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Softball Olympic Games 2021 - Official Payoff

Defending Olympic champs Japan Softball turn to virtual reality to train for Tokyo 2020

Defending Olympic champs Japan Softball turn to virtual reality to train for Tokyo 2020
22/10/2020
The 2008 Beijing gold medal winners have been implementing more and more technology into their training over the past three years.

The Japanese National Women’s Softball Team is not leaving any stone unturned to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. According to Kyodo News, the team since 2017 has been working with the Kashino Diverse Brain Research Laboratory, affiliated with NTT Communication Science Laboratories, to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The team lately has turned to virtual reality (VR), something that might pay dividends under lockdown conditions.

Players have been involved in different exercises, but VR batting practice was the main attraction for them.

"Up to now, we watched videos of opposing pitchers to build up an image of them in our heads," 36-year-old captain Eri Yamada said. "But with virtual reality, the sense of speed and movement you get is very close to the real thing."

According to Kyodo News, the Japanese Softball Association is considering providing each player with her own set of VR goggles to better prepare for rival pitchers.

On the pitching side of the equation, the lab's cameras can track the spin rates and rotational axes for each pitcher's different deliveries. Dan Mikami, who spent a lot of time with the national team last year, said handing players such data in conjunction with images of them pitching "helps them match what they are feeling with the actual attributes of the pitches they throw."