College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Improving sportsmanship and sports skills in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1999

Keywords

Sportsmanship, ADHD, Social Skills, Token Economy, Children

Publication Title

Child and Family Behavior Therapy

ISSN

0731-7107

Volume

21

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often display deficiencies in communication skills, social competence, and emotional regulation. Many parents report that these difficulties are especially obvious in the context of sports participation. These children are more likely to experience social problems and be less athletically competent than their peers. Thus, sports skills and sportsmanship training may be beneficial to children diagnosed with ADHD. In the present study, a multi-component skills and behavior management program was developed in the context of a sports-skills camp. In the first component of the study, the efficacy of basketball skills training was examined for two boys. Results indicate that the training decreased dribbling errors but had no effect on shooting performance. In a second component, a token system was implemented to increase sportsmanlike behaviors and suppress unsportsmanlike behavior for three study participants. The contingencies placed on good sportsmanship also appeared to have positive effects on other aspects of game performance. The basketball camp also increased the boys' interest in basketball and was evaluated positively by their parents. Recommendations for the development of other sports camps are also included.

DOI

10.1300/J019v21n03_03