Features February 2020

Positive Youth Sports Experience For Kids & Families

Youth sports can play a vital role in a child’s life. They are an important part of growing up, both physically and mentally.

One valley resident understands that more than many around. Meet Justin Sayban, General Manager for Arizona Sports Complex and Arizona Sports Complex Training Center. ASC offers youth and adult sports programs in North Phoenix including soccer, basketball and volleyball, as well as a variety of other activities and special event.

Sayban has been GM of ASC since 2012, overseeing the overall business strategies, maintain the facilities, and oversee all the programs. He works with kids in a sports capacity every day and says, “Youth sports in my opinion is so important for a child’s development. Not only are they being physically active and challenging their physical abilities, but they also learn social skills and experience many other character building opportunities that sports offer.”

Another important aspect Sayban believes in is parent and family involvement, essentially a good network of people around you. “While I would never discourage parents from getting involved, I think it’s most important that parents be supportive. It’s great when parents offer to volunteer however the teams need, or even coaches depending on their level of commitment and experience.” Sayban also adds that even if parents are just sitting in the stands, cheering their children on, that can make a very positive impact on their sports experience and overall emotional development.

For parents, there is also a danger of getting too involved with your child’s sports activities. There are lines that can be crossed if they carry on critiquing their young athlete at home or have way too high expectations for their child’s sports performance. Sayban urges it really is, in most cases, best to leave the coaching to the coach, the officiating to the officials and just enjoy watching their child play a game they love. “No matter a parents role in their young athletes journey, it is important to maintain the parent-child relationship over everything else, remembering the 5 most important words in youth sports- I Love Watching You Play!”

Family plays an important role in kid’s sports. Often there are families who fully commit themselves to extra-curricular activities, and it can separate the family for extended time periods on a regular basis. So it is absolutely vital for a child’s development in the game and at home, to see that they have full family support. “There should be a routine for family time on a weekly basis,” adds Sayban. “Family should always be a priority in any young athlete’s journey.”

Many parents may also often wonder if the payoff is worth it in the end. Do the positives of youth sports, outweigh any negatives? Sayban feels that it comes down to a few factors. “I think regardless of the environment, with the right leadership and parent support, sports can always be a positive experience in the child’s development. While there are a few instances where people get involved for the wrong reasons or the young athlete gets exploited, the foundation of sports and recreation is a good one to have.”

For Sayban, working in a sports-filled profession, he does bring his work home. He and his wife Laura, encourage their own kids to play sports and while young, they are allowing them to forge their own journey. “I don’t want to force them into anything, but I do want them to participate in some extra-curricular activity, whatever that might be. My 5-year-old son Jackson has tried soccer and Tae Kwon Do, and didn’t enjoy either too much. However, he does like playing the piano and singing- something he found on his own without our influence.”

Sayban’s own parents did this for him when he was younger as well. He dabbled in a number of sports, starting with baseball at just 5. Then he played hockey, basketball, and football. He found that it was a great way to socialize with others outside of school. For him, the one that stuck was hockey. “Once I started hockey, nothing could compare to the excitement and challenge of the game,” says Sayban. But playing so many sports he adds, can be a challenge. “As I got older, I seemed to always be involved in more than one activity at a time, and it was very challenging to manage, along with time for school and my family. However, I think that it taught me how to prioritize tasks and develop a mental toughness. I did enjoy every bit of it.”

As children develop and grow their own likes and dislikes for what they would like to do, Sayban does have some sound advice to offer. “My biggest advices for parents who want to get their kids into sports is that you don’t necessarily force them to play the sport that you personally enjoy. Just because you loved soccer as a kid, doesn’t mean your child will enjoy playing it. Allow them to be a part of the conversation, allow them to make some choices of their own, so they feel as though they have a hand in their own happiness and future.” The most important thing is to give your kids positive memories that they are going to have with them their whole lives, whether on the field, on the court, at the rink, or at home with their families.

For more information on Justin Sayban and Arizona Sports Complex, log onto www.arizonasportscomplex.com.

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