Striving to continually innovate modern coaching methodology, Michael Napoleon believes deeply that truly expert coaches produce lastly positive change with very little input. For many years Napoleon owned and operated a golf performance academy called Catalyst Golf Performance in the Chicago area which incorporated golf coaches, golf fitness professionals, rehabilitation experts, nutritionists, and club fitters in providing a comprehensive one stop shop for golf game improvement. In 2012, he began product R&D on an Overspeed training product called the SuperSpeed Golf Training System — released in the fall of 2014.
Since the launch SuperSpeed Golf has become a global brand and a new standard for speed training in the golf swing. Now with over 500 touring professionals actively working with SuperSpeed Golf, Napoleon and his team at SuperSpeed are making a distinct impact on the games of golfers all over the World. He speaks regularly at seminars, coaching summits, teaching symposiums, and many other events with the primary goal of educating fellow professionals about not only speed training, but also business strategy, golf biomechanics, and coaching science.
THE NAPOLEON STORY —
There are many factors that can limit a player’s ability to create swing speed. Some of these we can change and some we cannot. However, we find everyone has the potential to gain swing speed at any point. How our brain communicates with our muscles and how SuperSpeed can help every player maximize their potential.
We believe in two very important concepts at SuperSpeed Golf. The first is that golf coaching shouldn’t be as hard as everyone seems to make it. We have always believed that the best coaches get results quickly, efficiently, and can give a very specific plan for the timeline that the coaching process will take for the player. This drives our passion for innovation of coaching methodology, techniques, and basically everything we do. Our goal is to get big results with our players with a minimal amount of actual coaching.
The second passion is to create the greatest team of experts possible. This helps us maintain quality with our products and continually pushes us to make our products, protocols, and brand the best.
What was the genesis for SuperSpeed?
We first discovered the concept of Overload/Unload training at the TPI World Golf Fitness Summit in Orlando, FL in 2012. Tom House, a world-renowned coach and shoulder rehab expert, spoke about the concept that he was using with major league baseball pitchers to increase arm velocity. We further researched the concept and found that it had been used in a variety of sports for a very long time. After extensive testing at our golf academies with 3D, launch monitors, and a variety of prototypes, we released the SuperSpeed Golf training system in 2014 at the very same conference, the TPI World Golf Fitness Summit.
How long a time frame from idea creation to actual company operations?
We worked with the concept for about a year before deciding to make prototypes of the now SuperSpeed Golf Training System. Then we spent another year furthering our research with the prototypes and finalizing the look, feel, and protocols for SuperSpeed.
How does SuperSpeed distinguish itself from your competitors?
We feel that the most important part of our brand is not the product itself, rather the content that we have created to support the product. Our goal is not just to sell another training aid to golfers. We want to provide players with a long-term program to improve their game and the tools necessary to do so. This seems like a subtle distinction, however, we feel that it has been critical to our success with SuperSpeed.
Companies routinely tout customer service as a key item for their success. Define the term and the approach taken at SuperSpeed.
Customer service is about helping a consumer accomplish the goal they had when they purchased a product. People buy golf products or services because they believe that something
about that product is going to have a positive effect on their game. So, we look at customer service as much more than just sending a tracking number. We look at the purchase process as the start of our relationship with that customer. We are there to support our customers through the training protocols process to ensure that they get optimal results with SuperSpeed.
From a marketing perspective what is the rough percentage effort of your sales via green grass shops, brick and mortar retail outlets and online efforts?
At this point about 40% of our sales still come directly through our website. We have over 600 green grass account at golf facilities, teaching academies, and golf ranges around the world. We support these accounts with education and business models such as our Speed Clinic programs. We also sell a large number of units through online marketplaces such as Amazon, Worldwide Golf, and many others. We will be entering the large retail stores this year.
Plenty of companies use professional tour golfers to endorse and tout their connections to various products. What is the approach of SuperSpeed in this regard?
We haven’t paid a single professional player for an endorsement of our products in the life of the company and don’t plan to do so. That being said, we have over 600 Tour Pros actively using our products around the world. That includes 110 current card holders on the PGA Tour.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally – what would it be and why?
I would change many of the stigmas that occur with golf coaching that cause consumers to not seek high level coaches. Golf coaching shouldn’t be difficult. It should be a fun process that helps people accomplish their goals. My personal passion is to change this. I speak all over the world at coaching conferences, teaching summits, and other events to push this message.
A number of major organizations throughout golf — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, PGA Tour, LPGA — are all seeking ways to attract Millennials, women and minorities into the sport. If you were counseling them what would you suggest they be doing?
Make golf fun and approachable. Young people easily get hooked on golf when the introduction is inviting. I think group instruction coupled with fun events are a great start. Possibly a clinic series that includes drinks and appetizers on the range with a 3-hole modified course segment at the end? I believe people will want to play golf if their introduction to the game is fun.
Biggest short and long-term challenges facing SuperSpeed is what?
Our biggest challenge is to be continuously making our products, training protocols, and content better. We also are trying to find better ways to get this content to our users. With the launch of our online certification program coming soon, we feel that there will be a great gain in access to more information on using SuperSpeed Golf. We are also launching a webinar series to offer even more information and live Q&A to our users. We hope in the future to even host live speed workshops all over the world.