Anna Akbaş, Wojciech Marszałek, Anna Kamieniarz, Jacek Polechoński, Kajetan J. Słomka and Grzegorz Juras
The purpose of this study was to determine the state of the art in the area of virtual reality in competitive athletes of different levels of expertise in various disciplines and point the areas of its application. Articles published before August 2018 were considered in our review. The PubMed, SCOPUS, SportDiscus and Medline databases were searched. A combination of the following search terms was used: virtual reality, virtual environment, virtual system, athletes, sports, physical training, sport performance, physical exercises. Studies involved healthy competitive athletes. A total of 18 articles met the inclusion criteria. There were three areas of application of virtual reality to sport: performance analysis, simulation improvement and virtual training. Competitive athletes were mostly examined in a semi‐immersive setting. In conclusion, virtual reality seems to play a marginal role in competitive athletes’ training. Due to the fact that virtual reality interventions bring significant improvements in clinical research, well‐designed randomized control trials with detailed virtual training programmes are required in the future. Practically, virtual reality is effectively and commonly used to analyse performance in competitive athletes. There is still a need of creating fully interactive VR, where athletes will be able to cooperate with a virtual partner and influence the environment.