Wycombe Wanderers players swapped the football pitch for a flight simulator and virtual reality facility as part of their latest development day, hosted by Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe.
Manager Gareth Ainsworth took his squad to the University for a quartet of activities aimed at strengthening their skills away from football and developing their teamwork in groups of six.
The players were set the task of landing a small aircraft in regular conditions before overcoming challenges such as heavy weather or engine failure, and navigating their way round a haunted house in a session in the psychology courses' Virtual Reality Lab.
There was also a race against the clock where the players had to apply problem-solving skills, good communication and teamwork to programme robots to navigate mazes and destroy alien creatures in a computer game environment, as well as an activity which tested their capabilities in a football chat show scenario, analysing key fixtures in the Chairboys’ season so far.
Ainsworth said: “We like to hold these development days from time to time to take the boys out of their comfort zone and encourage them to use their skills in different situations than they’re used to.
“Bucks New University have some first-class facilities which created an ideal environment for the players to work together to solve different problems, and, as always, there was a competitive element which brings out the best in them!
“I’d like to thank everyone at the University who gave up their time to tutor the players through their challenges and have invited their staff to join us at a game in the near future.”
Dr Paul Morgan, Head of the School of Human and Social Sciences at Bucks New University, said the development sessions provided a great opportunity to showcase its expertise and facilities in psychology, aviation, computing, and sport science.
He said: “We designed a range of education-based activities to enhance individual and group performance in challenging situations less familiar to the players. We hope the experience will serve the team well in the final stages of the season."