How many training sessions should my child do each week?

Zak Andrawos's picture

There is no magic number of training sessions for every swimmer. Even at elite level, some swimmers swim 7 sessions a week, some do nine, others 11...there is no magic number. It all comes down to the FLAG principle:
• Fatigue – if a swimmer is swimming 3 sessions a week and as a result is always tired, irritable and their grades are falling, then doing more swimming does not make sense. So the optimal number of sessions for any individual swimmer is largely based on their ability to
adapt to and recover from their training load.
• Level of performance – training sessions should also be based on the level of performance being targeted. Chances are swimming two sessions a week will not get you selected on the next Olympic team and similarly 14 sessions a week is a little too much just to achieve a PB time at the under 9 state championships meet. As a broad benchmark, world class swimmers spend one day per week, i.e. 24 hours per week training and the rest of the time eating and sleeping so the higher you want to go, the harder you have to work.
• Available time – if your child is in junior high, playing basketball, learning piano, doing special projects on weekends for extra credits, playing tennis and in the school choir...and......swimming five sessions each week, then it is safe to say, adding more swimming sessions is not going to do anything other than make them tired and fatigued.
Keep in mind your child’s total commitments across all areas of their life before adding more training time. And – never, ever forget that some days they need to just hang out with their friends, play and enjoy life. They are only kids once!
• Goals – if your child sets high swimming goals, then naturally the time, effort and energy to achieve them must also be high. As a general rule, as kids progress through each level of swimming they need to add an extra pool session or gym workout to learn the skills, develop the fitness and build the technical abilities to be successful at the next level.
 
Answered by Wayne Goldsmith who is one of the world's leading experts in elite level swimming and high performance sport.