Zepp: The road to tracking 100 million swings
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They say practice makes perfect, right? Every athlete knows the importance of repetition in striving to achieve your goals—no matter how grand or minute those goals may be. As a former athlete myself, I will always remember the countless hours spent doing tedious drills and monotonous exercises that needed to be done in order to improve my game.
In today’s world of sports, athletes at all levels are driven to improve their game using both science and innovative technology, in order to take their abilities to the next level. It doesn’t matter if you picked up a golf club for the first time today, or have been swinging a baseball bat since you were five years old. The beauty of sports is that no matter your level of experience or expertise, there is always room for improvement. And in today’s competitive sports environments, many companies are trying to provide athletes of any level the tools they need to improve their game.
Which is precisely where Zepp comes in.
When their journey first began, Zepp set out with one goal in mind—to successfully fuse meaningful data and sports as a cohesive unit. Using 3D visuals, interactive training tools and a hands-on approach to improving one’s abilities, Zepp takes the experience of a trainer and puts it in the user’s hands.
In Nov. 2012, Zepp set out on a mission to change the way athletes play and practice, introducing a way to “track” one’s golf swing and show areas of improvement for one’s own personal swing. Since then, the company has expanded to tracking a variety of sports such as golf, tennis, baseball and softball and has been a leader in the digitization of sports since their first product, the GolfSense. Within the last four years, Zepp has improved user experience by introducing innovative factors of their 3D analyzer. The most recent of these factors is the new Zepp 2, which includes a “Smart Coach” analysis-providing user with real face-to-face coaching critiques directly on their smartphone, as well as instantaneous feedback via a Bluetooth app.
“Our primary goal is to help athletes improve their game. We want to help them hone in and see that actual data to help them improve their individual sport,” said Lisa Beachy, director of p.r. and partnership at Zepp. “At Zepp, we want to continue to make the best product and see that come to life through the performance of athletes. We measure our improvement on their improvement.”
Identifying themselves as a “company of athletes,” Zepp’s workers committed themselves into a developing a company that appealed to athletes as a way to improve their performance, while increasing motivation and allowing athletes to reach their full potential.
“What our product allows you to do is to have a common language on a platform that you didn’t have before,” said Pat Shea, product manager of golf and PGA professionals at Zepp. “To be able to help define in 3D and have a commonality in that language, you can then physically feel what it’s like. It tells you what you need to do, in order to get to where you want to be.”
Instantaneous feedback is one of the key elements that make Zepp stand out among others in the field of sports and development training. With the ability to track each individual swing, Zepp provides its users with instant feedback and removes the need to watch videos of professional athletes online in order to improve your game.
Speaking of professional athletes, Zepp has worked with a variety of well-known names, including Keegan Bradley (PGA), Michelle Wie (LPGA), Mike Trout (MLB) and David Ortiz (MLB). Trout is a major supporter of Zepp, and was generous enough to give some of his own feedback.
“In this game you have to put in the work to improve” Trout said. “Zepp’s sensor helps me understand on how my swing looks through the zone to keep working in the right direction.”
There is no doubt that Trout is used to putting in his fair share of work with the Zepp sensors, as are the group of athletes and users all over the world who have been recording their swings and improving their game. Recently, Zepp’s sensors recorded a big milestone, as they documented a total of 100 million swings using the product. To put that number more in perspective, the equivalent number of swings by sport is as followed:
- 100 million swings = 617 MLB seasons (years).
- 100 million swings = 1 million rounds of golf.
- 100 million swings = 300K tennis matches in order to get to 100 million swings.
Roger L. Thompson III, an amateur golfer and the user who recorded the 100 millionth swing, discussed with me how Zepp and its products have helped him improve in all facets of his game.
“When I first started playing golf, I realized how meticulous the game truly is,” Thompson III said. “Where your hands have to be and how you have to be consistent with your shot, I immediately had questions on how to improve. I actually saw Michelle Wie on a commercial related to Zepp’s product, and decided to buy it right then and there. Once I realized I could have instant feedback on my swing, I knew I had to get it. The way I look at it is, if you have no direction, you’re going nowhere fast.”
Before buying the sensor, Thompson III had a steady routine of practicing his skills during the week; tediously working on areas he wanted to improve on. Methodical repetitions of skimming the grass and taking practice swings were completed before even hitting a ball off the tee, as Thompson III wondered how long it would take to truly improve. But after buying the Zepp sensors, Thompson III described what he called the “feel,” as it translated into what has become the “real.”
“Each person is different, and the Zepp sensor comes to you in your own language,” he said. “It’s always good to get something that’s right for you, and I think the progression of improving has made me feel so accomplished and that I can do more. You get a sense of feeling great for yourself, you sit back and you say, ‘What else can I do?’ Everyone wants instant gratification, but it’s about knowing how to use it once you get it. Zepp isn’t selling a device, they’re selling an idea.”