We all know that participating in group sports activities has numerous benefits for children. Not only do kids expend energy and gain the physical and mental benefits regular exercise affords, but they also have fun while learning focus and discipline. But children with ADHD can find some team sports more frustrating than focusing. Sports like baseball or basketball are challenging due to the amount of rules to memorize and the distraction of emotional triggers. But this doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from organized sports. Swimming provides an ideal balance; it allows children to compete as individuals, while still being part of a larger team.

A report by ADDitude Magazine found that parents, children, counselors, coaches and gym teachers named swimming one of the best sports for children with ADHD. The publication interviewed individuals who ranked sports based on opportunities for distraction, level of physical contact, complexity of rules, and use of gross motor skills. Swimming featured prominently on the list. Sandy Maynard, MS Health Psychology and regular contributor to ADDitude Magazine notes, “Swimming and diving were highly recommended for children with ADHD and learning disabilities that affect organization, spatial awareness and difficulty with game concepts and strategies. Swimming’s focus on individual competition likely helps. As Laurence Diller, M.D., author and faculty member at UCSF Medical School points out, From my years of experience treating children with ADHD, I know that they do better with individual oriented sports like swimming or track (even tennis) compared to team sports like baseball.

The story of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps illustrates how swimming can help. Michael was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. After taking Ritalin for two years, he stopped taking medication with his doctor’s permission and used swimming to help find focus. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Michael’s mother and ADHD spokesperson Deborah Phelps confirmed that swimming helped her son cope with ADHD. Swimming provided a practice schedule that helped him develop time management skills, as well as valuable parameters. “The pool itself helped Michael, said Phelps. “ADHD children need parameters. There’s nothing better for that than two lane lines! Even if Michael’s mind was all over the place, he could focus on going up and down the pool. Plus, water itself has a calming, soothing effect. I think the pool became a safe haven where he could release his energy. So jump in and enjoy the water!

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Texas Swim Academy is an infant, child and adult swim lesson facility. The academy strives to introduce children to water at an early age through  survival swim, and to fully develop their swim stroke abilities through adulthood through  stroke development. Children are taught life saving swim safety skills and have the option to prepare for competitive swim team. Texas Swim Academy also offers  parent-child classes  to grow the bond between parent and child and to provide a seamless, comfortable introduction to water for children. To learn more about Texas Swim Academy’s swim lessons, infant aquatics and other  programs, please call (832) 437-6186.

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