Inability to pay attention for a prolonged period and a tendency to be hyperactive are classic sings of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Kids with ADHD constantly fidget, have trouble paying attention to details, are easily distracted and have problems following instructions.
For these kids, choosing the right sport can be helpful in managing and improving their symptoms.
Experts recommend sports that involve one-on-one interaction with a coach or instructor such as tennis; sports that allows them to relieve their energy through constant movement such as soccer; and sports that help them get better at paying attention and following instructions such as swimming or wrestling.
Here are some of the best sports for kids with ADHD.
Many kids with ADHD excel at individual sports because the focus is all on them and they can interact better with the coach.
One of the best individual sports for kids with ADHD is wrestling. It’s especially good for kids with aggressive tendencies.
Working closely with an instructor improves their ability to pay attention and follow instructions.
They also learn how to pay attention, a crucial skill to develop unless they want to keep ending up on the mat.
The constant movement is also great for kids who have trouble staying still.
For kids with severe attention problems, wrestling is ideal because matches last a short time.
Swimming combines different skills that kids with ADHD can benefit from. For one, it provides an opportunity to focus on specific targets such as swim time and distance.
They also get used to following instructions and paying attention.
Swimming is physically demanding, which is great for kids who are always full of energy and can’t stop fidgeting or moving.
Like wrestling, swimming allows direct interaction with a coach.
Tennis is another excellent individual sport that allows personal interactions that can significantly improve a child’s attitude and behaviour.
A child with ADHD may have trouble at first with the level of attention and coordination required for tennis.
But the fast-paced nature of the game and the exciting prospect of working towards a certain score pulls them in.
The constant whole body movement balances the attention they need to maintain so it doesn’t feel as strenuous.
Some kids with ADHD do better in team sports. They love the feeling of contributing to a team’s success.
If your child is like that, soccer is one of the best sports for them. It’ll not only improve their fitness and athleticism, it’ll also enhance their social skills.
The fast-paced nature of football is great for kids who can’t stay still. They can move as much as they want without anyone reprimanding them.
At home, you can help them improve their playing skills by playing with them or getting them training tools such as a soccer trainer or a football rebounder.
This is another team game that some kids with ADHD will love. It requires constant movement and they get to improve their ability to pay attention and follow a structure.
They can start out on their own, shooting hoops in the driveway. As their social skills get better, you can introduce them to a local club.
6. Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate Frisbee combines athleticism, fun and teamwork in one incredibly exciting game with many benefits for kids and adults.
The best part about it is that it’s relatively easy to learn how to play. There are very few rules for kids to understand.
You can keep the game as short or as long as you want, depending on the child’s attention span.
Few games demand more attention and focus than archery. Luckily, the high-focus period is short. So even kids with severe attention issues will likely have no problem aiming an arrow at a target.
If anything, it’ll help them improve their focus and attention span.
The best way to find out the sports that your child enjoys is to try out different types. Choose the sports to try out based on their most prominent ADHD symptoms.
If they have a very short attention span, short games like wrestling, swimming and archery are good. If they are constantly full of nervous energy, choose fast-paced games like football, tennis or Ultimate Frisbee.
If they’ll be working with the coach, be sure to tell the coach about your child’s condition and give them pointers on how to work with them.
This will make sure the coach is more patient with your child.