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Mental Physical Technical Swimming

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: Training: How Much Is Too Much?

Training: How Much Is Too Much?

20 Mar

The following brief summary comes from an article entitled, The Ten Top Questions Every Swimming Parent Wants to Know, written by Wayne Goldsmith, a world renowned coach, performance manager, writer, sports consultant, and motivator.

Parents often wonder how many hours their children should train per week. Goldsmith breaks it down into a four part concept called FLAG with the letter “F” standing for fatigue, “L” for level of performance, “A” for available time, and “G” for goal.

In terms of fatigue, if a swimmer is struggling handling three practices a week (i.e. constantly tired, irritable, and experiences a decline in school performance), then adding more hours of training does not make sense. In many cases, swimmers need time to adjust to their current training load before adding on additional hours.

In terms of level of performance, the number of weekly training sessions should reflect the immediate or short-term goal. If making Junior Nationals by this summer is the goal, three training sessions per week is simply not enough. The opposite is also true. If achieving a personal best time at this year’s 10 & Under Championships is the goal, six weekly training sessions is overkill.

In terms of available time, if a swimmer is already overscheduled (i.e. playing other sports, participating in the school choir, taking extra school credits), then adding additional training sessions to the weekly total will do nothing more than make them overly tired.

In terms of the goal (long term), the bigger it is the greater the amount of time, effort, and sacrifice required. For example, many elite-level swimmers, who have their sights set on making the Olympic team, train 24 hours per week with the remaining time dedicated to sleeping, eating, and school.


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