As time has gone on, we’ve continued to see more and more instances of people using the tech behind virtual reality to help themselves get better at a real-world activity. The most frequent application of this type has been related to sports, with soccer likely being the most prominent one that has attracted widespread attention. But now, one of the other major North America sports has caught on to this same style of training and is now being implemented at a youth level.

In a new report from the Montreal Gazette, it is described that a local hockey development company has started to use VR headsets to simulate a number of different situations that might arise in an actual game. The business, which is known as Centre de développement PAC, is located out of Mascouche and features a unique VR configuration for students to use.

Generally, the way in which Centre de développement PAC uses this tech is by adorning it to the hands and face of players, much as you would with a normal VR headset. From there, players then skate out onto the ice like they normally would and can engage with the exercises that are being presented within the virtual realm.

“The system teaches players to read and react,” described Centre de développement PAC’s Eric Tobon. “The program allows us to assess a player’s strengths and weaknesses and we tailor a workout to address those concerns. If a goaltender is weak on shots from the left, we can give him more shots from the left.”

Tobon went on to also explain that this technology also helps coaches revisit the workouts with players later on to show them their results in greater depth. From here, they can further learn more about what they need to do to improve and can put their newfound knowledge into practice to beat the scores of other players that compete at the practice center.

Despite this new form of training, though, Tobon also explained that it hasn’t fully replaced typical routines. Players still engage in typical cardio and weight exercises when off of the ice to further round themselves out as athletes. The actual VR training sessions are said to only last around thirty to thirty-five minutes and are done once every five days.

Even though it might never be the perfect substitute for playing the real game, it’s really interesting to see how sports facilities around the globe continue to take advantage of virtual reality technology in new ways. The fact that those in charge at Centre de développement PAC find it important enough to work out in this manner about once a week says all you need to know about its effectiveness. Even though you might be gaining newfound skills in the virtual world, it seems that those same abilities can have plenty of application in real games.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch Montreal Gazette’s full video report down below. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re intrigued at all by the way in which VR continues to grow in this manner.


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