From the Trainer’s Room: Using virtual reality as a training platform
As I have watched the game of hockey has evolve over the course of my career, I, too, have had to evolve as well.
There are all kinds of new methodologies and platforms to train hockey athletes that were never available just a couple of years ago. NHL franchises have gone out and sought out these new platforms. One such technology that I have begun to utilize in our facility is virtual reality (VR) hockey training.
Now let’s get this straight.
My VR headset will never replace on-ice or in-the-gym instruction. It provides a new insight on how to train today’s hockey player. The modern-day athlete lives in a very digitized world and now I can bring that into their training. We can train the mind and reinforce on ice skills even when the rink is not available. There are pre-set training plans for both goalies and players. We can customize and repeat drills to focus on specific skills. Thousands of reps can be safely taken in minimal space and time. We can measure every physical move, where the player looks, what and how they performed.
Research is now being done on how VR can assist in the return to play protocol for concussions as well. We conduct a baseline test and then retest should an injury occur to measure their performance. This is just another tool that we utilize in a safe return to play.
Using VR as one of the training platforms in our facility allows me to support the on-ice coaching staff to teach the game of hockey. It also brings a new level of fun to our rehabilitation and return to play process. Make an appointment and come try it out today!!
Mike Hannegan is a former NHL athletic trainer who has served more than 1,000 games of service. He currently directs Compete Sports Performance and Rehab’s Yorba Linda facility and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.competeperformance.com.
(January 11, 2022)