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A Sports Career for Your ADHD Child

Ask any boy with ADHD what he wants to be when he grows up, and he'll probably say that he wants to be a sports star.  The West is obsessed with sports and competition – the best athletes are treated like celebrities, receive millions to play a game, and earn extra money doing product endorsements.  It's not surprising that children and teens admire them and hope to become like them.  Not to mention that children with ADHD – boys in particular – have a lot of pent-up energy to burn and often use sports as an outlet for this energy.  It's easy to see why a child with ADHD would like to be a professional athlete when he or she grows up.

But is becoming a professional athlete the best career option for children, whether or not they have ADHD?  While plenty of success stories show how hard athletes work to make it to the top, not everyone qualifies to play at a professional level.  Ultimately, sports as a profession is a glamour profession, much like acting or becoming a musician.  It's fantastic, it's glamorous, there seem to be a lot of rewards – but most people hoping to become sports stars fail to see past the fantasy and recognize the tough reality of the profession.

While it's perfectly all right for a young child to fantasize about becoming a professional athlete, you should start introducing the reality of the profession as soon as your child starts taking sports seriously.  Only the very best players can have a successful sports career.  What this means is that an aspiring star athlete should have all of these qualities:

  1. The ability to perform in a particular sport consistently and exceptionally
  2. The ability to maintain health and body strength through training and exercise, as well as the ability to recover quickly from injuries
  3. The discipline to stay with a diet
  4. A thorough understanding of the sport's rules, regulations, and strategies
  5. Several hours of practice every day
  6. The ability to take criticism well and improve skills based on this
  7. A strong educational background for a different career after sports

The symptoms your child struggles with also need to be taken into account. By making modifications, you can prevent ADHD from getting in the way of your child's dreams. Here are some potential issues your child might encounter on the road to a professional sports career:

  • Inattention.  Athletes have to stay focused throughout the whole game because they might miss an important regulation or rule, or fail to see the ball coming at them.  For this reason, a slow-paced sport like baseball might not be the best one for your child.
  • Following the schedule.  It's easier to follow practice schedules for team sports, where the coach or manager does all the planning and follows up with the players. But in individual sports like tennis, your child may forget to follow practice schedules. Making a calendar can help your child remember.
  • Staying organized.  Your child's play can be affected if he keeps losing his equipment or parts of the uniform. Use special labeled containers and checklists to help keep your child's things in check.