As I have been working on ADHD Golf, beyond research & crafting iBooks with Shawn Clement, I have been wondering what role I could provided ADHD athletes, parents and coaches. I then realized that I would serve the ADHD community best as an Advocate for ADHD Athletes.
Part of my role as an advocate for ADHD Athletes, is to evangelize for the need of hard research on ADHD and athletic performance. To this date there really is none other the scratching the surface I have done.
All of the grant money’s, focus and research is mostly centered on ADHD performance in school and at work. However, since sports is a play of life, there are many situations that an ADHD athlete will encounter that are not replicated in the classroom. Dealing with interruptions, emotions, publicly failing, putting jubilation behind you… happen regularly during a match in sports but rarely show up in the classroom. For example failing at one moment and being able to put that behind you and execute often right away at the next moment simply does not happen in the classroom.
More simply put, the classroom and the athletic field combined provide a more complete set of experiences and thus a more complete set of challenges for an ADHD kid to learn to excel in.
Also, and this is a hot topic in ADHD circles, are the so called gifts associated with ADHD. Gifts is the wrong word. But ask any ADHD goalie in soccer or hockey and they will all tell you that during a match that both hyperfocus and impulsivity will often express themselves as positive traits. They key is to identify when they are positive things and when they impair performance. Dr Denise McDermott, an ADHD Psychiatrist who was a college soccer goalkeeper in a previous life, got this immediately .
The beauty of sports like baseball and especially golf is that they are great at exposing where your head is. Also, when you supply a mental band aid, the change often happens apparent right way… they make the next putt. That does not mean it sticks. Like physical fitness you have to train to both build and maintain the change. What it does mean is that both baseball and golf present themselves as the perfect laboratory because of the cause and immediate effect that is inherent to each sport.
What is needed is an ADHD summer camp for baseball/golf. Here in Florida, with thunderstorms at play in the summer time, having a camp where it is the sport in the morning and a fun, executive function focused learning activity in the afternoon when high voltage is lingering outside. The camps could then be both about skills development as well as being a platform for research by the various stakeholders in the ADHD community.
I am not the person to run such a camp. My ADHD means I am the vision guy not the operations guy. My goal is to get the right people together and make magic happen.