There are a number of benefits in playing sports, especially for children with ADHD; however, it is important to consider the child and pick a sport that they will be able to handle and find success with. Not all sports are going to be a great fit for every child and this is certainly true when looking for the best sports for kids with ADHD.
Some factors that might affect a child’s ability to be successful in a given sport include the following:
- Impulsivity – many kids with ADHD act impulsively and struggle with formulating strategies necessary for success in sports.
- Difficulty understanding and following directions – as with school, sports often require the child to be able to listen and follow directions.
- Easily frustrated – No child likes to lose or make a bad play; however, these disappointments can be especially difficult for a child with ADHD.
- Inability to focus or pay attention – sports that require a child to maintain focus or pay close attention to the game, even when they are not actively participating, can be especially difficult.
For children who struggle with their ADHD or who have not been able to find a way to manage it effectively, individual sports are often the most enjoyable. These sports allow the child to focus on their own participation without having to engage excessively with others. Additionally, they will not have a huge impact on a team if their inattention or impulsivity results in a loss. This can be an excellent way to help minimize poor self-esteem issues while working towards successful sports competition.
Some of the best individual sports for children with ADHD include:
- Horseback Riding
- Martial Arts
When a child is able to work with a coach in a one-on-one environment, they have a much better chance of success. The child with ADHD will be able to focus and follow directions better in this type of situation. Most children with ADHD are able to work well with individualized attention and will gain the same type of personal satisfaction that others find in a team environment. While many of these individual sports offer an opportunity for one-on-one coaching, the child still reaps the benefits of engaging in a meaningful social environment. The sports might be competed on an individual basis, but classes and teams are often made up of other children. This ensures that the child with ADHD has an opportunity to practice social interaction and form friendships in an environment that is most accommodating to their situation.