How much pool time is too much?

By Jon Buzby | Posted 7/5/2019

The end of the Fourth of July holiday often signals the beginning of evening summer workouts regardless of the type or level of football your child plays. These opportunities raise the question: How much pool time is too much during the day?

Kids love to swim, especially in the summer time. Whether it’s at a local swim club or a backyard pool, they are going to want to join in on the fun.

Our first reaction as parents often is to tell them they can’t swim on a day when they have practice at night. But the reality is that isn’t fair to our kids – remember, they are kids, not professional athletes.

There probably is a research-based answer to the question of how long kids should be in a pool on a day when they have an evening practice. It might involve factors including the temperature of the day, the activities in the pool, and the intensity of the training that night.

Let’s try to keep it simpler.

Regardless of what the evening training session is going to include, kids should be physically and mentally prepared to give 100 percent. This can happen if common sense is used when it comes to deciding how much time should be spent in the pool or doing any strenuous activity for that matter.

My rule of thumb is that if there is an evening practice or game, my boys can swim for two hours in the afternoon, but they must be out of the pool for at least three hours before the start of the training. This allows them the opportunity to just be “kids in the summertime” and still have three hours to rest, eat a healthy dinner and be ready for their evening sports activity.

There’s not a lot of science behind my theory. Instead, it’s just one that works for us. For others, kids might need more time in between the pool and the training, or a total of just an hour in the water instead of two.

Like a lot of decisions we make as parents, it’s finding out what works best for your child and then making sure to follow through.

Our fondest summertime childhood memories probably include more pool times than training times. Our kids should too.  

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.