From Sports to Science: Using Basketball Analytics to Broaden the Appeal of Math and Science Among Youth

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John Drazan
Benjamin Horne
Amy Loya
Ron Eglash


Abstract: The fusion of sports and analytics has not only revolutionized the way professional basketball is played, coached, and managed; it also has the potential to revolutionize the way we educate the next generation. Sports analytics can provide a rigorous, yet tangible application of math and statistics in which youth perform data gathering and analysis directly linked to their own improved on-court performance. This allows students who are not traditionally engaged in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to be intrinsically motivated to use STEM concepts as a tool for basketball training. We hypothesized that once STEM has shown applicability towards improving their own basketball skills, it would also become more attractive as a career path. Here we provide preliminary data consistent with that hypothesis that shows that these clinics increase athletes self- perception of knowledge and interest in STEM. This approach can be integrated within the sports organization's existing youth programs to promote STEM education as a public good, and can be replicated in other educational communities, both formal and informal.