All-star Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, is a two-time MVP. Curry makes hitting three-pointers seem effortless. A flip of the wrist and the basketball spins, moves through the air, and falls through the net.
Curry is second in the league for most three-point field goals in a rookie season, and currently leads the league for most three-pointers in consecutive seasons. His talent is the admiration and envy of athletes and non-athletes alike.
Youth athletes who have their eyes on playing in the NBA–or WNBA–remain diligent in polishing their basketball skills, and are confident they can make it on the professional level. But rather than try to be the star of the game, one can be a valuable player in a STEM field. STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and math.
The growing field of STEM
STEM is important because it encompasses every part of our lives. Science is everywhere around us and we preform Mathematics in our daily routines.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, many of STEM careers will be: Computing; traditional engineering; physical sciences; and life sciences.
Being diverse, STEM careers are not limited to jobs as a chemist or physicist, but includes careers in sports. The top seven sport jobs in STEM include: Physical therapist; materials scientist; sports statistician; sport psychologist; nutritionist; engineer; and coach.
STEM-related sports jobs
Physical therapists treats patients by teaching them various exercises planned to strengthen or stretch muscles. Materials scientists studies and analyzes the chemical properties and structure of various man-made and natural materials. Sports statisticians collect information on sports performances, and use math and computer skills to create formulas and computer programs that synthesize sports statistics into new data.
Sport psychologists help athletes enhance performance and achieve their full potential by using various mental strategies, such as visualization, self-talk and relaxation techniques in order to help them cope with the pressures of competition. Nutritionists teach athletes ways to improve their health, optimize their performance and manage their weight. Sports engineers design equipment, build facilities, analyze athlete performance, and develop coaching tools. Coaches not only teach players how to play the game, but they also maintain statistics and explain stats to their players. Statistics involve minutes played in a game, field goals made, three-pointers, free throws, rebounds, and assists.
Your chances of getting in a STEM job may be greater than getting in the NBA. The STEM field continues to grow. There are over 400,000 potential unfulfilled STEM jobs, yet, there are only about 600 pro basketball players in the NBA.
By being exposed to STEM-related activities and getting hands-on experiences, interest will gain and having knowledge of the right STEM job will grow.
Invention Education programs
Intervention Education programs such as the STEMIE Coalition help communities by helping to create inventing, innovating, and entrepreneurial activities. Currently there are over 600 operating K-12 youth invention and entrepreneurship programs across the U.S.
The first National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo held in 2016, featured over 200 K-12 winners from 15 states.
If you can’t travel to a state or national convention, local science camps can help prepare you for a career in STEM. Science camps help in teaching critical thinking skills and problem solving skills.
So, the next time you envy Curry, or another professional athlete, instead of wanting to be the star of the game, check out how to pursue a job in science, technology, engineering, or math. You may end up designing a better basketball to help NBA players score more points and avoid turnovers.
To learn more about careers in science, or learn which STEM career path is right for you, check out these websites: