Virtual Reality Technology in Football Coaching: Barriers and Opportunities

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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Virtual reality (VR) technology has the potential to become the next performance measure in coaching by enhancing players’ perceptual ability. This paper aims to analyze elite coaches’ and performance analysts’ perceptions of barriers to and opportunities for the adaptation of VR technology in football coaching. Following a pilot study, interviews were conducted with six elite coaches and performance analysts. Perceptions of the key barriers to VR’s widespread adoption were the following: lack of conclusive evidence, practicality, quality of software, and cognitive overload. VR needs to overcome these barriers to be successfully integrated into contemporary coaching. Key opportunities included virtual models of play, for example, a virtual environment created by VR technology that exposes players to situations experienced in real environments. In addition, VR may be used to enhance player development by facilitating an environment in which players can develop their visual exploratory behavior and can acquire task-relevant information, resulting in faster decision making. Opportunities regarding player rehabilitation and solving isolated incidents were also identified. The authors conclude that VR technology has a developing role in coaching and has the potential to become a valuable supplement to current coaching methods for those actively seeking competitive advantage through technological advancement.

Authors are with the Faculty of Sport, Health & Social Sciences, Solent University,  Southampton, United Kingdom.

Szerovay (mihaly.szerovay@solent.ac.uk; mihaly.m.szerovay@jyu.fi) is corresponding author.
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