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Virtual Reality Tool Is Ready To Help Goalies to Prepare For Free Kicks

Virtual Reality Tool Is Ready To Help Goalies to Prepare For Free Kicks
The role of a goalkeeper is crucial to any football team. Their capability of defending free-kicks can make a big difference at the end of the day. However, in a recent experiment, virtual reality has shown that the defensive wall of players during free kicks, which is intended to obstruct opposition, may turn out to be an obstacle for their goalkeepers as well.

Free kicks are considered to be a great opportunity for goal-scoring as an outcome of committing foul made by the opposition. Right after the initiation of the kick, skills and fortune decide whether it’s a goal or not.


Why Analyze Goalkeepers Movements? 

It is important to analyze goalie’s thought process to understand the game better, and Cathy Craig, a researcher from Ulster University has been studying this for a long time. She said that goalkeepers have to come to a decision right after the kick is initiated, and within a fraction of seconds, they have to assume in which direction the ball would come.

To make it clear, a group of researchers from Northern Ireland tried to analyze the role of the defensive wall of players in goal-scoring. They used virtual reality and removed the defensive wall to examine the reaction of the goalkeeper on both the wall’s position and flight trajectory.



To make the results realistic, researchers used both skilled and novice goalkeepers and studied how defensive walls impact the movements of a goalie. The study reveals, defensive wall partially blocks the view of the kicker resulting delay in tracking the balls.

The study was published in the journal Plos One on December, 23, and the 20-page study has already created a buzz in the community. It also suggested that goalkeepers should make the final decision on putting those defensive walls if it helps them only.

The study also said that the relative contributions of the defensive wall on goalkeeper and kicker are yet to be determined and the scientific explanation will help to understand everything clearly.

Undoubtedly, the presence of a defensive wall of players impacts the capability of stopping the ball for both skilled and novice goalkeepers. Researchers are optimistic that their findings will lead to unveiling a lot of things in the future.

They said that instead of taking this study as evidence for abolishing the defensive walls, players could evaluate the data and compare themselves whether it’s a good tool for goal-scoring or not.

Joost C. Dessing, a researcher from Queen’s University said in a statement that they won’t suggest goalkeepers not to use it, but they would suggest considering the advantages of placing a defensive wall so that the negative effect of the ball’s flight won’t impact adversely.

Researchers also admitted that expert free kickers have been analyzing this for years so that they can take advantage of the wall. Cathy Craig, one of the researchers, is now busy with her virtual reality tool. She is ambitious to help goalies to prepare for free kicks with this tool.

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