Exerlights: Sports Training with LED Vests

Player wearing Exerlights LED vest during a training session

A while back, I shared insights on using traditional training bibs in sports practices. Now, fast forward to 2017, the sports world witnesses the rise of ‘Exerlights’—often termed ‘Vest 2.0’. It’s not just a colored shirt anymore but an adaptable LED strip, capable of changing colors.

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The Significance of Colored Vests in Sports:

Colored vests have always played a vital role in various sports, aiding in the differentiation of teams. Such distinction benefits both players and coaches, ensuring clarity in identifying team members. To illustrate how players often focus on colors, take a look at this fascinating incident from a Bundesliga match: [YouTube Link]. In the clip, Bayern München’s Thiago gets tricked by a fleeting red color, thinking it’s a teammate, only to realize it’s a Santa Claus advertisement! Such instances highlight the weight colors carry in decision-making on the field.

Challenges and Benefits of Training Without Vests:

Opting to train without bibs introduces a certain degree of difficulty. Players must then rely heavily on visual cues—from facial features to body postures—and cultivate the habit of making eye contact. Miscommunication between players often stems from the lack of synchronization, which can be corrected with brief eye contact. Conversely, a mere glimpse of a teammate’s shirt can trigger a brilliant move or a precision pass.

Introducing Exerlights

Enter Exerlights: innovative LED strips worn like traditional vests. These LEDs are remotely controllable and can frequently alternate colors, adding dynamism to training sessions. This tech innovation encourages continuous reorientation, compelling the brain to perform foundational techniques on autopilot, thus enhancing technical skills. The supporting app allows color customization and the LED strips can be attached to goals, paving the way for inventive training methods. Here’s a quick demonstration from AZ

Professional Clubs Embracing Exerlights:

Many professional clubs, including Hoffenheim, have integrated Exerlights into their training regimen. Hoffenheim’s head coach, the youngest in the Bundesliga, alongside his Dutch assistant Alfred Schreuder, believes in pushing players to their limits. Schreuder, in a recent NRC interview, mentioned, “The moment players grasp a drill, we switch it up. Our aim is to place players in stressful scenarios”, and Exerlights does just that. While I personally haven’t experienced Exerlights, I believe they can elevate training sessions, challenging players like never before.

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