A 3D simulation is changing the behaviors of the world’s best soccer players — and the business world is catching on.

I am standing in a fashionable London hotel bar wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset. My right foot occasionally kicks out, as though I’m dancing (badly) to a silent beat. All I can see is the green grass of a soccer field, my teammates moving in different directions, and a ball coming toward me, rather fast. My job is to find the right pass before an opponent tackles me. I have one second.

This task is designed to improve my visual perception and decision making under pressure. Be Your Best, the tool I am using, claims to measure the intangible attributes that can give players an edge — skills such as anticipation, resilience, and deciding which passes to make. It senses where I am looking and where the other “players” are. I press a button to release the ball, and its direction is logged. VR makes this process immersive, and so I end up connecting to the experience on an emotional level as well as an intellectual one. All the time that I am using it, the system is gauging the consequences of my actions and providing feedback.

This sort of training is shaping the future of soccer coaching. It’s a gamified 3D simulation that the most progressive clubs in the world are already using today. Similar tools are increasingly popular in the business world, where the soccer field and players are replaced by clients and suppliers. VR makes the process more challenging than a theoretical exercise would be: The visual input, time pressure, and stress feel real. But the safe environment allows learners to try out options that the risk-averse might otherwise avoid. The trainings can be repeated, with feedback and scores recorded for every repetition, which facilitates a deeper process of learning.

Arsène Wenger, the manager of North London team Arsenal FC from 1996 through 2018, understood the need for this type of training in soccer years ago. He demanded that his players have exceptional decision-making skills, and found a way to track them. “My challenge is to get my players to know which the best choice is and make the optimal decision every time they get the ball,” he said at a recent conference in Paris. “More important — you have to analyze the quality of perception and decision making.”

Read more: https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/How-virtual-reality-is-improving-decisions-in-soccer-and-in-business?gko=4fc2b


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