The quarterback position grabs the spotlight when it comes to virtual reality training in football. The fact of the matter is that every position can benefit from this technology. I would venture to bet that if you set up a “brain training lab” with a VR simulator, you would be able to fill the schedule with players ready to learn and practice in virtual reality simulations.
Football is a game of patterns of movement. While technically there’s a seemingly infinite number of possibilities, the number of patterns each position needs to develop visual acuity for is truly limited. For example, a middle linebacker is responsible for diagnosing the blocking scheme and either fitting the run or getting into his pass drop. Taking a typical running attack, the linebacker would need to recognize and fit power to, power away, counter to, counter away, inside zone to, inside zone away, lead to, lead away, sweep to and sweep away, pass protection, and of course any play action off of those runs. On plays diagnosed as pass, the linebacker might need to drop to defend a seam, a drag, a spot, and a shallow route. That’s still a lot on his plate as far as recognition, but it is a limited set of possibilities.
Practice over the course of the week might allow him to see 8-10 live repetitions of each possibility. Over the course of the season there is certainly a cumulative effect on learning. How can the learning and visual recognition be accelerated? The answer lies in virtual reality simulation.
Putting these plays into a VR simulator, the player can go through a weeks worth of practice reps in minutes. He can get all of his pre snap recognition work and calls or checks made as well as being able to see the play develop and see where he is supposed to fit or drop. No, he is not hitting or working block protection, but that’s not the point. He is training his brain to play faster so that the physical skills and fundamentals learned on the field can be performed at a fast pace on the field. To put it plainly, brain training enhances the players’ ability to play fast.
Eon Sports VR has just released a VR quarterback trainer. However, they do have packages that allow the coach to create simulations for every position.