All great athletes want to get better at their sport of choice. Practice, exercise, film study — all of these things go into what separates good athletes from great ones. But great, dedicated athletes are taking things a step further. Sometimes, time, weather, location, and a myriad of other obstacles can keep an athlete from hitting the court, field, or gym. Thankfully, the world of virtual reality is helping athletes train at their convenience.
Current State of Simulation Technology
Most people think of video games when they hear about virtual reality. But recent advancements combining the world of athletic training and technology have created a way for athletes to simulate competition when competition may not be readily available. These advances also allow athletes to simulate situations that they may struggle with during live competitions and allow them to develop muscle memory that will allow them to excel when they’re playing for real. Years ago, athletes had to train by simulating action around inanimate objects, like cones and garbage cans, while today, they can face virtual opposition.
Some Sports Work Better Than Others
Some sports are better served by the world of simulations than others. For instance, you can work on your three-point game as a basketball player using virtual reality. For other sports, the world of simulation technology opens up some much safer alternatives. Some sports simulators are even allowing football players to work on dodging would-be tacklers, while golfers no longer have to practice as the weather permits. Virtual indoor golf requires some space, but with state-of-the-art trackers and detection systems, they are able to accurately replicate golfing conditions.
Muscle Memory Means Mental Muscle
The importance of muscle memory was mentioned earlier, but one of the most undervalued benefits of muscle memory is the confidence that it affords athletes. Some experts say that success in sports is as much as 90% mental. While getting your body to physically perform the way you need it to is a great benefit of live practice reps, repeated reps without an audience in the solitude of simulation will allow athletes to build the confidence that will translate onto the field.
Video screens, headphones, and VR-goggles might all sound like video game equipment. But, thanks to the world of modern technology, those things that used to be considered the opposite of athletic competition are now helping to enhance it.
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