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How Aurelien Tchouameni uses virtual reality to practice playing as a center back

Real Madrid CF v CA Osasuna - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has been in scintillating form for Real Madrid and France this season. He has always been known to be a hardworking player and student of the game — but did you know that he also uses virtual reality to improve his performance?

Tchouameni is one of the many players who have embraced the technology of immersive learning, which allows them to practice anytime, anywhere, in realistic simulations of game situations. He uses a VR headset to do so.

One of the benefits of using VR for Tchouameni is that he can practice playing as a center back, a position that he is not very familiar with but might be required to play in some scenarios, like he did recently against Osasuna. By facing virtual opponents and teammates, he can learn the defensive principles, positioning, communication, and decision-making that are essential for playing as a center back. Days before the Osasuna game, the Frenchman was simulating scenarios where he tracks Osasuna striker Budimir to make sure he doesn’t lose his marker.

Tchouameni says that VR helps him to develop his spatial awareness, anticipation, and reaction time. He also says that it makes training more fun and engaging, as he can challenge himself with different levels of difficulty and feedback. He believes that VR gives him an edge over his rivals, as he can prepare for any situation that might occur on the pitch.

In this week’s pre-game press conference with the French national team, Tchouameni spoke about having to play the center-back position.

“My father told me that the number 6s were often playing deeper,” Tchouameni said. “When I called him to tell him, he started laughing. I have set myself the challenge of doing well in that position, but I like playing in the midfield better. I’m not going to ask for it, but if the team needs it, I’m not going to say no.

“I hope it doesn’t last.... I set myself the challenge of seeing what I could do in that position. But I like playing in the center of the field better. I won’t say that I want to play central defense, but it is possible that I will do so in the future.”

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