Is virtual reality training the future of football?

Germany’s football association, the DFB, will trial virtual reality training in the coming months. As reported from sports technology website Sport Techie, the DFB will working with the Netherlands company Beyond Sports. The Dutch company works in the virtual reality and augmented reality realm. It is hoped that using Beyond Sports’ products and technological advances will help the DFB develop its teams further.

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Virtual reality training – Who is Beyond Sports?

The DFB is not the first football association or club to work with Beyond Sports. The company has worked with clubs in the past offering virtual reality training. In the training sessions, individuals play against in-game situations or scenarios that are created by coaches. The idea is the virtual reality setting will teach the players what to do – or not to do – during a match. Unlike training, the virtual reality training will make the session feel like a real game.

The players have four options for training sessions with the virtual reality program. There is an on-field decision making session, position awareness, in-game scenario setting and training drills that must be completed in a specific time period.

Beyond Sports says players will improve their on-field knowledge and reaction time when using the virtual reality training system. Several clubs already use the system including England’s Arsenal and the Netherlands’ PSV Eindhoven and Ajax’s youth teams.

Does virtual reality training really work?

While many argue virtual reality is the future, it cannot replace real-life training and match situations. In October 2017, the Mirror newspaper reported that Arsenal’s first team had stopped using Beyond Sports virtual reality training system. Although the youth teams were still training with it. The club had reportedly spent £100,000 to use the system, but the first team wasn’t convinced it helped at all. Players complained the virtual reality made them sick and didn’t help them improve tactical knowledge.

The jury is still out on whether or not virtual reality training will help football players. There is a chance that one day it will be much more widespread. Until then, it seems there is no replacing good, old-fashioned football training.



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