Virtual reality cricket helps players train in winter

February 01 2022
Virtual reality cricket helps players train in winter

A CRICKET club is using virtual reality technology to keep its players sharp in the off season.

Stapleton Cricket Club is the first amateur sports team to work with Bristol tech firm Virti to develop videos and an app to enhance training.

The club's 210 players are able to use a combination of slow motion, 360-degree virtual reality training footage filmed at the club’s Stapleton grounds with a drone and directed by the club's coaching team and artificial intelligence analysis of data.

The 30-minute videos cover skills including batting and bowling techniques, with special instruction for beginners and children.

Plans are underway for the club to create additional modules over the coming months, making use of the expertise of the senior players and coaches to drive performance.

The videos are accessible via a mobile phone, tablet or virtual reality headset and can be accessed using an app.

The AI analyses data from each player using the app, including accuracy, response time and skill retention, enabling the coaching team to monitor their progress remotely and help improve their game.

Virti, which has a team of 30 people working remotely, mainly in and around Bristol, plans to work with more sports teams and athletes in the region at both an amateur and professional level in the coming year on more "immersive training programmes".

Stapleton Cricket Club 1st team coach Damian Forder said: "The reaction to the VR training has been incredibly positive, with senior and junior club players showing real enthusiasm to try their hand at virtual cricket.

“By giving all of our members the opportunity to train and develop their skills outside of club practice sessions, we’re making the sport more inclusive and accessible than ever." 

Virti was founded in 2018 by a Bristol surgeon, Alex Young, and its technology is also being used to train surgeons at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and medical students at Bristol University.

Dr Young said: "Virti’s mission is to improve human performance, so we’re thrilled to embark on this partnership to help train and upskill the athletes at Stapleton CC.

"Cricket is a sport which demands a high level of technical skill from all players. Repeated practice of core techniques in a VR environment has been proven to improve confidence, skill level and knowledge retention to a significantly higher degree than traditional training alone – in some cases by up to 230%.

"Remote training removes the barriers of cost, time and space that can often prevent people from improving their sporting skills or engaging with new sporting pursuits."