It may be too early in the game to determine whether or not virtual reality is here to stay or only just a fad, but while it’s here, the German Football Association (DFB) is willing to give it a shot at becoming the team’s secret weapon when it heads to Russia to defend their World Cup championship in 2018.
The team has hired STRIVR, a company that has made a name for itself in the world of virtual reality sports training by working with some of the top teams in the NFL, NBA and NHL in the United States. Working with the DFB will present some new challenges for STRIVR though, as it must adapt the technology to keep up with the fast-paced and unpredictable game of soccer.
Unlike American football, soccer isn’t a stop and go predictable sport. The opportunity to set up a carefully crafted shot is limited, which poses a problem for the technology, so the German team will primarily use it to practice penalty kicks and goalkeeping technique.
While this new training offers up new opportunities for the senior team to prepare for the 2018 World Cup, the DFB currently sees the most potential for its under-21 national youth team, where its players and coaches are more accepting of new technologies.