Joseph Schooling's mum May Schooling on how to raise a great athlete!

Joseph Schooling's mum May Schooling on how to raise a great athlete!

What are the secrets to raising the next Joseph Schooling? Mummy May Schooling gives us these tips!

Did you know that May Schooling, mother of Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medallist, Joseph Schooling, can’t swim? 

In fact the only reason she made sure Joseph Schooling learnt swimming was because she was worried she wouldn’t be able to save him if he were to fall into water!

We got a chance to interact with the super energetic May Schooling at the Going for Gold forum presented by Tiffany & Co., in conjunction with the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.

If you didn’t know, May is quite a sportswoman herself. Growing up in Malaysia, she represented Perak in tennis, netball and athletics (the throwing events) and played softball at state and national levels.

What are the secrets to nurturing an athlete and raising the next great athlete then? Joseph Schooling’s mum May Schooling gives us these tips:

1. Give them a healthy diet

May Schooling believes in the power of vegetables, “Growing up, Joseph did not follow any ‘special’ diet, though I made sure he had a balanced meal every time. “

“I find that a lot of kids have problems because they don’t take enough vegetables. Thankfully, Joseph loves vegetables,” she shared, adding how “vegetables help the body recover.”

“You need your carbs for energy, proteins to build the muscles,” she further explains, “but you need vegetables for your recovery and immunity, so you don’t get sick or injured.”

Joseph Schooling's mum May Schooling on how to raise a great athlete!

May Schooling at the Going for Gold forum

2. Play is important

Joseph Schooling’s mum is really disappointed by the smart phone addicted generation of today. She says, “I really hope that parents will be more aware, because it’s just not good for the kids. The more you let the kids use the phone, the lazier the brain gets actually.”

“Just get them outside, get them running, its much better for them, seriously,” she emphasises, explaining that time outdoors will improve their eyesight.

“In my family everyone wears glasses except me,” she shares, “because after school I was always out playing (laughs).”

She also encouraged her son Joseph to play, not pressuring him too much on his studies.

“As long as I didn’t see the red mark on his report card, I was fine,” she recalls.

 3. Support your child

May tells us that Joseph was only 2.5 years old when he said he wanted to take part in the Olympics!

When he was just 14, he said he wanted to go to the U.S to pursue swimming, “When Joseph told us that he wanted to go to the United States, we realised that we had to have a serious conversation with him to make sure that this was what he really wanted and this was the path that he wished to pursue.”

Joseph Schooling's mum May Schooling on how to raise a great athlete!


“As parents, we dream about seeing who or what our kids will become in the future,” she says. “But I think what is more important is that we actually learn who they are and what they want to be as adults.”

“There is no point forcing your child to do something against his will,” advises the mum.

“Let your child decide,” she adds, “then your role as parents is to support and guide them so they can achieve their dreams.”

“Every child can achieve his dream, just love and support him,” she further emphasises.

“When they are confident that mummy and daddy are behind them, kids will just move forward. Also, when it comes to nurturing a successful athlete, there is no one size fits all,” she explains, “every athlete needs to have a different program, catering to his need.”

“Don’t expect the system to build you,” she says, “a lot of work needs to be done by the athlete and needs to be supported by the parents.”

Also READ: 3 Sports for kids to improve balance and co-ordination

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