How Eric Sim Set the MLM Long Drive Record

In the same week Rapsodo recorded 1 million swings on the Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM) app, we had the longest drive ever recorded in the app as well. Eric Sim – also known as the JUCO Bandit – hit a ball from Vancouver, BC that landed somewhere near our HQ in St. Louis. 

Sim told us he’s played golf on a course less than five times, but somehow is on track to be our first 400 yard carry recorded on an MLM.  How is that possible?  We reached out to a few of our advisors to find out. Here’s what they said:

Sim has Remarkable technique… Despite Room for improvement.

THE POWER OF POWER

If you’re curious about the genesis of power in a golf swing, Dr. Sasho MacKenzie is one of the best resources you could hope for. We sent Dr. MacKenzie a few of Sim’s swings and asked him to help us understand how a retired baseball player creates such elite speed, and if he has opportunity for improvement.

If you’re familiar with Dr. MacKenzie’s research, his insights will sound familiar.  Golfers create power in two primary paths: 

  1. They increase the average force they apply to the club (think: Sim’s intent and his sequence) 
  2. They apply that force for a longer distance (think: Sim lifting his lead heel to increase width in his backswing). 

Almost impossibly, Sim actually DOES have an opportunity for improvement.

HOW GOOD GOLFERS INCREASE CLUB SPEED

Golfers have four basic moves or patterns that contribute to their speed: 

  1. Chopping (pulling arms down in downswing)
  2. Rotation of the body
  3. Vertical thrust (pushing against the ground, often even “jumping”)
  4. Wrist/angle (lagging the club)

Sim isn’t coming close to maxing two of those on this list in his bomb shot swing (vertical thrust and wrist/lag).  If he does, watch out. 

Rotational Speed = Rotational Speed

It doesn’t matter if you’re training to hit a golf ball, throw a baseball, or swing an ax… the ability to generate rotational speed generally transfers from one activity to another.  If you rotate fast when throwing a baseball, there’s a better than average chance you’ll be able to rotate fast when swinging a golf club.  If you follow Sim on social media, you know that he’s on a quest to throw 95 mph off the mound this year.  It’s not only an entertaining pursuit, it’s a productive one.  The physical capabilities required to throw in the mid-90’s are similar to those necessary for swinging a golf club in the mid-140’s.  And this is proven by science.

One of our advisors, Dr. Greg Rose of TPI (golf) and OnBaseU (baseball/softball),  has done 3D analysis on as many rotational athletes as anyone in the world. He did an ESPN Sports Science episode about Rory Mcilroy’s kinematics and how his pelvis and torso speeds are remarkably similar to what we’d see in elite pitchers.

Sim doesn’t train for golf, but its clear from Dr. Rose’s findings, by training for baseball he actually IS training for golf.

“I train for baseball just for fun and I hit bombs in baseball so I thought maybe I could hit bombs in golf too. So I went to the nearby range and started hitting bombs.”

– Eric Sim

BENEFITS TO TRAINING WITH DATA AND FEEDBACK

We’ve covered this in the past, but one of the most important elements of training to improve distance shots is actually measuring how far you’re hitting said shots.  Feedback not only confirms what you’re doing well, but also elevates your intent. Sim TRIES to swing fast. He’s intentional about it. He trains for it. But, most importantly, he measures it. 

“I like the driving range because I don’t have to worry about losing balls and just crush bombs whether they go straight or not. My goal is to hit 400yd carry on the Rapsodo MLM.”

As a company with roots in baseball, it’s fitting that the longest drive in the history of our Mobile Launch Monitor app was hit by a retired catcher and pitcher. We’re not surprised — the kinematics of a pitcher who “throws gas” are remarkably similar to a golfer who “hits hellacious seeds.” 

Do you think you can hit bombs like Sim? Get your Mobile Launch Monitor today and start tracking your shots at the range, on the course, or at home!

Follow Eric on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.