Rezzil Player PS5 PSVR2 Interview 1

The intersection between sports and technology is fascinating, with most major teams in the Premier League, NFL, and NBA using bespoke equipment to analyse the performance of their players and gain an advantage. Rezzil is one company supplying software in this space, with its proprietary solutions providing key data analysis to football teams, among other things.

Later this year it’ll expand its product portfolio with Rezzil Player, a virtual reality training tool which aims to sharpen the skills of athletes across a variety of disciplines. Scheduled to release on PSVR2, this utility is targeting both professionals and everyday users, with real-life coaches contributing to the design of the activities. We sat down with Rezzil’s co-founder Andy Etches to learn a little more about how gamification can help maximise performance and more.

Rezzil Player PS5 PSVR2 Interview 2

Push Square: Researching Rezzil Player, we noticed the language in all the official materials leans more towards "sports training app" than "video game". Just to align expectations, do you consider this more of an accompaniment for athletes than an everyday experience for gamers?

Andy Etches: Rezzil Player is an ever-growing collection of sports training games that will improve your performance and reaction times across a wide range of sports. Primarily, it is a training app, but through the gamification of training, we have made working out and developing your skills more fun and competitive so gamers can enjoy their sports experience as well as athletes. Rezzil Player has received just as strong feedback from gamers, as well as athletes, due to its ability to feel like a game. It creates entertainment value for our gaming audience while helping them acquire new skills and increase their fitness levels without them noticing!

Rezzil Player PS5 PSVR2 Interview 3

What sets Rezzil Player apart from other fitness and training products already available for VR headsets like PSVR2?

Rezzil is used across the world by athletes in a wide range of different sports, from academy level to World Cup winners. Our training games have been developed with the support of professional athletes, coaches, and sports scientists, providing our users with the ability to train like a pro at the comfort of their own home. Being so involved in the world of professional sport sets us apart from anything else on the market.

There are a lot of different activities in Rezzil Player, all designed around different sports. Do you foresee players focusing on a single activity to sharpen their skills in a specific sport, or do you think there's crossover between all of them?

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A player may choose to focus on one activity that they enjoy to develop the specific skill set suitable for that sport. However, there is room to utilise different game modes to suit your wider training and development of different skills. For example, our reaction wall and Hoops game modes can help improve reactions, vision, and fitness in a whole host of sports. Even athletes themselves are using different game modes that may not necessarily be their first sport. For example, the Atlanta Falcons recently explained that some of their athletes take part in our soccer heading drills as part of their rehab, even though they are NFL players as it helps develop their cognitive and motor skills.

Rezzil also provides data analysis products for professional sports teams. Can you talk a little bit about how Rezzil Player came about, and how it aligns with the company's other products and overall ethos?

Our aim as a company is to make elite training methods available for all. We work with professional sports clubs, sporting institutions, and athletes at the highest level across the globe. The learnings that we receive from being utilised within the professional sports industry results in Rezzil Player being the best equipped app to help anyone to develop their skills or quite simply just enjoy sport. There is no one in the industry who also supports elite sports in the way we do and we are proud to be able to knock down the barriers that may be preventing people from experiencing high quality training, no matter what their initial sporting ability may be.

Rezzil Player PS5 PSVR2 Interview 5

Do you envisage more elite athletes utilising VR for training purposes moving forwards? How can the technology overcome obvious hurdles, like the fact that having a screen strapped to your face inherently affects mobility? How have you designed around this potential pitfall?

We do expect more athletes to turn to VR as part of their training schedule. Already, over half of the Premier league utilise Rezzil for training, recovery, and analysis purposes. We also have a number of NFL and NBA teams utilising Rezzil, and our advisory group boasts of Vincent Kompany, Thierry Henry, Gary Neville, Cesc Fabregas, Michail Antonio, Tyrone Mings, and Anthony Watson. We have never received feedback that the headsets cause mobility issues and the standards of the comfort of VR headsets are continually improving.

Some of the Rezzil Player trailers and press materials allude to a competitive aspect with cash prizes. Will this functionality be available on PSVR2 and can you explain a little bit about how it works?

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On Rezzil Player you will be able to take part in fun monthly challenges and have the chance to compete for cash and other prizes on PSVR2! We will be putting out our own challenges every month that will include participating in different game modes across Rezzil Player. From time to time, there will also be special challenges available that will be created with our partners and for big sporting events!

Isn't it difficult to ensure a fair and competitive environment when there's real monetary stakes on the line?

Yes it is, we face the same challenges as all eSports competitions and take the issues just as seriously. Luckily we have a great Discord community (that you have to be a part of to claim any prizes), where players of all levels help each other to improve their technique. We have seen eSport pros help out newbies who have gone on to win. We also run a challenge where winners are picked at random so it gives anyone who has played a chance to win.

We are also developing a tournaments platform for release later this year where anyone can create, play, and promote challenges on supported VR games like Rezzil Player. Watch this space.

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What kind of research went into designing the activities, and what kind of feedback have you had from professional athletes? How have you been able to measure the correlation between using the app and a real-world performance improvement?

When designing activities, we would take on a hands-on approach that would start by having conversations with many leading coaches working in elite sport organisations, to understand activities they believe would be beneficial for their athletes. We would then engage in several rounds of feedback, involving the coaches, their players, and well-regarded academics, to refine and further develop them. We’ve received great feedback from professional athletes, such as the realism and enjoyment from training with Rezzil. Many have made it an essential part of their weekly training, for example, using it as a pre-training stimulus, or to support them during their rehabilitation.

To understand how real-world performance has been improved through Rezzil, we spend a lot of time listening to athletes that have been using it. Recurring comments include them feeling more alert, and confident in the real-world after using Rezzil. But that’s not all, we’re currently engaged in projects to measure decision making skills before and after training with Rezzil, and so far, the results are looking promising.

Obviously, the game isn't even out on PSVR2 yet, but we're curious to hear your thoughts on how the intersection between sport and technology will evolve? What do you think will be the next major innovations in this area?

As VR/XR hardware continues to improve across the board, the benefits to training and developing your skill set using Rezzil will only increase. As a product that is already being utilised at the highest level of sport, it is exciting to think what the possibilities may be in the future!

The industry is moving fast and we can expect to see more advanced simulations and training using full body in the future, we are already developing the next generation of products that will include kicking games completely untethered and real game data that players can interact with.

Thanks so much to Andy for taking the time to answer our questions, and help us learn a little more about Rezzil Player. Are you interested in how technology can be used to enhanced the performance of athletes and sharpen the fitness of everyone? Let us know in the comments section below.