Sean Wrona wiped the competition out last year at the Ultimate Typing Championship. It’s not often that you see someone type 213 wpm at peak speed, under pressure, and with a crowd watching. With this in mind, we asked him a few questions to learn the secrets of his typing success.
How does it feel to be the Ultimate Typing Champion?
Sean: I’m a bit surprised how much attention I’ve received for this. I’m getting a few Facebook friend requests every week from people all over the world as a result of my typing successes and have a growing number of subscribers to my YouTube account where I’ve recorded races on a variety of typing sites. I have developed almost all my better recent friendships among the online typing community in the past two or three years. I like the attention.
Did you ever take a typing class?
Sean: No, I never took a typing class. I taught myself to type using an old DOS program called CPT Personal Touch-Typing when I was 3. I attained a speed of 83 wpm when I was 6 and 108 wpm when I was 10, then really didn’t pay attention to my improvement after that until I gradually discovered the competitive typing community in 2008 and 2009.
How much time do you spend typing each day?
Sean: As much time as I spend on the computer generally, which lately has probably been as much as 12-14 hours a day. I practice typing a small percentage of that time though.
What do you type most?
Sean: I run a php/MySQL database-driven auto racing statistics site at www.race-database.com and enter each weekend’s major-league auto races. Typing has been very helpful in that regard as at my peak I was able to enter entire MotoGP races in four minutes. Collecting data has been one of my big hobbies in general for many years. [Typing] also can help me when chatting with friends on Facebook or a few message boards I post on.
What keyboard are you currently using?
Sean: Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent.
What browser do you recommend for the best typing experience?
Sean: The difference in browsers is significant because for some reason Google Chrome tends to register higher speeds for the same real speed than Firefox or Internet Explorer do.
Do you find that music helps you type faster? If so, what type?
Sean: I listen to YouTube videos very frequently when I’m playing typing games, but I haven’t noticed any genre being associated with faster or slower typing than any other.
Do you game? If so, do you feel your typing skills help with your gaming and what games do you prefer?
Sean: I’m not really into video games. I’m only into typing games and Scrabble, which I do frequently play online. Typing speed only really helps you at Scrabble if you can analyze the best plays quickly, and there are many, many players who do that better than I do, although it can be helpful that I can enter my play the very instant I’ve decided on a play. Once in a great while I’ve played old classics like Jumpman, Wizard of Wor, and Tetris and typing, which I suspect is connected with reaction time, can help. However, I haven’t gotten obsessed with any video game to the point of wanting to master it.
How often would you recommend people practice to improve their typing?
Sean: Probably you would treat it as you would in terms of any other kind of exercise - three times a week a half hour each.
How do you correct mistakes and maintain your typing speed?
Sean: Shift+Home, then backspace is my preferred method of correcting typos on a competitive typing site such as TyprX. I simply backspace to wherever I made the initial typo in everyday typing.
How far ahead do you read while typing?
Sean: I tend to read one word in advance in typing competitions. Having the next word always in mind prevents there from being any awkward pauses, and remembering more than one word in advance may be too much to process simultaneously.
Do you read the words out loud or just focus on typing the characters?
Sean: I never read words out loud; that would be a distraction that would cause me to be far slower. I just type.
What advice do you have for people wanting to type faster?
Sean: If you want to increase your speed, do not type each word at uniform speed. Speed through the easier words and take a little more time on the harder words to ensure accuracy. Always focus on the word after the word you are currently typing so there are no unnatural pauses in your typing. I recommend using caps lock instead of shift to type capital letters to allow more flexibility in the hand that you would normally use shift with.
I believe my biggest advantage in typing is that I do not necessarily use the same finger to type the same key. I use whichever finger is most comfortable, which can vary based on the context of the letters in the word. I tend to use whichever finger is closest based on the positioning of my hands typing the other letters in the word.
We were definitely surprised by Sean’s typing technique, as we expected something more akin to standard touch-typing. Some people must be born to type and Sean Wrona is one of them.