The start of the IAAF World Championships in London this week got us thinking about who of those world-class athletes got to the top with the help of experience through technology.
From team sports to the track, tech is enabling our leading sportspeople to reach the peak of their fitness largely through its data collecting ability. Be it through the clothes they wear during training or maybe via augmented reality glasses, valuable data can be collected for analysis to optimise training techniques, form and tactics.
Virtual Reality is one medium to gather that data, and just as we use VR in experiential marketing, it has the added benefit of fully immersing the wearer into a ‘real-life’ and very memorable experience.
Given a realistic 360 degree view of a pitch or track on the other side of the world without having to travel or adjust to time zones, athletes can access a training ground that would be difficult to reproduce or access in reality. This allows them to gain a real sense of their surroundings and mentally prepare for an upcoming event at advantage over their rivals.
Exactly like we take consumers from the shop floor into environments out of this world to connect with a brand, VR gets athletes as close as possible to the action, so they can live the game through the headset experience.
Training can be taken that step further, giving athletes the power of hindsight to train muscle memory and perfect their actions. Replaying a golfer’s swing, a footballer’s kick or a sprinter’s race, over and over again, allows athletes to learn where they could improve their technique, and give them opportunity to practice and memorise the optimal action, with reduced risk of injury.
It seems likely that virtual experiences will increasingly be adopted by coaches to train athletes efficiently to give them competitive advantage, just as we’ve seen the same technology be adopted by brands to engage their target audience.