR to replicate the game.