Michael Phelps’ Mom on How to Raise an Olympian

by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. Join his weekly motivational newsletter for rival swimmers by clicking here.

The GOAT’s mom is asked constantly for a tip to success.

Her answer?

Parents parent, coaches coach, and swimmers swim.

We saw Debbie Phelps during all of Michael’s Olympic appearances: along with Michael’s sisters, and in with Rio his mom and son Boomer, adult in a stands, examination nervously in a approach that usually relatives watch: with white knuckles, screams and tears.

She was there a initial time he pennyless a universe record in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2001. Naturally, she was ringside for a delight in Beijing. She was there for Michael’s “so-so” opening in London, and of course, a swan strain during a Olympic Games in 2016.

Debbie Phelps lifted a winningest Olympian in a story of a Games, along with his dual sisters, as a singular mom in Maryland. Michael, a youngest, fast took adult swimming during a North Baltimore Aquatic Club where his sisters trained. It was there that his partnership with his life-long manager Bob Bowman would form.

From really early on roles were determined between coach, primogenitor and swimmer. (Which echoes a lot of Caeleb Dressel’s relatives have to contend about float parenting.)

During an interview before a Beijing Olympics, where Michael would make story winning 8 bullion medals (including that epic 4×100 giveaway relay), Mama Phelps had this to contend about the roles that parents, coaches and swimmers play respectively in a growth of a float career:

“To me, there’s a really excellent line between a athlete, manager and parent. Everyone has their roles. If we sat here right now and told me you’d give me $200 million to recite Michael’s universe fly record, we could not tell we that. Yet there are relatives whose child is perplexing to kick my son who can separate those things out. we don’t get concerned in that. we speak to Michael as a parent.”

For a impulse we can suppose how many times Mama Phelps has been approached by a relatives of immature swimmers, fervent for validation, all anticipating that she has a tip to producing a biggest swimmer a world has ever seen.

What did she do?

At what age did Michael specialize?

When did we know that he could ‘make it’?

Debbie’s advice?

Relax. Enjoy a process and don’t weight your child with some-more pressure, highlight and expectations on tip of a ones they are already carrying.

Although your kiddo might have posters of famous swimmers on their walls, the biggest purpose indication in their life is still you.

The approach that they understanding with highlight and anxiety is going to counterpart how we hoop highlight and anxiety:

“Parents only need to chill. Realize that it doesn’t assistance to set expectations, generally impractical ones. Put yourself in their shoes. Do we map things out so delicately in your possess life? Such as, ‘I am going to be CEO of a company’? Does it tumble out in good small pockets? Same with kids. Their course is not going to tumble into good small pockets. There might not be another Michael Phelps for decades, even yet we have relatives tell me their son is on a same track.” 


Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former inhabitant turn swimmer. He’s a publisher of YourSwimBook, a ten-month record book for rival swimmers.

Conquer a Pool Mental Training Book for SwimmersHe’s also a author of a recently published mental training workbook for rival swimmers, Conquer a Pool: The Swimmer’s Ultimate Guide to a High Performance Mindset.

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