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How Parents Can Help Coaches Understand Their Athlete With ADHD

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"My daughter is 15 and has been playing club soccer since she was 6. She is adopted and is diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive. So despite making the team, the coach has made it so miserable she cannot handle the constant humiliation. She has been offered a spot on a lesser quality team but is playing up a year in the Club. Our club claims they believe in Positive Coaching but when they have an actual situation in front of them...the coach who's style is the antithesis of positive coaching is supported. Is there a legal position that I can work from?"

PCA Response from Karen Collins, PCA Trusted Resource and Associate Professor of Kinesiology (Sport Studies) at University of New Hampshire

Thank you for your question. This sounds like fairly complex situation, with a number of intersecting parts. First, think about encouraging your daughter to help her coach understand her play, personality, and learning a bit better. That is, is the coach aware of her Inattentive ADHD diagnosis? Perhaps a meeting with the coach and your daughter is in order. We recommend that your daughter try and be proactive in talking to the coach. Specifically, she can ask the coach for a meeting and in that meeting, explain her ADHD inattentive diagnosis. In doing so, help the coach understand what this means for her as a player (e.g. describe when she gets unfocused or seems like she isn’t paying attention, etc).

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