“Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #41 ~ October 24, 2022


Some of the best sports for kids and adults with ADHD are swimming, martial arts, tennis, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, horseback riding, track and cross-country, archery, baseball, and whatever is interesting, rewarding, and will keep you engaged. 

Once again, each of us with ADHD has unique symptoms and so the sports, exercise, and activities that work best for us are going to be different as well. No set situation works best for everyone. 

Here are some useful insights into a few sports from an article in ADDitude Magazine. 

“Kids with ADHD excel with structure and guidance and a swim team can provide just that. Swimmers receive valuable one-on-one time with coaches, while still enjoying the social benefits of being part of a team. Your child will be able to focus on personal development by improving personal swim times without any direct comparison with others on the team.

Self-control, discipline, and respect are just a few of the skills emphasized in martial arts classes. Students master each new martial arts combination through step-by-step instruction leaving little opportunity for distraction. One surprising benefit of martial arts is its use of rituals, such as bowing to the instructor, which can help teach kids with ADHD to accept, develop, and use the routine in other areas of their lives.

Tennis is an ideal sport for individualistic kids who thrive when competing against themselves to master a new skill. Tennis does require coordinated teamwork and communication when playing doubles, but its active, fast pace holds kids’ sustained concentration a plus for many kids with ADHD. Plus, hitting tennis balls can be a great way for your child to release any anger or frustration he feels from a challenging day at school.

Studies have shown that activities requiring close attention to body movements, such as gymnastics, may help kids with ADHD and LD improve their focus. Gymnastics equipment and movements are very similar to those used in occupational therapy and can help manage your child’s sensory processing disorder by developing her core strength, sense of balance, and muscle awareness.

If your child has misguided aggression or seemingly boundless energy, wrestling may be fun (and safe!) way to channel these emotions into something positive. For Dr. Michele Novotni’s son, the wrestling mat became a safe haven, “the only place where he could knock people down without getting into trouble.”

Being on a soccer team gives kids a sense of camaraderie, which can be especially helpful for kids with ADHD and LD working on their social skills. If your child is developmentally or emotionally delayed, sign her up for a team with slightly younger kids who are at a similar maturity level. You’ll also find that the constant action in soccer games is ideal for holding short attention spans.

Horses have the ability to mirror the emotions and attitudes of their handlers, a skill which is utilized in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). As your child with ADD interacts with the horse, she will learn to observe and react to the animal’s behaviors instead of responding with the same behavioral patterns.

In other sports, kids often warm the bench for a while before earning any game time, which might result in boredom-induced behavior problems for kids with ADHD. Running track or cross-country, on the other hand, is generally all-inclusive with very little down time. Running teaches kids discipline and pacing, plus your child will still gain the social benefits of being a member of a team, without directly competing with other children.

When picking a sport, remember that coaches have a huge impact. Most coaches are well-meaning parents who know little about ADHD, so it’s important that you share your expertise about your child. Let a coach know, for example, that making your child run 15 extra laps for not paying attention is not effective, just humiliating. Sports should allow your child to build relationships and work on self-confidence outside of the classroom, not further increase his anxiety and stress.”

Whether you can find that one sport that works best for you or you need to try a variety of ones, there’s plenty of options. Just like we change our interests over time, there are many different sports, exercises, and activities that can keep you and/or your children interested so the feeling of accomplishment can be achieved. I realize that sports are not for everyone but if it’s a good fit, it can be a great source of building confidence. And we might be cheering you on…GO, YOU! GO, TEAM!!!

For more information on this subject and/or if you would like to work with a Life Coach to work through some struggles or have someone beside you as you navigate this life, contact Karen at

Thank you for reading “Karen’s Noggin’ 🧠 Nuggets” #41 ~ October 24, 2022

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *