My boys have always been active and their dad and I are constantly looking for ways to support them and nurture whatever activities they are interested in. Unfortunately, having a son with ADHD means that we need to look deeper into what our son likes, what interests him the most, and channel his energy. We’ve learned that what works for most athletes is not usually the case with an ADHD athlete.
We are all “just a kid” from somewhere. I’m from Pottsville, PA. My boys are from Richmond, VA. Regardless of where we were born and raised, we all have potential. We all start in the same place as everyone else – full of potential and big dreams.
I firmly believe that with the right motivation, love and constant support, my boys can be anything that they want to be – and that includes becoming just like the athletes that they look up to. Sports have a major impact on our lives, on our communities, in our cities and states. Every athlete has a story to tell, and I would like to share my sons’ story with you.
Ever since they were small, each of my little athletes showed their own unique personalities at a very young age. I knew from the time she was 2-years-old that April was going to be the one who went to college and excel academically. Jonathan is my perpetual motion athlete and the one with ADHD. From the very day he was born, he was in a constant state of motion. He cannot be still for more than four or five hours at a time. His brain runs 100 miles an hour and his potential is absolutely phenomenal. He has more talent for a wide variety of activities than anyone else that I know. He has had many interests over the course of his 16 years, and at the moment, his interests are playing electric guitar and becoming a world-class skateboarder.
Tre is leaning towards becoming a music mogul but also wants to become a world-class skateboarder and compete on a professional level. Both of them have some amazing skills – and I’m not just saying that because I am their mother – they really do!
I think that Tre would be an excellent teacher as well. He has the patience to explain the intricacies of skateboarding to other skateboarders and show them how to do a wide variety of tricks and jumps. He’s also quick to help others who have taken a spill or a fall and encourages them to get back up and try it again.
1. Know Your Athlete
We have tried group sports with both of the boys and for various reasons it has not been a good fit for either of them. They do much better with individual sports – things like skateboarding, martial arts, tennis, swimming, BMX racing – sports that they can participate in individually but are taught in groups of other athletes. You need to know what your sons and daughters are good at, what interests them, what fits with their personalities. There is no one formula that works because no two ADHD sons or daughters are alike.
Individual sports such as skateboarding, whitewater paddling, rock climbing, mountain biking all include technical movements and utilize a vast array of brain areas. Areas that control balance, timing, sequencing, evaluating consequences, switching, error correction, fine motor adjustments, inhibition, and of course, intense focus and concentration.
2. Fuel their Passion
What you have envisioned for your athlete may be the farthest thing from their mind. Listen to them, find out what they are interested in, and then fuel that passion. When my boys showed a love of skateboarding, the only thing that I could see was scrapes, bruises, broken bones, concussions and my knee-jerk reaction was to say no, never! However, with the proper equipment, a safe environment and fellow skaters willing to teach them the proper foot placement, board size, and hardware that they needed for their boards – I’m happy to report that the worst injury has been some skin torn off of the elbows and shins after a spill off the rails or a jump gone awry.
3. Be Supportive
As I mentioned above, be supportive. Fuel their passion – even if you don’t agree with it. As long as they have the proper training and support (and they aren’t asking to learn how to swallow fire and become part of the circus) give them the chance to try. One of my biggest regrets from my childhood is that my parents sheltered me. I was not allowed to participate in group sports outside of what we did during school hours. I loved archery, I loved tennis, I loved competing in choral competitions – but I didn’t get any of the support that I needed to enable me to be a part of these group sports.
4. Understand their Special Gifts and Limitations
All athletes need an outlet, so it is vital that the sport that they participate in is something that they are going to enjoy doing, that will help them “unwind” after a particularly hard day at school, and one that challenges them.
With ADHD you might have an 8-year-old with the brain development of a 13-year-old or you could have a 15-year-old with the brain development of an 11-year-old. Both of these scenarios can cause your athlete to act out in a variety of ways because of those differences, simply because he doesn’t know how to comprehend an advanced level of logic or understand why he can’t grasp a concept that his peers have mastered years ago.
Sports provide them with skills such as patience, repetitive work on a particular jump or move until they get it right, concentration, balance, and learning how to be more in control of their movements and their bodies. All of which can also carry over into the classroom and help them excel there as well.
5. Keep them Healthy
As moms, we only want the best for our families. We do our best to make healthy, nutritious meals for our families. Sports moms and coaches fuel their athlete’s potential by making sure they have everything needed to play their best – whether that’s pre-game meals, driving the carpool or making sure the team is hydrated. Moms carry the team.
Our go-to drink when we’re at the sports park practicing the latest kickflip trick is Mountain Berry Blast Powerade. Virginia summers are absolutely brutal and the ION4® Advanced Electrolyte System helps replenish four electrolytes lost in sweat: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
While the boys just love how it tastes, I know that Powerade is formulated with a 6% carbohydrate solution to help provide them the energy they need for their working muscles, and gives them the necessary B3, B6 and B12 vitamins that they need.
About the Powerade “Just a Kid” Campaign
Powerade believes like we do here at Life in a House, that every athlete has potential. Show your pride in your athlete with custom “Just a Kid” apparel here. All of the net proceeds from the sale of “Just a Kid” apparel goes to the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Before you head out to the sports complex for practice or off to the next game, match or event, stop by Walmart and grab some Powerade for the team! It is available in multipack assortment of sizes in the store and at Walmart.com. Now through April 4, 2016 (or while supplies last) when you purchase two 8-packs of 20 ounce Powerade at Walmart, you will be able to go online, submit your receipt, and order a free custom “Just a Kid” reusable sports bottle for your little athlete! Just head to http://www.us.powerade.com/walmart/#pov2 to learn more.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/POWERADE. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.