Sense Arena is using virtual reality to train hockey players with a sports training program that will take them to the ice without having to put skates on. The training simulation will assist young athletes in developing their mental hockey skills to see real results when they compete.
What is Sense Arena?
Skating on slick ice is a daily practice that young hockey players have to get used to. Once players learn that vital skill it’s time to move onto handling the hockey stick, positioning, and other game mechanics. But first, there’s skill level.
Every young athlete is going to have strengths and weaknesses, and some players may know the game while others struggle to take concepts and apply them to real hockey games. Players that use the Sense Arena Training Platform, or SATP, use an HTC Vive headset and a Vive Tracking Puck that gets attached to a hockey stick as they practice shots and get assessed for their current skill levels.
Experienced coaches know that every player is going to come onto a team with a mixed set of skills. One player might not have any experience with hockey, while another may have been born gripping a hockey stick. The SATP system will do more than just assess a player’s current skill level and understanding of the sport, it will improve decision making and strengthens the coordination of hockey concepts and physical abilities.
In a ZDNet article, Bob Tetiva, founder and CEO of Sense Arena, explained which kind of athlete would benefit from SATP saying, “If you have an ambitious and devoted kid at home or if you run a gym or sports training center, our platform will [give you] all you need to train in your favorite sport without being on the ice, in a baseball diamond, or dodging tackles on an actual football field.” and that “You’ll be training on a virtual field instead.”
Benefits of Sense Arena
Sense Arena uses a practical application approach that mashes science and sports together with VR. Players simply put the headset on and practice their fine motor skills and spatial orientation with hockey drills that put a player in between a non-threatening pillar (goalie) and a goal, or a player and the puck. Practicing taking shots at highlighted areas on the goal help visual control, timing, and rapid decision making in games.
The best part about Sense Arena is that players can use the VR sports simulation over and over again without having to lace up their skates or layering up. Attaching a Vive Tracking Puck to a hockey stick is going to give players the most realistic and immersive hockey training experience. The tracking puck monitors if a player has hit a puck, passed it, or missed a shot with accuracy.
Who’s Using Sense Arena?
Sense Arena also recently demoed their VR sports sim at CES 2018 and had hockey coaches excited about the cutting edge training. After stepping out of the demo, Cory Weirmier, an Ontario hockey coach said, “I had an excellent experience playing with it. It felt very real and that it has lots of different controls. It was interesting to see the puck come at me. I was able to do one-timers, flip shots, flip passes. I had a sense of control, speed, everything. It felt very realistic.” The science-backed training system is such an effective brain trainer that older and more advanced players are training with it as well.
Hockey teams across the world at Prague’s Charles University, for the Liberec White Tigers, and the Czech Ice Hockey Association have each adopted Sense Arena for their own training sessions. A SportTechie article explained that Dr. Filip Pesan, who is currently Head Coach of the U20 Czech National Hockey Team and a Consultant to Sense Arena, uses the training program for his own team, saying, “I see VR as a fantastic opportunity to speed up and influence the development of young hockey players. It is a serious training program.”
VR sports training programs like Sense Arena are becoming a necessity when it comes to consistent practice and visualization for games. Olympic athletes, the NFL, including the NHL, are already using virtual reality sports training simulations STRIVR to prep for competition. VR games like Goalie VR and VR Hockey League are both hockey sims that will make you feel like you’re really training, but they don’t have the thoroughness of a diagnostics and assessment system like that of Sense Arena.
How Do I Get Sense Arena?
You can request a demo by contacting them at the Sense Arena website by filling out a contact form. ZDNet shares that the price runs between $200-$2,000 per month depending on the VR setup.