Despite our already digitized world, 2020 was certainly the year where everything went virtual. From school and work to our social lives and activities, our plugged-in world has been amplified with new technology to adapt to the puzzles of the pandemic. In a rapid tech revolution rarely seen once in a generation, no industry has gone forth unaffected.
The sports world has catapulted headlong into this new virtual reality, applying video training and virtual competition at every level. Amenity Odisha FC Soccer School in New Delhi, India has created an innovative solution to the lack of scouting opportunities by holding a virtual skills contest for the chance to win a scholarship. Certainly a unique opportunity, this contest highlights the ingenuity within the world of soccer technology while keeping within the bounds of a typical scouting process.
In Monterey County, CA, youth players for the local boys and girls club are being encouraged to play outside with training kits and QR codes for virtual training sessions hosted by professional players. This program provides local kids the incentive to play outside amidst a pandemic that has limited these opportunities for young players.
While both of these programs represent helpful and immediate solutions for players in these areas, an eventual return to normal play would certainly spell the downfall of these solutions. The customization and hands-on attention granted by human coaching is irreplaceable by stagnant video training, and such programs as the one in New Delhi leave room for an uneven playing field because of variation in training equipment available to different contestants.
Of course, there is no doubt that virtual training solutions will remain a strong part of the future of training and player development for all soccer and the rest of sports. The key to creating sustainable products in the virtual training world that last beyond the pandemic comes with an ability to integrate the best aspects of human training into the virtual environment.
Most notable of these aspects are a coach’s ability to customize drills according to the skills and motivations of each player, something not possible within the limitations of typical virtual training. With current methods, many athletes are liable to feel overlooked and marginalized as virtual coaches prove incapable of meeting their specific training needs.
Furthermore, coaches have a unique ability to build an emotional and psychological understanding of their players that can be supported by virtual training tools but never replaced by it. Playform’s compatibility with the human elements provided by real coaching is why the flagship app represents a truly sustainable training tool with utility beyond the limitations of the pandemic. By giving coaches the ability to track player data and progress, Playform provides statistical assurance to the organic ways in which coaches observe and drive the development of their players.