Jimmy Rexler was the sophomore backup quarterback for his high school football team in South Dakota, the Rapid City Tech Great Whites. The Great Whites lost the South Dakota state championship the previous year to the Yankton High Blue Gills. The state championship game was a shootout, it was a very high scoring game with many deep passes thrown by both quarterbacks. The final score was 45-42, the Blue Gills ended the game with a 37-yard field goal that hooked just inside the left upright. After that game, the Rapid City Tech football team had a long offseason of training. They were expected to be a very good football team again. The team only graduated four seniors, one of those seniors was Justin Simpson, their starting quarterback. For the whole offseason all of the focus was on Jimmy being the starting quarterback for the next season. He was the expected starter all the way up until camp was about to start. Right before camp began, the former starting quarterback from Yankton High, Mason Turner, transferred to Rapid City Tech.
During camp, Jimmy and Mason had a back and forth battle. It was a long and hard two weeks for both of them. One of the star wide receivers for the team was Mike Johnson. Mike and Jimmy were best friends as they had grown up right next to each other and have been playing on the same team together since they were in fifth grade. Mike and Jimmy had lots of chemistry from playing together for so long so naturally Jimmy played better whenever Mike was on the field. A problem for Jimmy was that he had trouble throwing to different receivers because he did not have confidence in himself and the other players like he did Mike. This probably occurred because the previous season when Justin Simpson was the starting quarterback, Jimmy did not get to practice throwing with the majority of the receivers, so he was not comfortable passing to them. After the long battle for the starting position, at the end of camp, Mason won the spot. After the whole offseason of believing that he would be the starting quarterback for the Great Whites, Jimmy was upset but he was also determined. When he lost his spot to Mason, it lit a fire inside him that made him want to work harder than ever.
Rapid City Tech was an optional vocational school where students choose what trade they would like to study. In technical schools like this there are usually shops in the manufacturing field like welding and automotive, the arts and human resources field like nursing, cosmetology, and cosmetology, and the engineering and construction field like electrical, carpentry, HVAC, engineering, and information technology. Jimmy is studying information technology which involves learning about computer networking, computer repair, and computer programming. Being in this shop, Jimmy was very interested in technology. He wanted to know how technology could make him a better football player and since he was always on computers, he spent a lot of time researching this topic. This is how he came to find the Check Down Sports Complex. The CDSC is a new sports training complex outside of Rapid City with state-of-the-art equipment. Also, at the CDSC is a new virtual reality center for football players. This equipment is mainly used to train quarterbacks. When Jimmy finds this facility, he sees it as a way for him to win the starting quarterback position back.
It is time for the first game and Mason is still the starting quarterback. The game is against the Pierre High Bears. All day long Jimmy was feeling down about not being the starting quarterback. During the bus ride to Pierre he started to get thoughts that no athlete should get, he wanted Mason to not perform well during the game so that maybe he had a chance to become the starter. These thoughts are awful because as an athlete, you should always want your teammates to succeed no matter if they are starting over you or not. Throughout the game Mason was doing a good job and completing a good number of passes. During the fourth quarter, the score of the game was 20-14, Pierre High was winning. Rapid City Tech had the ball, so Mason had a chance to drive the ball down the field and win the game for the Great Whites. It was at this point that Jimmy realized that he did want Mason to succeed so that the whole team could win. He realized that Mason doing a bad job will not help him, if he wanted the starting quarterback position then he was going to have to work for it and prove to the coaches that he was a better quarterback than Mason. During that drive, Mason threw an interception to the cornerback in the end zone. Pierre High ended up winning that game. Just like everyone else on the team, Jimmy was upset about losing, but he was excited about getting to work and get his starting spot back.
The Saturday morning after the first game, Jimmy went to Check Down Sports Complex for the first time. He was excited to work with all of the new equipment. When Jimmy arrived, he met his new personal coach, Coach Alfredo, who was a quarterback at the University of South Dakota where he majored in sports management with a minor in computer science. He also helped develop some of the new virtual reality technology. Coach Alfredo’s goal after college was to help athletes become better players using technology that they have at the CDSC. The first thing that Coach Alfredo had Jimmy do was stretch. He stressed to Jimmy that stretching is one of the most important things that a quarterback can do for themselves. Next, Coach Alfredo wanted to throw with Jimmy so that they were both warmed up and ready to go. Before any work is done with the virtual reality equipment, Coach Alfredo makes sure that Jimmy practices all of the fundamentals to be a quarterback, such as footwork drills, taking snaps, giving handoffs, and understanding basic defensive coverages. After all of those drills are over with, Jimmy finally gets to use the virtual reality equipment. Coach Alfredo explains that various NFL teams use this same equipment along with many top college football teams. When Jimmy puts the virtual reality headset on, he is amazed at how real everything looks, he feels as if he is right outside on the practice field looking at a defense. While using the virtual reality equipment Jimmy can see his whole offense and the whole defense. Coach Alfredo can set up the defense to do different coverages and blitz. Jimmy has to react to the defense and complete the pass based off of what play is called. Jimmy can throw an actual ball into a screen which will then correspond with the virtual reality and will be a completed pass or an incomplete pass. The virtual reality program will grade Jimmy based off of his performance. Jimmy will also be able to use the virtual reality to practice against his upcoming opponent’s defense.
The next day at the team practice, Jimmy used the techniques and concepts that he learned at Check Down Sports Complex in practice. His coach noticed that he was doing much better than the previous week and decided to give him more reps during practice. That night after practice Jimmy went to Check Down Sports Complex for another session with Coach Alfredo. After the coach had Jimmy go through all of the basic warmup and fundamental drills, he was able to use the virtual reality equipment again. Earlier in the day he learned that the upcoming opponent ran a base cover 2 defense. Coach Alfredo was able to load this information into the equipment along with similar passing route concepts that the team would be running this week. The equipment simulated almost exactly what he would be faced with throughout the week at practice and in the game.
