Feb 3, 2023 - Sports

University of South Florida tennis teams to train with VR technology

A female uses virtual reality headset and raquet to practice tennis.

USF assistant coach Vanja Klaric tries Sense Arena's new technology. Photo: Courtesy USF Athletics

How about a tennis match in the metaverse?

What's happening: The University of South Florida men's and women's tennis teams have partnered with sports virtual reality company Sense Arena to use VR tools to supplement IRL training.

How it works: The system, which the Bulls are using for free, uses the Meta Quest 2 headset and a properly weighted and balanced racquet-type device to give players visualization tools aimed at improving the mental aspects of the game β€” like timing, anticipation and quick decision-making β€” without requiring a partner, ball or court.

  • Sense Arena's VP for tennis Yannick Yoshizawa, who played at USF, tells Axios that a player can select from 35 drills for practice and the tool can introduce crowd noise, distractions, shade and wind.

The big picture: USF is the first NCAA team to use Sense Arena's tech for tennis since the product launched in November. The company says 10 NCAA Division I hockey teams β€” including Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern β€” use the company's ice hockey technology, which came out in 2018.

What they're saying: "It's not going to be overnight, but in a few months, the players should start to see concrete improvement," Yoshizawa said.

  • "It's the perfect tool to use on recovery days when we want to exercise our mind and train our brain, really focusing on the mental aspects of tennis," Cristina Moros, head of the USF women's team, said, per Tennis World USA.

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