Training with Virtual Reality: Elia Canales’ Path to Olympic Success

The name of Elia Canales is one of those unusual names in the medal pools for the next Olympic Games in Paris, but analyzing your results and progression can dream of everything. Today, the Catalan goalkeeper arrives to meet Relevo at the headquarters of Zero Latency, near Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, going unnoticed on a rainy day, but in August she can burst onto the covers like a Spanish heroine in the French capital.

The great star of Spanish women’s archery invites us to a futuristic place and where the first thing we find is the exit of a group of young people hallucinating what they have just experienced. “It was super real! And more and more appeared!” they said to each other. Although it seems incredible, they come out of “hunt zombies and there we entered with Elia Canales. Obviously, we are not talking about real revived corpses and it is all about an immersive video game thanks to virtual reality.

The seventh in the world ranking of World Archery, the international federation, has added this new method to its daily training. Archery is much more than shooting arrows and the smallest details count in improvement: “We do physical work, but also visual work: Many exercises with the eyes to coordinate them well“. In this visual work, the gamification of virtual reality allows a tuning with movement for the reflections of the eyes through the game. This theory is supported by a study from the University of Rennes, which indicates that athletes reach a ” behavioral realism” that allows trainers to implement engaging training tools.

In this sense, another of the factors that these trainings provide indicates an improvement in decision-making and the development of strategy skills. Under the pressure of zombie attacks, The situation forces Elia to be quick and, above all, accurate in hundredths of a second, serving to prepare her nerves of steel in a duel of maximum tension in front of the target.. “It is very realistic, the voids make you dizzy and the scares are as if the zombie appeared to you in reality.

Immersion in the virtual world

In a large central patio of the facility, Elia moves from one place to another equipped with virtual reality glasses and bulky helmets that isolate it from the real environment. Only the voice of the room coordinator to check that everything is going well breaks his total immersion in the parallel world where he defends himself, rifle in hand, from the attack of a multitude of zombies.

In the future, both the system’s creators and the athletes hope to have a virtual environment similar to what athletes find in a major competition. “Imagine what it would help us to be able to train virtually on the shooting range of the Games, surrounded by people and what we are going to experience; it helps you in those visualizations“, Elia tells us. She is not the only athlete who has entered this curious new world in recent months: in the same facilities, Lucía Martín-Portugués, the best Spanish saber fencer in the fencing ranking and who is He is also on his way to the next Olympic event, seeking to advance his footwork and reaction, which are key in his discipline.

This preparation will be another contribution to Canales’ next challenges. The Tarragona archer achieved the women’s individual Olympic place for Spain after hanging the gold medal in the mixed category with Miguel Alvariño at the European Games in Krakow from last summer. Even so, she will have to earn being the one to occupy the place in Paris in the internal qualifiers where Leyre Fernández, Irati Unamunzaga and the representative in Tokyo, Inés de Velasco, will not make it easy for her. A priori, she seems like the favorite but she will have to have a good performance to confirm it.

If she manages to confirm the place, she will meet at the monumental Parisian esplanade of Les Invalides in search of dreaming of the first Olympic medal for a Spanish archer. In front of her she will not have zombies, but a Korean team that has dominated the medal tables throughout history.

2024-02-24 17:49:17
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