Our guest this episode is Michael Napoleon, who is the co-founder of SuperSpeed Golf, which helps golfers gain 5-8% in swing speed using overspeed training. The product works by making the body move faster during a known movement pattern to reset the normal reaction speed of the body. Since 2014 SuperSpeed Golf has helped hundreds of Tour players and thousands of amateur golfers swing faster, increase their distance, and lower their scores.
Can you give an overview of how SuperSpeed Golf started and how you got here?
We started SuperSpeed Golf in Chicago, actually. My business partner, Kyle Shay and I were running another business in Chicago called Catalyst Golf Performance, and we had a kind of in-house coaching academy business. It had quite an outstanding team around us.
We had a lot of clients that were going through that Academy and, SuperSpeed started as really like a side project and it really started as just something that we were using with our own clients to help them gain swing speed. And we found it to be working very successfully and really with everybody.
We had the opportunity to be able then to test it on a lot of these players. And we found that, nearly a hundred percent of players got faster using the product. We slowly pushed into it. We did a lot of research and design, a lot of planning on just exactly how the product was going to look how the protocols were going to function.
Then Kyle and I really had the foresight, I would say, that we really felt like this business was going to be the one that could really take off and. Really scale on a bigger level.
We had opened a number of different locations with the coaching business, and it was a great business. We very much enjoyed running that: the personal contact with the with the clients and all of that. But at the same time, like the scalability of any type of business where, you have to be in a room with somebody for a certain amount of time.
It’s very difficult. And, we certainly saw the potential of SuperSpeed being more of a product-based business connected with that online coaching element. Which I really think is the part that’s really set the business apart is really staying with those people once they buy the product.
It was like 2016 when we really went all in on SuperSpeed. It launched in the fall of 2014. So it was about a year, a little over a year and a half later before Kyle and I really decided that this was going to be the number one thing.
And we were going to go for it.
The product itself is surprisingly straightforward. It’s literally a club with weights, different weights at the end of it. I think it really seems like the magic came from the protocols that you’ve created. How to implement the swings and what to do to stretch your ability to swing faster.
How did you come up with those protocols? How did you learn how to use what you designed?
We were first introduced to the concept or the first time we had ever seen it was at the world golf fitness summit with TPI in 2012. Dr. Tom House did a great presentation talking about a training that he had been doing in major league baseball with pitchers.
He talked about using different weighted balls, they call them velo balls and had been working for 15 years with major league baseball pitchers in order to help them gain arm speed and increase pitch speed. And we saw that and he had a couple ideas of how to potentially apply it to the swinging sports.
We looked back at all the research that we had done over the last 60 years in track and field, javelin throwing, especially. And then a lot of research that had been done in baseball. Then we piggybacked from there to really figure out how to apply it to swinging sports in the most efficient way.
So it was based on a lot of good scientific research that had been done on how to help athletes move faster by not making them stronger by not necessarily changing the motor programs that they are using, but really just to get the neurological system firing on all cylinders. Reprogramming the brain for what it thinks is normal, as far as how fast that player can swing.
So that’s really where all of that came from. But like I said before, I think that’s really what separated us a lot from other training companies, a lot of training aids out there. You might use it a couple times. And then that it’s done and maybe you like it, maybe not.
And personally in my closet, I have a whole lot of those things that I don’t really use. That was really the difference.
The SuperSpeed club is a very simple design. The weights we tested a lot to be very specifically weighted around a player’s driver. And that pattern of waiting is very important.
But I would say that may be 25% of our research and development really came into building the product. And 75% of it really went into optimizing those protocols to make the training as efficient and effective as possible for everyone.
And I think as we’ve seen over the years is the end result is quite dramatic. It’s really surprising how much of an improvement that golfers on all levels and obviously tour pros all the way down have implemented.
Can you talk a little bit about whether you were surprised at how much of an impact SuperSpeed can make in terms of helping golfers improve their swing speed and distance?
Obviously at this point, we’re somewhere humbled by the fact that, I think that our products have made a significant impact on the coaching space and the golf industry altogether. Almost to the extent of creating a new category of training.
Players always had their mechanics program and their fitness program and, they had their equipment fitting. But now, players have their speed program and there’s a separate category for it.
That’s a humbling thing to see happen, especially with all the best players in the world, but I’m not shocked to see it work like that because the initial studies that we did with our players, we had 54 players in the first test study we did once we really got down to this weighting.
We had only one player out of 54 that didn’t see a significant increase in swing speed over that period. And that player actually had some injuries that were going on. On average, we saw a 5.2% increase in swing speed in that very first study.
Now with tens of thousands of data points, we’re still hovering right around that 5.2 average speed increase for players all around the world. It’s wild how math and statistics work like that. But we’re not really shocked because it’s exactly what we saw in the very first study.
Even on a small sample size. It’s just continued to proliferate. And now it’s in the bags of so many players around the world, and we’re still seeing really rave reviews from the players about SuperSpeed.
I was just on a podcast last week and we had some live questions coming in from some people that were watching the thing live. And we had a great question about club fitting.
The caller got fit for clubs back in November and his speed was at 104 miles an hour. And he just got tested after doing this training for the last two months and he’s at 113, did he need to get fit for clubs again? And we’re like, yep, probably.
But things are just, they really are commonplace for what we what we see as results in the training. Then when you talk about that person, they went from 104 to 113. So a nine mile an hour increase.
What does that translate in terms of distance wise?
Obviously there’s more variables there that go into that. It depends how efficient that player is striking the golf ball. All of those things matter – like the physics of how the club head and the ball interact.
Converting club head speed to ball speed is about one and a half times. You’re looking at, usually a little over two yards per mile, an hour ball speed. That player is looking at almost 30 off the tee.
Where can golfers buy SuperSpeed?
We sell SuperSpeed golf everywhere now. It’s at PGA Tour Superstore. It’s at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
It’s a local golf shops all over the world. It’s probably your local golf club at this point. And if that doesn’t work, we sell it on our website. You can get some real cool, like bundle specials and things like that at our website that are only offered there. And then, you can also get it at online retailers all over the place as well, including Amazon and some of those big ones.
Last question, Mike you talked about the protocols and the importance of that, and also it sounds that once someone purchased SuperSpeed they could work with their local PGA pro, but they could also implement themselves. Is that the case?
Absolutely. We built the system so that anyone that has space to swing a golf club, wherever that might be, can take advantage of this training and get results out of doing the SuperSpeed golf training. And that’s why there’s easy to follow video tutorial protocols.
I would say the majority of people do this at home. I’ve always looked at it and we’ve always tried to structure it as like a good, better, best kind of environment. We wanted the baseline to be good so that if you just buy the product, do it at home, you follow the videos.
The best would be what a Tour player does. They have a whole team around them. They’ve got their speed training program, their fitness training program, their mechanics program, and all of those are working in sync to be able to help that player optimize their results in every way out on the golf course.
No matter how that goes, you can really find the best way for you to get involved with this training. And that can fall on that spectrum somewhere.