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ADHD, Anxiety & Autism Swimmers Science-Based Coaching

ADHD, Anxiety, And Autism Swimmers Science-Based Coaching For Better Performance

There is a rise in ADHD, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorder. Coaches can improve communication and performance during practice by incorporating strategies to support swimmers with attention issues. Here are three suggested formulas for success that can improve swimmer attention and engagement during practice.

picture of a swimmer doing laps in the pool. Drills for ADHD, anxiety, and autism swimmers Science-Based Coaching
ADHD, anxiety, and autism swimmers Science-Based Coaching

The first formula involves flip turns, which release the neurochemical histamine, a balancing chemical that can assist in regulating the swimmer. Doing flip-turn drills at the beginning of practice to create the necessary neurochemistry to provide swimmers with the attention they need for the duration of practice. Another component of the drill by having the swimmer hold their arms overhead in the streamlined position with their eyes closed and jump five times with their eyes closed while holding the streamlined arms, which improves awareness (proprioception) of where the swimmer's body is in space.

The second formula involves kickboard drills, which create proprioceptive input to the swimmer's upper body and release the neurochemistry of serotonin, making a swimmer's body and brain feel good. The heavy work can wake up swimmers who are not paying attention and improve the attention of distractible swimmers. Adding rhythmic breathing to each side while swimming a lap with the kickboard underwater. This helps swimmers with learning disabilities and ADHD who have a retained asymmetric tonic neck reflex (ATNR) that makes it difficult to kick consistently when they turn their heads.

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The third formula involves starts, which offer the swimmer an opportunity to break the surface tension of the water and provide input to the skin, our largest organ. Underwater swimming after breaking the surface tension releases dopamine, which washes away adrenaline and provides a significant opportunity for the self-regulation of swimmers. Doing one-way sprints down to the shallow and picking either backstroke or freestyle so that the swimmer breaks the surface tension during the swim. Walking backward down the deck back to the block while holding streamline, which helps fire up the cerebellum, responsible for helping us stop and start our bodies.

Doing the above drills in order for the first 15-20 minutes of practice to create the necessary neurochemistry of histamine, serotonin, and dopamine, followed by introducing a new or more complex swim drill. This helps create a natural cocktail for success.

Read More: https://swimangelfish.com/american-swimming-magazine-coaching-tips-for-swimmers-with-adhd-anxiety-and-autism/


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