Image of a baseball mitt and bat with the 'Experts in Sport' logo overlaid

Experts in Sport: Coaching, Skills Acquisition, and Virtual Reality in Sport

Recognising that athletes vary in their technique and skillset is integral to performance development within sport. But how has research around this topic been informed by the advent of virtual reality and how far has it influenced the landscape of sport?

In this episode of the Experts in Sport podcast, Dr Stuart McErlain-Naylor is joined by Dr Rob Gray to discuss skill acquisition in sport, particularly within baseball, alongside the introduction of virtual reality technologies and their position within the industry.

Throughout the episode, it is considered how sport is utilised to understand skill, motor control, and perception. Recognising that individuals vary in their technique and across different situations is of high importance, moving away from strict repetition during coaching into variable conditions.

Topics touched upon include the process of skill acquisition – how we learn a new skill with a movement component – and developing it through training, practise, and instruction. Developments within these practices are evident, with virtual reality coming into play to advance players’ technique and performance.

Questions around the effectiveness of algorithms to optimise players’ performance are addressed, as well as issues surrounding measurement of movement when attempting to achieve a particular goal. Discussions also consider the process of altering individual variables to produce desired outcomes that contribute to successful, consistent performance that is applicable to a variety of situations.

Dr Rob Gray is an Associate Professor in Human Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Originally studying the psychology of visual perception, he has worked as a performance scientist, moving into the sport science sector. Rob hosts the Perception and Action podcast and has been actively researching how humans learn skills in sport for over two decades.

Listeners of the podcast can subscribe and download the latest episode by visiting iTunes, Spotify, and TuneIn. All subscribers will receive an alert once new episodes are published.

The Experts in Sport podcast is a regular series that brings together experts from across Loughborough University with external thought leaders to discuss the latest research and hot topics in sport and academia with new episodes launched regularly.