This boy was taking 10mg of methylphenidate in the morning and at noon. He was then instructed to take another 10mg of methylphenidate later in the afternoon, about 30 minutes before hockey practices and games. At a follow-up visit 2 months later, the father said the boy had improved so much in team play that he was selected for the all-star team at the end of the season. This suggests that many children have all ingredients for success, but they are sabotaged by the attention deficit symptoms.
This is not to say that medication should be given solely for the sake of sports performance. If an afternoon dose of medication is really needed for a sports event, it should be given regularly at that time to help the youngster cope with other afternoon and evening situations that otherwise would cause frustration.
Researchers studying hyperactive children in group settings have often reported beneficial effects of medications. One recent study looked at the effects of methylphenidate on baseball performance by boys with this disorder. Doses of 0.3 and 0.6 mg/kg of body weight were used in the double-blind placebo-controlled study, which involved 17 boys aged 7.8 to 9.9 years. Measures of attention improved dramatically, though there was no significant difference between the two doses. The players were more often able to tell the score and the number of outs, they were in a ready position more often when out on the field, and they were less likely to swing impulsively at balls well out of the strike zone. The researchers said the actual athletic skills of the children did not improve; what improved was their ability to stay focused on the game, and this enhanced their performance.