VR Sports: It’s in the game

New technology meets a classic sport


Leda Jimenez

TCHS baseball has begun using virtual reality headsets to practice.

The bat cracks at the sound of the impact with the baseball. It disappears as it gets closer to the ground. 

The crowd doesn’t go wild. The wind doesn’t blow in your face. The faceless pitcher stands still as the ball reappears in his glove. 

Words display in front of your retinas. Try again? 

Removing the headset, you find yourself back to reality. It’s not so different now, yet 30 years ago, you’d be sweating up a storm before the game.

Now you throw your bag over your shoulder and take the field, not a bead of sweat lining your brow.


The TCHS Baseball Booster Team purchased two Oculus headsets this year. The team has started implementing the headsets as an additional method of practice.

After seeing the product at clinics and on social media platforms, the baseball coaches agreed that this was a pursuable idea. They fundraised and had the booster club authorize the purchase for a total of $2,200.  

Using a program called Win Reality, the game simulates a baseball field and has different features in order to help develop general baseball skills.

“It allows us to practice without having to use real arms and bodies,” Rogers said. “It’s a video game where you can see live pitches coming in. We get to practice without actually having to be outside.” 

When wearing the headset, the player appears at the plate in a first-person point of view. The game allows the wearer to adjust the features to coordinate what pitches the virtual pitcher will throw, such as speed or types of pitches. On a more advanced level, players can also adjust coordinates.

Leda Jimenez

“It’s kinda like the same thing as a real game, it just looks a little different, but it feels all the same,” Junior Noah Olivera said. “You’re seeing a pitcher pitch, you’re not knowing what’s coming, and it just gets you ready for the actual game.”

These features help pose an advantage to the baseball team, especially before a game, and Coach Rogers even says that it was like they had seen the pitcher before they actually saw the pitcher.

“If we know of pitchers we’re seeing this week, how well they throw, from which arm angle they throw, what types of pitches they throw, [Win Reality] has the ability to tell us who that is in the system,” Coach Rogers said. “For instance, [in] our first game against Lovejoy, we were able to draw 6 walks. It’s kinda crazy to think about.” 

The headsets also help take away a significant portion of the physical demand from the player while still helping develop certain skills. 

“It’s important to take care of people, so we stay healthy when we actually play games,” Coach Rogers said. “It’s a chance to sort of supplement getting real life at bats, honing in hand-eye coordination and pitch recognition.”

This supplemental tool is not uncommon in the professional baseball world. Players like senior JT Fichera say they have seen many college programs and top-level high schools using this feature. 

“I haven’t seen a lot of high school teams using it,” Fichera said.  “I feel we definitely have somewhat of an advantage there in using it in our everyday routine.”

While the players say that they’d pick practicing on the field over VR, many agree that it is an impressive alternative.

“I prefer being on the field, you can’t beat the real thing, but I would say this is definitely a very close second,” Fichera said. “It’s a great alternative on days when the field is wet.”

The alternative admittedly raised some skepticism from players when the tool was first introduced, but after some use, players began to notice some improvements overall.

“Before I used it, I thought [VR headsets] were kinda stupid,” Fichera said. “I didn’t understand really what the point of them was, but once I got to put it on and really got to use it, I really liked it. I like it a lot and I think it’s a great tool.”

VR has been around for a while, initially starting up in 1968 (Virtual Reality Society). Now that the concept has been implemented into baseball, a sport that has been around since 1846 (ESPN), it poses many questions about the way technology will continue to integrate itself into other sports

“We’re advancing in technology every single day so chances are the technology is gonna solve problems for somebody in the other sports for sure,” Rogers said. 

The latest technology seen for baseball is a sleeve that catchers wear when calling pitches to the pitcher, says Senior Robert Farr, known as Jac Jack. Technology has made major strides in the industry and continues to further advance.

“It’s like there’s just a whole ‘nother world- like they say virtual reality,” Farr said. “It’s crazy to see how far virtual reality has come. To be able to translate a sport into something like this is just..crazy.”