Role of medication
Often one of the most successful ways to enhance sports participation is to use methylphenidate or other medications. Hyperactive kids battle with the same problems on the athletic field as they do in the classroom. Methylphenidate and other medications are used primarily to improve the efficiency of learning by increasing attention span and decreasing hyperactive behavior, distractibility, and impulsiveness. Medication will not make children smarter, but they may very well study more effectively. There is also evidence that methylphenidate and other stimulant medications improve social skills.
If one of the purposes of medication is to increase attention and thereby improve academic achievement, it also makes sense to consider the benefits of medication to improve athletic and other recreational skills. The reason for using medications in these children, after all, is to help them succeed in general-not just in sports or academics. However, when their confidence and self-esteem are improved by helping them perform better in sports, other benefits may multiply. Many physicians now recommend that medication doses be adjusted so they will be effective during athletic practices and events. The fact is that medication makes many children more amenable to coaching.
For example, one boy was asked what sport he was playing. "Hockey," he replied. "What position do you play?" "E.O.B." "What's E.O.B.?" "End of the bench," answered the boy. His father then said, "What makes this particularly sad is that I'm the coach, but no one wants to play on his line. He skates well, handles the puck well, and shoots very well. The problem is that he doesn't listen to his coach or teammates, he's possessive of the puck and rarely passes, and has no concept of team play."