When it was Friday night, Mason was given the starting spot again. Jimmy expected that Mason would be the starting quarterback again this week, but it only made him want to work harder. This week, the Great Whites won the game, but Mason threw two interceptions. After the game, the coach told Jimmy to prepare for a week of competing for the starting quarterback position. This gave Jimmy a lot of hope that he could possibly become the starting quarterback for the upcoming game, it also got him excited to have another session with Coach Alfredo the next day.
The next morning, Jimmy headed to Check Down Sports Complex again. After he went through all of his usual drills, Jimmy used the virtual reality equipment again. During this session, he scored higher than he has any previous time that he used the equipment. Jimmy increased his skill as a passing quarterback significantly since he began to use the new technology.
Jimmy showed up to practice on Monday ready to compete. His confidence was at an all-time high. While going through all of his drills, he just thought of the techniques and fundamentals that Coach Alfredo worked on with him. When it was time to run plays against the defense, he used all of his newly developed skills to make the right reads and throwing decisions. Throughout the whole practice, he completed almost every ball that he threw, the only incomplete passes that he threw were drops by the wide receivers. The confidence problem that Jimmy had in the beginning of the year with throwing to receivers other than Mike was completely gone. By using the technology so much, he gained confidence in all of his throws because it is his job to place the ball in the right location based off of the route, he realized it really had nothing to do with who he was throwing to.
After practice was over, Jimmy’s coach told him he wanted to talk to him. The coach told him that he was very close to becoming the starting quarterback, but he just though that Mason was better at running the ball and evading tacklers. He also told Jimmy that if could prove that he could run the ball this week in practice that he would be the starting quarterback for the game on Friday night. Jimmy was very excited the news he was given, but he wasn’t sure how he could become better at running the ball in such a short amount of time.
Later that evening, Jimmy went to train with Coach Alfredo. He told Coach Alfredo about the news that his coach told him. Coach Alfredo told him that after their usual workouts that he had something that might help Jimmy become better at running the football. After Jimmy’s session with the virtual reality equipment, Coach Alfredo shows him another new type of equipment. This equipment is called augmented reality. The difference between augmented reality training and virtual reality training is that in virtual reality, the user does not see the real world at all, only a created reality. In augmented reality, the user sees the outside world with virtual information on top of it. This training equipment uses augmented reality to help athletes, specifically football players, avoid defenders. The athlete will wear a headset that they can see through which also has the augmented reality on it. While using it, the athlete can run down a field, the headset will show defenders are coming at them and the runner must avoid them or break a tackle. This is the perfect way for Jimmy to improve his skills as a ball carrier. At first, he struggled getting the hang of it, but then he became more and more comfortable and developed his own moves to avoid the defenders. Coach Alfredo was impressed with how quickly Jimmy was able to improve. Jimmy could not wait to use these skills on the field at practice.
The next day, Jimmy couldn’t wait to get on the practice field to use some of the skills and moves that he developed the previous day using the augmented reality equipment. When he arrived to practice, his coach told him that he would be running the ball a lot throughout the day. The first play that he ran was a quarterback draw. This play was designed for him to drop back to make the defenders believe he was going to pass and once they were in their coverage drops, he is supposed to take off running down the field. Jimmy executed the play perfectly, once he dropped back, he saw the linebackers clear, so he took off down the middle of the field. The safety came down to tackle him, but Jimmy made one cut to the left and avoided him before being tackled for a twelve-yard gain. He had a few plays like that throughout the practice where he made someone miss or broke a tackle. Another play, later in the practice, Jimmy dropped back to pass, the pocket collapsed quickly, and he had to make a defensive end miss. He looked down the field for an open receiver, but there was no one open, he had to scramble. Jimmy ran down the field, his receivers began to block the defenders for him. Mike missed the block that he was trying to make. As Jimmy approached him, he thought back to the moves he was making the previous night using the augmented reality equipment, Jimmy made a move to the right and suddenly spun to the left. He successfully avoided the defender and scored a touchdown. After practice, Jimmy’s coach talked to him again and told him that he liked what he saw and told him that he was going to be the starting quarterback for the game this week.
Throughout the remainder of the week, Jimmy continued to throw and run the football better than Mason. On Friday night at game time, Jimmy could not wait to get on the field. After warmups, he began to get nervous, but when he started to play it all went away. Jimmy used all of the skills that he learned with Coach Alfredo and through practice all week to lead his team. When the game was over, Jimmy finished with 216 passing yards on 21 passing attempts along with 73 rushing yards. He led the Great Whites to victory; the score was 41-16. He remained the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, the team went 9-1 in the regular season but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Mason’s old team, Yankton High. Jimmy could not be more thankful for all that Coach Alfredo taught him along with the advanced technology that allowed him to excel as a quarterback.
Admin. “What Is Augmented Reality (AR)? Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR) Technology.” Reality Technologies, Reality Technologies, 4 Oct. 2018, www.realitytechnologies.com/augmented-reality/.
“Sports Training.” STRIVR, www.strivr.com/sports/.
“Virtual Training for Football Is Becoming a Reality.” Ohio University, 20 Sept. 2018, onlinemasters.ohio.edu/blog/virtual-training-for-football-is-becoming-a-reality/.
My name is Matthew Rossi. I started playing sports when I was four. I have been an athlete for a very long time and am currently on the Wilkes University football team. I am also a sports management major. I immediately chose sports when I was told I could write about anything.