View Full Version : ADHD and reaction time in sports


ajaxblu
03-07-17, 03:22 PM
Does anyone have first-hand knowledge on whether ADHD affects reaction time in sports? I've read numerous articles with just a bit of info in each but haven't found any conclusive or extensive studies so I thought I'd ask here.

My 15yo daughter plays volleyball. She's very energetic, very fast - faster than most, and could be at a higher level. But her reaction time is slower than other girls.

Her game knowledge is fantastic. She's able to zone in on the court and knows exactly where to be and what to do at all times. But since her reaction time is slower, she starts moving later than other girls. It makes her either look slow or like she doesn't know what she's doing. Also, if anything unexpected happens it takes her a second longer to know how to react than others.

We're trying to determine if this is an ADHD thing or just her. We’re also trying to determine whether her ADHD meds make it worse.

She’s trying ideas her coach gave her, but it's a slow process and at 15 she's at the age where she'll be cut soon if she doesn't step up her game. The coach believes she thinks too much before moving. Not sure what she can do about that.

Are there any parents, or athletes, with experience about this? If so, have you tried anything that worked?

Thanks

sarahsweets
03-08-17, 05:36 AM
I dont know what to call it because my son is 21 now and I cant remember but he used to receive pt because it was something to do with his "midline crossing". What I mean is imagine you have a line down the middle of your body dividing your body into equal halves. Each side is controlled by one side of the brain or other. Kids with a midline issue have trouble using each side of their bodies together at the same time. When my son was little and had to color a picture he would color a side on the right and then pick up his hand and move it over to the left side to color it. He wouldnt just keep coloring and cross that "midline" in the center of the page. It was like there was a little wall between them. This affected him learning ti ride a bike or do sports. He received PT and OT until 10th grade and its mostly not an issue anymore. Sorry I cant explain it better.

Caco3girl
03-08-17, 09:03 AM
My 9th grade son plays very high level baseball and has ADHD. I've seen him play on meds and off meds. His reaction time at hitting a ball that is coming in at 80+mph is the same in both cases. I have noticed that if he is playing in the outfield off his meds he can be distracted by people walking by outside the fence...but I think that is just normal ADHD stuff.

I have seen that when doing a new drill in practice it takes him awhile to catch the hang of it, it may even take him processing it over night and then the next day he is able to do it flawlessly...but it takes his brain a minute to learn anything new. So, my point being that his ADHD and or meds doesn't affect his reaction times IN GAME as you are talking about with your daughter. This may just be her.

ajaxblu
03-08-17, 11:01 AM
Thanks namazu!!!!


:thankyou:

ajaxblu
03-08-17, 11:02 AM
Sarah and Caco - thank you for your input! :)

Postulate
03-08-17, 09:11 PM
ADHD meds improve reaction time on the condition that they are dopamine agents. For example, Strattera will not improve reaction time, and with active physical exercise can even cause a bit of dizziness, in higher doses and with more intense exercises.

So d-amphetamine, methamphetamine and methylphenidate will cause a reaction time decrease(improvement). However, are these allowed at Olympics? Even for ADHD athletes, I mean, it's a very good question. I strongly doubt it, does anyone know? I know that if athletes could take something before the performance and get away with it, they would absolutely LOVE Dexedrine. They would take it without a second thought because it doesn't just improve RT and ADHD :)

dvdnvwls
03-08-17, 09:40 PM
It may be that her performance is less because of the classic maturity gap between ADHD and non-ADHD kids.

Letching Gray
03-08-17, 10:44 PM
At 15 she has a lot of time and room to make progress. When I was a kid the older kids laughed at me. I was big for my age and was uncoordinated. Their laughter hurt deeply. I was ashamed, but it made me very angry, and determined, too.

We did quickness drills in football, all the time. Our coach, he was an unbelievably good coach, emphasized quickness and endurance over size. My coordination, agility, reaction time, all those kinds of things, improved a great deal, working on them constantly with him and the team and on my own. That was the key for me. Quickness work can make a huge difference in performance.

I wonder if her body has outgrown her ability to keep pace with the demands of volleyball, temporarily? If so, she may grow into her "size" and improve naturally. Even if that's not the case, if she keeps practicing, hard, really, really hard, I'm betting she will make considerable strides responding.

You know what is funny? Pro athletes practice all the time. As pros, you'd think they would have already developed their skills big time, you know? But, they are always practicing and that, I think, is the key. Continuous training of muscle and nerves so they will perform at their peak is time consuming, like a full time job, but the differences it makes are awesome.

Volleyball is a great sport and is really becoming popular. Hope she has fun and achieves her goals.

Pilgrim
03-08-17, 11:04 PM
It may be that her performance is less because of the classic maturity gap between ADHD and non-ADHD kids.

This, ADD meds will help reaction time. That's why if you go to the Olympics on Dex you will be banned.

Coming through the grades of my chosen sport I was relatively uncoordinated, but the love didn't die. It did lead to certain types of injuries though.

Letching Gray
03-08-17, 11:41 PM
Ooops. I didn't answer your question. All that and I forgot what you asked. IMO, if she has attentional deficits, medication can only help, all other things being equal.

Greyhound1
03-09-17, 12:21 AM
I think the coach may have it right saying "she thinks too much before moving."

I played multiple varsity sports in high school and could suffer from the same thing. There is term for this called analysis paralysis. My reactions were fast or faster than most when they were subconscious reactions. When my conscience mind was involved and especially anxious it would happen and my reaction time greatly slowed down.

It just took lots and lots of practice to make conscience reactions to become subconscious reactions they are so much faster.

If your daughter has the athletic ability than overthinking things sounds all too familiar to me.

dvdnvwls
03-09-17, 01:19 AM
I'm quite bad at sports, but I too can see how maybe the coach could be exactly right.

Another way of looking at it... with ADHD, I tend to see all the possibilities in a situation - not only several useful ones like an average person sees. When the volleyball is on its way toward me, I see my teammate ready to receive it from me... and I see the net, and every person on the other team, and I see the judge looking at the net, and the people watching, and the vending machines in the hallway...

And I wonder "Hmm, what about the vending machine? It's just standing there, wide open!" :giggle:

OK, I'm exaggerating. A little. :) But ADHD means you are going to concentrate on too many details at once. The cure? Experience, and lots of it. Learning detail by detail which things are worth paying attention to in a game or other situation.

Caco3girl
03-09-17, 09:05 AM
In 2014 there were 112 members of MLB that had a medical exemption for ADHD meds. So while technically the meds are considered "performance enhancers" MLB allows you to fill out an exemption form if you have a prescription.

Since this accounts for 1 in 10 MLB players there is a theory that ADHD people flock to the sport of baseball for whatever reason. There are also articles about olympic athletes being exempt from ADHD meds counting against them in drug tests, IF reported prior to testing.

ajaxblu
03-09-17, 10:25 AM
Thank you so much to everyone for your great advice!

ajaxblu
03-09-17, 10:26 AM
It may be that her performance is less because of the classic maturity gap between ADHD and non-ADHD kids.


Good point.

ajaxblu
03-09-17, 10:27 AM
Volleyball is a great sport and is really becoming popular. Hope she has fun and achieves her goals.

Thank you!

ajaxblu
03-09-17, 10:29 AM
I'm quite bad at sports, but I too can see how maybe the coach could be exactly right.

Another way of looking at it... with ADHD, I tend to see all the possibilities in a situation - not only several useful ones like an average person sees. When the volleyball is on its way toward me, I see my teammate ready to receive it from me... and I see the net, and every person on the other team, and I see the judge looking at the net, and the people watching, and the vending machines in the hallway...

And I wonder "Hmm, what about the vending machine? It's just standing there, wide open!" :giggle:

OK, I'm exaggerating. A little. :) But ADHD means you are going to concentrate on too many details at once. The cure? Experience, and lots of it. Learning detail by detail which things are worth paying attention to in a game or other situation.


omg, yes! you and Greyhound1 have a great point here. I have this trouble all the time myself. I'm going to bring this up to her.

:thankyou:

Pilgrim
03-09-17, 11:03 PM
I always seemed to be in slow motion. But I grew out of it. I seemed to catch up though.