ADHD and Sports

Updated: Apr. 04, 2021

Sports can be a healthy activity for kids with ADHD, but there are challenges as well.

Sports are a great way for parents to channel the restlessness and impulsivity of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But ADHD also presents special challenges that parents must consider when children participate in sports.

ADDitudemag says that the qualities sports demand—structure, order, and focus—are the same things that kids with ADHD find difficult, so there’s a very real chance sports activities could magnify conflicts. The most basic advice given to parents is to help children to pursue activities based on their abilities, interests, and personalities.

With that said, it’s important to remember that not all sports are good choices for kids with ADHD. Here are the best and worst options according to ADDitudemag:

Best: Individual sports that offer plenty of one-on-one time with a coach or instructor, like swimming, diving, or wrestling. These options allow focus on the individual while still allowing kids to reap the social rewards of being part of a team.

Worst: Group sports, especially football and basketball. The reason? The system of “play” is harder for kids with ADHD to understand and adapt to. These sports in particular present dangers in that the child with ADHD may not be capable of paying attention to other players’ actions, and thus may get hit or injured during games.

Visit for more about sports for children with ADHD and find tips for selecting age-appropriate activities.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest