Michael Phelps started swimming when he was seven years old to burn off some of the energy that was driving his mom and teachers crazy. When a local swimming coach named Bob Bowman saw Phelp’s long torso, big hands, and relatively short leads (which offered less draft in the water), he knew Phelps could become a champion.
Bowman believed that for swimmers, the key to victory was creating the right routines… habits that would make him the strongest mental swimming in the pool. He didn’t need to control every aspect of Phelps’s life. All he needed to do was target a few specific habits that had nothing to do with swimming and everything to do when creating the right mind-set. He designed a series of behaviors that Phelps could use to become calm and focused before each race, to find those tiny advantages that, in a sport where victory can come in milliseconds, would make all the difference.
Charles Duhigg from The Power of Habit