Many athletes with ADHD have had remarkable careers and reached the top of their sport. The list includes Michael Phelps, Simone Riles, Michael Jordan, Terry Bradshaw, Pete Rose and many others. Parents of children with ADHD might wonder if sports would be good for their child. And if so,which sports would be best and are their potential problems to be aware at the outset.
The Benefits of Sports for Children with ADHD
Sports activities offer a number of benefits for children with ADHD.
A chance for physical exercise – Playing sports is a great way for kids with ADHD to release the excess energy they have built up during the day and also lower their risk of obesity.
A way to experience more positive social interactions with others involved in the sport – Participation in the shared, structured activity of a sport can contribute to more successful social interactions and the development of friendships.
An opportunity to build a new competence and explore a new interest – This is especially important if the child is having difficulties with academic studies Sports can help them build self-esteem and confidence.
Things to Be Aware Of
There are some things parents should be aware of with regard to their child with ADHD playing sports.
Medication – When your child is playing sports and is on a medication regime, make sure the coach or instructor knows this. Stimulant medications can raise blood pressure and heart rate, and it is important to ensure that these are regularly monitored and remaining in a safe range.
Level of attention – Distraction can be an issue, especially in certain team sports. Be sure the sport is appropriate for the level of attention your child is able to sustain.
Motivation – Motivation can wane over time, particularly if your child reaches a certain level of competence and practice becomes routine and boring.
Emotional regulation – Children with ADHD can easily become frustrated and lose their temper or become upset at a teammate.
Time involvement – You need to ensure that your child’s interest in a sport doesn’t become a substitute for the academic work they need to do.
Helping Your Child Choose a Sport
When it comes to helping your child choose a sport, there are no hard and fast rules. The first consideration is whether a team sport or an individual sport would be most appropriate. The choice of sport should meet some basic criteria:
Your child’s level of interest in the sport. Children with ADHD will do better in sports they don’t perceive as boring or difficult.
The demands the sport makes on your child’s attention. For example, certain team sports might not be a good fit for a child who is too easily distracted.in group or team settings.
Your purpose in involving your child in sports. If you want to help your child develop more positive ocial relationships, team sports may be better.
Participating in sports can offer kids with ADHD many potential positive benefits. A sport your child does well and enjoys cant help to build his or her self-esteem, self-confidence and improved interactions with peers.