As Yogi Berra, longtime player/manager for the Yankees, so clearly articulated, “Baseball is 80% mental, and the other half is physical.” While Yogi’s math was a little off, he captured the dual worlds of athletic performance. Impressive size, strength and speed is helpful but not sufficient for getting young athletes to the next level of competition. They need to be able to sense, perceive, process and react to the ever changing dynamics of a game to take advantage of their physical abilities. How many times have you heard a coach or even a player blame a “mental mistake” for poor results? A base-running error, an unrecognized blitz or a bad pass originates in the athlete’s brain and ends with the wrong signals being sent to those well-conditioned muscles. Sports Are 80 Percent Mental was created in 2010 to study the latest cognitive science research for clues on how to improve an athlete’s brain processes, including vision, reaction, perception, learning, and decision making. There’s over 250 science-based articles here to help you understand not only the brain but also to give you real world tips and tricks to improve your “sports cognition”.
After 15 years of being a sports dad/coach and 10 years of being a researcher/writer, I have learned that the neuroscience community is only at the tip of the iceberg of understanding an athlete’s brain. Still, there has been an enormous amount of progress during that time and my goal is to synthesize the current research from the lab into bite-size chunks that players, parents and coaches can use everyday. You can see my articles and guides here and also on several other sports related sites, including TeamSnap, Metrifit, Axon Sports and USA Football. Please take a look around 80% Mental (the Search box is really helpful!) and always feel free to contact me with your questions or comments. Thanks!Dan Peterson
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