An Athlete's Review of 'The Golden Rules' by Michael Phelps' Coach Bob Bowman

'The Golden Rules' shares the stories and lessons that Bowman gained from working with Olympic swimmers and is a good read for all athletes.

Swim coach Bob Bowman has worked with Olympians, Paralympians and arguably the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps. The current head coach of the Arizona State swimming and diving teams previously served as the owner and head coach of North Baltimore Aquatic Club. It was during his time at NBAC that he had a chance to work with, teach and learn from these great athletes such as Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt, Jessica Long, Yannick Agnel, Tom Luchsinger and Matt McLean.

His book The Golden Rules talks a lot about his time working with his swimmers and outlines a system for success he calls "The Method." His method involves 10 rules each with multiple sub-rules that can serve as "10 Steps to World Class Excellence in Your Life and Work."

Within his explanation of The Method, Bowman tells numerous stories of his experiences as a coach working with his Olympic athletes and shares lessons that can be taken from his book about Phelps and his training specifically.

The Golden Rules can be a solid resource for both younger and more experienced athletes, but it would serve a different purpose for each of the two audiences.

For the younger athletes this book can provide a great introduction and advice on how to go about achieving athletic success. For more experienced athletes much of what is covered in this book will not be new, but it can serve as a great reminder of helpful steps you can take inside and outside of training that make a difference in your performance.

Here are just some of the useful "rules" that are outlined and expanded upon in the book that can be helpful to all athletes:

  • Give yourself visual aids for the daily goals you want and need to achieve.
  • En route to your dream vision, you need to put in the effort on an almost daily basis.
  • You need to bring it every day, you can't do B practices and then expect to turn in an A performance when it matters.
  • Reflect upon and assess your daily efforts. Write down how you think you can improve and try to apply those notes  to your process in the coming days.
  • In pursuing a long-term dream there is likely a wall that you eventually run into. In this event turn to help from "like-minded" supporters because nothing will be achieved alone.
  • One of the most important ways in which you can help others is by giving them belief.
  • Fake it till you make it; some days you just have to work at going to work.