by Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice Athletics has joined a select number of schools in taking a bold technological leap forward by partnering with STRIVR Labs on an immersive virtual reality platform that replicates the field experience in the classroom.
“Today we’ve taken a big step toward the future by embracing the cutting edge field of virtual reality,” Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard said. “We believe this technology perfectly aligns with the spirit of innovation on our campus, and we can’t wait to use it for the benefit of our athletic programs. We are so excited about our partnership with STRIVR." The Owls join Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Stanford and Vanderbilt as well as Dartmouth as the first schools to embrace this advancement, while the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are the first NFL teams to adopt the new technology.
“It’s amazing the strides that technology continues to take within our game and it is exciting that Rice can be at the forefront of his newest innovation,” Rice head football coach David Bailiff noted. “This system creates an entirely new level of instruction for our players and redefines the concept of mental reps which in turn will make our actual practice time on the field more productive. To be able to replicate the field level experience in a classroom is a game-changer for our players and coaches.”
While the most obvious application of the system in football is geared towards the starting quarterback and making his reads against an opposing defense, it also allows backups virtual reps that would not be available during field practice time. At the same time, the technology is easily adaptable to offer the same experience to defensive players.
Established in 2015 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, STRIVR Labs, Inc. is a virtual reality technology company that provides cutting-edge training solutions to sports teams. STRIVR’s patent-pending technology was developed and proven during the 2014 football season at Stanford University Former Stanford kicker Derek Belch developed the program that utilizes an Oculus rift headset and headphones to bring the action on the field to life wherever the set is worn.
“With this system, we have created a way to bring the experience of the playing field into the classroom,” Belch stated. “With all the current discussions about the physical demands of the game today because of the pace of play, this allows players to continue to prepare while not being physically taxed.
“Rice is the first team in Conference USA to take this step. The Owls are blazing a trail that separates them from the pack which is certainly an advantage both in their preparations of their current players and in their recruitment of future Owls,” Belch added.
The introduction of the STRIVR Labs system is the latest in a series of cutting edge technologies that Rice has introduced in recent years.
In 2013 the Owls became the first college football team to partner with APTUS Assessments to implement their testing in order to identify how each individual player defines, processes and executes instructions and information in order to develop the most efficient platform for learning.