Honestly, the most extraordinary thing about this 16-year-old breaking the record for typing by hitting over 300 words per minute is that he’s ever heard of a keyboard. Shouldn’t he be tapping at a phone screen so fast that his thumbs are a fleshy blur? Either way, I bet you didn’t know speed-typing YouTube was a thing, nor how ridiculously compelling it is to watch.
Right, let’s lay down some perspective. The average typing speed by us evolved monkeys is around 40 words per minute. However, if you’re someone who’s looking for—say—secretarial work, you would want to hone your skills until you were hitting 60 or 70wpm without making mistakes. That’s a more than a word a second.
What Florida-based YouTuber mythicalrocket did last week was breach the previously unbroken record of typing 300 words per minute. That’s an eye-watering five times faster than what’s considered a good typing speed, and likely the fastest in the world.
What’s more extraordinary is that mythicalrocket is only 16 years old. Perhaps even more so: he’s only been speed typing for the last three years. “One of my friends introduced me to this website called monkeytype,” he told me via Twitter DMs, “and I just got fascinated with getting higher scores.”
I took a look at monkeytype, and it’s immediately compelling. It’s a super-low-key site where you type essentially gibberish sentences made of real words for as long as you fancy, and then it produces data on your words per minute, accuracy, and consistency. After 40 years of typing (starting on a ZX Spectrum in 1984), I achieved 76 words per minute on my first go. I felt very proud, until I asked mythicalrocket about his first attempts when he was 13.
“For the 60 second category, I believe my first tests were around 130-140wpm.”
So…how? How was a 13-year-old already typing twice as fast as experts at the task? “I think the way that I cultivated this speed was through gaming and old Skype/Discord text chats.”
Because it’s the internet, there is of course a speed typing community, and mythicalrocket became known within that space pretty quickly. But, he says, it was only after making Tiktoks and YouTube videos that there was a following to be found based on this most specific of talents. “After being featured on Daily Dose of Internet and Jake Lucky’s Twitter page, I think that’s when people outside of the typing community started to recognize me, and that’s really cool!”
300wpm has, I’m told, long been thought to be an unbreakable barrier. As mythical points out, “the second highest score behind mine is currently 279wpm, which is quite far from 300.” However, about a year ago, he says he realized “I could be the first one to break it.”
So often, when boundaries thought to be unbreakable get broken, then all of a sudden others in the field are driven to catch up. So does mythicalrocket think this will happen within speed typing? “There’s one person I am worried about right now and he goes by Izanagi, he’s the guy in 2nd place with a 279. It looks like he is putting a lot of effort into typing right now and might snipe my record.”
I had to ask the obvious question—even though, honestly, I think just being incredibly good at something is more than enough reason to enjoy doing it—but, is there a practical use for a skill like this in his future? “I haven’t looked too much into practical applications of typing fast,” he tells me, and honestly, that’s the answer I hoped for. Nor should he. God knows, something like transcription is a brutal job to do for a living. He also adds an extremely astute point. “For me, it isn’t too helpful, since the thinking process of [my] brain will always be the bottleneck, no matter how fast I can type.”